The Emerald Ball 2023

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More US Champions on the floor at Emerald

Last night the current US Champions were on the floor in every division except one.

We would like to start with the division that didn’t – the Professional Rhythm. Here the current US Champions have retired and the three couples currently vying for that vacant title were all here. The result was a fairly resounding win for Francesco Arietta & Jessa Briones who won all dances, each with a majority of 1st places. Andrew Escolme & Asta Sigvaldadottir and Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin tied for the runners-up spot but after the tie-break the result went to Andrew & Asta who scored 2,2,3,2,4 over Dmitry & Olena with 3,3,2,3,2. For us, the tie was understandable – in fact we saw the top three positions as extremely close. Each couple has their own style. We found Andrew & Asta the most consistent of the three and this could certainly have given them the win. Francesco & Jessa we find hard to beat in the rumba and bolero, while Dmitry & Olena have the best energy in the swing. But let’s see how it all plays out this year.

In truth this final was very close – period! 4th spot went to Kevin Ubillus & Milagros Lareto who placed 5,5,6,4,3. We were a little disappointed in this attractive couple tonight. Their normally bubbly personalities were subdued and that made them seem small. For us, they still could have won the mambo. 5th fell to Ivan Kudashev & Ksenia Sokolova 6,4,4,5,6 and 6th to Gene & Elena Bersten 4,6,5,6,5. We really enjoyed both of these couples who both exhibited great joy in their dancing.

There were many couples in the semi who could stake a claim on a future position in this final.

Valerio Colantoni & Anna Demidova, current US Ballroom Champions, had a very easy time in their division winning all dances and losing only 7 of the first placements available. We thought this was the most dominant performance we have seen from them on the North American shores. The closest race was for the runner-up spot and this was decided three dances to two in favor of Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova 2,2,3,2,3 over Maksym Savytskyi & Polina Riabovil 3,3,2,3,2. As the saying goes – “you pays your money and you takes your choice!” Valeriu & Liana are classic elegance, whereas Maksym & Polina are the consummate “movers” covering the floor like nobody else. 4th went to Radu Sterban & Xenia Cletova, in all dances – 5th in all went to Angelo Gaetano & Clarissa Morelli and 6th in all to Serhiy Averkov & Olena Barna.

We also saw both of the Open Amateur Divisions and both of the newly crowned US Champions were on the floor.

Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina were not strongly challenged in the Latin based on the adjudicators’ scores. They lost only 1 first place in each dance, all from the same judge. We did not find this to be their best performance, but it certainly proved enough to win. Bumchin Tegshjargal & Michelle Klets were equally secure, placing 2nd in all 5 dances and we thought they gave a very strong showing tonight. With 3rd place, it was a great result for Kevin Filipczak & Sophia Marriott who actually tied with the 4th place couple – 3,5,3,3,5. In fourth were the new partnership of Denys Chekunov & Naomi Veronica Spektor who scored 4,3,4,5,3. 5th went to the U/21 champions, Maksym Rodionov & Alexandra Miller 5,4,6,6,4 and 6th to vladimir Timofeev & Evgeniia Florinskaia 6,6,5,4,6.

Danylo Dobrovolskyi & Anastasiia Malovana the current US Amateur Champions also won all dances in the Ballroom. They too had the majority of first places in all dances but did receive more seconds and even some lower scores. They are definitely proponents of the “big moving” dancing and are very hard to miss on the floor. Andrei Cutashevskii & Anna Vasina were 2nd in all dances. We really like this young couple as they seem to combine the big movement with some artistry. However, they had to share the judges’ second place marks with other couples but did manage the majority in 4 of the 5 dances. Samuel Hacke & Katarina Hermanova were 3rd 3,5,3,3,3. Samuel & Kararina can be mercurial in their performances but last night’s was a good one. We must have missed something that the judges noticed for them to be placed 5th in tango. Roman Shchochka & Marta Tyutyunnyk were 4th 5,4,4,4,4; Nathan Zaytsev & Alisa Bankova were 5th 4,3,5,5,5 and  Ilya Ignatyev & Daria Korzh were 6th in all dances. What is encouraging is that 4 of the couples in this final still compete in the U/21 and some even in Youth (U/18) divisions!

For the pro-am competitors it was a day of Latin that concluded with the Open Scholarships late in the afternoon. Here are the results.

