The day came: Manhattan Dancesport!

Happy Friday, ballroom dancers! If you’re happy that it’s Friday, put your hands up!

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Haha!

Well, obviously, Manhattan Dancesport was two weeks ago, but I wanted to kind of soak everything in for a time.

Also, allow me to finally introduce myself!

My name is Annelis. That’s Anna-lees. This is what I look like.

So, let me tell you all about everything.

2017 Manhattan Dance Championships

I had my hair done Friday night with Boyko & Co. My appointment was for 7:40 originally, but they asked me to come back an hour later, because they were running a bit behind, and they had some dancers in the room who were going to be dancing right away. I wanted to do a half-up, half-down, since I’m really into my hair and like to throw it around when I dance. I also wanted to go for sort of an Amazon princess look (because I’ve had a Wonder Woman obsession for well over a decade) but forgot to get a hairpiece, so I wanted to have pieces of hair in kind of a crown on my face.

I went out for a bit and when I came back an hour later, I was sitting on the couch in the room and who walks in but LIANA CHURILOVA! I thought I would faint. I really wanted to say hello, but wasn’t sure if she recognized me without Matt next to me. Anyway, I had a young lady named Jenny doing my hair. Boyko was very sweet, he came over and asked what I was going for, and then gave Jenny some instructions on how to get the look I wanted. The upside of having my appointment pushed back was that I was now the last appointment of the night, so she took her time doing my hair.

I learned that having your hair sprayed THAT much from THAT close is a very strange sensation.

After that, Matt arrived and we practiced. It was so exciting. Pro Latin was going on that night and you could hear the music and all the audience members cheering. I hadn’t been to a competition in months (and before that, in years), let alone actively participated in one. I love walking in and seeing all the vendors with the jewelry and shoes and costumes and all the people!

Not that it matters, but Ina Jeliazkova was also in the room, giving a paso coaching to Andrey Voloshko and Kateryna Kyrylenko, a couple I really like. Ina’s an intense coach. More than that, the lines she creates are absolutely insane.

The downside here was that, starting the Monday the week of the competition, I’d been having crazy pains in my lower back. I couldn’t work out the whole week of the comp and sometimes, I could barely stand up, so I spent my entire week walking around hunched over, wearing icy hot patches and taking ibuprofen. So this practice session did aggravate it just an iota, but it wasn’t bad at all in comparison to other days.

I went home and barely slept at all, then got up super early to go to my 6:40 AM makeup appointment. Public transportation was absolutely not working in my favor, so I ended up having to take a cab from Union Square, which actually got me to the Marriott right in time. Only thing is, no one was even in the room except Boyko. His assistants arrived about fifteen minutes after I did, so I was upset at myself for rushing.

Well, Tessa did my makeup and did an absolutely beautiful job. I asked for a double wing and red lip, which she executed perfectly. I myself work as a makeup artist – I could have done it myself, but I wanted to see what people who specialize in ballroom makeup do differently. And I will say this – makeup artists, for the most part, make terrible clients, but I don’t! So it’s not like I was looking for anything to be upset about, but I most definitely did inspect my face after I left the room. The makeup job was really stunning.

The only thing I didn’t like was that the brushes weren’t clean and the makeup that wasn’t in powder form was applied directly to my face without being wiped or sanitized. I absolutely understand there is a time crunch and there may not be time to clean the brushes and makeup in between clients, but that is very risky. Someone can easily get a reaction. I later saw Natasha Barrera, who I went to makeup school with, and we talked about that. She said the biggest reason she went to school for it was because she saw this entirely too often in the ballroom world and wanted to learn kind of the protocol of hygiene.

But I didn’t have a reaction and everything looked beautiful, so it’s all good!

I went and put my dress on, threw my Wonder Woman sweater on, and went to warm up with Matt. We went through our routines in the practice room a few times, then went into the ballroom. We ran through our routines in the corner nonstop until I saw my friends arrive. Six of my friends schlepped out to Brooklyn Heights at 9AM to come see me dance 🙂 I introduced them to Matt, then he took me away again for more run-throughs.

