Embassy Ball 2015

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Three In The Pocket!

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Last night at the Embassy Ball in Irvine California, with a distinguished panel of 11 judges from around the world, the US manged to get three of our top Ballroom dance couples into the final of one of the most prestigious events in the world, the WDC World Professional Ballroom Championship - Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva, and Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk. This was not so unusual because for the longest time we have had two couples in the final but it certainly was unprecedented.



The aEB15-top2WDCtmosphere at the Embassy Ball this year was very vibrant, from the start the roomed was filled to capacity and to everyone’s surprise, unlike most events and most years, everyone waited for the results with bated breath and nobody moved until the Champions were crowned and as we say in “America” until “The Fat Lady Sang.” Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova won the event easily for the 7th time in a row with perfect marks in the waltz, foxtrot and with a landslide majority of firsts from the judges on the other three dances. Arunas & Katusha’s worst marks were in the tango where two judges awarded them second place, Tor Floysvik from Norway and Isao Nakagawa from Japan. In the other two dances only one second was awarded on each and both came from Len Armstrong from England.

As suspected second in all dances was awarded to Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva and as expected they got nearly all the firsts taken away from Arunas & Katusha that would be 3 in total leaving just one lonely first place mark that went to Domen Krapez & Natasha Karabey from Germany who placed fifth overall and that was awarded by Len Armstrong. But the road was not as clear and smooth for Victor & Anastasia as for Arunas & Katusha.  They got a few thirds and even a fourth in the tango from Roberto Villa from Italy, however, we must point out that they placed second in the waltz without a single lower mark than second position.

Third overall was awarded to Andrea & Sara Ghigiarelli from England, who did manage to get the majority of thirds necessary to secure an easy third place finish, however, their road was also bumpy with a number of judges awarding them lower marks than third position. The most noticeable low marks came from Tor Floysvic who awaEB15-WDC45rded them 7,3,6,6,3. Fourth overall went to Valerio Colantoni & Monica Nigro from Italy, but not in all dances, Valerio & Monica placed 5th in the Viennese Waltz. Fifth overall and securing that fourth place in the Viennese Waltz were Domen Krapez & Natasha Karabey from Germany, and they, as we mentioned before, were awarded that first in the VW from Len Armstrong. Their anomalies in their scoring grid brings us to believe that perhaps it was unclear to the judges where to place this couple.  Adele Hyland from Australia was perhaps their worst judge, she awarded them 7,6,6,5,7.

Perhaps the most interesting couple to watch from beginning to end was Alexander Zhiratkov & Irina Novozhilova from Russia who placed sixth overall 7,6,6,7,6, they were also the most excited couple!  When called for the final he banged on the floor and hugged his partner as if they had just won the competition. In retrospect we have to say that they were quite deserving of this position on these elite world final, in fact in some of the dances we were a little surprised they did not place higher.  They are very musical as you can feel and easily hear and see the music through them.

Seventh but in tEB15-Marathe best company anyone could have was our third US couple that made the final, Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk and they placed 6,7,7,6,7, they too were quite happy to be there and you could also see it but in a more reserved way.

The couples mentioned earlier were the very top of the Professional Ballroom industry in the world, however, the USA was fantastically represented this year with many couples able to take part due to the change in qualifying restrictions now at the WDC Championships. The first round of this excellent event had 21 US couples in it most of whom qualified the night before and many made it through to the quarter-final.  Nearly every US finalist was in this competition, however, there was one that stuck in our mind who was qualified but pulled out, Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva . Many speculated that perhaps their lower than normal finish the night before in the regular “Open Ballroom” professional event might have caused them to pull out and not compete but we possibly believe that it might just be as simple as them trying to put all their focus and concentration on this week’s US Championships in Orlando, Florida. Whatever it was, we cannot wait to see them back on the floor, they are an important part on the US Ballroom arsenal and we are sure they will be back better than ever at this US Nationals.

