America’s Ballroom Challenge is a Public Broadcasting System production that is in its third season. Tonight was the final competition where the winners of the four previous weeks competed to determine who is “America’s Best Ballroom Couple.”
Each couple danced one short and one long performance to exhibit their style and creativity. In the short program they were required to adhere strictly to the dance. In the long program they were allowed latitude to show off their talents.
Tomas Mielnicki and J.T. Thomas from New York won the American Smooth competition. They have been together since March 2006. Their short program consisted of a tango with Argentine influence. Their long program was a foxtrot danced to “Me and My Shadow.” He was dressed in white while she, dressed in black, playfully danced as his shadow. It was precious. They placed third overall.
Jose Decamps and Joanna Zacharewicz from New York won the American Rhythm competition. They have only been dancing together since March 2007. Their short routine was a mambo that had an amazingly intricate lift at the end. Their long program was a mixture of cha-cha, rumba, and swing. They placed fourth overall.
Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova from New Jersey won the International Standard competition. Katusha won the Grand Finale last year and began dancing with Arunas in October 2007. Their short routine was an international tango. Their long program was a Viennese waltz that began with a floor sweep/lift combination that was fabulous. She was dressed in a gorgeous traditional dress that flowed like a pink cloud. They placed second overall.
Andrei Gavriline and Elena Kryuchkova from New Jersey won the International Latin division for the second year in a row. They have been married since 1999. Their short routine was strange, he dragged her around the floor a bit. I’m sure it was supposed to be creative but I did not care for it. Their show dance was a slow rumba and their costumes were black and white stripes. They are talented dancers but I did not find watching them as pleasurable as watching Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova. The judges disagreed with me however and Andrei and Elena won first place and the title of “America’s Best Ballroom Couple.”