Ohhh, Vaidotas Vaidotas Vaidotas!

I know, it doesn’t exactly have the ring of “Oh, Marcelo Marcelo Marcelo!” does it? Hehe, oh we so love our Eastern European dancers and their ever so fun names (and their ingenuousness at not even thinking to Americanize them…)! But, though he looks nothing like him, Vaidotas Skimelis (whom I’ve been on about here and there throughout the comp) actually kind of reminds me of my favorite ballet dancer, mainly because of their large sizes and the kind of virility that almost naturally entails. I mean, large bone structure is difficult with Latin because speed is so important to the style — and certainly Vaidotas’s jive will never look anything like winner Max Kozhevnikov’s. But still, I like his size — as I do Marcelo’s — there’s something so sexy and romantic about a big hunk of a guy, right 🙂 Plus, difference is good! Who wants all the dancers to look the same whether it’s Latin or ballet — boring, I say!

One of the not horrible things about Pasha and Anya leaving (at least for now) the competition world is that it made room for Vaidotas and his lovely plum-haired partner, Jurga Pupelyte, to be seen, to make it to the top ranks, where they most definitely belong. I only wish he didn’t live in California! As one of the only non-tiny Latin dancers, he’d be perfect size-wise for me as a teacher. But of course I shouldn’t even be thinking of private lessons because they are too expensive! So, good rather that he lives all the way out in California…

Anyway, here are a few more pics of my favorite couples and other stuff I did in Florida:

Emmanuel Pierre Antoine and Julia Gorchakova, a super fun couple with creative routines and great show quality whom I wanted to take American Rhythm, but who ended up placing third.

Matt and Karen Hauer, semifinalists in American Rhythm and second-place finishers in the National Mambo championships, who teach at my former studio. He does do a mean Mambo, I think second only to Jose DeCamps’s, and they’re young and in love and cute and their dancing reflects all that 🙂

America’s sweethearts, Anna Mikhed and Victor Fung, second-place, as always, in International Standard. Okay, they may not be as perfect technique-wise as Jonathan Wilkins and Katusha Demidova, but they’re the king and queen of charm, those two.

The adorable Anna Trebunskaya (from Dancing W/ Stars) and her new partner, Pavlo Barsuk. They placed sixth in the finals, which is excellent for them.

Hehe, am I a paparazzi in the making or what? Here’s her hubby Jonathan Roberts (the brown-haired guy here, also of DWTS) intently watching her. She’d look out in the audience for him and he’d give her a little wave and a wink and she’d smile like she was on cloud nine. So cute!

Very sexy Latin couple that I like a lot, Nikolai Shpakov and Tatiana Banko. Friends keep telling me Nikolai (who resides in NY) would be a good teacher for me … But of course I am not listening since I can’t afford ballroom lessons anymore…

Aw, the just-displaced now former National Latin champs Andrei Gavriline and Elena Kruychkova. They are an immensely good couple and no one flies across that dance floor like Andrei. He’s truly beautiful to watch; so slender and light-footed his feet sometimes look inches above the parkay. And I certainly don’t think it’s impossible for them to get their title back at some point in the future; I just think others need to be given a chance as well. And this was simply Max and Yulia’s year.

Speaking of the new champs… look at Yulia’s gorgeous arch! How is she even supporting herself like that?

An American Smooth couple I like, Eulia Baranovsky and Stephen Dougherty. I actually thought they’d win, but they placed fourth or fifth. So, I was off on that! I think that couples like these two and the winners J.T. Damalas and Tomasz Mielnicki are bringing the life back into what was becoming a rather staid and boring style. The Smooth championships, placed between Latin heats though they were, were actually really exciting to me for once.

Another Latin couple, Andrei Strinedko and Olga Kinnard, who caught my eye big time this comp. A lot of women wearing these shiny gold dresses this year… What I really love about this photo though is that they are doing my very favorite Latin dance step in all of life, a Samba roll in shadow position. From here, they’ll arch far back together in beautiful unison, then they’ll bend way forward from the waist and then back again making a circle with their upper bodies while doing a hip-rolling side step across the dance floor. It’s hard because you have to be in perfect harmony or you’ll step all over each other’s feet or bop him in the crotch with your butt or whack him upside the face with your arm (I know all of this because…) , but gorgeous when done properly 🙂

Another proud paparazzi photo of mine 🙂 This is Nick Kosovich who designs the dresses for Dancing W/ Stars (and he appeared in the show a couple of seasons ago — partnered Tatum O’Neal). When he was on the show I thought he was a bit nerdy-looking, but after seeing him in person at the last few competitions, I realized how good-looking this man actually is. Tall dark and handsome Aussie! He’s retired from competition but at Blackpool did this James Bond-styled showcase with his partner, who I’m pretty sure is his wife 🙁 and they really blew me away, which is highly odd since they’re Standard dancers. Anyway, the fact that he is so gorgeous makes my former stupid “breast” experience with him all the more embarrassing… (he was the “Austrailian guy” / “LeNique guy” — as I later found out — in this post).

