Max & yulia win latin!!!

Max & yulia win latin!!!

Originally uploaded by swan lake samba girl via mobile.


[Edit: Hahaha, how ridiculous is this. I had to send this four times before it finally went through Flickr. Why?! Anyway this post pertains to Friday night, and should have come about six posts ago, but here it is. The finalists are lined up here after competition and waiting for their placements to be called. Andrei & Elena, then current, now former, national champs are on the end closest to the camera. Places number six through three were called, leaving Max & Yulia (in the middle) and Andrei & Elena, as usual, the last two up there (they call sixth position first, working up to number one). When the announcer prefaced the second runners up with “ladies and gentlemen, placing second in all five dances, from New Jersey…” everyone gasped. Max & Yulia usually place first in at least samba, if not samba and jive, and Andrei & Elena place first in the other three (cha cha, rumba, paso doble), making them the overall winners by a slight margin. So when the announcer said the second runners up had placed second in all five dances, everyone immediately thought Max & Yulia were really screwed royally by the judges and didn’t even get number ones in any dance). Max & Yulia thought the same thing apparently. Max looked stunned and Yulia looked like she was going to cry. “No, that can’t be, that can’t be,” the couple next to me moaned. I knew though – I swear, at that point I knew Max & Yulia had won. They don’t ever place second in samba! That is their dance! Then the announcer, after putting the entire audience, not to mention the poor dancers, through absolute hell with a horrendously long drawn-out pause, finally continued, saying, “ladies and gentlemen, second runners up … from New Jersey … … couple … number … … 166 (which was Andrei and Elena’s number). The audience was silent; what the announcer had said had to register. Then, slowly, the crowd came to and began going nuts, as Max and Yulia are the favorite of most spectators. I don’t think it even hit Yulia that she had won until Andrei & Elena (looking horribly crushed – -I felt so badly for them) walked up to the podium, received their medals and took their place on the second-tier winners’ stand, and the announcer then called out, “ladies and gentlemen, the new national champions…” Then she covered her mouth and started to cry. She could hardly dance her “honor jive” she was so emotional. They’ve worked so hard for this for a long time and have wanted it so very badly. Everyone was screaming. It was so fantastic, and that moment alone made my whole trip worth it 🙂 ]


  1. Woo Hoo!! Woo Hoo!!!

    That’s just so, so, SO GREAT. I love it.

  2. I wonder if this signals a changing of the guard in the rankings. If Anya and Pasha come back to competing could they possibly place higher? Ballroom judging sucks!! No matter what you do, you rank the same almost every time or lower if you really screw up. I have no ill feelings toward Andreii and Elena but its good to see a change. Its actually a competition if you are not sure who will win.

  3. Hey Tonya, how are you? I hope this email finds you well. I want you to know that I have been reading your blog; I just don’t comment, and I really like your writing style, and your writing about dance makes it come to life. I wanted to ask you a question because you are a writer — this guy I used to work with is writing urban fiction, and he gave me one of his books to read, and he wants me to comment on it, sort of like a review, which I did. It is a story about a young man who and his life on the streets and the destructive path he takes; anyhow it is a good story, but some of the writing is okay, and I was getting confused with his dialogue, and not sure who was speaking, and he also writes everything his character is doing that is not really important — Wow, I sound like an editor — and I am not sure if I should point this out to him, since he didn’t ask for editing advice. Thanks!! Nicole

  4. I know, Melinda!!!

    Laurel, I wonder… I think in the case of Max & Yulia and Andrei & Elena, the international judges kept ranking Max and Yulia higher and it was so odd that the American judges kept doing the opposite. So, maybe the American judges really re-thought their loyalties. I just wish it was more of a surprise all the time. Everyone says ballroom competitions are so political — as in, it all depends on who you know, which coaches you train with and who they know and how much clout they have, etc. — which is why a lot of dancers get sick of them and just stop competing. It seems like, from what I’ve heard about the Olympics, it’s the same way with ice dancing and even figure skating. I’m so glad there are more opportunities for ballroom dancers now and they don’t have to be so stuck in their careers by this crappy system. I just wonder if Pasha and Anya will compete again.