Then it was time to dance. I was waiting on deck with Matt, telling him “I’m ready to do some DAMAGE!”

We also said hi to Nikita Malakhov, who was dancing in the same heat with a student. He used to work at the same studio Matt did back in the day (Dance With Me), but in the Long Island location, while Matt worked in Jersey. I’d first met Nik probably six years ago. He’s a really cool guy, so talented, and I’m thrilled with the direction his career has taken.

And then Matt grabbed my hand and led me onto the dance floor. And we just danced. I couldn’t stop smiling because a seven-year dream of mine finally came true.

Matt led me off the floor and I hung out with my friends for a bit. They all gushed over me. “You looked so good”, “you did amazing”, which was just weird. My friends are fantastic human beings and we all treat each other with the utmost respect, but I’m a New Yorker; people being nice to me is not something I’m used to. They told me I had two things going on that the other dancers didn’t: attack and I looked like I was having fun.

Here’s a picture during my first round by Charles Ryder:

2017 Manhattan Dance Championships, (c) Charles Ryder Photography

2017 Manhattan Dance Championships, (c) Charles Ryder Photography

That was actually something that a lot of people commented to me throughout the day. I told everyone the same thing: there’s nothing about my technique that I would be able to fix on the day of, so I will just dance and enjoy it!

I ran into John DePalma on the elevator. I smiled at him politely and he smiled wide and complimented me, saying I danced nicely and not at all like it was my first comp.

I sat around for a bit and when awards came, I got three third places (cha cha, samba, and rumba, 4th in jive). My friends cheered, which was, again, weird but appreciated. Then I changed and we went to go get lunch at Shake Shack. My friend Danny told me he was starving because he was so nervous on my behalf this morning that he got nauseous and couldn’t eat (LOL).

When I came back, I bought a robe from AIDA (I’d been wanting one for months!) and put my dress back on, the schedule went weird. They were running behind. Matt said it’d be at least another half hour before we danced, so I did a lap. I was gone for maybe 10 minutes, but when I came back, Matt tells me, “We’re up next”.

What!

We went straight onto the floor for the scholarship round. Obviously there was no time for a warmup and I felt like I was not dancing as sharply. But what are you gonna do? Can’t take it back!

My friends said that my second round was better than my first, so I don’t know. I ended up getting sixth in the scholarship round. I was disappointed, but Matt told me several reasons I shouldn’t be, one of them being that I was dancing against a lot of seasoned competitors.

I guess.

I meant to go watch Matt dance in the night session with his new pro partner, but ended up not making it. Around 9 or 10 o’clock, I packed my stuff up and went home. I was definitely intending on going around to some vendors and checking their stuff out, but didn’t even do that. I was way too tired.

So that was my day at Manhattan Dancesport. I had a fantastic time.

I later checked out my scoresheets and saw that my highest scores were in Samba and, usually, Cha Cha. Matt already knows what we have to work on and, of course, I trust him and the journey. I’m ready to put the work in and turn those third and sixth places into firsts!

Thanks for being here, dancers! Nice to meet you and we’ll talk soon!

Blackpool, Lesson 10, and the Rediscovery of Breathing

Happy Tuesday, ballroom dancers! Did everyone have a beautiful Blackpool weekend?

How amazing were those finals?! We’ll talk about those in a second.

So, last week I had lesson ten with Matt. He’s mean and said he was going to do the following, but I was hoping he’d forgotten: we’d dance our round backwards. What that means is we’d start with jive, then dance rumba, then samba, then cha cha.

The only thing is, he perused our jive routine and marked it twice, adding some things along the way. THEN we danced it full-out three times.

My teacher has way too much energy. By the third time through the jive, I was pretty winded and my feet were killing me, which was only exacerbated by the rumba and the samba after.

The sad thing is, I’d always thought I was pretty decent in cha cha, but I’ve learned it’s my weakest dance; I kind of blur all the counts together so you can’t really tell what dance it is -_-

On the up hand, I’ve started running and although I hate it, I’ve learned something already: I’ve forgotten to breathe when I dance. I went through the DanceComp Review archives and happened to find this article: BREATHING in Ballroom Dance. It actually was really helpful – when I run, I find I actually have significantly better endurance when I breathe through my nose the whole time. I know when you’re out of breath, you tend to begin to pant and it definitely sounds counterintuitive to breathe through your nose, but it works.