Open A Latin Scholarship
1. Kristina Mazhar & Vladimir Karpov 4,1,1,1,3
2. Irene Caredis & Francesco Bertini 2,3,2,2,1
3. Anna Brown & Andrey Tarasov 1,2,3,3,2
4. Meera Mehta & Kristijan Burazer 3,4,4,4,4
5. Jessica Stone & Sergey Korshunov 5,5,5,5,5
6. Anvelyn Pi & Pasha Stepanchuk 6,6,6,6,6

Open B Latin Scholarship
1. Kristina Garcia & Vladislav Kvartin 1,2,1,1,2
2. Katie Hinkle & Dymytrii Goncharov 2,1,2,2,1
3. Sabrina Nirchi & Jean-Philippe Milot 3,4,3,3,3
4. Christine Ho & Stefan Golubovic 4,3,4,4,4
5. Irina Slonim & Oleksiy Pigotskyy 5,5,5,5,6
6. Becky Bai & Sergiy Kvashyn 6,7,7,6,7
7. Amy Liu & Yevgenii Orlov 7,6,6,7,8
8. Laura Paoletti & Roman Drobotov 8,8,8,8,5

Open C Latin Scholarship
1. Deborah Wright & Nikolay Voronovich 1,1,1,1,1
2. Lynn Magnesen & Tomasz Lewandowski 2,3,4,2,2
3. Maria Rigopoulos & Andrei Kazlouski 3,2,3,4,4
4. Nichelle Kennedy & Aleksandar Nashev 4,5,2,3,3
5. Sophia D'Angelo & Vitalii Proskurin 6,4,5,6,5
6. Kimberly Bottini & Aleksandar Vukosavljevic 5,6,6,5,6

Open S1 Latin Scholarship
1. Rhonda Lynch & Andrey Tarasov 1,1,1,1,1
2. Shannon Bachynski & Dmitry Levita 4,3,2,2,2
3. Mee Kim & Andrii Voloshko 2,2,4,3,3
4. Iris Chiang & Igor Colac 3,4,3,4,4
5. Luna Viva & Kristijan Burazer 6,5,5,5,5
6. Ronnie Yuan & Ilie Bardahan 5,6,6,6,6

Open S2 Latin Scholarship
1. Nora Fox & Plamen Danailov 1,1,1,1
2. Jean Lee & Vitalii Proskurin 2,2,3,2
3. Alice Lekht & Igor Derimov 3,3,2,4
4. Philippa Zemelman & Nikolai Pilipenchuk 4,4,5,3
5. Susanna Binder & Giuseppe Incatasciato 6,5,4,5
6. Deborah Ettinger & Jason Daly 5,6,7,7
7. Penelope Parmes & Mikal Watkins 7,7,6,6
8. Marie Bray & Vaughan Liddicoat 8,8,8,8

Open S2 Latin Scholarship
1. Susan Sordoni & Francesco Arietta 1,1,1,1
2. Joan Endres & Gene Bersten 2,2,2,2
3. Ruben Garcia & Sarah Nolan 3,3,3,3

The Emeralds Continue Shining

Last night at Emerald Ball we saw some world class dancing in every division.

Beginning with the Open Professional Latin where undoubtedly 3 of the world’s leading couples went for the title. Without too much surprise, Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova took the title. They had just 4 second place marks total, the other 99 were all first places. Although we did not feel that their performance was quite as strong as we saw 2 weeks ago at Miami Vibe, they were still class personified and won over the judges quite easily. Runners-up were Andrei Kazlouski & Nino Dzneladze and once again they easily captured this placement. We were really impressed with them on this showing. The partnership seemed much more cohesive allowing each partner to shine but within the parameters of the partnership. Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina rounded out the top 3 and like their competitors above them, easily captured 3rd place in all dances. They always give a complete performance in our view, never leaving anything to chance and showing a consistency from event to event that never waivers.

Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk were 4th in all dances and they also had the majority of “4th or better” scores in all of them. Manuel & Natalia have really stamped their mark on this division of late and seem to have pulled ahead of their competitors. 5th went to Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasiya Danilova 5,5,6,5,5. We love this couple’s energy and actually felt they were closer to the 4th place than the judges’ marks reflected. On a minor note, we felt that the high neckline on Anastasiya’s dress did not show well on the floor. With 6,6,5,6,6, Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabrielle Sabler had a good showing. Our favorite dance for this pair is still their jive. Closing the final with 7th in all dances were Andriy Besyedin & Amanda Besyedin. Although they took 7th in all dances, they had quite a wide range of scores all the way up to some 3rd places. Unlucky, but next into the final were Nikolai Tarasov & Sarah Nolan. We felt a definite case for their inclusion into the top 7 could be made.

