USA Dance Nationals Amateur Open Latin

As I was also judging this event, the following article is a quick, short synopsis of impressions and observations I had during the event. Concentrating on the performances of these talented dancers is clearly my first obligation in this prestigious event and let it be said in advance that this was a final any country would be proud of holding as their nation’s best. Congratulations must be extended to all dancers, including those from the first round, as you are representing America to the world and doing a wonderful job.

In reverse order, the final was:

7th- Livshitz-Semenova : Beautiful looking people, always well groomed. Strong presence on the floor from this man, sometimes comes across as arrogance. Needs to release energy into the floor, carriage is high and tension over rides many possible opportunities to show greater artistry. Lady can’t keep up with his energy out put, another reason moments of stillness/calmness would benefit. Having said that ,I can see that attention on stillness/calmness would also offer Vlada time and space to present herself with greater conviction.

6th-Pashkov-Karagach: In my opinion this result was far too low for what this couple is offering as dancers and competitors, particularly in comparison to the others on the floor. I liked their approach as it strongly presented a picture based on partnering and sharing of the dances. There was a great use of time…time to see what one was giving and how the other was receiving. It did not appear to be based on throwing energy out and about, as most others feel necessary, and it still worked well, in my opinion, as a competitive performance.

5th-Proskurin-Kuprava: I thought this was a good result though not of their better performances. Usually they are much more in tune with one another and perform with a sense of light-heartedness that suits them well. In comparison to the other couples on this night, I didn’t find movements continued sufficiently or were particularly well timed. There was a lot of noticeable tension in the lady and the proverbial “looking at the floor”. My hope is that this was just an “off” night and that their next outing will return them to their usual dynamic dancing.

4th-Tarasov-Kveladze: This couple puzzles me. They are very strong and clear, possessing many of the qualities needed to excel in the world of competitive dancing. However, the one quality that is, in my opinion, the most distracting, is exactly the piece that doesn’t change. There is, what appears to be a big emphasis on the use of space with little or no relief in closing or reducing it. The same carries into their use of energy and without the contrast of opposition, I find the performance one dimensional….and tiring to watch. It’s a good thing there is a healthy balance of judges and opinions to find ultimate levels of placement.

3rd- Kazlovski-Kapshandy: In looking at the marks, this couple shared the full range from 1st-7th place. Sorry to say but I was not one of their better judges. In retrospect it’s not something specific that I can say was ‘wrong” however I found their overall presentation simply unclear. They both seem to be quite busy moving, making faces, finding stability, using arms,…my thoughts were, “Where is the finish? Where is the stillness, conclusion?”….I could not understand what they were doing. They certainly showed their disappointment with this result but it would’ve been worse if I was the only judge. Maybe that should be their consolation.

2nd-Aydaev-Kozharinova: I take great pleasure in writing the following…this young lady is the most improved dancer I have seen for a long while and left a great impression not just on me but on many others, with her newly found sense of placement, speed and stability. Please be sure, I fully understand that a couple cannot have great improvement without both, the man and the lady being fully integrated in the process and therefore, acknowledging the young man is equally important. For some reason, over the past 10 or more years, the trend has been for men to improve and develop while most young women have been uninspiring to watch. Thank you for creating a nice change. Keep up the good work and I am looking forward to the next outing.

1st-Chmerkovskiy-Chesnokova : Champions again and convincingly so when one reads that they won all dances with the majority of first place marks. But compared to other couples, and that’s what this process is about, comparison, I’d like to offer some thoughts.
When a couple is the reigning champion, their talents, skill and ability are constantly cheered and admired. The demand to perform is high and even when those few bad or mediocre performances slip in, they are forgiven and still loved by one and all. No one doubts it can be tiring and difficult to find inspiration, especially when there is no perceived immediate (or obvious) challenge. Unfortunately, too many “on demand” performances can take it’s toll on us dancers, even more noticeably when the heart isn’t in it.
My thought is to wonder if this is somehow happening to this young couple? My hope is to offer this scenario as a very real predicament that can do great harm to what otherwise should be a long and fulfilling career. My wish is that their love of dance will outshine the demands that can suck the life out of all of us.
For the first time in a long time, this final had couples who were showing development of important qualities and able to present them clearly and effectively. It was a thoroughly exciting final and of course, the caliber of our reigning champions has a great deal to do with motivating fellow competitors to excel.
In concluding this article, it is my hope to encourage couples to continue seeking greater challenges along with new sources of inspiration as the way to expanding their abilities as dancers and so we, your audience can shower you with the appreciation you deserve.
Congratulations to USA Dance for hosting a fabulous event in a fabulous venue in a fabulous city. (Of course, I’m terribly biased)

Best of luck to all and bye for now,
Nadia Eftedal