So, Blackpool!

Riccardo and Yulia won Pro Latin!

Riccardo & Yulia, Blackpool 2017 Pro Latin Champions

Stefano and Dasha were runners-up. Dorin Frecautanu & Marina Sergeeva, in their debut as pros, came in third.

OOOOH, also, Riccardo and Yulia got married in Italy yesterday!

They look so happy! I hope they have a lifetime full of bliss together.

Pro Ballroom was one of my favorite moments ever. Victor Fung and Anastasia Muravyeva, my favorite ballroom couple, won it!

Victor & Anastasia, Blackpool 2017 Pro Ballroom Champions

It was a really beautiful moment to behold. Victor shot out onto the floor and then collapsed, and Anastasia ran out to him. He and Anastasia had a very private moment in front of all these people, and I feel kind of honored to have been able to see it.

Amateur Latin was also won by an American couple, Fernando Iannaccone & Yulia Musikhina, won this. What made this final even better, and I feel like I’m not alone in thinking this because there’s been a huge outpouring of love over this all around the internet, is that Austin Joson and Nino Dzneladze made this final – and not only that, they placed fifth! It’s amazing and well deserved – they are both incredibly talented and work very hard.

Okay, okay. I have a lesson tonight and have a couple things I need to get done before that. I leave you with this video of Justinas and Anna’s incredible rumba show at Blackpool:

Lesson 9: Posture (again). And American Style at Blackpool!

Happy Tuesday, ballroom dancers!

Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! I ate a lot. Since Manhattan Dancesport is in just over a month, I’ve been trying to cut back on snacking so much. That kind of got shot this weekend, but now I’m back on it!

Well, I have a lesson tonight, and I’m trying to get a few more things done around here in the meantime before I get ready to go.

So in my last lesson, I thought we were just going to do run-throughs. Which did happen. Except I somehow ended up with three pages of notes on three dances. Mostly on cha cha, I think. Matt’s noticed that when I dance cha cha and rumba, they almost look identical. That’s led us to focusing on the counts in those two dances.

However, I am having a lot of trouble remembering what happens when. Now I understand why kids are so on the 2/3 count all the time.

Then we did samba. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but I’ve always been told samba is “my dance”. I’m trying to make it dirtier, because every time I hear certain samba beats (especially in a reggaeton song, for instance), I remember that samba is ugly and what makes it look good is the positioning of the feet.

Except then what? Matt hits me with “POSTURE!” When I responded with a very confused expression, he told me to do rumba walks. I took barely two steps before he yelled “NOT ENOUGH, YOUR POSTURE’S FLAT! Come back here.”

So he illustrated. Now I’m having to pull my shoulder blades together in ways I haven’t done since I was pole dancing all the time. Kind of like Karina here.

Karina Smirnoff

I didn’t think I was doing it right until Matt said “it should feel like your arms are always behind you”. Even then, I still thought I was wrong. “My back automatically overarches,” I told him. “That’s normal. When you watch the ladies dance, you know you always see them dancing the back and silhouetting.”

Actually, when I did a class at Dance With Me with the crown prince of ballroom dance, Mark Ballas, he said the same thing. He said it’s great to be super animated in the face, but it’s extremely important to really dance your back, because when your back is to the judges, obviously they won’t be able to see your face. I think he actually said you can use your back to emote.

I should try to check on that.

So real quick, let’s talk about American style results at Blackpool!

American Smooth Results, Blackpool 2017

1. Nick Cheremukhin & Viktoriya
2. Travis & Jaimee Tuft
3. Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Seliverstova
4. Kyle & Allie Spinder
5. Genya Malko & Anna Shahbazyan
6. Mariusz Zakrzewski & Lynnsay Ray

I know it’s really nothing new, but I’m pretty happy with this result because Travis and Jaimee Tuft are hands-down my favorite Smooth couple.