    Nicole — good to hear from you again 🙂 I was wondering how you were. Thanks for your nice compliment on my blog 🙂 I hope I can make dance come to life for people 🙂
    Your situation sounds very funny! What exactly does this guy want you to do if he doesn’t want you to give him feedback? He wants you to write a review for a publication or, like, write a little blurb to go on the back cover when it’s published? Funny because I’m gathering the same little ‘blurby’ things now (though mine’s not sold yet) and I’m a little freaked out that people aren’t going to like it! I wonder how people deal with that — I mean, I’m sure it’s not the first time someone has been given a book to blurb and they don’t like it! Well, if he just wants to you to write a little thing, it’s probably easy to come up with something decent, no — especially since you think it’s a good book overall. But I think I’d still point out to him some of your problems with it — especially the things that can be easily fixed like the dialog. All he has to do is add more tags everytime someone talks. And you can still point out to him that you think it’s a little too much detail at points. He can take it or leave it, but if you say it in a nice way, I’d think he’d be receptive to some mild criticism, especially if you tell him you liked the book overall. Let me know how it comes out!

  5. I don’t understand the politics of ballroom dancing. How does the judging work?

  6. Oh, and Nicole…I don’t know you, but I’m an editor and a freelance writer. Can I offer some advice? Be gentle (writers can be very sensitive and are usually really attached to their work), but also be honest. If your friend can’t take an honest edit, he’s not cut out for a career as a writer. The best writers I know and work with really appreciate the editing process. They want to communicate (the whole purpose of writing, yes?), and if you don’t get it, it’s likely other people won’t either.

  7. Well, there are about ten judges and they each give their marks to the scorekeeper after every round for each dance. Then the scores are all tallied and the couple with the most #1s wins that dance, and then the couple with the highest marks all around gets to advance to the next round. Then, for the finals, the couple with the highest marks wins the competition. For couples who place from first through third, the announcer will read their scores in each dance. They don’t bother with couples placing fourth through sixth.

    The thing is, most of the judges are coaches as well; some even own studios. So, they’re going to favor the couples that they coach and who train in their studios, obviously. I’ve even heard dancers tell me their coach (and sometimes even a visiting coach who will give them a lesson or two) will tell them, “you’ve got my vote.”

    This happens in the amateur divisions too, one of the reasons competing just became not so fun for me anymore. The other being the huge expense: if you only take one $95 lesson per week, you look like you’re not serious; if you take five to ten private lessons per week at that amount — and there are some very very rich people out there so believe me some do — you look like you’re really trying hard, like you’re really focused, really serious, and it “looks good” to the judges who know you. I’m not trying to be cynical — definitely if you take 10 lessons per week you’re going to be a lot better than if you only take one. I’m just saying, it takes a lot of money to do well, and I don’t have that kind of money!

    I guess having judges who don’t coach or own studios would help to remedy the situation, but then I don’t know where they would get the judges from because I don’t think anyone can really make a living off of judging. And that’s what ballroom dancers who are retired from competition do for work — teach, coach, and open their own studios.

  8. Wow. That sounds like an incredibly biased system. It’s no wonder people get frustrated. You’d think they’d at least try for the semblance of impartiality.

    I know what you mean about the cost. My mom is really into ballroom dancing; she’s done it for years. But the amount of money it costs to train once you get beyond the beginner classes is really prohibitive.

  9. Hey Tonya, thanks for writing me back and your advice. He got it self-published, so it is already done and printed, but he is writing more. I sent him what he wanted to, and when I hear from him again, I will ask him what else he needs and find out if he has an editor.

    Melinda, thanks for your advice; I am at a lost of how to approach it ; I might say something like the dialogue was confusing to me. nicole

  10. i-still-believe-max-and-yulia-deserved-to-win!-they-are-great-partners.particularly-yulia..she’s-a-very-good-latin-dancer.Her-moves-and-actions-are-with-feelings-ang-emotions.There-is-also-a-facial-expression!-God-Bless-her-in-every-competitionss-she’s-joining.I-hope-her-all-the-best-and-be-a-champion!!!!!!!!hehehehehe

  11. I’m rather late in response to this, but I wish I were there to see their reactions. It was about time about time Max & Yulia won. I’m so sad that they’re not dancing together any longer, but I wish Yulia and Riccardo all the best! Yulia is just amazing! Btw, thanks for sharing your experience!

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