Open Professional American Rhythm

Forrest Vance
Jun 30, 2003

Above photo of Edgar Osorio & Lori Putnins courtesy of Park West Photography

Well, this was a very exciting event! It by far had the highest quality of American Latin seen in quite a time. There were four rounds and I must say it was hard to pick the twelve. I knew the first four for the final, then the next two were the lucky ones. Some unlucky and quite disappointed couples were about to be left out.

Those left out who could have been in the final were: Benito Garcia & Nona Nedialkova - this couple is dynamic, fast and fun to watch. I would like to see a little more hip action in Rumba. Edgar Osorio & Lori Putnins - they are beautiful and exotic although a little unsteady on their feet. Bolero had many balance problems. FJ Abayer & Catherine Grey - the best I've seen FJ in some time. Catherine is searching for a look and I'm sure she'll find it soon.

Now on to the finalists:

6th. Felipe & Carolina Telona 6,6,6,6,6. I like this couple. They are fast and rhythmical and have their own look and style. I didn't like Felipe's jacket for the final, it covered his rhythmic center area.

5th. Brian Jolly & Kristina 5,5,5,5,4. This girl is exquisite - just what the American Rhythm needs, beautiful in all areas. They make a striking couple and I expect a great future for them. I personally would like to see Brian use his feet and ankles more and adopt a more manly look. He tends to look a little "boyish" for me.

4th. Michael Neil & Susie Thompson 4,4,4,3,5. Not a great result for them tonight. Personally, I thought this was one of their best evenings yet, but I think the high collars on Susie's dresses took away from the beautiful uncovered look that we've been seeing lately.

3rd. Tony Dovolani & Inna Ivanenko 2,2,3,4,3. This guy is strong and manly and always displays great rhythm. I've always enjoyed Inna's dancing as well. The dress was a little distracting. Inna has quite the body, let's not cover it up. Thank God they changed into white for the final, the black was deadly!

2nd. Dan Rutherford & Nicole Carroll 3,3,2,2,2. They had a nice approach all night and were quite powerful. Dan still needs to attend to natural body rhythms and not try to force them. I'm glad he cut his hair. I loved Nicole's green dress. This girl has many looks and many talents.

1st. Bob Powers & Julia Gorchakova 1,1,1,1,1. They are obviously still the champions. They did drop some first place marks tonight and are soon to be challenged by this fine up and coming final. But once again, "Hail to the Champions!"

Congratulations to all on four good rounds and I'm personally anxious to see what the future holds for all of these talented, beautiful dancers.

Forrest Vance is a former 5-time U.S. Professional Rhythm Champion. He is the organizer of the Peoples Choice competition and a many time top teacher and coach.