American Rhythm Results, Blackpool 2017

1. Andre & Natalie Paramonov
2. Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin
3. Dmytro Gurkov & Snow Urbin
4. Aaron & Iryna DeSoto
5. Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti
6. Shandor Shtefil & Alexandra Barsukova

I’m not as emotionally invested as when Emmanuel and Liana were around, but I’m cool with these results, too. I really like Dmitry and Olena and Aaron and Iryna. But I have to wonder why Nazar and Irina, Shane and Shannon Jensen, and Vard Margaryan weren’t there.

Also, the Professional Rising Star Latin is worth mentioning. Pasha and Daniella won it again (!!) and Alexey and Vlada Karaulov (now dancing for Canada) came in runners-up. Nikita Malakhov and Nadezda Vlasova placed sixth (AMAZING), and Sasha Altukhov and Cheyenne Murillo came in 7th. Oh, and Vitaliy Proskurin & Natalia Barantseva rounded out the top 12.

It’s all so exciting! Nikita was a friend and I remember when I first met him at the Dance With Me’s first ever interstudio comp, back when they only had SoHo, New Jersey, and Long Island. I thought he was so charismatic and talented! And look at him now! Pasha and Daniella were also always one of my favorite couples, since I first saw them as ten dancers at Manhattan Dancesport in 2011 (when they placed third in both styles!). I knew they’d kick butt whenever they turned pro, and I’m so glad it’s working out for them!

Well, dancers, I’ll get back to you. Gotta get ready for Matt now! So excited!

Lesson One(?): Look There!

Hello, ballroom dancers!

Look who is risen from the dead. (Hint: me!)

Yes, it has been a long time. I went through a pretty crazy year in 2016. If I’m completely honest, it was a year of complete upheaval and chaos. Nothing horrible happened. It just happened to be a time of a lot of ups and downs, not to mention complete instability, but at the same time, unbelievable happiness.

So due to that, I took another very long break from dancing. I practiced here and there. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten almost the entire Latin syllabus.

I contacted Matt, my magnificent teacher, a couple weeks ago, and said, let’s dance together. He called me and we talked…so he asked about Manhattan.

As in Manhattan Dancesport.

“Want to aim for that?” he asked.

I answered in a very measured fashion: “Manhattan! Are you INSANE?! YES!!!

I’ve been wanting to do Manhattan Dancesport since 2011. I just started dancing, taking mostly group classes, in 2010, and the Manhattan Dancesport Championships was the first real competition I’d ever been to. That was where I first saw the likes of Riccardo and Yulia and Emmanuel and Liana. Both were couples I instantly fell in love with. So you can imagine…finally dancing in this competition would mean I’ve reached a level I’ve been dreaming of for years.

Anyway, a couple weeks passed because it was difficult to coordinate our schedules, but we finally were able to schedule a lesson!

I confess, I didn’t practice at all beforehand. I didn’t go through the iPhone notes where I had my routines written down. I didn’t even stretch before he arrived.

Even worse, I lost my dance notebook. The one I’ve been keeping for six years where I had notes from lessons with Val and Dasha and workshops with Riccardo and Yulia, Maurizio Vescovo, and even Mark Ballas, to start. I’ll be upset with myself for that for a long time.

My teacher is evil (not even a little bit), so for some reason he started me off with rumba. Like, why would you do that? My body was so unaccustomed to the strains of rumba that I started pouring sweat literally after doing the first three steps of my routine, which, incidentally, happened to be unnecessarily long, so he chopped a lot of it.

He then exclaimed, “Okay. Samba!” and went through our samba routine, which made me feel not as stupid. I put on “Piensas” by Pitbull and Gente De Zona because my muscle memory is SET to that song. See, samba was fun. Rumba hurt my ego significantly.

There wasn’t a lot to write about in this particular lesson, just getting reacquainted, except for this one thing.

Matt told me he spent a lot of last year judging and, during this time, he noticed that there were some dancers that had terrible technique, but their dancing actually was brought up a few levels because they had focus. He was telling me what to do when I was dancing (“Look there! KEEP IT! Now at me!”), but I didn’t quite get it until he demonstrated by samba-ing around me. Then it made sense.

