Dance Beat Team

Dance Beat Team

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Picking Favorites
Saturday at Manhattan

Click here for video from SuperShag

With so much good dancing here at Manhattan yesterday everyone was picking their favorites – both the judges and the audience we assume!  While all 3 of the feature events last night, Open Pro Ballroom, Open Pro Rhythm & Open Amateur Latin, had clear winners, there was so much to look at every event was interesting.


SMan15-Arunastarting with the Pro Ballroom, WDC World Champions, Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova notched up a perfect score receiving every available 1st place from the judges.  We thought they were in great form too and did we even see some new styling from them in places?

Marat Man15-MaratGimaev & Alina Basyuk also had clear majorities of 2nd places to easily take the runners-up spot.  A couple of ladies on the judging panel, Maria Johnson and Iveta Lukosute, had them lower in all dances and they were joined by Mireille Veilleux, Jonathan Wilkins and Colin Hillary in some random dances.  The battle for 3rd – 6th was much tighter with the judges scoring the couples all over the place.  Even the final summary shows this.  With 3,3,4,4,3 Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva got the best of it but they did not have the majority of ‘3rd or better’ in any dance.  Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Egorova were 4th with 5,6,3,3,4.  They did have a slim majority of ‘3rd or better’ in the foxtrot.  Canada sneaked in among the USA couple as Anton Lebedev & Anna Borsh took 5th with 4,5,5,6,5 and Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova were 6th with 6,4,6,5,6.  This was a splendid competition all the way from the 1st round.

Charlotte Jorgensen will report on this division for Dance Beat soon.


UMan15-EmanuelS Champions, Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova, were the easy winners in the Rhythm.  They had almost all 1st place marks with a smattering of 2nd’s and only one lower score, a 4th in swing from judge Mark Weiss.  We liked Liana’s new, sophisticated look!

Similarly, Man15-NazarNazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova were easily 2nd with strong majorities of 2nd places and very few scores lower than a 3rd.  They also received a 4th place, this time in rumba from judge Aigers Stolcers.  3,3,4,3,4 gave Andre & Natalie Paramonov a 3 to 2 scores over Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova with 4,4,3,4,3.  A tighter race than recently seen from these two although the Paramonovs did have the majority of ‘3rd or better’ scores in the 3 dances they placed 3rd.  However, we also thought that this was a very strong performance from Mikhail & Vanda.  Azamat Evgamukov & Kateryna Angelone were 5th with 5,5,5,6,5 and Danus Jaksevicious & Yuki Haragouchi were 6th 6,6,6,5,6.

Wendy Johnson will have the report on this division.


The Man15-MortenAmateur Latin for us was the most interesting event of the night and an almost impossible choice for the judges at every round.  Some great couples fell by the wayside early in the competition and to them we would only say, “don’t be discouraged” this was a tremendous event from round 1 and the choices the judges were faced with were miniscule in their differences.

The event did have easy winners and this was Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva from Denmark who won all dances with clear majorities of 1st places.  The only really low score they received was a 5th in cha cha from judge, Mark Weiss.  

2nd in Man15-Pashaall dances went to Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach.  They had the majority of ‘2nd or better’ scores in all dances except samba. Interestingly they received only one 1st place and that was from judge Keith Todd in rumba, but they had a number of judges placing them either 5th or 6th also.  The great success of the night was 3rd placed Alexander CMan15-Sahsahernositov & Arina Grishanina who scored 5,3,3,4,6.  Those final placements give you a sense of how tight this final was.  Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler were 4th with 4,4,5,5,3 and for us this couple showed the greatest improvement of the night.  Gabriella especially was on fire tonight in the faster rhythm dances.  Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina were 5th scoring 3,6,4,6,4.  They have a more serious demeanor than some of the other couples.  We felt their best dance was paso doble, although the majority of judges did not seem to agree.  Closing this final were Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman with 6,5,6,3,5.

Next into this final were Austin Josen & Nino Dzedneladze and we felt they did an outstanding job.  We were also impressed with the improvement in Nikita Malakov & Nadezda Vlasova.

Nadia Eftedal will report on this division for Dance Beat.

Travis & JMan15-CAbaimee Tuft won the 4-couple Professional Cabaret and gave what we considered a faultless performance of their style of cabaret performance.  It was great to see June Mavor, a pioneer of this style of dancing in the audience.  June and husband Roy, were the early directors of dance at BYU and great cabaret champions.  Travis & Jaimee are both alumni of BYU.

The daytime session was filled with pro-am Latin and what great Open Scholarships we saw.  Sabrina Strasser w/ Stanislav Kochergin (Canada) won all dance in the A division.  This young lady has improved so much over the last year.  Great job!  Sabrine won all dances.  The whole final was strong today.  2nd in all dances fell to Zoe Antoniou w/ Andre Strinado and 3rd in all was Joanna Wa w/ Plamen Danailov.  These two ladies are also both excellent but have very different styles and personalities.  Maria Ceva w/ Lyubomir Asenov was 4th 6,4,4,4,5;  Mona Xia w/ Andrew Phillips 5th 5,5,5,5,4;  Saina Hadden w/ Daniele Gozzi 6th 4,6,6,6,6.

A Latin

The B division went to Russia in a tight race.  Svetlana Mukhametshina w/ Alexander Chesnokov won the event 2,1,1,1,2, three dances to two over Tina Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev 1,2,2,2,1.  Two great ladies in a great duel.  3rd went to Canada, Marialisa De Gasperis w/ Kamil Studenny who placed 3,3,4,3,3.  Maria Seragou w/ Dimitrios Damalas was 4th 4,4,3,6,5;  Jelana Sevaljevic w/ Stanislav Kochergin (Canada) was 5th 5,6,5,4,4 and Netsuyo Lipschutz w/ Nikolai Shpakov was 6th 6,5,6,5,6.

B Latin

USA took the C Division.  Lorraine Peoples w/ Andre Gavriline won the event 1,3,1,1,1, repeating her win from Millennium last week.  Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski was 2nd 2,2,2,2,3 and Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet (Canada) was 3rd 3,1,3,3,2.  As you can see this was quite a close race.  4th in all was Tasha Romero w/ Evgeny Likachev;  5th in all Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov and 6th in all Fifi Wang w/ Delyan Terziev.

C Latin

Today is junior day here at Manhattan Dancesport.  We’re ready for the madness!

Almost Perfect
Manhattan Friday

It was a night of spectacular dancing at Manhattan Dancesport last night and the winners of the two open professional divisions were “almost” perfect – at least according to the judges.


WorMan15-Riccardold WDC Latin Champions, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko won all dances in the Open Pro Latin and had perfect scores of 15 first places from the judges in all dances – well almost.  They received two 2nd places from judge Shirley Ballas, one in rumba and one in paso doble.

Shirley’s Man15-Troelstwo 1st places went to the runners up, Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova (Denmark).  Their perfection of 15 second place marks in all dances was also spoiled by one judge, Chris Johnston awarded them 3rd in 3 dances, cha cha, samba and jive.

CoMan15-Kazlouskimpetition for 3rd place was tough and was decided by 3 dances to 2.  With 3,3,3,4,4, the 3rd spot went to Andrei Kazlouski & Asta Sigvaldadottir.  This was their first time back on the floor after a lengthy sabbatical.  They did not receive a majority of 3rd or better scores in any of the dances.  Always one of our favorite teams it was good to see them back on the floor – were they fully up to speed?  Let’s see how the reviews go in Dance Beat soon.  The other half of this tussle were Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina with 4,4,4,3,3.  Nikolai & Maria did receive the majority of 3rd or better scores in paso doble.

Two Canadian couples battled for 5th and 6th place but Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko came out clearly on top with majorities of 5th or better in all dances.  6th spot went to Jean-Philippe Milot & Larence Bulduc who we thought had a great semifinal round but faded a little in the final.

We also liked the winners of the RS, Mykhalio Bilopukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina, and indeed they were 7th well clear of the remaining semifinalists.

Klaus Kongsdal will have the full report in Dance Beat soon.


IMan15-Perzhun the Open Pro Ballroom, the winners, US Champions, Peter & Alexandra Perzhu also won by a large majority of 1st places in all dances, but there were a few judges spoiling their “perfection” also.  Most noticeable was Mireille Veilleux who scored them 6th in all dances.  They also picked up a 4th in foxtrot from John Nyemchek.  The rest of the panel placed them 1st with a couple of 2nds thrown in.

There Man15-Zharinovwere 2 couples fighting for 2nd and it was decided by 3 dances to 2 in the favor of Mikhail & Galina Zharinov 2,3,2,2 over Mazen Hamza & Izabela Jundzill 3,2,3,3.  Neither couple had the majority of 2nd or better scores in any dance.  They are very different in appearance and style – pay your money and take your choice!  4th and 5th was a split decision.  The result went to Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija 4,4,5,5 over Travis & Jaimee Tuft 5,5,4,4.  This marked a return to form for Travis & Jaimee who have received some lackluster results of late.  New to the division and now finalists at their 2nd major championship in two weeks were Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova with 6th in all dances.  This was a 7-couple final and Kyle & allie Spinder were 7th in all dances, perhaps disappointing for them as they have beaten both Novikov/Smirnova and the Tufts in recent competitions.

Larinda McRaven will report for Dance Beat soon.