There were three other events run this evening to give some needed breaks in between this fantastic World ChEb15-Dydynskiampionship and they were the Professional Rising Star Smooth and Latin and the Under 21 Latin.

The Professional Smooth was won by Adrian & Hannah Dydynski 1,1,3,2, second was Mariusz Zakrzewski & Lynnsay Ray 3,2,1,1, and third was awarded to Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow 2,4,2,3.

In the Pro LaEB15-RSLattin Mykhailo Bilopukho & Anastasia Shchypilina were first in all dances, Andrey Voloshko & Kateryna Kyrylenko placed second in all dances and third went to Vasily Voloshko & Kristina Androsenko who took third in all dances.

ThEB15-U21late under 21 Latin went to Nazariy Blagyy & Michelle Kurpas 1,1,1,2,1, second was Briant Leytman & Ekateryna Klishyna 2,2,2,1,3, and third went to Guilio Ferrante & Lidea Martinez Espinosa 4,3,3,3,2.

Congratulations to the McDonald “Clan,” as Robert Short put it in his speech during the after party, and to the President of Arthur Murray, Mr. John Kimmins for putting on such a fabulous event one that we will remember as one of the WDC’s best world championships we have ever attended.                        

Rhythmic Saturday at Embassy

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The mood changed Saturday at Embassy Ball as the featured events and world championships were the Professional Rhythm and Pro-Am Latin divisions.


EmmaEB15-Emmanuelnual Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churliova, defending champions, notched up another win tonight placing 1st in all dances.  They had the majorities of 1st places in all dances, losing only one 1st in cha cha and 2 in mambo.  The closest scored dances were swing and bolero.  They won swing by 9 to 4 and bolero by 8 to 4.  Most of those errant 1st places went to runners-up, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova who easily took 2nd in all dances.  3rd in all dances were Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakova and 4th in all Danus Jaksevicious & Yuki Haraguchi.  Danus & Yuki were the only couple to take a 1st place other than the top 2 couples, a 1st in bolero from Mark Weiss.  Dmytro Gurkov & Betty Attia from Canada did better tonight than in the RS making the final and placing 5th 5,5,5,6,6.  This is an impressive couple from Canada – ineligible of course for the US Championships next week.  Closing the final were Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov, 6,6,6,5,5.

Although this was in some ways a precursor to the US Champs next week, there were certainly many potential finalists not present, so we are anticipating a different result next week.

The Pro-Am Latin divisions were of a very high caliber and in the Open Championships we saw 3 winners from USA and one from Russia.


ThEB15-Verae A division was a very hard-fought final as can been seen from the final placements.  The winner was Vera Xu w/ Jakub Zeglin 1,1,4,2,1.  We thought this lady was a worthy winner.  Another very strong lady with great floor presence was 2nd, Joanna Wa w/ Plamen Danailov 3,2,1,3,3.  Rounding out this top 3 was the only gentleman to make an open final, Michael Roberts w/ Milana Plinar, 4,4,2,1,2.  For us any of these top three could have been the winner.  4th was Maria Ceva w/ Lyubomir Asenov 2,3,3,4,4;  5th Grace Kuan w/ Evgeniy Likachev 5,5,5,5,5;  6th Sasha Kurashko w/ Denis Generalov 6,6,6,6,6;  7th Ashleigh Walker w/ Marcus Johnson 7,7,7,8,7;  8th Elena Yurgeneva w/ Nikolay Voronovich 8,8,8,7,8.

SvEB15-Svetlanaetlana Mukhametshina w/ Alexander Chesnokov (Russia) won the B taking all dances and once again dominating this division.  Rhonda Lee w/ Daniele Gozzi was also a strong contender today placing 2nd with 4,3,3,2,2.  A 2nd Russian lady took 3rd, Marina Dzasokhova w/ Ivan Statsenko 2,4,2,3,4.  A previous winner in this category, it was great to see her back after a long absence.  Maria Sergagou w/ Dimitrios Damalas was 4th 3,24,5,5.  We loved the Marilyn Monroe look!  Carolyn Howard w/ Sasha Althukov was 5th 5,5,5,4,3.  6th in all dances went to Hilda Li w/ Roland Michtchenko.  We felt this lady could have placed higher.  7th was Katherine Kuan w/ Jakub Zeglin.

