Open Amateur Standard

Heather Smith Veyrasset
Jun 15, 2001
What a fabulous Amateur event this Emerald Ball was, the whole 4 days was an unbelievable experience with over 10,000 entries, it was a record breaking year.

This year?s Amateur event started out with 34 couples and lasted 4 rounds. The finalists were as follows.

6th place- 6,6,5,4,6 Arturas Narbutas & Iveta Lukosiute. They danced a much stronger final than the previous 3 rounds, in the earlier rounds my impression was that it was very introverted, and lacked expression. Arturas actually is one of the strongest male dancers out there in the amateur field right now, his relaxed lowering and oily joints allow him to move effortlessly from foot to foot, unfortunately I feel Iveta pulls back through the upper torso which locks her whole spine, so this restricts her from being flexible and moving around her sternum. If the lady can learn to release the spine and bring her elbows forward a touch, this couple will challenge for a higher place.

5th place- 5,5,6,5,4 Alex Fung & Leine Apale. This is a fairly new partnership that is still developing, but is already showing positive signs. Leine?s posture is getting better but still looks a little braced and fixed which creates a hard look through the frame. Alex has always been a very powerful grounded dancer but tonight I feel his hips lacked the freedom in his swing dances especially in the Waltz and Foxtrot, what is interesting is you can see activity coming from his body but I don?t feel it is created from the weight and use of his base.

4th place- 4,3,4,6,5 Egor Abashkin & Katia Kanevskaya. I really enjoyed this couple tonight and what a great balanced partnership this is. This guy is a little powerhouse with an unbelievable abundance of energy, almost to the point where his center balance of weight actually sneaked across into the lady?s space, take care Egor and be aware of your individual spacing. What impressed me the most was the committed use of the body weight along with the beautiful articulate feet and ankles, especially in the Waltz . The only distraction I had was from Katia on a couple of the picture lines, and it was basically on some of the recoveries; her neck often would break or recover in a roll which would shorten the look of her neck. I do have to say though I love a committed active dancer, so keep up the good work and take care on certain lines.

3rd place- 3,4,3,3,3 Alesandre Chalkevitch & Larissa Kerbel. A well matched couple who danced consistently every round. I loved this couple?s body flight through all of the swing dances, I was particularly impressed with V waltz, Alesandre had excellent leg division when driving his forward action from 3 to 1, he also paid close attention to his direction when closing his feet from 2 to 3. I feel today, so many men pull their ladies off their feet, by turning and rotating backwards, not allowing their partners to dance the direction of the inside of turn which has been directed to them. I think this couple will have a great future.

2nd place- 22222 Gherman Mustac & Andrea Hale. This couple seem to grow and develop on every outing, they danced very well tonight in the final and even more so in the semi- final. Gherman has a great looking back which always looks alert and attentive; the thing I feel the most when I watch this couple is I would love to see a more 3 dimensional look. The forward plane and turn plane seem very obvious but I would love to see the sway plane used more. Andrea, is a beautiful lady who is elegant and groomed from head to toe, I feel though that with a little activity on the outside of turns especially through the lower back and top, this partnership can only move forward. The weakest dance tonight was VWaltz.

1st place- 11111 Victor Fung & Eve Pauksena. Once again we have a super male dancer who always takes to the floor from round one as a champion. Victor has a presence and a commitment when he moves across the floor that just draws your attention to him, with his unique shoulders he is hard to miss. So many of the men today, hold their center of gravity too high, thus lifting their elbows which pulls their partners weight balance away from the floor, which means they never have an opportunity to have good legs and feet. I think this partnership will continue to grow if again the sway and turn plane could be used and activated more. Eve is a very sound technical lady dancer, who has a fabulous understanding of movement from foot to foot, the area that I feel they could develop further, would be their ability to create more volume in their upper bodies, which would create a better counter force of weight, especially in continuous rotary figures. Congratulations to all the competitors for a wonderful competition.

Heather Smith Veyrasset is a former undefeated U.S. Professional Standard Champion, North American and Asian Pacific Champion. She is a world respected coach and adjudicator.