“Close toMan15-End” perfection continued into the Open Amateur Ballroom.  ABC U.S. Champions, Andres & Veronica End won all dances with large majorities of 1st place marks.  The lowest score they received was one 5th from John Nyemchek in VW.  2nd place was a USA/Canada battle that went to USA.  Marek Klepadlo &Man15-Marek Liana Bakhtiarova placed 2,2,2,2,3 to take the runners up spot.  James Cutler & Virginie Primeau were 2nd 3,3,3,3,2.  This was a reverse of form from last week at Millennium where James & Virginie won all 5 dances.  4th tonight were Luca Balestra & Krizia Balestra 5,4,5,4,4 who we thought had a very good night.  5th were Ruslan Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Sovenko 4,5,4,5,5 and 6th were Nicholas Kharlamov & Rochelle Kharlamov.  Interestingly there were 2 brother/sister teams in this final.

Pierre Allaire will comment on this division for Dance Beat soon.


FoMan15-jillr the pro-ams it was a huge day of Ballroom that culminated with the best Open Scholarships so far.  The Open C began with a 1st round of 3 heats, returning for a quarter-final.  It was quite close for 1st place, but the winner was Jill Bradford w/ Andrea Stefano Stefano and she placed 2,1,1,2,1.  This was the first time we had seen this pairing.  The winner of this division at both Emerald Ball and Millennium, Hye-Kyong Park w/ Linas Korieva took 2nd here 1,2,2,1,2.  All dances except waltz were won with a majority of 1st places.  With 3,4,3,5,3, Rhonda Fisher w/ Gianni Caliandro was 3rd.  4th went to Beatrice Wang w/ Giampiero Giannico 4,3,5,3,5;  5th Connie Edmonds w/ Samuele Pacchini 5,6,4,4,4;  6th Annie Chan w/ Denis Kutepov 6,5,6,6,6 and 7th to Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski 7,7,7,7,7.


It Man15-Celiawas a good day for the Stefano brothers as Andrea’s brother, Erminio, won the Open B with his student, Celia Chou.  Celia won all dances with the majority of 1st places and perfect scores in the quickstep.  2nd in all dances, a marked improvement from last week’s scores at Millennium, was Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet (Canada).  3rd in all Leilani Veiney w/ Kamil Urbaniak.  With 4,6,6,4,4, Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold took 4th.  5th was Audrey Paek w/ Ronen Zinshtein 5,4,4,6,6 and 6th was Bo Chang w/ Giampiero Giannico 6,5,5,5,5.


ThMan15-ABallwinnere winner of the Open A was Julia Shen w/ Alexander Voskalchuk who had the majority of 1st places in all dances except the quickstep.  Runner-up today was Fuki Uekusa w/ Andrey Begunov.  Fuki was 2nd in all dances.  Canadian, Michelle Yeh w/ Anton Lebedev took 3rd, again in all dances.  Elaine Liu w/ Gary Foster (Hong Kong) was 4th 4,4,5,4;  Lin Meng w/ Kamil Urbaniak was 5th 5,5,4,5,6 and Lisa Liao w/ Denis Kutepov was 6th 6,6,6,6,4.

We must compliment the organizers, Gary & Diana McDonald, on an excellent schedule that saw us out of the ballroom well before midnight.  Gary shared with us that they had turned down late entries to preserve a comfortable schedule.

From All Quarters!
Thursday at Manhattan

The majority of the Thursday evening was dedicated to the professional rising star divisions – all four took place and all began with a quarter final except the ever shy Ballroom with only a semi.


IMan15-RSBalltop2n actuality the Ballroom gave us the tightest race with the winners, Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova, taking it by 3 dances to 2.  Vlad & Ekaterina won W,VW, F.  Their runners up were Stefano DiBrino & Bianka Zubrowska 2,1,2,2,1.  These two couples have been facing off all over the country recently in this division and both are improving on every outing.  Congratulations guys!  Another one of our favorite up and coming couples in this style, Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson took 3rd, 4,3,3,3,4.  Close behind them another couple whose quiet style is often overlooked, Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya 3,4,5,4,3.  Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Katsukhina took 5th 6,5,4,5,6 and Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold were 6th 5,6,6,6,5.


In two of the RS divisions the winners were 1st in all dances beginning with the Rhythm won by Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov.  They have a light and engaging style on the floor that makes it very hard not to smile when watching them.  2nd and 3rd positions were also filled by very strong new couples.  2nd were Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosova 2,2,2,3,2 and 3rd, Ilya Abdulin & Tara Barakova 3,3,3,2,3.  The scores for the last 3 positions were tight.  Kosta Trifunovic & Domante Padleckaite 6,4,5,4,4 were 4th;  Boris Vdovine & Patricia Estay were 5th 4T,5,4,5,5;  Eddie Rivera & Megham McNash were 6th 4T,6,6,6,6.


MyMan15-RSLatwinnerskhalio Bilopukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina won all dances in the Latin.  This couple is taking the Latin division by storm lately and we can see why.  They have a very unique presentation and exude confidence.   2nd went to Sasha Althukov & Cheyenne Murillo and they scored 2,3,2,2,2.  Stanislav Savich & Nicole Prosser were also strong in 3rd place with 3,2,3,3,3.  Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina were 4th in all dances, Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie were 5th in all and Nikita Tsernov & Annie He Xiao were 6th in all.

ThMan15-jeanpaule Smooth division offered a very mixed bag of styles and the adjudicators were not consistent in their placements – understandably.  The winners were Jean Paul & Lana Rossi and they placed 2,1,1,1.  They have made great progress since switching to this style.  We would like to see some attention to use of feet in a more “ballroom” manner.  2nd was another one of our favorite couples, Adrian & Hannah Dydynski 1,2,2,2.  With 4,4,3,3, Dave Hannigan & Maggie Toth were 3rd and they dance what we would call a more traditional style of Smooth.  Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobeiewski were 4th 3,3,5,5.  We found them the least consistent – at times in winning form and at others seemingly a little lost.  We would like to see softer arm and hand lines from Radek.  Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow took 5th 5,6,4,4;  Morten Jensen & Anastasia were 6th 6,5,6,6 and John Campbell & Jaki Brokman were 7th in this very strong and interesting final.


RMan15-u21latun concurrently with these Rising Star divisions were some amateur events.  The U/21 Ballroom and Latin were both very strong divisions with couples from Canada & USA.  Nazariy Blagy & Michelle Kurpas won the Latin 1,1,2,2,2, Yevgenii Orlov & Maryna Yerina were 2nd 2,2,1,1,3 and Ryan Raffloer & Hanna Sverdlov were 3rd 3,3,3,3,1.  As you can see a very close finish at the top.

PaMan15-u21balltryk Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarkski were the comfortable winners in the U/21 Ballroom.  Stanislav Pavlov & Sandra Spernacka were 2nd in all and Justin Lin & Sasha Dubinsky were 3rd in all.

We also saw the Senior II and Senior III Ballroom.  Thomas Yu & Yuko Nauluani Yu won the II and Thomas & Renee Malinowski won the III.

ForMan15-mayo the pro-ams it was Smooth day and in the Open Scholarships it proved to be a good day for professional Mayo Alanen whose students won two of the divisions.  Anna Derevyanchenko won the A with mayo, taking all dances.  A former professional partner of Mayo/s Michelle Officer, took 2nd with her student Stefan Tuomanen 2,3,2,2.  Melissa Jensik w/ Dave Hannigan was 3rd 3,2,3,3;  Samanta Rico w/ Morten Jensen was 4th 4,4,4,5;  Sarah Gladish w/ Ilya Reyzin was 5th 5,5,5,6 and Kailee Donovan w/ Gunnar Sverrisson was 6th 6,6,6,4.

Aiyesah Dey w/ Mayo was the winner of the B, again in all dances repeating her win from Emerald Ball last month.  Suki Kramer w/ Gunnar Sverrisson took 2nd in all dances and Amanda Levine w/ Morten Jensen took all the 3rd’s.  Daniella Koren w/ Greg Fidurski was 4th 5,4,4,4;  Mary Lemmer w/ Tomas Mielnicki was 5th 4,5,5,5 and Angela Morrison w/ Peter Santiago was 6th in all dances.


Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet  (Canada) was back on top in the C division overtaking last week’s winner at Millennium, Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Waitrowski by 3 dance to 1.  Beverly placed 1,1,1,2 to Lisa’s 2,2,2,1.  What a great competition between thesetwo very accomplished ladies!  Keep up the good work!  Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika was 3rd in all dances and the winner of the Rhythm, Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilya Reyzin was 4th 4,4,5,4.  Alla Neyshtadt w/ Eric Pali was 5th 5,5,4,5 and Helena Kostik w/ Mazen Hamza was 6th, 6,6,6,6.


The Dance Beat Team took advantage of a short break to "Walk the Bridge."  Brooklyn Bridge, the oldest in NYC, offers a fantastic view of Manhattan and is only 2 blocks from the Marriott hotel!


Stay tuned for the first of the open professional and open amateur events pus the pr-am ballroom divisions!

“Everything Old Is New Again!”
Manhattan Dancesport 2015

Here we are back at the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge for the Manhattan Dancesport – but wait where are we?  The Marriott has undergone a serious transformation since we were here last year.  The lobby and bar areas have a contemporary style rather than the “woody” gentleman’s club atmosphere of before.  Lets see how the dancers react to these changes in their R & R area.


One thing that never changes at Manhattan Dancesport is the quality of the dancing – you’ll always see the best in all levels at this event and we certainly got off to a good start with the pro-am Rhythm divisions yesterday.


TheMan15-sophia most interesting result came in the Open C Scholarship.  Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski has been unbeaten in this division of late, recently winning at Emerald Ball and just last week at Millennium.  But here Lisa had to be content with the runner-up position as Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilia Reyzin won the event by 3 dances to 2 – 1,2,1,2,1.  Lisa won the rumba and bolero.  So a good competition from two very strong ladies. (PS we liked Sophia’s New York skyline dress!)  3rd went to Jennifer Marre w/ Plamen Danailov 3,3,4,4,3;  4th Joan Goddard w/ Aaron Talbert 4,5,3,3,4;  5th Donna Sparano w/ Evgeny Dyachenko 5,4,5,5,5;   6th Natalie Kerr w/ Misha Konstantinov;  7th Heather Petros w/ Fonzie Zapata.


