Open Amateur Standard

Heather Smith-Veyrasset
Jul 22, 2004
Reprinted with permission from Dance Beat Magazine.

26 couples started out in this year?s Emerald Ball Amateur Standard event which was an excellent turn out yet again for Wayne and Donna Eng who I must congratulate for this 4 day event which ran very smoothly.

Into 6th place came Andrew & Michelle Tate 6,6,6,6,6, who I felt danced a much better semi than final. Body positions after the 2nd dance appeared very untidy and disconnected. This couple?s best dance tonight was Viennese Waltz, showing good leg drive and swing. I feel attention has to go to centering of the body position and a little more stamina for maintaining good upper body posture and internal balance.

5th - Lucas Chocuba & Karolina Szpiech 5,5,5,5,5. They danced very well tonight through each and every round showing a very strong frontal plane of movement, which makes everything look balanced and poised over the standing leg. I feel a focus to the base area creating a little more weight drive especially in Tango would add to this couple's knowledge of movement for this dance.

4th - Radek Kryszofiak & Paulina Malinowska 4,4,4,4,4. They also danced very consistently tonight, though I must say I felt their strongest dance was Slow Foxtrot, which had a nice delayed rubato look to it. Musically, for me, dancing on the 2& and not hitting the 1 on the slow, completely changes the timing and musicality of this dance. Paulina showed good use of the sides of her body tonight which to me helps the dancing look alive and musical.

3rd - David Semken & Andrea Hale 3,3,3,3,3. Still quite a new partnership, there is lots of promise for this tall, handsome couple. My comment for tonight?s performance is if you could maintain what you started out doing in the first 8 bars of each dance, your results and presentation to the judges may come across differently. I feel it starts out strongly and by the end of each dance the upper body looks forward and the center weak. The best dance tonight, which looked a class above the rest, was Waltz. I also feel if Andrea would create more diagonals through her body, especially on outside partner positions, the top line for this lady would appear a lot softer and more responsive.

2nd - Egor Abashkin & Katia Kanevskaya 2,2,1,2,2. This was a very disappointing result for this couple, after being crowned our U.S. Amateur Champions only 6 weeks earlier, but tonight?s performance was definitely not one their best. I must say I have enjoyed this couple's dancing for many years and I feel Egor?s understanding of music and timing for each dance is for sure one of best the U.S. amateur ranks have ever had. One of the things I feel about Egor?s posture, is the right side develops a slight turn leftwards, which as a result shows the right elbow to sometimes sneak behind the hip causing a slight disconnection, which weakens the whole look through this couples frame.

1st - Max Sinitsa & Lesya Sinitsa 1,1,2,1,1. This couple were so overwhelmed with this result tonight but they really danced with so much passion and determination from the 1st round. Max & Lesya have such a classic, elegant look, which makes them look like champions before they even start. I still would like to see a little more leg division and confidence to maintain weight between the feet for a greater length of time, especially in the swing dances. Best dance tonight for Max and Lesya was undoubtedly Quickstep. This dance had great speed, body flight and showed no signs of fatigue all the way through till the last bar of music.

Heather Smith-Veyrasset is a former U.S. Professional Standard Champion and representstive to the World Championships.

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