Empire State 2014

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Empire Gives 20K!

LAndrea Mast night there was a very happy teacher “Andrea Malleta” who took away $20,000.00 dollars, for being top teacher at the Empire. 

The second place walked away with $12,000.00 and third $8,000.00. We think this to be the highest amount paid by a single event in the country today, both the Editor of Dance Beat and staff are thinking on entering next year, that is if we can get anyone to dance with us? Congratulations to this teacher who worked hard and helped make our industry in the USA the very best!  

When it came to dancing yesterday at the Empire was Latin day, with all pro/am competition in the Latin categories being run in the morning and afternoon and in the evening the scholarships as well as the feature events the Professional Ballroom and Rhythm.  Out of the two feature events the Ballroom was the biggest in size and quality, there was more couples entered with a Alinahealthy quarterfinal and the quality of the couples was excellent.

It was basically a walk in the park for Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk from NY, who won all dances in the Open Professional Ballroom with a huge majority of first places. There was off course the odd seconds and even a fourth and a third awarded to them by Tony Dovolani, fourth in waltz and third in tango.  In defense of Tony, he did give them two firsts and that was in the foxtrot and quickstep. From here down the scores were a little more varied for the rest of the couples. Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blimova place second overall but with a huge variety of marks and not second in every dance as you will see here 4,2,2,3,3. Mikhail & Olga’s worst marks came from the husband and wife team Tony & Amanda Dokman who both placed them seventh in the waltz, and sixth in the other fourth dances. 

Empire proBallroom lineup1

Third overall in this excellent Ballroom heat went to Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova 2,4,3,2,5, and as you can see this couple really had a good collection of numbers - not always high numbers but a good variety. In fourth place were Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa, possibly our very favorite this night due to their musicality and casual approach to this, very difficult skill and style. Fifth place went to our neighbors from the North, Anton Lebedev & Anna Broshch from Canada 5,3,5,5,2. And sixth place overall was taken by Igor Kobiuk & Lillia Gladiuk from Kiev Ukraine the only couple who entered from outside North America and their marks were 6,7,6,6,6. At the Empire the semifinal and final are all done per dance and in the waltz there was a 7-couple final.  Included in this final and basically placing 7th overall was Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk, and they too took seventh in the waltz.  Linas Korieva will have a full report on this division.

EmpirePro-Rhytm Lineup

The Rhythm had a healthy semifinal round and in the end for us and the majority of the judges the winner was Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova they placed first in every dance. Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashov were second in every dance and Shando Stefil & Aleksandra Barsukov placed third. Fourth down was a different story from here own the marks began to vary.  Matthew Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt were fourth but not in every dance 4,6,4,6,4, fifth went to Jean Michel Erole & Larisa Miknyukova 5,5,5,5,5, Andrey Svirydzenka &Yuliya Zubava were sixth 6,4,6,4,6. There was seven couples called in every dance and in a couple of dances there was eight couples, so seventh place overall was Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosova 9,8,7,7,8, and eight overall was Ronald & Katie Guillen 7,7,8,8,9.

The Professional Showdance also took place and here the top three were Shane & Shannon Jensen with a brand new routine to “I who have Nothing.” They won. Travis & Jamie Tuft placed second and Kyle & Allie Spinder were third.

Empire AmLatin lineup

The Amateur Latin also began as a quarter-final and brought out most of the north east's top amateur couples, plus the current NDCA US Champions, Ferdinando Iannconne & Yuliya Muskhina from Los Angeles who won all 5 dances with the majority of 1st place marks from the judges.  2nd in all dances were Pasha Pashkov & Daniela Karagach (dancing for the first time as husband and wife).  they came closest to the winners in Rumba as they had 6 first places to Ferdinando & Yuliya's 9.  3rd in all dances went to Pasha Stepanchuk & Anastasia Danilova;  4th went to Ron Garber & Liza 4,4,4,5,5;  5th Evgeny Raev & Patricia Golak 5,6,6,4,4 and 6th Nurlan Galyamov & Jessica Swietoniowsk (Canada) 6,5,5,6,6

There were only four couples in the under 21 Latin and Nurlan Gallyamov & Jessica Swietoniowski were first in all dances, Maciej Zieba & Lory-Eve Jacob placed second and third wen to Gregory Rybakov & Ellen Anshelevitch.  Gregory & Ellen were awarded the $2,000 Yulia Iveleva memorial scholarship.

EmpireProAmBThe pro/am Latin scholarships were also fun to watch and here as in all the scholarships the “B” and “C” had the most entries. Sabrina Strasser w/Stanishlav Kochergin from Canada took first in all dances in the “B”, Tina Broccole & Delyan Terziev were second in every dance and Matthias Kirwald took third 5,3,3,3,3.