There wMan15-Stefanas a clearer result in the B with Heidy Kellison w/ Sean Tamashiro winning all dances.  The runner-up was Tracy Hannon w/ Misha Konstantinov 2,3,2,2,2 and Angela Morrison w/ Peter Santiago was 3rd 3,2,3,3,3.  Deb Muzio w/ Evan Wellemeyer was 4th 4,4,4,6,4;  Ingrid Pessa w/ Jean Michel Erole was 5th 5T,5,5,4,5;  Rick Shaw w/ Tina Meyer was 6th 5T,6,6,5,6.

There were only 3 contestants in the Open A and Stefan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer was the winner in all 5 dances.  2nd in all was Veronica Maoli w/ Hayk Balasanyan and 3rd Sara Sharpe w/ Gunnar Sverrisson.

Today competition continues with the pro-am Smooth and various amateur and professional events at night.  Stay tuned!

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CMil15-SatShowan the Candyman?

Click here for a tiny foretaste of the Millennium Show of Shows.  Check your local listings for air dates on ASN network

Yes siree! The Candyman can, and did!  For two nights in a row Mr. Michael Chapman, organizer and producer, of the Millennium Dancesport Championships, was able to deliver a show to be remembered. Coca Cola was the main theme featuring the trapese artists, men on stilts, a formation team, all a part of an opening act for Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko, World Latin Champions, who enthralled the audience to “Coca Cola,” that now very popular cha cha.

TMil15-SatShow2he Coca Cola formation and act could only be equaled by possibly the best performance we have seen from Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, US Professional Smooth Champions, who performed a dramatic waltz also to be remembered for time to come. The legendary team of Andrew Sinkinson & Charlotte Jorgensen also presented a waltz to "The Impossible Dream." The show was slightly shorter than the night before leaving us, unusually, wanting more, something that we usually crave but we never get. Our congratulations to Mr. Chapman for making it a perfect show of shows for us.

TMil15-meryemhe evening would not have been complete without the usual lifetime achievement award and this time it went to a neighbor and a woman that we have all come to admire and respect for her contribution to ballroom dancing in Canada, Meryem Pearson. Meryem has taught many well-respected and established personalities in North American, such as Christiane Primeau, Stephan Champagne and Alain Doucet, who were all present and all Canadian Champions plus Pierre Allaire & Mireille Veilleur who made a surprise appearance.  These dancers and others also became well known throughout the world and Alain Doucet & anik Jolicoeur became World Champions. We ourselves were very touched personally by this presentation, since MerMil15-meryem2yem also had a strong hand and influence in shaping both the editor, Keith Todd and the feature’s editor Didio Barrera’s careers. Meryem continues to contribute to the world of ballroom dance by running perhaps what began as the most significant competition in North America, La Classique du Quebec.

Last night was not only about world class performances and awards it also featured three major professional events, Cabaret, Rhythm and Ballroom. The Ballroom was a name-dropping event.  Victor Fung & Anastasia, second in the world of professional Ballroom dancing, won all five dances with perfect scores from all judges, a somewhat rare occurence. Second overall went to Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk who took the majority of seconds in all dances. However, there were a few who dissented.  The most nMil15-victoroteworthy was Amy Anderson who awarded them all sevenths.  In defence of Amy’s position we too, the Dance Beat Team, thought this not to be Marat & Alina’s best performance. Third overall was awarded to Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva who also placed third in every dance. Fourth went to Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Egorova and they took fourth in every dance.  Fifth were Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova placing fifth in every dance and sixth went to Iarolsalv Bieliei & Lilia Gladiuk.  They placed sixth in four dances and seventh in the quickstep. The quickstep sixth position went to the seventh couple overall and that was Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova.

The Professional Rhythm was also an excellent event with great eye candy.  Here it was an easy win for Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova who took first in all dances by a landslide of first place marks. Only a few judges awarded them less, the most prominent judge here was Shorena Gachechiladze who awarded them three thirds, a fourth in the swing and a second in the cha cha. Second in all dances went to Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova, however, they did get a few thirds and some firsts, but the most shocking marks came from Melanie LaPatin who awarded them a 6th in the cha, a fifth in the swing, a fourth in the bolero, and second in the other two dances.  


Third was awarded to Andre & Natalie Paramonov and they also took third overall in every dance, however unlike Nazar & Irina, Andre & Natalie were only able to steal a small amount of first place marks, one in the cha cha and one in the swing from Dan Rutherford, and one in the mambo from Tony Meredith.

Fourth place in this excellent Rhythm competition went to Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakova placing fourth in every dance.  Fifth was awarded to Vard Margaryan & Mandy Carlisle but here they were fifth in every dance but the bolero where they took sixth. Sixth position in this heat went to Shane & Shannon Jensen and they took fifth in the bolero but sixth in the other four dances.

TMil15-jensenhe Cabaret was also another feature in this year’s Millennium. 12 couples competed and a semifinal had to be run earlier in the day but in the end the first place award went to Shane & Shannon Jensen who were in our opinion perfection at work.  They received 14 of the 17 first places.  Second in this fantastic Cabaret was awarded to another couple who are very capable in this department and that was Travis & Jaimee Tuft.  HoMil15-tuftwever, we totally agreed with the judges’ decision today.  When comparing these two great exhibition couples, we have to feel that Shane & Shannon take a few more ricks in the work and are able to keep you in suspense through the entire routine. Perhaps Travis & Jaimee just have to go a little more on the edge to close the gap between them and overtake them.  Whatever it is, we are so lucky in the USA to have such incredible Cabaret talent all here live and well.

Third in this fantastic Cabaret competition went to Michael Azarov & Tanya Makarenko, fourth were Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez,  fifth were Jamie Black & Robin Ray, sixth were Clyde Harris & Summer Black Elkin, and last but not least in seventh position were Daniel Enskat & Ahtoy Won Pat-Borja.

Mil15-AmLatThe Amateur Latin was a tough job for the judges and you can appreciate more when you look into their marks. The winners overall were Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina taking first in four dances and second in the paso doble.  However, we must point out that in not one dance were they able to capture a majority of firsts from the judges. The closest they came to taking the majority was in the cha, where they took eight first place maMil15-Chernossitovrks out of 17.  From this dance on they got less first place marks. Their worst marks came from Meryem Pearson who awarded them 5 sixth place marks, and Shirley Ballas who awarded them 4 sixth places and a fifth. The marks got even Mil15-Josonmore interesting when it came to second placed, Austin Joson & Nino Dzneladee.  They placed second overall but not in all dances.  They took third in the paso and fourth in the jive. When looking at Austin & Nino’s marks we can see how difficult of a decision it must have been for the judges.  They got a variety of marks from first to sixth place in almost every dance. For us it was a little more clear, with the exception of what looked like Nina’s black robe, we were enthralled by this young lady’s talent and ability to Latin dance.  Had we been judging I think we might have placed this couple higher in one or two dances at least. Third overall went to Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman and they were the recipient of that elusive first place mark missing from the winning couple 3,3,3,1,3. Fourth were Danils Kutuzovs & Maria Shalvarova 4,4,4,4,2, fifth was awarded to Artur Tarnasskky & Anastasia Danilova 5,5,5,6,6 and sixth were Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova.


The Amateur Junior II Latin event was sponsored by the CBZ foundation, here many of the juniors got scholarships (money) presented by Maria Kordit, director of the CBZ Foundation. The winning overall couple of this event was Yusif Amsatr & Naomi Spektor they won all dances as they had the day before in Ballroom. Second in all dances was awarded to Max Firestein & Nicole Mychedlidze and third were Denis Smotrov & Karina Mirochnik who took third in four dances and fourth in the cha cha. Fourth went to Dennis Matveev & Danielle Goldman 5,4,4,4,4, fifth were Matthew Lavitman & Olivia Agranovich 3,5,5,5,5, and sixth in all dances were Jackson Bayhi & Ashley Mattingly.

The Amateur Youth Latin was also a good event and here the winner was Clinton Cade Corder & Alexandra Gutkovich 2,1,1,1,1, second were Max Firestein & Nicole Mtchedlidze 1,2,2,2,3, and third were Gregory Rybakov & Ellen Anshelevich 3,3,4,3,2.

Pro/am was the biggest part for the Millennium this year, the impressive 5 day event. The Latin day was also packed with great dancing starting at 7AM but the Open Scholarships were late afternoon.

Mil15-A Latin

The winner of the A was Sabrina Strasser w/Stanishlav Kochergin from Canada and they won every dance. Second in this category was Vera Xu w/ Jakub Zeglen, however, her marks were more varied 3,2,2,3,2 and third went to Emily Tang w/ Delyan Terziev 6,3,3,2,4.  Saina Hadden w/ Daniele Gozzi was 4th, 2,4,5,4,3;  5th Joanna Wu w/ Plamen Danailov 4,6,4,6,5;  6th Yulia Rudenco w/ Andrey Rudenco 7,5,6,5,6;  7th Maria Seva w/ Lubo Asenov 5,7,7,7,7.

