Open Professional International Latin At The Emerald Ball

We agreed upon the positioning of all the finalists and we also agreed that the contest was really between the third and fourth placement.

In sixth place: Ivan Mulyavka and Loreta Krisciukaityte- This couple was second in the Rising Star event two nights before this event. They managed to get into this final ahead of the couple that did win that particular event. In our opinion this couple shows very great promise. We think that perhaps the lady needs to develop a less challenging profile. This couple is very attractive with very good foot and leg skills. Poised and elegantly groomed. More internal connection and gender contrast is needed but with time and diligence we are sure that this is a couple to watch in the future.

In fifth place: Yegor Novikov and Ekaterina Zakharoff- What a lovely improvement by the lady from past performances. More dimension in her use of gender contrast, much less distortion from the shoulder area and lovely feet and legs. She has become more of a feature in this partnership and thus her gentleman has become more outstanding as a confident and masculine entity. Rumba was especially noticeable in these areas. A continued development of these skills will keep them in place in future competitions. Yegor is an elegant and considerate partner.

In fourth place: Vadim Lyubushkin and Viktoriya Fadina-A very tall and very attractive couple. Powerful and athletic this couple made us come back to watch them time and time again. We both felt that this couple threatened the third place couple. This couple was new to us and we both agreed that they were a bit raw in the approach but with more attention to speed diversity, smaller base line, more attention to leg alignment and a more delicate approach and less athletic attack they could become a force to be reckoned with.

In third place: Dmitry Kurakin and Violetta Kurakina- This couple is so very handsome. They are both beautiful and who of us doesn't want to watch beautiful people dance? This couple is lovely to look at but often disappoints us as of late. A lack of direction seems to be prevalent. We are not sure of what they are trying to say both in the character of each dance and the direction of their own personal conversation within each dance. There almost seems to be a desperate activity to their dancing as of late. They are such wonderful looking dancers as well as very good dancers. It would seem that they could do more with much less. Some time spent developing their internal conversations to each other and the music at hand would be helpful to produce a more dynamic performance.

In second place: Roman Kutskyy and Anna Kovalova: Another beautifully made couple with strong intention and excellent technique. The gentleman is very strong and confident. The lady is cooly provocative and has beautiful leg and feet skills. A world class couple that has developed very fast over the last two years. There is very little to say about this couple that is not positive. One area that could be attended to is the lack of diversity in the character of each of the dances. Sometimes the look is perhaps too angry without intention. Occasionally a softer more romantic conversation could enter the dynamic of their performance. The dress for Anna in the final was in our opinion much better in color and line. We look forward to seeing this couple's continued climb to success.

In first place: Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko: Words are not enough to describe perfection! Faultless is one word that could describe the grooming, the stamina, the correctness, the internal to external dynamic, the connection to the music and each other and the ease of this execution. It is difficult to think that this couple could possibly be better than they were on this night. There was no accident in this couple neither was there any reason by every judge in all dances to mark them in any other place other than first. The USA already possesses the World Champions in the Standard Ballroom category. With this kind of performance by Yulia and Riccardo we can only assume that soon we could hit the double jackpot in possessing the World Champions in Latin American as well.

Rufus Dustin is a Coach, Judge and past United States Champion.
Rufus' past titles include 1974-1975 United States National Professional American Style Champion and 1975, 1979-1980 United States National Professional Theatrical Champion.

Marina Tarsinov is a Coach, Judge and current owner and director of the Fred Astaire New York East Side Dance Studio and National Board Member of the Fred Astaire Council of Dance. Marina is former Russian National Latin and Ten-Dance Champion, Russian Latin and Standard Showdance Champion, Fred Astaire National Latin and Standard Champion, and European and World Cup Finalist.