Stefano Di Filippo and Dasha Chesnokova

Stefano Di Filippo and Dasha Chesnokova

DIRECTIONALITY! Knowing where you’re going. Having the points you’re looking at. And guess what happened when I did that.

MY ANKLES STOPPED SHAKING.

Look, I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if I naturally have terrible balance, or if I have weak ankles, or whatever else, but I just tend to fall around a lot when doing rumba. I stopped falling. It was life-changing. At least for me.

So, I also hit the New York Dance Festival a week later. I went super late, so I only caught the finals of the Pro Smooth and Latin, but it was so worth it. I’d never been to NYDF and the energy was simply incredible. Having multiple viewing levels in the ballroom didn’t hurt, either.

Pro Smooth was a lot of fun, but I personally have a really hard time watching any couple that isn’t Travis and Jaimee Tuft. I absolutely adore them.

Travis and Jaimee Tuft, 3rd place at the 2017 New York Dance Festival Pro Smooth

Pro Latin was a real treat, in part because I remember Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach and Anastasiya Danilova when they were amateur dancers. In fact, I first saw Pasha and Daniella at Manhattan Dancesport! (They placed third in both Latin and Ballroom in the Amateur divisions that year.) Nastia, I actually met when she was a teacher at Dance With Me! I’m in awe when I watch her dance – she has the strongest core I’ve ever seen. In addition, I instantly took to Mikhaylo Bilopukhov and Anastasiya Shchypilina when they first started dancing in the US. They’re so fun and charismatic.

2017 New York Dance Festival Pro Latin Finalists

2017 New York Dance Festival Pro Latin Finalists

Okay, okay. Must be off! I’m actually just on my way to this week’s lesson with Matt!

Also, Slavik Kryklyvyy was judging Pro Smooth. I can prove it, I took pictures.

The 2016 UK Open

Hello, dancers! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I know it’s been such a long time! I’m at a transition period…I just moved out of my parents’ house! I now live in downtown Manhattan and feel so incredibly fortunate. I’m probably more quiet about it than I should be because I can’t believe this is my life now!

Anyway, so we’re here to talk about the UK Open. Here we go!

So the USA didn’t have anyone in the Amateur Ballroom final. We had Andres & Veronika End and Oskar Wojciechowski & Karolina Holody in the semi, though, so that’s something!

Amateur Latin
(1) Nikita Brovko & Olga Umurova (RUS)
(2) Ferdinando Iannaccone & Yulia Musikhina (USA) (yay!)
(3) Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva (DEN)
(4) Klemen Prasnikar & Alexandra Averkieva (SLO)
(5) Manuel Frighetto & Karin Rooba (EST)
(6) Damir Haluzan & Anna Mashchyts (SLO)

Also in the Amateur Latin semi, we  had three of who I think are our best couples: Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina (9th place), Austin Joson & Nino Dzneladze (11th), and Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach (Pashkova? Anyway, 14th place. Two couples were tied for 9th and 12th place each).

Oh, Pro Rising Star Latin is also worth mentioning! It was won by English couple Arkedy Bakenov & Rosa Filippello. However, coming in second was our Francesco Bertini & Sabrina Manzi. (Really like that couple!) Right behind them in 3rd were Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova, which is so great for them. I knew Nik a little bit and I’ve always liked his dancing – and he’s a really cool guy.

Also, Alexander Altukhov & Cheyenne Murrillo were next into the Rising Star Latin final at 7th place, with Evgeni Likhachev & Maria Levina in 8th. Pretty impressive.

I almost forgot to look at Pro Rising Star Ballroom – this one was won by American couple Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova! I used to see Vladislav all the time back in the day when I spent time dancing at Manhattan Ballroom. Great-looking guy, that one. Oh, 11th place was taken by USA couple Nazar Batih & Mariko Cantley.

Pro Ballroom
(1) Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova (USA)
(2) Victor Fung & Anastasiya Muravyeva (USA)
(3) Andrea Ghigiarelli & Sara Andracchio (ENG)
(4) Domen Krapez & Natasha Karabey (GER)
(5) Valerio Colantoni & Monica Nigro (ITA)
(6) Chao Yang & Yiling Tan (CHI)

USA also had Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk next into the final at 7th.