Mil15-B Latin

In the B division the winners were Maria Seragou w/Dimitrios Damalas 1,1,1,2,4.  Second overall was Mirra Blinova w/Clement Joly 2,4,2,1,1, and third was awarded to Jacqueline Soccodato w/Delyan Terziev 3,2,4,3,3.  4th Jelena Sevaljevic w/ Stanislav Kochergin (Canada) 4,3,3,4,2;  5th Suzanne Petersen w/ Damir Karaman 5,5,5,5,5;  6th Colette Marotto w/ Oleksii Lytvyn 7,7,7,7,7.

Mil15-C Latin

It was an 8 couple final in the C division and first was awarded to Lorraine Peoples w/Andrei Gavriline 1,1,2,1,1.  Second this time went to Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski 2,2,1,2,3, and third went to former World pro/am Champion Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet from Canada 3,3,3,3,2.  4th Lynn Magnusen w/ Vard Margaryan 5,5,4,4,4;  5th Tasha Romero w/ Evgeny Likachev 6,4,5,5,5;  6th Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov 4,6,6,6,6;  7th Tammy Knight w/ Oleksii Lytvyn 7,7,7,8,8;  8th Sharon Iannacone w/ Genya Bartashevich 8,8,8,7,7.

Mil15-boysCandy Unwrapped!

Last night organizer, producer, Michael Chapman unwrapped his “Candy” and delivered another show of a lifetime! The “Debra Fontaine Show of Shows” was nearly out of this world “literally”, with trapeze artists haMil15-Sashanging from the ceilings performing life-threatening maneuvers with no safety net and a cast of what seemed to be 60 people performing bellow, a potpourri of candy surprises.

The featured acts Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, American Smooth Champions, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko World Professional Latin Champions, and Andrew Sinkinson & Charlotte Jorgensen were delivered to us all by the fabulous cast, who intermingled with them to make the show flow seamlessly for about 30 minutes. Our favorite number becauMil15-Arialse of the way it was presented by the cast and feature performers was the Perzhu’s opening number “The Candy Man Can” an American style foxtrot, that opened all our senses for what was about to unfold.

BoMil15-debrath Peter & Alexandra and Riccardo & Yulia were in top form as expected, giving us great quality and bringing the audience to a number of standing ovations. The “retro, vintage” performance by World Professional finalists and World Ballroom Amateur Champions Andrew & Charlotte gave the show a touch of history thaMil15-Boys1t we all loved, our minds all went to the time when these two, separately and together, brought hundreds of houses to a standing ovation and their simple but beautiful basic movements to “Over the Rainbow” sung by our own US National Smooth Champion, Michelle Officer and accompanied on the Piano by DJ extraordinaire, Brent Mills, was touching, moving some to drop a tear and the crowd to their feet at the end of the performance.


You would have thought this was all that was going on this night but no! This was just a treat for the audience served between rounds of the well-attended and very disputed competitions going on this evening.


TheMil15-Mauritzio 2 feature events tonight were the Open Professional divisions in Smooth and Latin and both were cracking events, the Latin beginning with 36 couples.  In no doubt at all were the winners, Canadian Champions, Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite who received every 1st place from every judge in all dances.  Almost equally clear in the judges’ minds were the runners-up, Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova who had large majorities of 2nd places in all dances.  

But from there down the couples were jockeying for positions.  The big gain came for the 3rd place couple,Mil15-latin3 Mykhalio Bilipukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina who scored 5,4,5,3,3 for their overall 3rd position.  This was a big gain from one night before when they placed 2nd in the RS.  We can understand this gain!  This is a really talented and unique couple, a great recent gain to the US dance scene from, we believe, Ukraine.  3rd tonight, but obviously very close, were Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin who scored 3,3,6,6,4.  5th went to Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova 4,6,3,4,5T and 6th to the RS winners, Sasha Althukov & Cheyenne Murillo 6,5,4,5,5T.  A quick bit of arithmetic will show you how close it was from 3rd to 6th places and how the luck of the draw (and the Skating System) meant that Sasha & Cheyenne placed 6th overall but actually placed 6th in only 1 dance.

Unfortunately Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina had to withdraw after the first round.  Their presence would have been enjoyable in the final we are sure.

Gocha Chertkoev & Shorena Gachichiladze will have the report in Dance Beat soon.


The SMil515-Zharinovmooth brought out all the nation’s best (with the exception of the Perzhus who were performing in the show).  Mikhail & Galina Zharinov won all 3 dances, 2 with the majority of 1st places (waltz and foxtrot).  Runners-up, Mazen Hamza & Izabella won the tango and were 2nd in the other 3 dances.  Both couples were on form tonight. This was perhaps one of the best performances we have seen from Mikhail & Galina.  The only point of interest when looking at the judges’ scores was that whilst Mikhail & Galina were fairly clear in their win, they did receive a few 6th places whereas the lowest score received by Mazen & Izabella were some 4th places.

3rd in all dances were Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija who continue to impress us with their beautiful dance action, particularly in waltz.  Today VW was their best scored dance.  Travis & Jaimee Tuft had a strong result with 4th in all dances and they picked up at least one 1st place in all dances.  Kyle & Allie Spinder were 5th in all and we also noted great basic dance actions from this duo.  The newcomers to the final were Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smimova who were 6th in all dances.  Two judges really favored this duo, who we also found very impressive choreographically and physically and this was Nicole Caroll who placed them 2nd in all dances and Igor Litvinov who scored them 2,2,2,1.

Amy Anderson will report on this event in Dance Beat soon.


Although a straight final, the Amateur Ballroom was also of a high standard.  It resulted in another win for Canada, as Jamie Cuttler & Virginie Primeau won all 5 dances.  We were expecting an easy win for this couple but although they won all dances, they had the majority of 1st places in only foxtrot.  Splitting the remaining 1st places were the two couples immediately behind them.  Runners-up were Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova 3,3,2,2,2 and third, Lucca & Krizia Balestra 2,2,3,3,3.  These are two couples of similar talent but very differing styles.  4th were Daniel Vesnovsiy & Emily Thorpe 5,4,4,4,4;  5th Brandon Buchthal & Natasha Barrera 4,5,5,5,5;  6th Jacob Tsai & Cara Yun Loo 6,6,7,7,6;   7th Danya Rubashevsky & Anastasiya Vysotska 8,7,6,6,7;  8th Yates 7,8,8,8,8.

Max Sinitsa will have a report on this division.


For the pro-ams it was a day of Ballroom and the Open Scholarships were as strong as you would expect in a competition of this size.  The A division was won by Natalie Rezal w/ Sergey Kiselev 1,1,2,1,1, this is certainly one of the strongest ladies in this field currently.  Receiving her 2nd nod as runner-up, Melonie Krumer w/ Max Sinitsa placed 2,2,1,2,5.  Vinie Miller w/ Denis Kutepov took all the 3’s and Yulia Rudenko w/ Andrei Rudenco was 4th with 4,4,4,4,2.  For us she could certainly have won the QS.  Rebecca Kuhn w/ Andrea Faraci was 5th 5,5,5,6,5;  Kelly Long w/ Yevgeny Klyukin was 6th 7,6,6,5,6;  Elena Kravchenko w/ Ivan Tarkhanov (Russia) was 7th 6,7,7,7,7 and Eliza Cheney w/ Yuriy Nartov was 8th.


It was in the B that we strayed most from form results.  The winner remained constant – Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano placed 1st in all dances.  2nd in all was Julie Zhao w/ Denis Kutepov.  We thought she had a good day and certainly challenged the winner.  Also in great form today was Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold who was 3rd in all dances.  Suki Kramer w/ Gunnar Sverrisson was 4th 5T,5,4,4,5.  Elka Hristova w/ Artem Plakhotnyi was 5th 5T,6,5,5,4.  We also liked this lady’s easy style and personality.  Surprising us was the 6th place finish of a past winner in this division, Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet 4,4,6,6,6.  We didn’t quite see any major problems here that would warrant this drop, but perhaps we were not standing where the judges were?  Closing this final was Bo Chang w/ Giampiero Giannico in 7th place.

Mil15-C Ball

The always relaxed Hye-Kyong Park w/ Linas Korieva was a good winner in the C division, taking all dances.  Also strong in 2nd was Leilani Viney w/ Kamil Urbaniak 3,3,2,3,2 and another one of our favorites, Connie Edmonds w/ Samuele Pacchini was 3rd 5,6,3,2,3.  We don’t quite understand the 5th and 6th placements.  Betty Yeh w/ Enzo Zappia was 4th 4,2,5,4,5;  Tammy Knight w/ Artem Plakhotnyi was 5th 2,4,4,6,6;  Beatrice Wang w/ Giampiero Giannico was 6th 6,5,6,5,4 and Annie Chen w/ Denis Kutepov closed the final.

In this busy day there were also 2 professional RS divisions danced.  It was a good day for Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov who won the very strong Rhythm category with 3,2,1,1,1.  We also liked the runners-up, Igor Ustymovich & Briana Santiago 1,1,2,2,3.  3rd tonight were Aaron & Iryna DeSotto 2,3,3,3,2.


In the corresponding Ballroom RS, Vladislav Shakov & Ekaterina Popova were the winners placing 1,1,1,1,2.  Winning that QS and 2nd in the other dances were Stefano DiBrino & Bianka Zubrowska.  3rd in all were Youriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson.

ThMil15-yusife kids were also out in force last night at least in quality if not quantity.  CBZ Foundation sponsored the Junior II Ballrom and the easy winners here in all dances were Yusif Amsatr & Naomi Soektor.  2nd went to Denis Smotrov & Karina Mirochnik 3,2,3,2,2 and 3rd to Dennis Mateev & Danielle Goldman 2,3,2,3,3.

The JI Ballroom was won by Leroy Shaigorodsky & Sonya Elkin, the Preteen I by Daniel Novikov & NatMil15-mariannealina Chen and the Youth Ballroom by Jacob Tsai & Cara Yun Loo.