Lisa LEB15-LisaRhythowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski, in her 3rd final of the week, made it to the top this time in the C Latin, winning all dances.  The next three places were very close.  2nd went to Rhonda Lynch w/ Stephen McCann 3,4,2,2,3;  3rd Lorraine Peoples w/ Andrei Gavriline 4,3,3,3,2;  4th Tasha Romero w/ Evgeny Likachev 2,2,4,4,4.  5th and 6th places were taken by 2 former champions in this division – 5th to Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet 5,5,5,5,6 and 6th Joan Goddard w/ Chris Johnston 6,6,6,6,5.

The Senior was also a close battle, but winning today was Susan Sosin w/ Roberto Cavallo 3,2,1,1.  The runner-up was Michaela Puno w/ Slava Sergiev 4,1,2,4.  3rd Evelyn Lamden w/ Daniel Vasco 2,3,4,2.  4th Penelope Parmes w/ Mikal Watkins 1,4,3,3.  It was very close between those 4 ladies!  Tony Tran w/ Natalia Barantseva was 5th 6,5,5,5;  Angelica Huang w/ Dmitry Kurakin was 6th 5,6,6,6 and Ram Viswanathan w/ Sarika Hudson was 7th 7,7,7,7.

Unlike the other styles in the Latin there were very strong pro-am divisions in the Youth, Junior and Preteen World Championship.  Winner of the Youth was Julia Moseyko w/ Daniele Gozzi.  In the Junior Ashley Mattingly w/ Stefan Golubovic was the winner and in the Preteen, Daniel Novikov w/ Alla Novikova.


As you all kEB15-Domennow, tonight (Sunday) is the WDC World Ballroom Championship here at Embassy Ball.  Last night Saturday was the qualifying round in which the top 24 couples (not already qualified for the World Championships) are added in, thus effectively doubling the size of the event tonight and of course, adding a lot of USA couples.  The highest profile couple needing to still qualify (as they are a new partnership) was Domen Krapez & Natascha Karabey (Germany).  They were successful in their bid winning the event tonight easily losing only 2 first place marks overall.  For the rest of the final their were some shakeups in the US ranks.  The marks were some of the closest we have ever seen, but the outcome was as follows.  2nd were Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova 2,3,4,3,2;  3rd Iaroslav Bieliel & Lilia Gladiuk 5,2,2T,4,3;  4th Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Ergorova 4,5,2T,2,5.  Only 2.5 points separated 2nd from 4th.  5th tonight were Wei Ping Li & Cen Zheng (China) 3,6,6,5,2 and 6th Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova 6,4,5,6,6.

We missed Artem Plakhotniy & Inna Berlizyeva who we had pegged for certain finalists but finished 7th tonight.


AnotherEB15-Ferdinando great event was the Amateur Latin Championship.  Winners tonight were Ferdinando Iannccone & Yulia Musikhina, US Champions.  They won all dances and seemed much more energized than when we last saw them.  They received the vast majority of 1st places but 2 judges demurred  - Karle Breuer placed them 6,5,6,6,6 and Donnie Burns MBE scored them 3,3,3,5,1.  2nd from Italy were Salvo Sinardi & Viktoria Kharchenko.  Hey were 2nd in all dances but had the majority of ‘2nd or better’ in only cha cha.  Denys Drozdiuk & Antonina Skobina were 3rd 3,3,4,3,3.  4th were Daniils Kutuzovs & Maria Shalvarova (Canada) 4,5,6,5,4.  They received 4 of Mr. Breuer’s 1st places.  Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman were 5th 5,6,5,4,5 and Austin Joson & Nino Dzneladze were 6th 6,4,3,6,6.  Austin & Nino received 3 of Mr. Burns 1st places.