More Latin favorites of mine — Delyan Terziev and Boriana Deltcheva, who placed third, moving up a whole three notches from last year! Good for them; they’ve been working very hard and they deserve it. To me, this couple is one of the most artistic. She moves just like a spider and she’s just bewitching. She kind of reminds me of a Latin, raven-haired version of ballerina Janie Taylor, with her kind of ethereal, goddess-like sexiness.

Andrej Skufca and Katarina Venturini from Slovenia who competed in the Open-to-the-World Latin category on Saturday night. This is the competition I was hoping my favorites Slavik Kryklyvyy and Sergey Surkov would participate in, as they did last year, but oh well. Andrej and Katarina (4th in the world in Latin, right behind Slavik & partner Elena) were the only top couple to compete, so it was rather boring; they easily took first. For some reason, Max & Yulia didn’t stay and compete in this category, like they did last year. Not sure what happened. Maybe they were too tired. I hope no one was injured … that’s happened before in competition, couples injured during last-minute practice. Anyway, I loved Katarina’s bright emerald dress. Looked spectacular with her carrotty hair (which I personally love, though I know that opinion is most definitely not shared by all 🙂 )

Look who this is!! They had the hallway leading down to the ballroom lined with blown-up pictures of former champions. This one’s of Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin (choreographers from SYTYCD) in their heyday, circa 1995! Look how young he is — such a little cutie!

Ewwwwww!!!! It was some ungodly hour of the morning and comps were still going on (judging by the rows behind us, I think many departed the ballroom already, save us insane diehards) and I, not being a late night owl, am half dead here, no makeup and flat as a pancake hair thanks to the lovely Florida humidity. Plus the angle gives me a quintuple chin. Oh well. Michele, my roommate for the comp, is being herself 🙂

Okay, I am almost done, I swear. I took one day off from comp-spectating and went to Epcot Center. I’ve never been to Disney World though, growing up in Phoenix, went often to nearbyish Disneyland as a child. So, of all of the parks, I chose Epcot because I figured, not to sound like a dork, but I so loved the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney as a kid, I figured I’d have the most patience and respect for one that introduces children to the world beyond our borders. But I found it disappointing, and this picture epitomized why. It was so Disney-fied — the cartoons completely overtook the exhibits. Everything was so cheesy, not at all educational. “Viva Donald”?? Great way to introduce kids to a foreign language. Maybe I’m misremembering things and my child’s mind over-glorified them, but, a bunch of silly dolls though they were, that Small World ride really made me promise myself that I’d go to Argentina, Holland, Spain, etc. one day. The dolls were so sweet and their costumes so beautiful. And everyone singing that song in their native language sounding so mellifluous — definitely made me so curious to hear more (and I did take a ridiculous amount of foreign language classes in high school and college). And who wouldn’t be enthralled with Africa by that nutty laughing hyena! I don’t know, maybe if I went on that ride again, I’d feel differently, but it definitely gave me an appreciation for foreign culture as a child. I can’t imagine this doing the same at all. Kids are too busy laughing at the stupid cartoon characters, and the adults buying all the horrendously cheesy souvenirs.

A great celebration of Italian culture for sale. It was like you paid $75 just to be able to buy a bunch of souvenirs. I don’t get it…

This guy demonstrating how to extract pearls from oysters in the Japanese souvenir shop was okay. Demo was interesting and the guy pretty flamboyant.

Returning to NY. Could they have blurted over the loudspeaker one more time at the Orlando airport that the alert level had been raised to orange / four, and we were all to exercise great caution in leaving bags unattended, etc. And then there had to be some crazy hurricane off the coast of North Carolina. I’m a nervous flyer man! Fellow fearful flyers have recommended Valium, but I don’t like drugs. I much prefer alcohol. In case of emergency, you can always talk yourself out of being drunk; not the same if knocked out cold by prescription medication! This wine, by Best Cellars, was pretty good.

Anyway, okay I’m done, I’m done! Thanks for humoring me and my ballroom fetish, you guys 🙂


  1. I loved your LeNique story! Hilarious – it was nice of him to help you like he did.

    Isn’t Jonathan Roberts so adorable? hehe My coworker took lessons with him for years, and still has his number on her cell phone. 🙂

  2. Thanks Jolene for finding my bra story amusing 🙂 Oh yeah, I remember you telling me about your coworker and her lessons with Jonathan! So funny about the cell phone!

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