What a delight it was to be judging Paragon Open! One of the friendliest competitions ever! Such a warm atmosphere, fully Halloween decorated ballroom, very well organized with great panel of judges!! Thank you Andrei Gavriline and Elena Kryuchkova for having me. My family and I thoroughly enjoyed it!!

There was a lot of good level dancing at the competition in Professional, Amateur and Pro-Am categories!

Professional Ballroom Final was represented by couples from New York, New Jersey, California and Maryland.

Onto six place - Sergey Izyumov and Tania Ratush. Relatively new partnership but matching each other physically very well which gives me hopes for their fast future improvement. When I watch them dance I want to see more simple continuous movement across the floor. At times they look too stationary because the body shift stops. Sergey’s top line had gotten better recently but still needs to have clearer purpose and be more consistent throughout the dance/round. Tania needs to look into flexibility and activity of her upper body. To me they were clearly sixth this time but I am looking forward to seeing their progress in the future!

Fifth - Mechyslav Pavlyuk and Gemma Arnold. Tall good looking couple with long beautiful bodies (such an asset in Ballroom). They definitely came a long way since the beginning of their partnership in learning how to manage their height and length. There is much more clarity in the lines and body positions. Now you need to look into 3-D aspect and make sure you combine all the dimensions equally throughout your movement and especially through shapes. It will give you more volume and width. Longer use of standing leg will make you more grounded and stable and of course will increase your movement. All this will help you be considered for higher placements. Good luck!!

Fourth place went to Cristian Radvan and Kristina Kudelko. A young vibrant couple who “breath” the potential. They are definitely pushing through with their dancing and are consistently showing improvement. Well danced Final tonight! Free, soft, light, smooth. I am a fan of their style and watch them closely as I do believe they have every attribute to be future world champions. Meanwhile they have to keep improving the depth of swing in Waltz and Foxtrot. Cristian is yet to bring to the floor a more consistent finishing of the lines with his upper body. This will give the couple a bigger more impressive look and will allow Kristina be more responsive and active. Kristina, keep working on your upper body activity so you can show clearer bigger lines and will feel great doing it. I am looking forward to witnessing your future progress!

Third place went to Igor Mikushov and Ekaterina Romashkina. Another couple with tremendous recent improvement! Their quality keeps getting better every competition I see them. Well done guys! My wish is for Ekaterina to find more actions for upper body so you can feel freer and get a "resolution" to your long beautiful arms and torso. More use of gravity for both will help the freedom of movement as at times it still looks a little too mechanical. It will also allow you to use your weight more efficiently and have more momentum. Beautiful dress on Ekaterina and she surely knows how to wear it! Good job!

Second - Oscar Pedrinelli and Lenka Kovalchikova. My overall winners of the day. They produced the most consistent performance tonight. Their Waltz was the deepest, their tango was the sharpest, their foxtrot was the smoothest. Need to look into Viennese Waltz action as it appears to me a little “manufactured” and therefore not light enough. Similar issue in Quickstep. Higher center of gravity and more metronomic swing will free things up and will make it more survivable. Keep looking into characterization of each dance. You are closest to the truth in Tango that is why it looks so good. Stay true to yourselves and bring your interpretation into each dance. Naturality and real feelings are the key! Lenka has a great bubbly quite strong personality in life and I would love to see more of that coming through in dancing. Keep on it and good luck in the future!

Winners of the night - Andrey Begunov and Anna Demidova. The supermodels of ballroom dance world. I admire their beautiful bodies every time they walk on the floor. I am usually a big fan of their dancing and believe that they could “kill” with their shift across the floor and momentum. Sadly it is yet another competition today where they do not provide the dancing to my expectations. I am happy for their still good result but concerned at the same time as so they do not get the wrong message and settle on this way of dancing. Andrey needs to solidify his frame and do less extra movements with arms unrelated to body. You are a big guy (with a beautiful muscular body which I am sure many women are enjoying looking at and many men are jealous of). You already have volume. Keep your arms connected and move the whole “unit” across the floor. It will look impressive and hard to beat. Anna, you have a beauty and demeanor of Russian princess and a very good presence on the floor. Technically - wider base and spending more time on standing leg in combination with gravity will make you a very good anchor to Andrey’s increased swing. I am very much looking forward for your strong come back in future competitions!