2 more events filled out the evening.  Xingmin & Katerina Lu won the Senior Ballroom in a 3-round event.  Chien-hua Chen & Ling Ma were 2nd and Jacky Lei & Spring Liang were 3rd.  

IEB15-Smo-Senn the Amateur Smooth Colin Willams & Ashley Nixon were the winners.  2nd was Matt Holden & Devri Lambright and 3rd Paul Frietas & Kelly Glasheen.

As EB15-awardsis traditional, 2 special awards were presented last night.  The Marguerite Hanlon & John Ford Award recognizing outstanding achievement went to Victoria Regan a former US and Canadian Professional Champion and star of Broadway.  The Bill & Bobbie Irvine award interestingly went to one of the award’s creators, Catherina Arzenton who thought she was about to present the award but ended up receiving it instead.

It’s a Smooth “World’s!”

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Last night it was the 2015 World Professional Smooth Championships at the Embassy Ball and it brought the house to attention with a fabulous final. It was also time for the World Pro/Am Ballroom Championships and they too were greatly attended with great quality and quantity.


CuEB15-Perzhurrent US Champions Peter & Alexandra Perzhu won every dance in the Pro Smooth with the majority of firsts in all of them, the foxtrot was the only dance where they scraped the majority with only 7 judges awarding them first place the other six gave them second or third. Diana McDonald and JT Thomas perhaps gave them their worst marks Diana, 3,1,3,2 and JT 1,3,2,3, their best marks came in the waltz where only one third was awarded the rest were all firsts. Second place went to Mazen Hamza & Izabella 2,2,3,2 and their worst marks came from Nick Kosovich who awarded them 6,6,5,5 and in a surprise result third position went Yegor Novikov & Aleksandra Smirnova 4,3,2,3, their best marks came from Linda Wakefield who awarded them 2,1,1,1.

Fourth position in this excellent heat went to Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija 3,4,5,4, fifth were Travis & Jaimee Tuft 5,5,4,5, we are sure this must have been a very disappointing result for this couple who have been climbing steadily to the top in the past few years but now are hitting a slight bump in the road. Sixth was awarded to Kyle & Allie Spinder 6,6,6,6, Allie sported a clear pantsuit outfit, a very daring and unique style to wear at a World Championship but very individual indeed. We asked a few people in the audience what they thought of the new style and 80% of the people asked were not thrilled about the new look, we thought it to be bold and daring and it’s probably just a matter of people getting used to the new look.

Overall, other than Allie & Kyle’s pantsuit, there were no real crowd favorites by the audience in this terrific group of dancers, we ourselves were thrilled to see such incredible quality, but we most agree with the audience from top to bottom there was very slight differences and so we can understand how one can love them all.


As wEB15-AWinnere mentioned the World Pro/Am Ballroom were very exiting and well attended the “A” division went to Julia Shen w/Alexander Voskalchuk placing first in all dances, second was awarded to Natalie Rezai w/Sergei Kiselev and they placed second in four dances and third in the tango, living third to Melonie Krumer w/Max Sinitsa 4,2,3,4,3. Fourth was Fuki Holmes w/Andrey Begunov 6,4,5,3,5, fifth went to Vinie Miller w/Denis Kutepov 5,5,4,5,4, and sixth was Ani Mkrtchyan w/Iaroslav Bieliei 3,6,6,6,6.   As you can see this was an excellent and highly contested final.

The “EB15-CeliaB” division was a great competition with high expectations and it did not disappoint.  Two to three of the ladies competing in this final were veterans and well schooled in this style, but in the end first in all dances went to Celia Chou w/Erminio Stefano.  Second overall but not in all dances was Beverly Moore w/Alain Doucet (Canada) 2,2,2,2,3, and third went to Audrey Paek w/Ronen Zinshtein 3,3,3,4,2. Fourth was awarded to Julie Zhao w/Denis Kutepov 5,4,4,3,4, fifth went to Brynda Insley w/Martin Reinbold 4,5,6,6,5, sixth was Michelle Peng w/Mikhail Avdeev 6,6,7,5,6, and in seventh position was Elka Hristova w/Artem Plakhotnyi.