The Millennium traditionally awards their Hall of Fame on this night and tonight the honoree was none other than the “Goumada” – Marianne Nicole, famed coach and adjudicator.  The preceding accolades were read by Marianne’s former professional partner, Rufus Dustin and for the award she was joined on the floor by husband, John DePalma who is a presenter for the ASN TV show.

InMil15-Hawaii1 the end just when you thought it was over and it was time to take the elevator to your room, the seductive Hawaiian dancers were directing you into a fabulous after party with food, dancing and show. The free mai tais and chi chi’s were flowing but this time compliments of the Hawai'i Star Ball a competition hundreds of miles away in the Pacific where life is beautiful and people hang lose.   

The Sweetness Continues!
Millennium Thursday

ThMil15-Maryursday was just as sweet at Millennium as we moved into the Pro-Am Smooth divisions and a very full day it was, beginning at 7:00 AM.  The Open Scholarships were great – all danced at night Mil15-BrianaSmoothand with TV coverage.

It was another win for Briana Yadgir, this time dancing with Chris Germain, in the the Open A Scholarship Smooth.  She was the winner in the A Rhythm.  This divisions was closer.  Briana placed 2,2,1,1.  Her runner-up, Melonie Krumer w/ Max Sinitsa placed 1,1,2,3.  Overall we favored Melonie by just a little – but that’s why they have so many judges!  Congrats to Briana.  Taking 2nd in foxtrot but 3rd overall was Kat Wagner w/ Sergey Barsukov.  Another really strong young lady, Yulia Rudenko w/ Andrei Rudenko was 4th in all dances.  With 5,5,6,5, Natalie Rezai w/ Slawek Souchaki was 5th.  6th was the only gentleman in the final, Stefan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer 7,6,5,6.  7th, Olivia Zettergren w/ Gunnar Sverrisson 6,7,8,8.  8th Ran Wei w/ Mikolay Czarnecki 8,8,7,7.  As you can see, an excellent and close fought final!



TMil15-Joannhe clear winner of the B division for us, and for the judges was Joann Smith w/ Sharon Levit (Canada) and she won all dances.  Second in all was Aiyesha Dey w/ Mayo Alanen and 3rd in all was Suki Kramer w/ Gunnar Sverrisson.  These top three seemed fairly clear in the judges’ eyes.  4th place tonight went to Shiela Davis w/ Vlasislav Shakov 4,4,5,5, 5th was Carolin Woodruff w/ Alosha Anatoliy 6,6,4,4;  6th Nikki Kennedy w/ Igor Afonkin 5,7,6,6;  7th Marcy Garson w/ Mazen Hamza 7,5,7,7 and 8th Kelli Moll w/ Eugene Graev.

The C Smooth is always a great division and we were not disappointed tonight.  The winner, another double champion, was Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski and she won all 4 dances. This was something of an upset as the runner up was World Champion in this division, Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet (Canada) 2,2,2,2.  Obviously these are two great lady competitors.  We still favored Beverly slightly tonight.  Lisa was a little hard to see find where we were sitting, perhaps the dark green dress did not help.  3rd was another really strong competitor, Sue Eldred w/ Artem Plakhotnyi 3,3,3,4.  Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilya Rezin took 4th spot, 4,4,4,3.  5th Gracelyn Tuotti w/ Andrei Abrashin 5,5,5,5;  6th Darla Davies w/ Jim Maranto 6,7,7,6;  7th Sharon Sanchez w/ Sergey Barsukov 7,6,6,7.


Following these scholarship divisions there was a high-energy and lavishly costumed Pro-Am Team match featuring 4 teams – USA East, USA West, Canada and Rest of World.  The result was an unbreakable tie between the two USA teams.


The night (early morning) ended with the first two professional events of Millennium 2015 – RS Latin and RS Smooth.  Both were quarter-final events.


TheMil15-SashaA Latin was won by Sasha Althukov & Cheyenne Murrillo 1,2,1,1,2.   Obviously this was a close event and no couple received a majority of 1st places in any dance.  We liked Sasha & Cheyenne.  They do everything right.  We did think it looked a bit like an “exercise” last night.  We actually thought runners-up. Myhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina had an edge on the night.  They placed 4,3,2,2,1.  We really liked their casual but energetic approach.  Also picking up a lot of 1st places from the judges were Stanislav Savich & Nicole prosser in 3rd place.  Their scores, 2,1,4,3,4.  Also in the mix, and taking more 1st places than anyone except the winners, were 4th placed Sergey & Dasha Chyslov.  Overall they scored 3,4,3,4,3.  5th went to Adam Katona & Bella Gubzheva 6,5,5,5,5 and 6th, Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina 5,6,6,6,6.


The Smooth was a more settled result.  The winners, Jean Paul & Lana Rossi won all dances with a majority of 1st places.  Also clear, Adrian & Hannah Dydynski were 2nd in all dances.  The remaining couples were much closer.  4,3,5,3 gave Andrei & Elena Rudenko 3rd place;  4th Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobiewski 3,4,3,5;  5th Sergey Smolin & Anna Tomasini 6,6,4,4;  6th Morten Jensen & Anastasia 5,5,6,6.

AMil15-semin interesting experiment, probably for TV benefit, was that all the semifinalists were called on to the stage and then the 6 finalists were called out in randem order to come to the floor leaving the unsuccessful couples standing on the stage.  More drama?  Hey!  It’s a competition!  Some win, some lose!  

Stay tuned for today’s exciting events!

Something good to suck on!
Candyland at Millennium 2015

“Candyland” is this year’s theme at the Millennium and as we all come to expect, the set is lavish and extravagant and reflects the style of organizer, Michael Chapman. 


Plus…… this event seems to be limitless.  Over 15,000 entries this year make it the busiest Millennium to date, and the largest competition in the USA.  The schedule is longer too, beginning on Tuesday morning and continuing through Saturday night.  Plus…… TV is making an appearance this year.  American Sports Network will film pro-am open scholarships, amateur and professional events – check back for air times.

The first 2 days were all about the beat – rhythm pro-am filled 2 full days of competition and concluded quite late last night with the Open Scholarships in A, B and C categories.  All had great quality.


BMil15-Brianarianna Yadgir w/ Evgenii Grytsak won all dances in the A.  Brianna is a former US Champion in this category, but this is the first time we have seen her with her new professional partner.  We felt she was the deserving winner.  From there it was a tighter race.  Chastity w/ Eddie Ares took the runners-up spot placing 3,2,2,2,4.  She always has a great look on the floor and appeared in contention tonight.  She could be a little more aggressive and forceful.  Tatiana DaCruz w/ Nazar Norov took 3rd, 2,3,3,3,2.  A new lady to us with great potential.  A little quiet in the final, but again, always in contention.  Isabelle Libertore w/ Charles Cunningham took 4th 5,4,4,4,3.  Our perception was totally different to the judges’.  We really liked her cha cha and felt she could have won that dance.  We found her later dances a little disorganized.  Nathalie Young w/ Volvik Edouard (Canada) wqas 5th, 4,5,5,5,5;  Lauren Watkins w/ Michael Neil was 6th in all dances.  Veronica Maoli w/ Hayk Balasanyan took 7th 8,7,7,8,7.  We felt that this lady could have placed higher in some dances.  Closing the final and also showing great improvement, we thought was Stefan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer.


SMil15-Kiaurprisingly the B was the smallest division today, with a straight final of 7 couples.  The winner was Kia Malone w/ Eddie rivera 1,1,1,2,1.  Worthy of this placement in our view today.  2nd went to Sheila Davis w/ Vladislav Shakov 2,2,2,1,2.  This is a new pro-am pairing and shows great promise.  3rd in all dances was Elena Cormio w/ Edwin Torres.  Although placing 3rd in all dances, we felt she was always a strong contender tonight and certainly could have placed higher in some dances.  4th went to Heather Radke w/ Kiril Arsov 5T,4,4,4,4;  5th Micko Okumura w/ Zeki Maviyildiz 5T,7,5,6,5;  6th Chris Wilson w/ Emilia Goldberg 7,6,6,5,6;  7th Faye Diamantoudi w/ Tony Santana (Canada) 4,5,7,7,7.


TMil15-lisahe C was a great contest between some of the best in the land in this division.  Winning comfortably in our view was Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Waitrowski – the judges also awarded her all dances.  The remaining places were close fought.  Taking 2nd was Lynn Magnesen w/ Vard Margaryan 2,2,3,3,3.  This followed on from her success at Emerald Ball.  3rd, also continuing to place well was Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilya Reyzin 3,5,2,2,5.  Jennifer Marre w/ Plamen Danailov was 4th 4,3,4,4,4.  Quin Bommeljie w/ Misha Vlasov took 5th 5,4,5,5,2.  We thought this lady could have placed higher.  Sharon Sanchez w/ Sergey Barsukov was 6th 6,7,6,6,7 and Gracelyn Tuoti w/ Andrei Abrashin was 7th 7,6,7,7,6.

Today we move on to the pro-am smooth and of course anticipation runs high for the Friday and Saturday highlights still to come.

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Rising at Yankee!

Last night at the Yankee Classic it was Rising Star time for all professionals, four styles were run and it was a packed night of entertainment running late into the night. Surprisingly enough the judges might have been a little worn but the couples were in very top form from beginning to end in all styles.

The Rising Star Rhythm had the biggest entry with a huge quarter final round. Kosta Trifunovic  & Domante Padleckaite took first in all dances and we think they were the easy winners. A few adjudicators thought otherwise the most prominent was Allan Tornsberg who awarded them 6,6,5,6,4. Second overall went to Ilya Abdullin & Tara Baracov 2,2,3,2,2, and third was awarded to Jhondar Lopez & Amber Osborn 3,3,2,3,4.


