Open Amateur Latin

Forrest Vance
Jul 15, 2002
It was an exciting night. Twenty-Six couples in two heats took to the floor before a very enthusiastic audience who cheered on every beautiful woman and handsome young man - all groomed to max as they spun, kicked, wiggled and danced their way to the final.

Semifinalists who did not make the final were: Nicholas Harwood & Autumn Delgrosso - a little light in the feet, but showing great potential. Arturas nabutas & Iveta Lukosuite - need to be sharper in their attack. Jason Turner & Lila Lee - beautiful couple, need more speed and have weak connections. Hunter Stephens & Natasha Bitters - a little slow and very light in the feet. Yuriy Timen & Katya Nenaydskh - fast and sharp, must have been close to the final. Vova Misnankin & Sueta Zlochevskaya - a very good boy. I'd like to see more push and power from the girl.

Now to the final:
6th place: Gherman Mustuc & Andrea Hale. They looked a little slow, were not snappy enough and lacked attack. However, there was a nice, strong look from the man and a beautiful woman making them a very nice couple.

5th place: Paul Barris & Melanie Henderson. They are a beautiful couple, although sometimes a little too casual and missing accents. The paso doble was the weakest dance, but they revived with great energy in the jive. The man was a little stiff in the back.

4th place: Tony Pututau & Shala Parrish. They need a little more emotional connection with one another. Paso doble leg actions need to be stronger.

3rd place: Vesa Hietala & Cheryl Burke. They were strong and solid. More foot pressure is needed generally and the and the man needs to watch his shoulders which are too high.

2nd place: Alec Mazo & Edyta Sliwinska. This couple is truly striking. Sometimes there is a little too much posing in samba and rumba and they appeared to be running out of energy in paso doble.

1st place: Kevin King & Olga Rodinova. They were my favorites tonight from round one. It was not a great hair day for Olga and there were a few balance problems in rumba. Still, they had great speed and passion for the dancing and each other. I love this couple, but would prefer the soft hair, Olga! Congratulations to all.

Forrest Vance is a five-time U.S. Professional American Rhythm Champion and a busy coach, adjudicator and teacher.