In the “C” dEB15-Jillivision first in all dances went to Jill Bradford w/Andrea Stefano, a second win for the Stefano Brothers! Second was awarded to Jenny Du w/Dariusz Michalski 2,2,2,3,3. Third was Lynn Murrell w/Alexander Voskalchuk 3,3,3,2,4. Fourth was Hye-Kyong Park w/Linas Koreiva 4,4,4,4,2, fifth in all dances went to Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowski and sixth was Paige Riffle w/Iaroslav Bieliei.

In EB15-SenWinner1the Senior first was Susan Walter w/Samuele Pacchini 1,1,1,1.  They were representing Italy.  Second went to Susan Jen w/Mikhail Avdeev 3,3,2,2 and third was Takako Trenholme w/Valdas Padriezas 2,2,3,3.  4th Linda Ciabatoni w/ Gianni Caliandro 4,4,4,7;  5th Jacquelyn Hu w/ Stefano DiBrino 6,5,5,5;  6th Margaret Loo w/ Joel Marasigan (Canada) 5,6,7,4;  7th Emily Wang w/ Eddie Stutts 7,7,6,6.

In the OpEB15-Riccardoen Professional Latin wining four dances with perfect scores and one with the majority were Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko.  The only dance where they received a second from Elena Grinenko, spoiling their perfect score run, was in the jive.  Here the reaction from the audience was great but as nearly always in California polite. Second in every dance were Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite from Canada, however, they did not have as clear of a run as Riccardo & Yulia.  They were awarded a couple of thirds a few fourths and even a fifth. Marurizio & Andra’s worst marks came from Diana McDonald who awarded them 4,3,4,5,4. Our favorite Latin couple of the night was awarded third place overall in every dance Stefano Di Filippo & Dasha.  In looking at the marks, Stefano & Dasha did take a number of seconds from Maurizio & Andra and even that first in the jive from Elena.

Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova from Denmark took fourth place in all dances, Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk from Ukraine were fifth overall 5,5,6,6,5, and sixth was awarded to Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko 6,6,5,5,6. Missing from this competition were two very high profile couples Nickolay Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina who are US finalists and Ronan Kutsky & Anna Kovalova who are second overall at our US Championships and who have not been seen competing in quite some time.  A couple of people asked us whether they have even stopped dancing? Whatever it is we are only a few days from our US Championship and we should see if they both surface again.



ThEB15-ende Amateur Ballroom is totally worth noting.  It was an excellent competition with a huge number of couples from around the world but in the end the event went to Andres & Veronika End and they placed first in four dances and second in the tango. Andres & Veronika’s worst marks came from Adele Hyland from Australia who awarded them 6,6,5,6,6. Second overall and taking the tango was Maciej Kadlubowski & Maja Kopacs from Poland. Third was Stephen Arnold & Yasmin Priestnall 4,3,4,3,4 from England. Fourth went to Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova 3,4,5,4,3.  Fifth were Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarski 5,5,4,5,5, and sixth went to Rusland Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Sovenko 6,6,6,6,6.  We were a little surprised not to see James Cutler & Virginie Primeau from Canada included in this final.

Overall it was one of the best nights of Ballroom dancing we have seen all year, and these next two days promise to be just as good including, the WDC World Professional Ballroom Sunday night!

Progressing Smoothly!

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Everything was smooth sailing yesterday at Embassy Ball as the pro-ams completed their Smooth divisions with the World Smooth Championships held in the evening and concluding with the 4 Open divisions.