The Rising Star American Smooth was also excellent.  Here, top prize went to Jean Paul & Lana Rosi who won all dances and truly looked excellent. Second place was awarded to Morten Jensen & Anastasia and they took all seconds leaving third for David Hannigan & Maggie Toth.  All three of these couples were great, it was almost as if we were watching an open event.


The Rising Star Latin was also a fun competition with a full semifinal round.  The winners of every dance were Stanishlav Savich & Nicole Prosser, second were Vlad Astafiev & Jenya Didenko 3,2,3,3,2, and third were Nikita Tsernov & Annie He Xiao 4,5,2,2,5.


ThYC15-RSBalle smallest of all the Rising Star events was the Ballroom with only 5 couples entered. Here Vladislav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova were the obvious winners with the majority of firsts in all dances. Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold were second 2,2,2,3,3 and Anatolli Repliuk & Rusland Mamaysur were third 3,3,3,2,2.

The pro/am Open Latin was also a great competition and here the winners were Nicolas Nguyen w/Helle Rusholt-Yi, they won four dances and placed second in the Paso.  Second went to Shelly Meshkausk w/Thomas Shiloshvili 2,2,2,1,3, leaving third to Zoe Antoniou w/Andre’ Strinadko 3,3,3,3,2. This cYC15-PA Latinompetition also started with a healthy semifinal round in both quality and quantity.  

The night was a little long, however, the couples were in such great shape and ready to go as if they were dancing on a lovely afternoon, inspiring all of us old judges to stay attentive and even a large percentage of the attendees stayed until the end. Congratulations couples!!

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CO Star-small

Smooth Leads It in Denver

Photos by Charles Ryder Photography

The Pro Smooth was the leader at Colorado Star Ball last night with some great dancing in all rounds leading to a superb final.  The clear winners with large majorities for 1st places in all dances were Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija.  They only picked up a couple of 2nd places in each dance and one 3rd from Forrest Vance in foxtrot.

The race for 2nd was much closer.  Kyle & Allie Spinder were actually 2nd in all dances but the margin from the judges was a slim majority of “2nd or better” scores in each dance.  The 3rd place couple were Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova and they were just below Kyle & Allie in all dances.  However, both couples also picked up some scores in the lower half of the final.  4th in all dances were Evgeny Malko & Anna Shabazyan and they received a significant number of 3rd places in all dances.  Adrian & Hannah Dydynski were 5th 5,5,6,5 and Kris Suakjian & Briana Haft were 6th 6,6,5,6.


COS15-LatinKyle & Allie were also the winners of the Showdance.

The other Open Pro event of the night was the Latin, but this attracted only 3 entries.  Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova lost a total of only 4 first places from 55 and so were easy winners.  2nd in all were Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie Murphy and 3rd were Giorgi Khmiadashvili & Christina DuPuy.

There was a strong entry in the Rising Star Rhythm (ahead of tonight’s Star Rhythm Tour).  Igor Ustymovych & Briana Santiago won all dances, each with a majority of 1st places.  2nd in all dances went to David Moon & Sydney Petersen and 3rd were Christopher Wayne & Juanita Simanekova 4,3,3,4,3.


The final RS event was the Ballroom and this was won by Stephano DiBrino & Bianka Zubrowska 1,1,1,2,1.  The winners of the foxtrot were Cristian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko and they placed 2nd overall 3,2,2,1,2.  3rd were Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Karzukhina 2,3,3,3,3.


Tonight we gear up for the Professional Star Rhythm Tour – the first leg of this series.  Many of the top names are here.  Be sure to tune into the live feed and vote for your favorites!  Click here to watch it live!

Getting (a mile) High in Denver

CSB15-setWe’re here in Denver, Colorado, the mile-high city, for the 19th Colorado Star Ball – just one more reason to get high in Colorado.

As usual organizers, Richard & Jennifer Booth, have everything running perfectly and the Westin Hotel in Westminster is attractive and accommodating with a spacious ballroom.  We particularly liked the change of set from daytime to evening.

Yesterday was mostly dedicated to pro-am Smooth heats and the more advanced and scholarship heats took place at night.  The Colorado Star Ball is a member of the Global Series and last night hosted the Global Closed Bronze and Silver Scholarships in Smooth.  These were well attended.  Define Dinler w/ Yuriy Kravets won the Bronze 1,1,1,1.  MaCall Berger w/ Volodia Ishchenko was 2nd, 2,2,2,2 and Sherri Hansen was 3rd, 3,4,4,3.  In the Silver Jessica Mancini w/ Golden Parker won all 4 dances.  2nd in all was Darcy Adamczky w/ Gary Dahl and 3rd was Catherine Gallo w/ David Arnold 6,3,3,3.


The pro-am divisions concluded with the Open Scholarships.  The B & C divisions were well attended.  Dawn Mersich w/ Youriy Pavlov was the big winner of the night taking both the A & B divisions.  In the B she placed 1,1,1,2.  2nd went to Thara Salamone w/ Jim Maranto 2,2,2,1 and 3rd to Kitty Sang w/ Mathias Kruschel 3,3,3,3. 


Sandra Abruzzo w/ Jim Maranto won the C, taking all dances.  Elizabeth Cramer w/ Robert Nardozza was 2nd in all and David Tippet w/ Harmony Monroe was 3rd, 4,3,3,3.

The night concluded with 2 Pro Rising Star divisions, both straight finals.  John Campbell w/ Jacki Brockman won all dances in the Smooth.  2nd in all were Misha Belfer & Julie Garczynski and 3rd were Scott Koogle & Faith Wailes 4,3,3,3.


Only 2 couples contested the Latin and the win in all dances went to Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie Murphy.  2nd were Giorgi Khmiadashvili & Christina DuPuy.

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The People have chosen…. Nazar & Irina!

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Check out the Peoples' Choice Videos in our Video Section

The People's Choice competition, hosted by Forrest Vance, held this weekend in Scottsdale continued its tradition of having the audience vote for their favorite couples in a Grand Slam kind of event where the Champion of each Pro category compete against each other with one of their number. 

This year, the returning favorites, Artem & Inna, were overturned by first time attendees Nazar & Irina.  An unfortunate encounter with the carpet while performing their QS might have caused this result, but in any case, Nazar & Irina were this year's recipients of the People's choice gold medallion sponsored  by Hamra Jewelery.  Congratulations!

The Open Pro finals were of high caliber, and were all dominated by the winners, all of them placing first in all dances.   In their last chance to compete before heading to Blackpool, Artem & Inna placed first in the Ballroom followed by Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija.  

The Rhythm went to Nazar & Irina, 2nd place went to Danus Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi.  

The Latin Sergey Kvashin & Olga Ginsburg and the Smooth to Peter & Alexandra Perzhu.  You can watch the clips and see if you agree with the people's choice!


Look for more on this event coming up shortly with reports from Melissa Dexter, Eddie Stutts and Iliya Reyzin.

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 Ending High!

ABP15-ArunasKatushas in the past few years, USA ended on a high note taking the top 2 places in the British Open Professional Ballroom.  Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova won all 4 dance (no VW at Blackpool) and Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva were 2nd in all 4.

One interesting sidenote, while Arunas & Katusha received mostly 1st places, one judge did not see it quite the same as the others.  Joanne Bolton-Hawkins placed them (1W, 4F, 5T, 5T).  This was Arunas & Katusha's 6th consecutive win here in Blackpool.

USA also had many other success stories in this division.  Marat Gimayev & Alina Basyuk were placed in the semifinal in all 4 dances.

In the quarter-final we saw:  Anton Lebedev & Anna Borsh (W,F,T,Q);  Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva (W,F,T,Q);  Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Ergorova (W,F,T,Q);  Iaroslav Bieliel & Liliia Gladiuk (W,F,T);  Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova (W,F,T,Q);  Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova (W,T)

A night of "Smoothness"

ThBP15-Smoothe big story for the USA last night (Thursday) at Blackpool was the introduction of the American Smooth style to the Blackpool crowd.

5 US professional Smooth couples were invited to show their stuff on the famous floor of the Empress Ballroom - prime time on Thursday (the couples' expenses were sponsored by AMI, FADS, NDCA & ABC).  The 5 couples perfomed all together to recorded music.  The audience seemed very appreciative.  Congratulations to Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, Mikhail & Galina Zharinov, Mazen Hamza & Izabella Jundzill, Travis & Jaimee Tuft and Kyle & Allie Spinder.  What's next for Smooth dancing in Blackpool?

The main event of Thursday at Blackpool is the Amateur Ballroom.  The title was open because last year's champions have turned professional, but the championship stayed with Poland who still dominate this event right now.  Sergiu Rusu & Dorota Maar are the new chmpions and 1 of 3 Polish couples in the final.

The best finishes for North America came came from Andres & Veronika End and James Cuttler & Virginie Primeau.  Both couples made the quarter-final.

ABP15-Jensen-cabnother feature of Thursday night at Blackpool is the Invitational Exhibition and North America was well represented with 5 of the 8 couples entered.  South Africa took the 1st two spots, but Shane & Shannon Jensen captured the 3rd position.  And then N. America took the next 4 consecutive places.  In order:  Brandon Barker & Chelsea Cherrie, JJ Zamora & Sheena Daminar, Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez, Carlos Zapata & Dora Pashova.

Watch for a report on this division by James Peters in Dance Beat soon.

BP15-JoannaHalf the final quits!

