Oh what an event it was! Dance Legends 2014 blew everyone’s minds like never before with an amazing combination of high class dancing, heartwarming and exciting dance reunions, emotions, artistry, perfection! It will be the event to remember and talk about by the dance enthusiasts for a long time to come!

Night 1. PERFECTION AND EMOTION.

If I were to describe Friday night at Dance Legends in two words I will call it Perfection and Emotion. The night started with Sergey Surkov and Melia’s Cha Cha which brought the energy level in the audience up at the first beat of music! Slick, sharp, precise yet playful and sexy - they got everyone clapping and dancing on their seats right from the beginning! I admire Sergey and Melia’s successful search for authenticity. Whether they do a “Michael Jackson” Cha-Cha, a Jive in an American soldier uniform, a Samba with the Brazilian carnival flavor, a “naked” sensuous right-out-of-bedroom Rumba in a simple night gown or a Paso with the true spirit of Matador and Flamenco elements - everything from their costuming to the very idea of the choreography carries a clear message - it is Real. They have thought over, studied the material and had personal experience before they put it on the floor. Very clever, different, refreshing and obviously exciting to watch!

Next - Masters of Perfection Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova and their simply beautiful Viennese Waltz to the piece of music from Anna Karenina. There is no other couple in the world who could compete with this duo’s perfect look! You take any fragment of their performance - and you see precision of lines and unbelievable control of motion which shows the highest class of skill. Katusha’s gown for this number was one of the most beautiful gowns I have ever seen! Or maybe it was just they way she wore it and the way it matched the music and the character of the dance... Staying true to perfect lines, infusing some playfulness in Quickstep and sexiness in Foxtrot they carried on through the show letting us admire their skill and making everyone understand why they are the reigning World Champions!

Shifting the romantic and nostalgic mood of Viennese Waltz came Craig Smith and Micheline Marmol with their intense and impressive theatre arts routine. And yet again - perfect level of control of each action, unbelievable strength on Craig’s part and particular agility of Micheline. He maneuvered her with such skill and ease! For me, normally, it is not easy to fully enjoy theater arts show numbers as I get very nervous about performer’s potential falls and injuries. This couple gave me such peace of mind and pleasure while watching them dance! They are the masters in what they do and I am looking forward to seeing more of their shows in the future!!

Following Craig and Micheline - the one and only Mirko Gozzoli with his beautiful Dance Half - Edita Daniute. To me, this couple’s message throughout all five dances was The Simple Perfection of Basic. It was a pleasure to watch the impeccable footwork in their first Waltz: every heel, every toe, every inside edge... the timing of foot closing between two of them was precise to the nanosecond! Wow! They definitely got their point across and I appreciate the boldness (which I knew they never lacked) in giving the audience a chance to enjoy a different aspect of a dance show. Edita’s costuming was as simple and elegant as it could be, so it didn’t take away from but actually complemented the main message. At times the dress was a bit too simple or I would say bare, which I am sure was enjoyed by many men in the audience and they probably could not think about the perfect footwork at that moment.. 🙂 ..But that is the beauty of the show - one can enjoy any aspect he/she chooses at any given time. And of course Edita with her beautiful perfect body and queenly confidence can 100% afford to wear anything she desires!

Another couple to appear in the first act of this fabulous show was Troels Bager and Ina Jeliazkova. This couple has lots of special qualities about them. Ina has such a strong colorful personality on the floor and Troels surrounds and “maneuvers” her very skillfully. The arm styling and flexibility of Ina’s back, the balance and precision of every step and move is out of this world and she knows it. She uses it with such taste, grace and conviction - you can not take your eyes of her. I was totally taken by their Show Dance routine in the first act as well as two other dances throughout the evening - I will definitely be watching this couple more closely from now on!

The first “comeback of The Legends” for this weekend - Edward Simon and Michelle Officer! A fun creative first number with lots of props and decorations followed by emotional nostalgic Waltz and Viennese Waltz - everyone in the audience could feel the Great Love for dancing Edward and Michelle share. We could see it in their faces, we could feel their strong connection with each other even after so many years apart from dancing together.. I had never seen them dance live and was very excited to witness this duo reunite!

Another reunion of The Legends, probably the most unexpected, last minute and absolutely definitely the most anticipated by everyone - Slavik Kryklyvyy and Karina Smirnoff. This was a treat for all of us and I salute the organizers Ily and Elena for being able to make this happen! To me, Slavik is one in a million rare dance talent that needs to be put in the “Red Data Book” of rare species, preserved and studied carefully and vigorously - so when in twenty years the scientists are finally able to clone people they can produce more talents like that. Karina with her overflowing beauty, femininity, talent and personality is a perfect match for him. Their chemistry was even stronger than 10 years ago. They made me hold my breath through and cry at the end of their Rumba. But it was their second number in the evening finale that made a particularly strong lasting impression. It takes special skill, strength, conviction, control and power of mind to be able to be alone on the stage seems like forever and make the audience breathe together with you, watch carefully and attentively every move, every step, every turn of the head, follow your gaze. That was Slavik’s famous flamenco solo in the beginning of their second show number. Meanwhile Karina, at the edge of the floor... stunning, obedient, and powerful at the same time, meekly waiting for her man to give her a sign a permission to step on the floor and dance with him. The energy was so thick one could cut it with the knife. And the electrical crescendo of the dance with the Gipsy Kings’ Bamboleo made everyone jump out of their seats and applaud!!

