All acts were excellent and were choreographed seamlessly with no bows until the end of the performances. The feature act was a Salsa couple, Uriel Garcia & Vera Rowe, who were magnificent. They gave us two numbers, one was upbeat and made you want to dance but the one that really hit the spot was the theatrical salsa with some death-defying lifts. There were a few other numbers performed by professional competitors and members of the Champions Productions staff. Robbin Ray Polaschek & Jamie Black did a dramatic acrobatic peace with beautiful intros and exits and incredible speed in their high lifts. Summer Black Elkin & Clyde C. Harris did also a few numbers with one of them being for us a very soul-searching kind of “Blues” in the style of New Orleans, very appropriate for the setting of the competition.
In the end after a long day of competition we were all recharged by this Ultimate show, awake and ready to go party in the French Quarter and from what we were told many partied until the morning just in time to catch many of their flights back.
The professional heats this same evening were almost a repeat of the night before with almost all the rising star professionals competing and a few added.
The most significant addition to all these competitions was the inclusion of Roman Italyankin & Sasha Bokova who were the easiest winners in the open Professional Latin, and of the Challenge of Champions with the other winners of the other divisions. Also in this heat things changed a little. Felipe Gonzales & Darinka Divijak who placed second overall in the Rising Star Latin took second position this time leaving third to the Rising Star winners Francesco Arietta & Rosaria Vivone. In defense of Francesco we must point out that he nearly danced every dance in the 2 ? days of competition and on this night he and Rosario started like a bullet with two excellent dances but once he got to the Rumba, Francesco’s stamina gave out and just when he got it back in the jive he took a nasty fall and I’m sure all judges took note of that. However, we take our hats off to Francesco who has amazing energy that would not quit and kept it up with every student he danced and at every level. He was top teacher at this year’s Ultimate and I’m sure that pay check made it all better for him, congratulations to him!
The professional Smooth was basically a repeat of the night before Marcus & Selena
Johnston won the competition. In the Rhythm it was exactly the same result Tim Polaschek & Katherina Hutchingon took that event. There was no ballroom Competition in Rising Star or open, but it sure was not missed the majority of the competitors throughout the weekend did mainly the styles mentioned.
I want to take my hat off to David Elkin & Chuck Danza for an incredible effort and for the pampering we got as officiasl of this 2015 Ultimate Dancesport Challenge.
There’s no place like New Orleans!
There is no place like New Orleans and it does not have to be “Mardi Gras” for you to have a blast in this city of entertainment, and so what better venue to hold a dance competition? Once the competition was over everyone was encouraged to go into the quarter and that we did! As always we were all entertained by our surroundings, the music and all the action going on. In the end it was hard to come back to the hotel but that we had to since today we have a full schedule of Smooth and Latin waiting for us.
The Intercontinental New Orleans Hotel is a perfect location for this fun weekend of dance. Its small and cosie ballroom is perfect for the entertainment and competitions that the Ultimate Dancesport Challenge offers. In the ballroom so far it has been a one and a half days of Rhythm finishing last night with the Ballroom style. And in the evening it was a night for the professional Rising Stars to shine.
In the Rhythm there was a 4-couple final and here Tim Polaschek & Katherine Hutchinson took the competition by winning 4 dances and placing second in the swing. For us it was a clear win for Tim & Katherine, but strongly challenged by Jonathan Chen who is back on the floor with new partner Melissa Keller and they took the swing. Third place was awarded to Todd Munson & Torah Moya, and fourth went to Staz Dawson & Jaclyn Gonyea.
The Rising Star Smooth was also a contested heat and here high profile Marcus Johnson competed for the first time in the Smooth division with new partner and wife, Selena Johnson. They won every dance and we felt they were comfortably in the lead. Second went to Misha Belfer & Julie Garczynki 3,3,2,2, leaving third position to Kevin & Michelle Camarata, who took second in W,T, and third in F,VW.
The Rising Star Latin was the smallest event with only 2 couples entered but here new import Francesco Arietta & Rosaria Vovone took first overall but not in all dances 2,1,2,1,1. Very close in our eyes but still getting second overall were Felipe Gonzales & Darinka Divijak 1,2,1,2,2.