The ballroom as always was impeccable and beautifully decorated and the food as well as many of the performances were out of this world! Great job by the organizing team, the weather was magnificent and so if you were not in the ballroom you were at the magnificent pool of the Ritz Carlton. This weekend was filled with fun and excitement so in fact it was a Crown fit for all.
Some of the events were small in size but the quality was still there, the Professional Latin for example had the sold out Saturday night audience on the edge of their seats. And it truly made us all wonder who was going to take the crown home. The winners for us and for the majority of the judges were Manuel Faviilla & Natalia Maidiuk, who gave an excellent performance from start to finish. After the Latin was completed we remembered the first time we saw Manuel & Natalia, it was in Europe and they had so much energy and life to their dancing, we have to say that on this night they brought this back and it was totally refreshing to see and there was no doubt in our minds that they would win this event.
Second in this professional Latin event went to another very talented couple, Anastasia Danilova & Artur Tarnavskyy. For just a moment we thought they might take the crown home, but after the samba there was no contest between them and Manuel & Natalie. We are happy to see Artur & Anastasia bring some of the carefree style they used to have, back into the mix, this totally helped, but on this night they also needed to be fit and every move needed to be completed from start to finish leaving no room for anyone to come by. This they did not do and so Manuel & Natalie passed them to win first and left them with second place in all dances. Third in all dances went to a fairly new couple in the professional field, Ron Garber & Klaudia Petriti. This couple were totally in the mix for this top placement, but in the moment they still lack the experience to place higher. For us the use of the music has to be a little fuller, not just walking through things, but we saw lots of potential in this couple and on this outing.
Fourth place was awarded to Anastasia Hrynnyk & Malachi Osai they were fourth in all dances; fifth went to Anna Melnyk &Roman Melnyk 6.5.5,5,5,5, Camila Rojas & Artur Shvetsov placed sixth overall 5,5.5,6,6,6, and Sandra Lungu & Dmytro Roshchupkin were seventh in all dances.
The Mary Gill Challenge at the very end of the competition was also something worth staying for the winners of all the styles were invited to compete and they did brilliantly. The only couple to not take part was Manuel Faviilla & Natalia Maidiuk, who just before the event started announced an injury while they were competing earlier in the Open Latin and decided not to compete for the top honors.
The winners of the "best of the best" for us and for the judges were Shane Jensen & Shannon Jensen who were representing the Rhythm category that they won the night before. On this challenge they opted for a semi-cabaret routine with Rumba foundations and it worked quite well and as usual, they left nothing for chance - everything was well-prepared and executed.
Second on this Challenge of Champions were Stanislav Morozov & Ksennia Tashkinova. They performed the same number that won them the Cabaret this weekend, but this time for us it was a little shaky, some of their transitions were not well-executed and wobbled at times. In the Cabaret division they were much more secure. We were quite surprised they received second overall on this venture. We thought for sure the second place winners would be Krizia Balestra & Luca Balestra who gave a terrific tango - no jumps, no overhead lifts but a good routine with a theme, a beginning and an end and well-executed. The quality for us was there to win and best of all they did not mess up anything, and that is always a good sign in our book. We were a little surprised when they were awarded third place. They were representing the Ballroom division.
Last in this challenge of the champions were Allie Kushnir & Dima Pohybil, the winners of the Open Smooth. They did this quite well with a waltz, but for this kind of show competition it was not enough to push them higher we agreed with the judges on this one but perhaps they were not prepared for a “show.”
The Crown Jewell is one of the few competitions in today’s schedule that offers a “banquet” night. This one started with a classical duo playing while guests enjoyed the passed champagne and continued with a fabulous banquet meal in the ballroom. Congratulations to organizers – Gherman Mustuc and Iveta Lukasuite!