In the Smooth, the World and USA’s leading duo, Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina, had an easy time losing only 3 first place marks from a possible 84. Roman & Galina, but indeed this whole final, was sunning to watch. Every couple turned in a winning performance tonight! Travis & Jaimee Tuft were clearly the runners-up with those missing 3 firsts from the winners’ column and a majority of 2nd place marks in all dances. It was also a solid stamp for Aleksandar Vukosavljevic & Alexandra Smirnova who were a clean 3rd in 3 dances and also 3rd in waltz with the majority of “4th or better” scores. There was a tie for 4th place broken by a Rule 11. Tykhon Zhyvkov & Yana Zhyvkov got the nod 5,5,4,4 over the brand new partnership of former US Finalist Yegor Novikov and his new partner, Tatiana Voilokova 4,4,5,5. These 2 couples have very different interpretations – Tykhon & Yana are subtle stylists, while Yegor & Tatiana appear to be going for a much more dramatic style. I believe this was their first competition together – so we have much to look forward to. 5th and 6th places were also filled by really good couples. Kharyton Khomenko & Anastasiya Khomenko were 6th in all dances and new to a final of this magnitude, Ivan Sovetov & Valeria Mkrtchian were 7th.

The evening closed with an invitational Cabaret division. 5 couples entered and the win, with a total of 14 first places from 15, were Shane and Shannon Jensen. Travis and Jaimee were easily the runners-up. No couple had the majority of 3rd place marks but using “4th or better,” Zachary Pohl & Ariel Freilich were 3rd and the new pairing of Alyenendrov Tsorokean & Yuki Haraguchi were 4th. 5th spot went to Nikita Zhukovskyi & Angelina Boiko.

But the pros were not alone in providing world class dancing. We also enjoyed both the Youth and U/21 Ballroom divisions. Both these divisions are part of separate “tours.” The Youth belongs in the Fordney Foundation and the U/21 in the Ballroom Spirit U/21 Tour. There was some crossover between the 2 divisions.

The winners of the Youth were Roman Shchochka & Marta Tyutyunnyk who placed 1,1,1T,1,1. They had the majority of firsts in the 4 dances they won but the VW was an unbreakable tie. Nathan Zaytsev & Alisa Bankova were the runners-up, 2,2,1T,2,2. This was a reverse of the result in this same division at the US Championships. 3rd went to Zorik Moldavsky & Vickanat Govorun 3,3,4,4,3.

In the U/21 Andrei Cutashevskii & Anna Vasina were the winners in all dances. They had the majority of first places in 4 dances but not in foxtrot. We felt this was surprisingly close considering this couple were the runners-up in the US Amateur Championship recently. Roman & Marta took 2nd 2,3,2,2,2 and Ilya Ignatyev & Daria Korzh were 3rd 3,2,3,3,4. The winning couple receives the invitation to compete in the Ballroom Spirit Finale at DBDC in Boston where the prize money is $9500.00 but since Andrei & Anna already qualified at the Ohio Star Ball, the invitation went to Roman & Marta.

Ervinas Valskys & Alexa Sosna won all dances in the Youth Fordney Foundation Latin. Runners-up were Oskar Rybczynski & Daniela Koretska 2,2,2,2,3 and 3rd, Leo Kolmykov & Mishella Vishnevskiy 4,5,5,3,2.

Maksym Rodionov & Alexandra Miller won the U/21 Latin 2,1,1,1,1. 2nd Benson Maier & Elisabeth Thompson 3,3,2,2,2; 3rd Timur Valiev & Veronica Rich 1,2,3,3,3.

