Open American Professional Smooth

David Hamilton
Jul 25, 2000
As every event takes place throughout year 2000, the American smooth category seems to be the most contested event. This years Emerald Ball proved none the less. Winning this championship event was the currant national champions, Michael Mead and Toni Redpath. Covering the floor with great ease of movement while Toni excels in shaping her movement like no other on the floor, Michael does as usual, a beautiful job in timing his connections to her with continuation of his movement as well. Continuing to improve, although not having the best of performance, Ben Ermis and Shalene Archer. Great movers again with this couple, never looking offensive in any line or shape they hit. Shalene has great musical interpretation throughout and is very charactistic to each dance in her delivery and approach. Ben needs to not look at times so concerned with her and traffic, so the true dancer can shine. As I said not having the best of night, however not so bad that some of my counter parts, other judges, left this couple out of the final completely. Taking the third spot is the team from Hartford Ct. Steven Heavener and Lorenda McRavan. Having a pretty good night, Steve seems to be consistent in delivering confidence and at time very strong technical dancing. Lorenda has a quality in her dancing that's hard to describe. Everything she does looks easy to her body. Nothing looks labored or forced. Nice job overall. David Rosario with Larissa Trebunskaya are in the fourth spot tonight. Looking together overall, this team seems to be growing on the judges. David being a former US finalist has stuck it out with this girl long enough now to make a go of it. Progress is in the making. If I may say so myself that I was not a good judge for this couple. Lacking in dynamics, this couple can look lost on the floor to me. I have to search for them; this is not good, oops!! Although they look clean and together, their character of each of the dances is not clear to me. If I were to take off the music, they would be un-identifiable to me. Keep polishing your routines as you have but get connected with who and what you are. Taking fifth, another couple out of NY City, Steven Dougherty and Patricia Dates. Making a big splash this year, winning almost every Rising Star event they enter, dances with great feeling and style. What I like about this couple is that they have found a style and deliver it well. I have heard some dislike to the style, but that's not what we are really judging. I say, "At least they have one and can technically somewhat deliver the goods." Taking sixth from Los Angeles, Richard Croteau and Maria Zee. Showing some improvement technically, this couple has great assets to there dancing. Good performers, Maria seems to me at times that her performance skills are somewhat rehearsed, not truly felt. As a dancer, she is brilliant at times. Great lines in her body, again another girl that her movements look so easy. I marked this couple better in the final than in the earlier rounds due to that the final was comprised of two couples that I did not mark in. This couple being one of them. But once in the final we must compare now with a different approach. Each round is like a new comp.

There will always be a few couples who dance better once in the final. Also you are comparing a select few not the whole lot. So don't let the marks throw you off when one round you're not in the final but in the next you could be as high as forth. Honorable mention to Svetlana Kudimova and her new partner from Houston, Hunter Johnson. Competing just their third event received 33 marks into the final round. Also a team out of San Francisco, David Weiss and Valentina. Only needing 1 more mark to tie for a spot in the final this couple is striking on the floor. David is tall handsome man, while Valentino as beautiful as they come. This couple is very under rated to me at this time. Big shapely movements with great depth. Very emotional and musical with the dancing. Valentina can look weak to some, and David a bit to busy at times. However let our assets be heard in this couple. Always note that in reading these articles that the writer is only one voice. Other opinions may vary from couple to couple. Thank you for reading mine.

David Hamilton
3 time US Smooth Champion