Last night during the Open British Professional Latin Championship, 3 couples from the final 6 announced their retirement.  Reigning champions, Michael Malitowski & Joanna Leunis won their 8th consecutive Blackpool and then announced they were calling it quits.  Also hanging up their shoes are the 2 couples from Slovenia, Andrej Skufca & Melinda and Jurij & Jagoda Batagelj who were 5th and 6th respectively.

AnBP15-Balckpool Latin finald now the interesting part!  The remaining 3 couples, not quitting, are all from North America.  Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko were 2nd overall, but won the cha cha.  Stefano DiFilippo & Dasha Chesnokova were 4th overall.  Then from Canada, Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite were 3rd.

Other North Americans placing highly were:  Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina (Semifinal P; Quarter-final C,S,R, J),  Jake Davies & Olena Kalinina (Quarter-final C),  Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelipenko.

Watch for Hanna Karttunen's report on this division in Dance Beat soon.

2 finalists for USA, Tuesday, BlackpoolBP15-Ferdinando

Photos by Mark Gadsden

USA had finalists in both events held in Blackpool on Tuesday - The Open British Amateur Latin Championship and the Open British U/21 Latin Championship.  Ferdinando Iannconne & Yulia Musikhina were 4th in the Amateur Latin and Patrick Plosaj & Anna Kaczmarkski were 3rd in the U/21 Ballroom

TheBP15-Patrick USA placed strongly in the Amateur Latin overall.  Pasha & Daniella Pashkov retained their postiion in the semifinal.

USA had 4 couples in the Quarter-final:  Alexander Chernositov & Ariana Grishanina, Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina, Kiril Kulish & Orsolya Horvath, Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman.

Watch out for a full report on this division by Vibeke Toft in Dance Beat soon.

BP15-IaroslavUSA has 2 in Pro RS Ballroom

USA had two couples in the final of the Professional Rising Star last night in the Winter Gardens, Blackpool.  Congratulations to Iaroslav Bieliel & Liliia Gladiuk who were 2nd and Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova who were 5th.

We have a good depth in this division.  Placing in the semifinal were Gianni Caliandro & Arianna Esposito and Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina.

QuBP15-Oscararter-finalists:  Emanuele & Francesca Pappacina, Ruslan & Katusha Wilder.

USA Takes Blackpool Team Match Again!

BP15-teamEugene Katsevman was a first time cpatain of our team and led them to another victory!  Team members:  Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko & Stefano diFillipo & Dasha.

The other featured event of Saturday night at Blackpool is the Under 21 Latin and this year Austin Josen & Nino Dzneladze of USA placed 2nd.  Right behind them were BP15-HathazziAdam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward.

Another strong finish for the USA was a semifinal place for Vlad Kvartin & Anna Maria Prokopovicova.

JusBP15-Cuttlert wrapping up today (Sunday) are the Amateur Rising Star divisions.  In the Ballroom the best finish for the USA came from Nicholas & Rochelle Kharlamov who made the semifinal round.  But Canada scored in the final with a 3rd place from James Cuttler & Virginie Primeau.

IBP15-Josen1n a reversal of the form form the previous day, Austin & Nino were the winners of the Amateur Rising Star Latin in Blackpool, defeating the couple who won the youth the day before.  So what a year for this young couple!

Adam & Morgan placed in the semifinal as did Daniils Kutuzovs & Maria Shalarova, also from Canada.  One other Canadian couple, Nurlan Galymov & Celeste Bailey made the quarter-final.

Blackpool First Day, corrected article

BP15-BertiniYesterday's post contained several inaccuracies which came from another website's reporting. Ruslan Avdayev & Valeriya Kozharinova, won the Open British Professional Rising Star Latin, but they no longer represent USA, but now represent Russia. Also incorrectly listed from Italy, Francesco Bertini & Sabrina Manzi, placed 2nd and now become the highest placed US couple.  Congratulations!

The remaining coverage was, we believe, accurate.

AlsBP15-Italyankino in the final for the USA were Roman Italyankin & Aleksandra Bokova who placed 6th.  Canada was also represented in the final as Jean Philippe Milot & Laurence Bolduc placed 3rd.  Adding to the confusion, in their first competition as professionals, Francesco Bertini & Sabrina Manzi, who live and work in the USA, but were apparently representing Italy, placed 2nd - probably the best personal result of the night.

Other North American placements in this event were:  Adam Katona & Bella Gubzheva (USA), Ilya Maletin & Polina Mayer (Canada) - semifinal.

Sasha Althukov & Cheyenne Murillo (USA), Hayk Balasanyan & Emilia Pogosyan (USA), Jake Davies & Olena Kalinina (USA), Dmitriy Kikishkin & Olena Shvets (USA) - quarter-final.  Also in this quarter-final were Rangel Spirov & Veronika Chrnyavka listed from Bulgaria but living in Texas. (At this point DB is unsure if this couple represents USA or Bulgaria).

TBP15-Lu S1S 6123he other event of the first full night of comeptition in Blackpool in the Senior Ballroom.  The top US finish tonight was from Xingmin & Katerina Lu who placed 5th.  Next highest were Turtle Brennen & Regina Pareigis who made the quarter-final.

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A Night of Rhythm

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Click here for video by SuperShag

AS15-showRhythm was the feature last night at American Star Ball.  Not only was the Pro Rhythm the biggest event of the night (2 rounds), but it was also the feature of the finale show, entitled the Havana Ballroom and choreographed by Brent Mills.

EAS15-Emanuelmmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova, current US Champions, easily won the Open Rhythm winning all dances and losing a total of only 4 first places over all 5 dances.  Equally sure were the runners-up, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova who picked up those 4 first places and received all the remaining 2nd place scores from all judges.  Perhaps the match between these two couples was a little closer in real life than it appeared on paper.

From there on the scores were a little more mixed, particularly in the lower half of the final.  Shane & Shannon Jensen were relatively secure in their 3rd place.  They were 3rd in all dances and had the majority of 3rd places in 4 of the 5 dances. With 4,4,4,4,5, Andrei Abrashin & Mariia Gavrylova were 4th but had scores ranging from 3rd to 7th in all dances.  Matt Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt were 5th 5,6,5,6,4.  For us their best dances are cha and mambo.  Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov were 6th 6,5,6,5,6 and new to the final, Jonathan Green & Rachel Neilson took all the 7’s.


There were 3 live percussionists for this final.  Tom Larson (who had played throughout the weekend), Brent Mills and Eddie Melendez.

AS15-BallroomOnly 4 couples participated in the Open Pro Ballroom and it was easily won by Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova.  They won all dances.  The only significant challenge came in the Viennese Waltz where the runners-up, Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena took 4 of the 13 first places.  They were 2nd in all dances.  Anatoli Repliuk & Ruslana were 3rd in all and Nenad Pavolic & Anastasia Barhatova were 4th in all.

Both open amateur scholarships also took place tonight and both were straight finals.  Sam Hacke & Katarina Hermanova won the Ballroom, winning all dances 4 with the majority of 1st places.  They certainly had the most energy of all the finalists.  2nd in all dances went to Stanislav Pavlov & Sandra Spernacka.  They had a more traditional approach than the winners.  3rd in all dances were Daniel Vesnovskiy & Emily Thorpe.  6,4,5,4,4 gave Alec Zhiwei Zhang & Ersi Nie a 4th place finish overall, Brandon Buchthai & Natasha Barrera were 5th, 4,5,4,6,6 and Sam Brandt & Sabrina Yakubovish were 6th 5,6,6,5,5.


The Amateur Latin Scholarship was a close fought affair with the first places being mostly spread between 2 couples, Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasiya Danilova and Nikita Malakov & Nadezda Vlasova.  The overall event went to Artur & Anastasiya by 3 dances to 2 – 2,2,1,1,1.  Nikita & Nadezda won the first 2 dances.  All dances wre won with a majority of first places except the cha cha.  3rd in all dances were Allen Rusman & Svetlana Lisnaya, 4th in all Stanislav Engelhardt & Tatiana Vasilyeva and 5th Raphael Matis & Jamie Dorotov.


The two remaining professional rising star divisions were also held.  The Smooth had a semifinal and was won by Adrian & Hannah Dydynsky 1,1,1,1.  Stanislav Savich & Nicole Prosser won the RS Latin 1,1,1,1,1.

AS15-paWe also saw the scholarship divisions in the pro-am Smooth and Latin.  The winners in the Open Scholarships were Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika (C Smooth), Kathy Howell w/ Martin Cawston (B Smooth), Bethanie Picerno w/ Thomas Vasicek (B Latin), Sabrina Strasser w/ Stanislav Kochergin (A Latin) and Lorraine Peoples w/ Andrei Gavriline (C Latin).

Today s filled with Junior and Youth Divisions.

Smooth but Hard!
LAS15-Mazenast night at the American Star Ball the professional events were quite tough to judge, in particular the Smooth, but all three of the main featured events were fabulous.

Mazen Hamza & Izabella were the easy winners with a huge majority of firsts in all dances, only one, two or three judges awarded them second or less in different dances. Their worst mark a third in the Viennese Waltz came from Marianne Nicole. Second overall went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft and they got the majority of seconds and only a few firsts and thirds.  Their worst marks came from Mireille Veilleux who awarded them 5,6,4,4. Third in every dance went to Michael Choi & Erin Marie and they took the majority of thirds with the exception of some high and low marks, their works marks came from Keith Todd who awarded them 6,5,6,5. Fourth were Vladimir & Vera Kosarev, fifth went to Adrian & Hannah Dydynski and sixth was awarded to Jean Paul & Lana Rossi. The smooth competition was excellent with great talent and quite a number of couples, with some very talented couples being left out of the final.



