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TV Review: America’s Ballroom Challenge – “American Rhythm”

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America’s Ballroom Challenge is a Public Broadcasting System production that is in its third season. This episode, “American Rhythm,” is the second in a five week series covering the four main categories of ballroom dance: American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Standard and International Latin.

The overall description of the series and the first episode, “American Smooth,” can be found here.

American Rhythm ballroom style is comprised of the Cha-cha, Rumba, Swing, Bolero and Mambo. While the Swing was created in America, the rest originated in Africa and Cuba. The Mambo originated in Cuba in the 1930s and is a quick-paced dance. Rumba is both a type of music and an African dance. The Cha-cha is slower and was derived from the Rumba and the Mambo. Bolero is the oldest of these dances, originating in the 1700s in Cuba.

The Dancers

Evgeny Dyachenko and Inna Ivanenko are from Pennsylvania and have been partners for two years. They placed 4th in the group dance and 5th in the show dance. They had a lot of energy.

Decho Kraev and Bree Watson, from Arizona, had a wonderful show dance. They placed 6th in the group dance and 4th in show. There was a tremendously acrobatic flip in their show dance which I thought would give them extra points.

Michael Neil and Danielle Wilson from Florida were the most beautiful couple by far with costumes to accentuate their looks. They placed 5th in the group dance and 6th in show.

Felipe Telona and Carolina Orlovsky-Telona from California were one of my two favorite couples. Their show dance routine and their costumes (jeans and fishnet) were fun and I thought showed off their energy and flexibility. They placed 2nd in the group dance and 3rd in show.

Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine and Julia Gorchakova from New York were the highest energy dancers on the floor. Their looks were striking and their show dance was, in my opinion, far superior to others. It showed their versatility and their creativity. They placed 3rd in the group dance and 2nd in the show.

Jose Decamps and Joanna Zacharewicz are from New York and have only been dancing together for one year. They placed first in both categories and became American Rhythm Champions. We will see them again for the Grand Finale.

Exhibition Dancers

Last year’s American Rhythm Champions, Tony Dovolani and Elena Grinenko, showed how champions in this category dance. They were beautiful.

Scott Lazarov and Christine Stanko were a Pro/am couple. He is a dance teacher, she is his student. Their exhibition dance was lovely.

Winson Tam and Anna Nina Kus are aged 12 and 13. Their dance was so sweet. I love knowing that children are finding ballroom dance a worthwhile activity.

Pasha Pashkov and Inna Brayer are full time college students who dance together four hours a day. They were more fun to watch than some of the professionals. I was very impressed with this couple.

Eugene Katsevman & Maria Manusova were dancing their last amateur dance as they will move on to professional next year.

“International Standard” will be shown on February 13, “International Latin” will be shown on February 20, and the Grand Finale will be shown February 27.

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