OnEB15-Lisace again the C was the largest of the divisions and this time Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski was the winner in this, taking first in all 4 dances.  A previous winner of this division, Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet (Canada) was 2nd in all 4 dances.  The winner of the C Rhythm from the day before, Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilya Reyzin was 3rd 4,3,3,3.  One of our favorites in this final, Michiko Cantor w. Evgeniy Malko was 4th, 3,4,4,4.  Pamela Roossin w/ Slawek Souchaki was 5th 5,6,5,6 and Lance Smith w/ Tone Jacobsen, one of only two men to make an open final tonight, was 6th 6,5,6,5.

AlthouEB15-Joannegh we heard the US National anthem 3 times last night, we did hear the Canadian Anthem for the first time and this was for Joanne Kay Smith w/ Sharone Levit who won the Open B, 1,1,1,1.  Aiyesha Dey w/ Mayo Alanen was 2nd 2,3,2,2 and Susan Sidman w/ Gleb Makarov was 3rd 3,2,3,3.  We thought all three of these ladies were in great form tonight.  Joanne Tatem w/ Mariusz Zakrzewski was 4th in all dances, Thara Salamone w/ Jim Maranto, 5th in all and Patricia Schneider w/ Nick Cheremukhin, 6th in all.

The A dEB15-Kativision was a straight final as in the Rhythm.  Nevertheless, it was a strong competition.  We loved the performance of the winner, Kat Wagner w/ Sergey Barsukhov and she won all dances.  2nd went to Madison Stribling w/ Mayo Alanen 2,3,2,2.  Irene Lee w/ Nick Chermukhin took 3rd 3,2,4,3.  Natalie Rezai w/ Slawek Souchaki was 4th, 4,4,3,4, Melissa Jensik w/ Dave Hannigan was 5th 5,5,5,6 and Dawn Mersich w/ Youriy Pavlov was 6th 6,6,6,5.

ThEB15-Barbarae Senior division gave us a close race for first but it went to Barbara Selby w/ Danus Jaksevicius 1,2,2,1 over Pat Luthy w/ Vladimir Popov 2,1,1,2.  Sue Swain w/ Mark Perkovich (Australia) was 3rd in all dances.  Michaela Puno w/ Slava Sergiev was 4th 5,6,4,5.  The second of our gentlemen finalists, Mark Eberle w/ Viktorija was 5th 4,5,5,6.  Evelyn Lambden w/ Daniel Vasco took 6th 7,4,6,4 and Taka Suzuki w/ Alexander Novikov was 7th 6,7,7,7.

There were 3 other spotlight events yesterday eveEB15-Patrykning.  The first was the U/21 Ballroom that had a large contingent of Italian dancers.  Nevertheless, USA took the top 3 positions.  Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarski were well clear and won all dances.  Runners-up, with 2,2,3,2,2, were Samuel Hacke & Katarina Hermanova and 3rd were Stanislav Popov & Sandra Spernacka 3,4,2,3,3.  Two Italian couples came next, Marco Barbera & Rossella Saldino 4,3,6,5,5 and Gaspare Romano & Aurora Montaito 6,5,4,6,4.  Canada closed the final, Stefan Badea & Madalina Varlam, with 5,6,5,4,6.

There were also the first of the professional events, RS divisions in Ballroom and Rhythm.

The Ballroom was closely fougEB15-Vladht, we thought, with the exception of the winners who were well clear and won all dances.  This was Vladislav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova.  2nd were Youriy Natov & Sarika Hudson 2,2,3,2,2.  This duo continue to improve.  3rd were Stefano DiBrino & Bianka Zubrowska 2,3,3,4,2.  Cristian Radvan & Kristina Dudelko were 4th 4,4,4,3,4;  Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Kazukhina were 5th 5,5,5,5,7;  Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya were 6th 7,6,6,7,5 and Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold representing England were 7th 6,7,7,6,6.