In the “C” Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowski took all firsts, Suzanne Saperstein w/Ricky Bentzen was second and Empire pro-amCLisa Gardener w/Nikolai Shpakov third 3,3,3,4,4.

There were 5 couples in the “A” and this category went to Jacqueline Soccodato w/ Delyan Terziev 1,2,1,1,1. Meg Nakamura w/Nikolai Shpakov was second 2,1,2,2,2 and Patricia Mui w/Alex Samusevich was third in every dance.

The evening had a few surprises at the end the wonderful singer of the opening Gala treated us to “A Time to say Goodbye” and the team from Brooklyn Dancesport reprised their Empire Broomsrumba!

It was a lovely evening in the stile of the Italian trio Giampiero, Erminio, and although not present, Augusto, always with the full support and hard laboring ladies Katerina, Luana and the one about to go into labor at any moment, Brigita.

Congratulations to this very hard working team and looking forward to 2015 at the Marriott right in the middle of Times Square!      

Enough of the flying sh……

Last night at the Empire Dancesport Championships the judges had enough of the flying shining trapezeFacesteps, and so two arms were raised high in the Open professional Latin to tell the chairman of judges that the couples had committed the mortal sin of doing lifts. In the four major styles, the Ballroom, Smooth, Rhythm and Latin the rules state that one partner's feet cannot both leave the floor, if both feet leave the floor in an “assisted movement (not a jump), this is considered a lift, a mortal sin in ballroom dancing and one that can cause you to be penalized or even disqualified!!

When the judges hands went up and the chairman was summoned, we had already witnessed this beautiful sweeping action from a very prominent couple and yes it looked like an eternity as her feet were beautifully pointed but totally not on the ground. Mind, we are not sure that beautiful swooping maneuver could have been accomplished while the foot drags on the floor, scrape, scrape... However, by the time the chairman got back to the chair we had witnessed a second couple and even a possible third doing something very similar. Fingers in our mouths, we watched as the chair strode on to deal with the sinning couples and then returned to give firm instructions to the Latin judges that if in the final they were to witness such a phenomenon again they, were to mark it down and the sentence would be handed out swiftly.

Flying fernadozJust to be fair all couples were told of the infraction immediately and warned. From what we understood, one bystander who was near the scene  reported that one of the couples said that his lady was out of balance and that he had to sweep her off her feet to keep her from falling. Fall or not the judges were not about to take it any longer so the next round all eyes were on the flying “Fernandos.”

No infractions in the final were committed, but the judges were not done, they rewarded the couples and the audience by changing the usual order of placement based on recent events in one event and even changing a result from the previous week.

Top 2 LatinRoman Kutskyy & Anna Kovalova, second in command in the USA Professinal Latin field, were demoted to second place here behind US finalists, Nikolay Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina. Roman & Anna took first in the cha cha and samba, and second in the other three dances. Nikolay & Maria won the Rumba, Paso, Jive and were crowned King and Queen (or Emperor & Empress?) of the Empire Professional Latin. We must also point out that in all the dances Nikolay & Maria hardly took anything less then first and second places from the judges, they only took a 4th in all dances from Allan Tornsberg and one other fourth from Vibeke Toft in the Jive. On the other hand Roman & Anna did take more fourths, thirds and even two fifths from Meryem Pearson in the cha and samba.

Empire ProLatin lineup

As you can see the judges, like the couples, were not missing any punches here.  Third in this heat went to Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko who’s decision was reversed from last week at the Can-Am where they placed second to Jean-Philippe Milot & Laurence Bolduc.  In this competition Jean-Philippe & Laurence had to be content with taking fourth place in all dances, both these two couples are from Canada. Fifth place in all dances was awarded to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets, sixth was Jean Paul & Lana Rossi 7,6,6,6,6 and in seventh place overall was Sergiy Samchynskyy & Yulia Besarab. Caroline Smith will be reporting on this division for Dance Beat.

Empire proSmoothlineup

It is a shame that all this interesting flying occured, because unfortunately in this report it took some of the punch out of the real story and that is the Open Professional Smooth competition, that for us was two times better than the Latin when it came to dancing and quality. Peter & Alexandra Perzhu won all dances with the clear majority of firsts from the judges, only Janet Gleeve, former WDC World Professional Ballroom Champion from England awarded them sixth in all dances. Second in this excellent final went to Mikhail & Galina Zharinov who from our perspective looked as sharp as a blade, and they took second in all dances. Third place in this mix was awarded to Travis & Jamie Tuft but here the marks got a little different, they placed third in three dances and fourth in the tango. We have to say that the variety of styles and quality in this Smooth competition even down to a semifinal was excellent. Fourth overall went to Mikolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko 4,3,5,4,4, fifth was awarded to Kyle & Allie Spinder 5,5,4,5,5 and sixth went to David & Natalie Schulz who took sixth in every dance.  Watch out for Martin Lamb’s report in Dance Beat soon.