Unbelievable! Crazy! Amazing! What an emotion on that night!! Great beginning to the Weekend of Dance Legends!!

Night 2. ENERGY AND ARTISTRY.

The second night brought together The Artists of the field.

The fiery start with Riccardo and Yulia’s Jive set the mood. Their energy was incredible. I was dancing together with them while watching and I am sure everyone else in the audience did too. On top of their perfect technical qualities they infused their show with some Broadway flavor to make it more enjoyable, fun and energetic. Great way to go to captivate the spectators! Their Rumba was precise and sensuous, their Samba - pure rhythm. Watching them you are asking yourself - are they real? Can a human dance like that? Never a slip, never out of breath, never a loss of balance or misconnection. Bravo!

Victor Fung and Anastasia brought us a sweet romantic show with the theme of eternal love, mutual tenderness and respect between a man and a woman. Their every move was about soft subtle touch and feeling. Their Quickstep was my favorite dance this time - such an energy, joy, lightness flying across the floor! You can tell they were on a high from their own dancing and that was so contagious to the audience! We could not sit still in our seats watching them!! Well done!

More Artists with capital “A” - Michael Malitowski and Joanna Leunis. I always enjoy watching their show and look for those unexpected speed changes and dynamic moments in their choreography which make it so attractive. Besides the technical perfection, they are known for the unusual positions appearing throughout the dance in the most unpredictable places! I was watching them afraid to blink as not to miss anything. Yet they kept it so real and made us feel we could come and touch them or talk to them any time during their dance. That is the true skill!

A nice touch of American Style flavor was added to the show by Peter and Alexandra Perzhu. They are two beautiful people, slim, long, perfect match, always perfect costuming and outstanding dancers! I was always attracted by Peter’s shoulder line and thought it was a big loss for our International Standard field. But they definitely contributed greatly to the American Style field being the reigning US 9-Dance Champions. Alexandra’s style in dresses and hair is always impeccable! Great show!

And the final return of the Legends for the night - the Masters of Artistry - Massimo Giorgianni and Alessia Manfredini. They are back on the floor and we, the audience, thank them for giving us a chance to contemplate the true revealed pure dancing with no dogmas or boundaries of any kind. They have always been known for “doing it their way” and they preach it with their dancing. They teach us to be free of mental restrictions and fears, to enjoy and savor every move we do, to be happy to dance with each other.. TO DANCE! Such a sweet treat for New York crowd! I am really happy the young generation of dancers (who unfortunately has lately been overtaken by fancy routines and speed of execution of the figures) gets to see Massimo and Alessia dance live and appreciate the value of every motion to music, feel the energy, the true love for dance and for each other... A great experience for all of us!

The New York amateur field was represented by one very talented couple Denys Drozdyuk and Antonina Skobina dancing Paso Doble. I am absolutely certain this couple are our future Legends as that was one of the best Paso Dobles I have ever seen in my life! Smart, well done choreography, perfect costumes, and very well danced. Denys has that powerful mental presence on the floor that is impossible to teach - you either have it or you don’t. Antonina with her innocent look yet as strong as could be to match Denys’ energy. I was stunned and could not believe how this relatively young couple was able to show such maturity, experience and skill. They absolutely fit in this “fancy” crowd of best dancers in the world and I can’t wait to watch them become the next true champions!

I was glad to see the Pro-Am field being represented by two beautiful lady dancers: Brianna Yadgir with her teachers Chris Germain and Aaron DeSoto and Carolyn Woodruff with her teacher Alosha Anatoliy. Good job ladies and well done, looking good and standing up to the crowd’s expectations!! Also, It was good to see how much young talent we have in the area, when the New York Dance Force team performed their number!

My last but certainly not less meaningful words go to:

  • The organizers, Ily and Elena Zislin. Once again they did an outstanding job in bringing all the talents together under one roof for this weekend (everybody knows how difficult that is!!!). The Dance Legends was a great success and I wish you all the very best with the event in years to come!
  • The MC of the event, Gary McDonald. His voice, his presence and personality became a big part of the show and now Dance Legends would be hard to imagine without him on the mic.
  • Of course, the artistic director, Taliat Tarsinov who managed to skillfully combine all those talents and mix them to create an absolutely Fabulous Show!!

Well Done and I am looking forward to the Dance Legends 2015!!!