The RS Rhythm gave us a close fight for the win between USA and Canada but USA prevailed and Igor Ustymovich & Briana Santiago took it 1,1,2,1,2.  Dmytro Gurkov & Betty Attia were 2nd 2,3,1,3,1.  Also close were Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti with 3,2,3,2,3.  Eddie Rivera & Meghan McNash were 4th 5,4,4,4,4, Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman were 5th 4,5,5,5,5 and Jermey Babgay & Carolyn Barreno were 6th.


A World of Dancing!
Embassy tops 10,000

Photos by Supershag

With the WDC World Pro Ballroom coming up here on Sunday, there is plenty of “worldly” excitement!  We also have all the NDCA World Championship in Pro-Am, all styles and the Pro Rhythm and Pro Smooth World Championships coming up in the next couple of days.

Yesterday, the first day, it was pro-am rhythm and the long day concluded with the World Open Pro-Am Rhythm Championships in 4 age categories.  All were strong events, but perhaps none stronger than the C division where we saw some interesting shifts in standing.

1st Ilya and SophiaFace2The new World C Rhythm Champion is Sophia D’Angelo dancing with Ilya Reyzin.  Sophia won all dances except the bolero.  This was a great result for this lady who has risen steadily all summer.  Also really showing well was the runner up, Quin Bollelje w/ Misha Vlasov who won the bolero and placed 3,3,4,2 in the other dances.  Obviously this was a tight race, but we often feel this petite lady is overalooked.  Not last night!  Going into this event, the favorite we would have guessed to be Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski, but in this close race she only managed 3rd with 2,2,3,3,4 – 1 point behind Quin.  A former champion in this division, Joan Goddard w/ Chris Johnston was also in contention, placing 4th with 4,4,2,4,3.  Darla Davies w/ Jim Maranto was 5th  5,6,5,5,5 and Linda Metzer w/ Troy Baeten was 6th 6,5,6,6,6.  Over 20 contestants began this division.

1st Chris and Gwen FaceGwen Bourque w/ Chris Johnston was the winner of the B, a repeat of her victory at Emerald Ball albeit with a different professional.  Gwen won 4 dances and was 2nd in cha cha.  Winning that cha cha and 2nd in the other dances was the vivacious Kia Malone w/ Eddie Rivera.  These top 2 ladies offer very different style but both are accomplished dancers.  Susan Sidman w/ Gleb Makarov was 3rd in all, Thara Salamane w/ Jim Maranto was 4th in all.  Another very expressive lady, Jacqueline Bequette w/ Daniel Lee Tran was 5th 5,5,5,6,5 and Sharon Powers w/ Jason Daly was 6th 6,6,6,5,6.

1st Daniel and Nadia FaceThere was a lot of buzz around the winner of the A division, Nadia Kireyko w/ Daniel Vasco who won all dances and was in great form.  The only gentleman to make an open final last night was 2nd, Matthew Shimizu w/ Jessica Nicol 2,2,2,2,3.  We also liked his energetic dancing.  3rd with 3,3,3,3,2 was Jessica Sweeney w/ Jermey Piling, 4th 5,4,4,5,4, Ann Shaw w/ Daniel Lee Tran and 5th Dawn Mersich w/ Hugh Rowe 4,5,5,4,5.

1st Misha and QuinfaceIt was a great night for Quin & Misha as she also won the Senior Division winning all 4 dances.  The only “non-USA” couple to place last night was 2nd in this division, Sue Swain w/ Mark Hotel ervinFacePerkovich (Australia) 2,2,2,2.  Helen Hwang w/ Daniel Lee Tran was 3rd, 3,4,3,3, Evelyn Lamden w/ Daniel Vasco was 4th 4,3,4,4, Sally Oglive w/ Marcin Tomaszewski 5th in all dances and Pat Bodin w/ Anonio Conde 6th.

The Venue, Hotel Irvine, has a whole new look.  Last year the hotel was under renovation.  The consensus is definitely a "Thumbs Up" for the new look.

Stay tuned for more from Embassy Ball and the World Championships.

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