TAS15-Romanhe Open Professional Latin was also a terrific competition.  Here the easy winners for the majority of the judges were Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova and they placed first in every dance.  Their worst marks came from Joe Howard who awarded them all fourth place marks. Second overall was awarded to Stanishlav Savich & Nicole Prosser 2,2,3,2,2, for us it could have been a toss up between them and the third place couple Hayk Balasanyan & Emilia Poghosyan 3,3,2,3,3.  These two couples stood out from the moment the competition got under way and either of them stood a chance for this position. Fourth was awarded to Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko and they took fourth in every dance, leaving all fifths to Nikita Tsernov & Annie He Xiao. Sixth in all dances went to Jungie Zamora & Sheena Daminar.

ThAS15-Shanee Professional Open Showdance started the evening professional competitions and here there were four excellent couples, all showcasing unique numbers with great lift work and choreography. The winners overall were Shane & Shannon Jensen who won with a huge majority of firsts, only two of the 2 of the nine judges awarded them less, Didio Barrera who placed them third and Mirelle Veillleux who gave them a second. Second overall was Travis & Jaimee Tuft who took Mirelle’s first place mark with the rest of the judges awarding them second.  3rd were Canada’s Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva dancing their new “battle” number.  Only Didio Barrera awarded them a 1st.  4th were Jungie Zamora & Sheena Danimar.

There AS15-Shandorwere 2 rounds in the Pro RS Rhythm, a strong division.  Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov won all dances.  Jonathan Green & Rachel Neilson were 2nd in all and Kosta Trifunic & Domante Padleckaite were 3rd, 4,3,3,3,3.

The pro-ams danced 2 styles – Rhythm and Ballroom.  Winners of the open sAS15-Baby Showercholarships were: Chastity w/ Eddie Ares (Rhythm A);  Sophia D’Angelo w/ Martin Cawston (Rhythm C);  Gretchen Fenston w/ Michael Choi (Ballroom B);  Elena Lee w/ Emanuele Pappacena (Ballroom C). 

The end of the Thursday night "Nighclub" session turned into a baby shower for organizer, Amanda Reyzin, whose baby is due in just a few weeks.

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The Judges Are Wild!

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The judges last night at the Atlanta Open were in rare form when it came to laying down the marks, most notably in the Professional Rhythm category.

Atlanta ProRhythm

To us and the majority of the judges, Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova were the obvious winners by placing first Vlasovin all dances, with a majority in each dance. However, as usual there is always a judge that would not budge and this time it was Ms. Pat Traymore who could only offer them as their higher marks third in the swing and bolero, but in the rest of the dances she award fifth and fourth place marks. From then on the judges went wild, there were excellent finalist like Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti who did not even make the final cut!

Second overall in the Rhythm went to Shane & Shannon Jensen who  placed second in every dance, however, we must point out that their marks were more varied than those of Mikhail & Vanda.  They got some fifth and fourth, our very own representative Mr. Didio Barrera awarded them 4,4,4,4 and 5th.  Lucky for all as we pointed out yesterday, the system works and the majority ruled and Shane & Shannon were second overall. Third in this excellent heat of Rhythm dancing went to Ivan Dishliev & Marieta Nedyalkova who placed 3,4,4,3,3, last night they sported very simple outfits but their dancing as usual was very consistent and possibly worthy of a higher placement in a few dances.

Fourth was Andrei Abrashin & Maria Gavrylova 4,3,3,4,4, who we were quite surprised to see in the final, not that their dancing was not up to snuff but because there was so many other couples that could easily tempt the judges to go in another direction.  As we mentioned before, there were at least three other couples that we could easily see in this final. Fifth were Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov who placed 5,5,5,6,5.  This couple also have been placed higher at least in the mambo. And completing this final in sixth place were Shandor Shtefil & Alessandra who were perhaps one of our favorite couples in this final and who we could have also see higher up the ladder, they took 6,6,6,5,6.


The Professional International Latin was also a good heat and one that shook up things a little. It was a seven couple final and here the obvious winners by far were Dmitriy Nikishkin & Olena Shvets who placed first in every dance. From the moment this couple stepped on to the floor they were the audience’s favorite and the Shvetsjudges’ too.  This is really rare at a competition of this stature but Dmitri & Olena won every dance with perfect scores, not one single second or otherwise was awarded by any of the members of this panel. Second overall also without a surprise for us went to Jake Davis & Alona Kalinina placing second in every dance, we have to say that we feel this couple has made some excellent progress in the last couple of months and it is wonderful to see it being rewarded.

Third was Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko 3,3,4,3,3, fourth went to the Rising Star winners form the night before Felipe Gonzales & Darinka Divljak 5,4,5,4,4, fifth was Andre Strinadko & Ching Kao 4,6,3,5,7, as you can see the judges here were more than split! We also were a little, though here we thought Andre to be the best man on the floor but as a couple we are sure it would be hard to see where to put them in the scheme of things. Sixth were Aleksei Alekseev & Ekaterina Derevieva 6,5,7,7,5, and seventh was awarded to Kharyton & Anastasia Khomenko 7,7,6,6,6.


The Professional Ballroom was almost a repeat of the night before in the Rising Stars, except the easy winners were Igor Coloc & Roxanne Milotti placing first in every dance with perfect scores in four dances.  However, when it came to the foxtrot two judges were not convinced.  Linda Dean and Dennis Rogers awarded them second in this dance. Linda & Dennis’ first place marks went to the runners up Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson who placed second in every dance with a majority of second placed marks as well. Third was Khryton & Anastasia Khomenko 4,3,3,3,3. Fourth were Dumitru & Cristina Turcan 3,4,4,5,4, fifth went to Aleksandr & Aida Skripsova 5,5,5,4,5, and sixth was Sergey Izyumov & Ellen Porter plaicn sixth in all dances.

Atlanta proSmooth

The Professional Smooth was also an excellent heat.  Here Michael Choi & Erin Marie took first in every dance also with a huge majority of firsts from the judges, but as always there is a dissenting judge, in this case there were 2, Eulia Baranovsky who awarded them 3rd in every dance, but their worst marks came from Maria ChoiHansen who awarded them 4,5,4,5, quite low compared to the other minds in the room.  Second place in every dance went to the Rising Star winners from the night before Adrian & Hannah Dydynski and their worst marks came from Pat Traymore who awarded them 6,4,5,6. Third were Mark Short & Alyssa Kark, here we thought they could have easily placed second in a number of dances, their look is a little mature and did not help their cause but their dancing for us was as good or sometimes better than the second place winners.

Fourth was awarded to Mykyta Serdyuk & Anna Krasnoshapka 4,5,4,4, fifth went to Christopher Germain & Mila Popovich 5,4,5T,5, and sixth was Maksym Lototskyy & Sara Haworth 6,6,5T,5.

The Professional Showdance was the last heat to go on at the Atlanta Open and it sure was worth waiting for.  Shane & Shannon Jensen stole the show and took the prize home.  Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti were second. Third was Alfie Perratta & Sloan Cobb, fourth went to Tim Polaschek & Katherine Hutchinson, and fifth were Aaron Stowell & Rebecca Berryhill.

My congratulations to the organizers for putting such a clean cut non-rushed competition.  The hotel is brilliant with plenty of room and accommodations for everyone’s needs. The tower I requested is very private and allowed for total relaxation.  The bar and restaurants were excellent with great service, giving everyone a choice. The city of Atlanta has been known for their southern hospitality and this was a perfect example.           

Rising Stars at Atlanta Open

LAO15-Atlanta Ballroomast night at the Atlanta Open was a night of Rising Stars, all events had a minimum of four couples and both the American style Rhythm and Smooth had healthy semifinals.

The weakest link in entries and in quality was the Professional Rising Star Ballroom this five couple final should we say was a “one man” and a “walk in the park” for Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson who won all dances with the majority of firsts from the judges.  Second went to Kharyton & Anastasia Khomenko who had the most innovative choreography especially in the tango where perhaps some of their moves cost them their second place finish in that dance. Third overall went to Dumitru & Cristina Turcan and they took the second away from Khariton & Anastasia.

TAO15-Atlanta Rhythmhe Rising Star Rhythm was also a walk in the park for Shandor Shtefil & Alessandra who won all dances with the majority of firsts.  However, for us it was not as clear as the Ballroom.  We though that runners up Eddie Rivera & Meghan McNash could have taken a few dances specially the C,R,Sw. When you look on paper Shandor & Alessandra were the clear winners in the Mambo with perfect scores not one single second place awarded and the bolero were they only got one third place mark, and that was form Melanie LaPatin. Third overall was Jonathan Green & Rachel Neilson.

The smallest heat was the professional Latin and here the clear winners for us but not for the judges were Felipe Gonzalez & Darinka Divijak who won three dances to two 1,2,2,1,1. Overall we found Felipe & DaAO15-AtlantaLatin lineuprinka to be not only correct in their field but quite unique and interesting.  However, we were also quite surprised when the announced the runners up as Aleksei Alekseev & Ekaterina Derevleva who won the samba and rumba and placed second in the other three dances. We say surprised because for us they could have been third, but like Mr. Sodano says, this proves that the skating system works.  Judges mark where they see it and in the end the system works it out. Third were Kahryton & Anastasia Khomenko.

For AO15-AtlantaDydynskius the Smooth was the best competition of the night and here we had a seven couple final from a very healthy semifinal. This competition went clearly to Adrian & Hannah Dydynski and they won all dances. Second was awarded to Mykyta Serdyuk & Anna Krasnoshapka 2,2,3,2 and third went to Christopher German & Mila Popovich 3,3,2,3.

This was a perfect ending to a terrific day of competition at the Atlanta Open.        

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