Colorado Star Ball Championships 2023

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High Class at a Mile High!

This was the 25th anniversary of Richard & Jennifer Booth’s Colorado Star Ball Championships, held in the mile high city of Denver.

To mark this milestone anniversary of an event that started as a “local” competition 25 years ago, the Booths hired not one, but three of the USA’s leading competitive couples to perform on Saturday night - US Smooth Champions, Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina; US Cabaret Champions, Shane & Shannon Jensen and number one ranked Rhythm competitors, Francesco Arietta & Jessa Mae Brioness.

The large audience enjoyed alternating routines from the Smooth and Rhythm couples and Shane and Shannon closed the show with one of their signature cabaret programs.

It was also a change of venue for this year’s event. The new hotel was the Hyatt Regency in Aurora. This pleasant and well-appointed hotel is closer to the airport than the previous venue and had a large ballroom.

The event was well-attended from start to finish with total entries over 6500. We have always been impressed with the great atmosphere in the ballroom for the pro-am divisions here in Colorado – and this atmosphere is great right from the start at 7:00 AM.

The Professional divisions were all straight finals with the exception of the Open and Rising Star Smooth divisions, that both began with semifinals.

The Open Smooth was the best division of the weekend. Illia Sydorenko & Tetyana Kuts won all 4 dances with the majority of first places in all. They have gone from strength to strength this year and Tetyana is a wonderfully expressive lady. The runners-up, also in all 4 dances, was the new partnership of Leonid Burlo & Mariia Usan dancing in what we believe was their first competition together. They certainly have great potential and had the strongest closed work in the final. They had a significant amount of first places in all dances. 3rd in all dances went to the winners of the RS the night before, Steven McGrath & Jessica Mancini. This duo have really shown improvement in 2023. 4,5,4,4 gave Alexander Romanov & Anna Blagodyreva 4th place overall, above the very busy Alexey Grinev & Kseniia Grineva 5,4,5,5. This was a reversal of these two couples’ placements in the RS. 6th in this strong final fell to Joseph Lettig & Madalina Varlam Lettig.

The same couples entered the RS and Open Rhythm divisions and the results were mainly the same. Ilie Bardahan & Oxana Kashkina were the winners. They won all dances and in the Open had a perfect 11 first places in cha cha and lost only 5 first places total in the other 4 dances. Alexey Smirnov & Daria Smirnova were a comfortable second in all dances, Joseph Lettig & Madalina Varlam Lettig were third in all and Zsolt Katona & Timea Potys were fourth.

Dmitrii Chopenko & Valeria Khrapak won the Open Pro Latin very easily. Only judge, Didio Barrera, did not score them to win all dances. Alexey Grinev & Kseniia Grineva were the runners-up. They placed 2nd in all dances. They had the majority of “2nd or better” scores in all dances, although samba and rumba were close at 6 to 5. Judge Didio Barrera marked them to win. Another new partnership came in 3rd in all dances and this was the experienced Michael Petr and Vitaliya Ivantska. Zsolt Katona & Timea Potys were fourth.

Only 2 couples contested the Open Pro Ballroom and the winners in all dances were Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya. The runners-up were Alexey Grinev & Kseniia Grineva.

Alexey & Kseniia, as you may have noticed competed in 3 styles – Smooth, Latin and Ballroom, they also contested the Showdance where they were the runners-up. The winners were Alexey Smirnov & Daria Smirnova and Jay Holmes & Andrea Rupley were third.

Richard & Jennifer are experienced organizers (they are also involved with other events) and this experience shows in the apparent effortless organization. The Colorado Star Ball has retained its friendly feel, despite growing into a major event on the US dance calendar.

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