There was also some world class dancing on display during the daytime session that concluded with the Open Pro-Am Ballroom Scholarships. Here are the results:

Open A Ballroom Scholarship
1. Colette Marotto w/ Oreste Alitto 2,1,2,3,1
2. Natalie Rezai w/ Sergey Kiselev3,2,1,1,3
3. Julia Shen w/ Rudy Homm 1,3,3,2,2
4. Megan Tromposh w/ Woodrow Wills 4,5,4,4,4
5. Alina Sakura w/ Eugene Bubyr 5,4,5,5,5
6. Avery Dail w/ Nick Bloxsom-Carter 6,6,6,6,6
7. Andrew Repko w/ Gergana Slavova 7,7,7,7,7

Open B Ballroom Scholarship
1. Laura Shooks w/ Alexander Voskalchuk 1,3,1,1,1
2. Sabrina Zagolin w/ Yuriy Kravets 2,1,4,2,3
3. Vinie Miller w/ Stefano Di Brino 4,2,2,3,2
4. Dana Miller w/ Oreste Alitto 3,4,3,4,4
5. Janet Simsic w/ Andrea Stefano 5,5,5,5,5
6. Ling Ma w/ Angelo Gaetano 6,6,6,6,6

Open C Ballroom Scholarship
1. Jill E Bradford w/ Andrea Stefano 1,1,1,1,1
2. Patricia Schneider w/ Sergey Bondarenko 2,2,2,2,2
3. Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold 3,3,3,3,3
4. Sabrina Kirkpatrick w/ Oscar Pedrinelli 4,4,4,5,4
5. Meredith Kaplan w/ Rudy Homm 5,5,5,4,5
6. Annie Chan w/ Cristian Radvan 6,6,6,6,6

Open S1 Ballroom Scholarship
1. Agnes Mah w/ Stefano Di Brino 1,1,1,1,2
2. Kyle Brown w/ Sergey Bondarenko 2,2,2,2,1
3. Kathy Stetler w/ Alexander Voskalchuk 3,3,3,3,3
4. Emi Donville w/ Igor Colac 5,5,4,4,4
5. Connie Lam w/ Evgeniy Mayorov 4,4,5,5,5
6. Catherine Gallo w/ Iaroslav Bieliei 6,6,6,6,6

Open S2 Ballroom Scholarship
1. Lynn Murrell w/ Andrea Zaramella 1,1,1,2
2. Connie Lam w/ Evgeniy Mayorov 2,2,2,1
3. Elizabeth Cramer w/ Yuriy Kravets 5,3,3,4
4. Monica Lin w/ Angelo Gaetano 4,4,5,3
5. Dagmar Richter w/ Mikhail Avdeev 3,5,4,5
6. Mary Ann Nichols w/ Mirko Spano 6,6,6,6

Open S3 Ballroom Scholarship
1. Rong Chen w/ Oscar Pedrinelli 1,1,1,1
2. Allen Tam w/ Liana Bakhtiarova 2,2,2,2
3. Margaret Wang w/ Igor Colac 3,3,3,3
4. Maria Fila w/ Kamil Urbaniak 4,4,4,4

"Shine Bright Like a Diamond Emerald"

Once again the dance world has migrated to the Los Angeles Airport Hilton for the always extravagant, Emerald Ball!

The Emerald Ball is underway right now and we are entering day 4 of 6 - yes the Emerald is a marathon competition, but with over 12,000 entries we need the time!

So far the Open Scholarships in the pro-am divisions are complete for the American Styles and both styles were well contested with perhaps larger entries in the Smooth.

Here are the results.

Open A Smooth Scholarship
1. Alina Sakura w/ Kharyton Khomenko 1,1,1,1
2. Elizabeth Cuevas & Mayo Alanen 2,2,2,4
3. Diana LaVecchia w/ Paolo Di Lorenzo 3,4,3,2
4. Trista Keller w/ Radomir Pashev 4,3,4,5
5. Arun Garg w/ Joseph Lettig 5,5,5,3
6. Adrian Kaisar w/ Sarah Lototskyy 6,6,6,6

Open B Smooth
1. Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano 1,1,1,1
2. Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Sochaki 2,2,2,2
3. Selene Steelman w/ Travis Tuft 4,4,3,3
4. Olivia Whiteside w/ Sergey Barsukhov 3,3,4,4
5. Zlata Clark w/ Igor Dogeter 5,5,6,5
6. Sirinda Sincharoen w/ Max Sinitsa 6,6,5,6

Open C Smooth
1. Sophia D’Angelo w/ Max Sinitsa 2,1,1,1
2. Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Sochaki 1,2,2,2
3. Gracelyn Tuoti w/ Roman Malkhasyan 3,3,3,3
4. Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleksandar Nashev 6,4,5,4
5. Simona Bebi w/ Nazar Norov 5,6,4,5
6. Zlata Clark w/ Igor Dogeter 4,5,6,6
7. Sue Eldred w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy 7,7,7,7