Not that it matters, but Anastasiya had the most beautiful black and white gown with a red accent in the final! Gorgeous. And Chao & Yiling are a great-looking couple.

And now for the long-awaited Pro Latin!!! This is a pretty interesting mix.
(1) Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko (USA) (FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!)
(2) Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite (CAN)
(3) Stefano di Filippo & Daria Chesnokova (USA)
(4) Evgeni Smagin & Polina Kazatchenko (RUS)
(5) Neil Jones & Ekaterina Jones (Sokolova) (ENG)
(6) Dorin Frecautanu & Marina Sergeeva (MOL)

Also, we had some other fantastic couples in the semi – Nino Langella & Anna Melnikova  from Italy were 8th (not American, but I love Anna). And then 9th place went to Justinas Duknauskas with my favorite blonde bombshell, Anna Kovalova! I think this is her best result yet!

I felt like Neil and Katya’s solo presentation was worth mentioning – I have no idea how she did this with her dress, but it was awesome! From Instagram user al_pavlova.

A post shared by Alena Pavlova (@al_pavlova) on

The second dress is super sexy!

It feels like we’ve all been waiting so long for Riccardo and Yulia to win! I found this awesome picture from Instagram user natasha_1412 of their jive honor dance. What a great moment!

Riccardo & Yulia 2016 UK Open Honor Dance (c) natasha_1412

Riccardo & Yulia 2016 UK Open Honor Dance (c) natasha_1412

There’s also a new pro Rising Star Latin couple in the making that I’m super excited about. I don’t know if I’m supposed to say anything just yet, but I’m keeping my mouth shut for now!

OH! Happy birthday to Maurizio Vescovo! I hear he’s a very colorful person. Having seen him dance, I’m unsurprised.

Have the day off today…so I guess I’ll go practice in the yoga studio downstairs 🙂

Disney 2015 and Kyiv Open: Slavik & Karina back together!

Hi dancers! Happy December!

It’s been a long time, huh? It’s very sad. But there’s no dancing on TV and I’m still having to take a break from dancing, which is depressing. But I’ll most likely do a lesson next week! The downside is Matt will probably kill me because I haven’t been practicing *hides*

Anyway, this will just be a quick post to update you on the goings-on in dancesport.

So, the Paris Worlds happened last week, AKA WDC AL Disney 2015. I don’t even know which is its actual name. I saw footage all over Instagram, but I can’t for the life of me remember where I found it. On the up side, Marius Mutin’s YouTube has links to tons of videos from the event. I won’t list all the results, just some “highlights”.

Pro Latin was, shockingly, won by Riccardo and Yulia.

Riccardo & Yulia, Disney 2015

Isn’t Yulia’s dress so pretty? You can see their final round cha cha and jive are on Marius Mutin’s YouTube, as well as their showdance paso and jive. Yulia is more stunning every time I see her and I absolutely adore her smile! I love Riccardo and Yulia together because I never see couples having fun on the floor when they’re competing at this level. They’re one of the only ones. Emmanuel and Liana are probably the only other.

Maurizio and Andra placed second. Here’s their final rumba and then their samba showdance!

Also, I don’t know why this excites me so much, but Nino Langella and Anna Melnikova made the final and placed 6th! Here’s their final samba.

Pro Ballroom was won by English couple Andrea Ghigiarelli and Sara Andracchio. Second place was taken by American couple Marat Gimaev and Alina Basyuk.

There were no American couples in the Amateur Ballroom final, sadly.

Tal Livshitz and Ilana Keselman were the highest-placing US couple in the Amateur Latin at 4th – you can see their final jive here. Following them were Denys Drozdyuk and Antonina Skobina – here’s their samba. Austin Joson and Nino Dzneladze placed 7th. I highly suggest you watch this video of their rumba. Poetry in motion. They not only made the final in the rumba, but placed 5th! I’m looking forward to seeing more from this couple.

Also, the Cup Amateur Latin was won by American couple Tagyr Mansurov & Alexandra Kondrashova. I’ll be completely honest, I have no idea what that means.