Empire AmateurBallroomLineup

In the Open Amateur Ballroom Andres & Veronika End took all first places with a huge majority of firsts from all the judges. James Cuttler & Virginie Primeau from Canada placed second overall 2,2,3,2,2, Luca Balestra & Krizia Balestra took third 3,3,2,3,3. Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Seliverstova were fourth 4,4,5,4,4, Rusland Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Sovenko placed fifth 5,5,4,5,5, and sixth went to Nikolay Tarasov & Egle Stralckaite who placed sixth in all dances.  Watch for Andre & Yulia Klinchik’s report soon.

In the under 21 Partryk Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarsi were first in every dance Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanove placed second 2,2,3,2,2T and Maciej Zieba & Lory-Eye Jacob third 3,3,2,3,2T.

LilyThe Pro-Am Ballroom Scholarships were also excellent with great quality and quarter-finals in the B & C divisions.  The “B” was possibly the most exciting for us and here Lily Chang w/ Sergey Kiselev was first 1,1,4,1,1.  Second was awarded to Tina Zhang w/ Andrey Klinchik 2,2,1,3,4, and third went to Lynn Murrell w/ Alexander Voskalchuk 3,5,2,2,2.

LinasThe “C” went to Hye Kyong Park w/Linas Koreiva, they took first in all dances. Second place in this heat went to Lisa Liao w/Andrea Faraci 2,2,4,2,4, and in third place was Rhonda Fisher w/Gianni Caliandro. In the “A” there were only three couples entered and this went to Rebecca Kuhn w/Andrea Faraci.

A Team Match was also run between USA and the rest of the world. Giampiero2It was a little different here - we had professional couples (both retired and competing), amateur couples, and pro/am all represented.  In the end the USA won by a small margin.  As usual they all seemed to have a good time and the majority of the audience were still in their chairs, we are not sure if is because the results for the major events were not called yet or they really wanted to see this challenge. As usual we also had a surprise visit from Augusto Giampiero4Schiavo and Caterina Arzenten. This time the role of Augusto who is absent from the competition due to the expectancy of a child, was played by Giampiero Giannico and the role Caterina was played by the outstanding Erminio Stefano whose attention to detail brought the house down especially when he threw the shoe at “Augusto.” For those of us that knew the real Augusto & Caterina in their time it was a comic relief like no other especially since Caterina was in the audience. Catherina was a wonderful sport even when sweeping the floor she took the broom and went out there with the other two ladies of the Empire – Luanna & Katarina (Marks).

Judges in a Quandary!

Seven couples took to the floor last night at Empire Dancesport for the Rising Star Professional Ballroom.  Now we all know that placing 7 couples without having seen them can be tough for the judges, but throw in that they were all of a high but almost equal caliber, and the poor judges were really scratching their heads.  They needed a little extra time in all dances to make their assessments.  And here’s what they were:


Placing 1st in all 5 dances were the tall, elegant duo of Iaroslav Bieliel & Olga Tsikalyuk and we must say we agreed with this result.  With 2,2,3,2,2, Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova finished 2nd ahead of the new pairing, Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova who placed 3,3,2,3,3.  4th went to Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold 4,4,6,4,4;  5th to Anton Domansky & Anna Chaldysheva 6,5,4,5,5;  6th to Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Kazukhina 5,6,5,6,7 and 7th to Vasyl Makarov & Grace Fu 7,7,7,7,6.


The Emp-ShadorRS Rhythm was a larger event, beginning with a semifinal, danced in 2 heats.  We thought this provided a comfortable win to Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov and the judges agreed, awarding them first in all dances.  The remaining couples received quite a mix of placements.  Runners-up were Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosova 2,4,2,2,3;  3rd Ernesto Palma & Leanne Aranza 4,2,3,5,2;  4th Sasha & Tara Barakov 5,3,4,4,4;  5th Boris Vdovine & Patricia Estay 3,5,5,3,5 and 6th Dmitri Dolgopolv & Kristen Dobson.

The pro-ams danced Smooth all day, but the Open Scholarships did not produce large entries except in the C Division that was a 7-couple final.  Comfortable winner was Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski and Lisa won all 4 dances.  2nd in all 4, and dancing very strongly today, we thought, was Janice Smith w/ David Weise and Janet took 2nd in all 4 dances.  3rd in all went to Tatiana Ignatieva w/ Mikhail Zharinov;  4th to Sharon Sanchez w/ Vladislav Shahov 5,5,4,4;  5th Cecila Gilchrist w/ Darius Mosteika 4,4,5,6;  6th Alison Allan w/ David Alvarez 6,6,6,5 and 7th Karen Shaffer w/ Dustin Jones.


Both the A & B divisions were uncontested.  Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika in the B and Sara Jess w/ Tomas Mielnicki in the A.  Yoko Kani w/ David Rosario took the Senior from Wendy Sherman w/ Gherman Mustuc.