Open S1 Smooth
1. Gracelyn Tuoti w/ Roman Malkhasyan 1,2,1,1
2. Simona Bebi w/ Nazar Norov 2,1,2,2
3. Kathy Stewart w/ Mayo Alanene 3,5,4,3
4. Sue Eldred w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy 4,4,3,4
5. Llewelyn Nielsen w/ Slawek Sochaki 5,3,5,5
6. Carolyn Glazner w/ Yegor Novikov 6,6,6,6

Open S2 Smooth
1. Janet Brutell w/ Dmitri Zavialov 1,1,2,2
2. Elizabeth Cramer w/ Yuriy Kravets 2,2,1,1
3. Margaret Barrett w/ Ruslan Meshkov 3,3,3,4
4. Pat Luthy w/ Vladimir Popov 5,4,4,3
5. Liz Conklyn w/ Dariusz Michalski 4,5,5,5
6. Michael McCarthy w/ Yuliya Sinevych 6,6,6,6

Open S3 Smooth
1. Pat Luthy w/ Vladimir Popov 1,1,1,1
2. Susan Sordoni w/ Francesco Arietta 2,2,2,2
3. Lois Gochnauer w/ Serhiy Averko 4,3,3,3
4. Keiko Fukami w/ Roman Zotov 3,4,4,4
5. James Yonemoto w/ Monika Dowd 5,5,5,5

Open A Rhythm Scholarship
1. Adrian Kaiser w/ Evgeniia Elcoro 1,1,1,1,1
2. Colleen Herskovits w/ James Williard 2,2,2,2,2
3. Ashley Karetnikova w/ Javier Buentello 3,3,3,3,3

Open B American Scholarship
1. Michael Butler w/ Oksana Kashkina 1,2,1,2,1
2. Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev 2,1,2,1,2
3. Andi Wolff w/ Decho Kraev 3,3,3,3,4
4. Jill Winters Bougard w/ Grigol Kranz 4,4,5,5,3
5. Laura Paoletti w/ Roman Drobotov 5,5,4,4,5
6. Kelly Rogers w/ Jani Bogre 6,6,6,6,6

Open C American Scholarship
1. Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev 1,1,1,1,2
2. Lynn Magnesen w/ Tomasz Lewandowski 2,2,2,2,1
3. Janice Gonzalez w/ Aleksandar Vukosavljevic 3,3,3,3,3
4. Krista Hughes w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov 4,4,4,4,5
5. Amy Law w/ Eddie Stutts 5,5,5,5,4
6. Ligaya Carlos w/ Dustin Donelan 6,6,6,6,6
7. Myrna Colon Amaro w/ Ivan Markelov 7,7,7,7,7

Open S1 American Scholarship
1. Marguerite Pinard w/ Ilya Reyzin 1,1,1,1,1
2. Joan Goddard w/ Andrew Escolme 2,2,2,2,3
3. Lisa Lowery w/ Artem Merenkov 3,3,3,3,2
4. Carolyn Glazer w/ Yegor Novikov 4,4,4,4,4
5. Shari Oxman w/ Hayk Balasanyan 5,5,5,5,5
6. Kathy Myers w/ Marcus Johnson 6,6,7,6,6
7. Robin Crockett w/ Jason Daly 7,7,6,7,7

Open S2 Rhythm Scholarship
1. Janet Brutell w/ Dmitri Zavialov 1,1,1,1
2. Andrea Wishnow w/ Nikolay Voronovich 2,2,2,2
3. Michael McCarthy w/ Yuliya Sinevych 3,3,3,3
4. Kristine Snell w/ William Huie 4,4,4,4

Open S3 Rhythm Scholarship

1. Susan Sordoni & Francesco Arietta 1,1,1,1

We would also like to give a special mention to Sophia D'Angelo for her almost faultless Cabaret solo performed with Victor DaSailva

Last night we saw some of the larger Pro Rising Star events so far this year.  Both the Rhythm and Smooth started with quarter-final rounds and the Latin and Ballroom with semifinals.

The winners were:  Ilie Bardahan & Oksana Kashkina (Rhythm) 1,1,1,2,1; Evgenii Rozenfeld & Mariia Shumakher (Smooth) 1,1,1,2; Riccardo Conte & Eleonora Filippi (Ballroom) 1,1,1,1,2; Oleksii Federov & Anastasiia Konieva (Latin) 2,1,1,1,2.

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