Anyway, the real reason you’re here, I’m sure, is to check out the reunion of Slavik Kryklyvyy and Karina Smirnoff at the Kyiv Open last week! I guess they taught. Isn’t this a great picture?

Slavik & Karina (c) al_pavlova Instagram

I won’t bore you anymore – here’s the materials!

Their cha cha. I know Karina isn’t super tall and is actually pretty average height, but I’ll be spending my entire life trying to make my legs look like hers. They look super long and her leg action is just something else. I can’t even find the words to describe it.

Their rumba. Just gorgeous.

The brilliant paso showdance. Amazing.

I know it’ll never happen given all the things that are going on with them, but a large part of me wishes they’d do a competition or two nowadays. Just to see what would happen!

What do you think?

International Championships 2015 and Slavik & Karina

Howdy, ballroom dancers!

I’ve had a really productive day so I wanted to finish it off with posting one of the blog entries I promised. And since I think it’d be corny to write about Dancing With the Stars two entries – let alone two days – in a row, the 2015 International Championships it is.

Sadly, I’m unable to find a ton of media from the competition. I’ve spent the past half hour just looking for photos of the finalist lineups and have barely been able to find any media at all!

Here’s some of the tiny bit of media I found for you! First, the final rumba. I love how the Italian men are so romantic!

So, onto the results!

Pro Latin
(1) Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko (USA)
(2) Mauricio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite (Canada)
(3) Stefano di Filippo & Daria Chesnokova (USA)
(4) Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova (Denmark)
(5) Evgeniy Smagin & Polina Kazachenko (Russia)
(6) Neil Jones & Ekaterina Jones (England)

Here’s the other really nice one I found – Riccardo and Yulia’s honor dance!

Pro Ballroom
(1) Arunas Bizkoas & Katusha Demidova (USA)
(2) Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva (USA)
(3) Andrea Ghigiarelli & Sara Andracchio (England)
(4) Valerio Colantoni & Monica Nigro (Italy)
(5) Domen Krapez & Natascha Karabey (Germany)
(6) Alexander Zhiratkov & Irina Novozhilova (Russia)

Amateur Latin
(1) Nikita Brovko & Olga Urumova (Russia)
(2) Morten Low & Roxy (Denmark)
(3) Fernando Iannaccone & Yulia Musikhina (USA)
(4) Klemen Prasnikar & Alexander Averkieva (Slovenia)
(5) Manuel Frighetto & Karin Rooba (Estonia)
(6) Damir Haluzan & Anna Mashchyts (Slovenia)

Amateur Ballroom
(1) Sergiu Rusu & Dorota Makar (Poland)
(2) He Chong & Shan Jing (China)
(3) Lukasz Tomczak & Aleksandra Jurczak (Poland)
(4) Diego Arias Prado & Ekaterina Ermolina (Russia)
(5) Kyle Taylor & Izabela Skierska (England)
(6) Fedor Isaev & Anna Zudilina (Russia)

I don’t really keep up with Ballroom as much as I should, but OUCH that the USA had no amateur international finalists.

On another hand, I’m intrigued by Manuel and Karin’s placing 5th in amateur Latin. I remember an Embassy Ball a few years back (I want to say it was 2012) where that same couple entered and placed 5th behind the likes of Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach and Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina. Not to put down Manuel and Karen’s result here, but given the previous evidence, I’m guessing that not a ton of amateur couples went to this competition?

I also somehow feel the pro Latin field looks so much different even from just a year ago! Last year, the champions were Michael Malitowski and Joanna Leunis, Riccardo and Yulia were second, and Stefano and Dasha were fifth. It is, however, so exciting to me that new couples are coming up!

Speaking of new couples, I’m going to jump over to the other end of the spectrum and show you an old couple that we all love. We’ve found out from her instagram that Slavik and Karina are working together again! I’m guessing they’re practicing for some new shows. In succession, a cha cha, samba, and paso!

I thought their showdances at the Kremlin Cup were beautiful, so I can’t wait to see the legendary shows that come out of this go-around! Are you as excited as I am?!