2 strong couple entered the Open Amateur Smooth and Paul Frietas & Kelly Glashen were the winners in all dances over Zach Lapidus & Emi Terasawa.

Beginning Rising!

Fortezza1The first official day of the Empire Dancesport Championships was all about Rhythm dancing and the Professional Rising Star Smooth and Latin. The evening was specifically for the Pro/Am Scholarships and the Professional Events.

Out of the two rising star events we felt the Smooth was a bit better, they both had semifinal rounds, but for us the Smooth had more excitement.


The quality of the smooth was excellent Kyle & Allie Spinder won all dances and yes to us they were the very best, with everything falling into place. But from second down it was a bit murkier the ability between second down to fifth and sixth was very minute, and you will see it from the judges’ markings below. Sehyoung & Adele Jang Don placed second overall but not second in all dances 3,2,3,2. Sergey & Yana Nelyubov took those second places from Sehyoung & Adele, they placed 2,3,2,3. Fourth placed seemed to be easier fro the judges, Matthias Kruschel & Christina Schlegel took all fourths. Robert Fernandez & Denise Sobiewski took fifth overall 5,6,5,5 and sixth overall went to Leo Mora & Christina Garced (6,5,6,6).

Latin lineup

The risin star Latin looked for us even more difficult to decipher, the couples were basically very similar in quality and performance.  Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie were first overall but not first in every dance 1,1,1,2,2.  Second overall went to Jake Davis & Alyona Kalinina 2,3,2,1,1. Third went to Felipe Gonzalez & Kathleen Ilo 3,2,3,3,3, and even fourth was fought hard - here Adam Katona & Bella Gubzheva took that prize home with 4,4,4,5,5. Fifth was awarded to Werner Figar & Shimkiri 5,5,5,4,4, and sixth was Dennis Sy & Mae Lozada and they took sixth in all dances.


Out of the three main pro/am Scholarships run this night the “C” had the most attendants and it was the most challenging.  Here it was an easy win for Lisa Lowery w/Radeck Wiatrowski who placed first in all dances but the mambo where she took a second place to Philip Widlanski dancing with Jolanta Mosteika, who placed second overall 3,2,3,2,1. Third was awarded to Quin Bommelje w/ Mikhail Vlasov 2,3,2,3,2.


The “B” division was also exciting but with fewer entries.  Here it was a five couple final and for us an easy win for Giovanni Fortezza w/Jolanta Mosteika, he won all dances but the swing where he took a second place. ProAmArhythThe first in the swing and the overall second placement in this heat went to Lana Lusher w/ Jose DeCamps 2,2,1,2,2.  Third in all dances went to Robyn Daly & Jean Michel Erole.

The smallest of all the Pro/Am Rhythm Scholarships was the “A” with only three couples entered, here Matthew Shimizu & Jessica Nicol took all dances.

One word, Fabulous!

Gala SetupOne word, “Fabulous,” was the way an attendee, David Alvarez, owner of the “Hawaii Star Ball” described last’s night Opening Gala to the 2014 Empire State Dancesport Championships here in New York City, and we could not agree more with this description. Last night was superb! The attention to detail, from decorations, the band, show and even the food was amazing.

Ends with singerFor us the Empire gives us a touch of class now almost lost to time.  It brings us back to the era of grace and beauty, where hundreds of thousands were spent on gowns, galas, balls and magical affairs. Last night as you walked into the ballroom you were transported to another dimension, another period, one full of grace, Singerart and beauty, one that made you lost in time.

Once seated the show unexpectedly began.  The opening number was an eye opener or should we say and “ear opener!” Soprano, Megan Piccerno, was lovely, her voice took over and there was only one presence - that of her and her vocal instrument.  It was so beautiful that Troupyou could touch heaven and nearly cry as you heard even a pin drop.

Megan complemented by a well trained dance troop form the Brooklyn Dancesport Club, and directed by Eugene Katsetman and Maria Manusova, was not the only entertainment of the night. AdagioNicholas Besnard & Ludevine Fernot an adagio team from France were a perfect combination.  Their death defying lifts made your arm hairs stand up, all this while the attendees were being served what looked like a wonderful meal, with a devilish desert.

But we cannot forget our ballroom stars, US Amateur Champions Andres & Veronika End who also perform two solo numbers, “O Mi Bambino Caro” accompanied by the lovely Megan and a dramatic tango to “Roxanne” and this went also for our US Amateur Latin Champions Ferdinando Iannacone & Yuliya Musikhina who did a terrific rumba to the “Way We Were” also sang by Megan and later treated us to a jive.

Final Pic

There is nothing else we can think of to say, yet there is nothing really to say except “Fabulous” and congratulations for another unforgettable Gala opening at the Empire State Dancesport Championships! 

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