Tonight is Latin!

Yes, my favorite! Tonight’s American Ballroom Challenge competition is the Latin event, the most popular in the U.S. (Standard is more popular in England). Look for:

Andrei Gavriline and Elena Kryuchkova, several times U.S. national champs. Andrei is tall and thin and he just flies across the floor. He’s one of my favorite Latin men.

A new favorite man of mine, Vaidotas Skimelis, whose large size both slows him down a bit in terms of sheer speed, but also gives him a kind of Maks Chmerkovskiy / Marcelo Gomes virile appeal. This is the couple for whom Pasha and Anya’s departure from competition last year kind of allowed in the door for finals — so one not completely horrible aspect of P & A’s absconding for Hollywood 🙂 Last year he and partner Jurga Pupelyte did a gorgeous showdance that had everyone talking.

A couple I’ve admired for a while, Delyan Terziev and Boriana Deltcheva. I’m not always in love with the themes they choose for their exhibition showdances, but on the floor, during the group numbers, I think they have really beautiful, unique artistry.

If you’re a “Dancing With the Stars” fan, watch for Anna Trebunskaya and her newish partner Pavlo Barsuk. About a year or two ago she and Jonathan Roberts broke up (as dance partners) and she’s been doing very well with Pavlo.

And finally, they’re not competing, as he’s now retired and she has a very new partner, but watch in exhibitions for current U.S. national champs and longtime beloved couple, Max Kozhevnikov and Yulia Zagoruychenko. Above is a picture of them from Blackpool last year, where they always give a lecture demo.

That’s tonight 8p.m. on PBS!


  1. OK, so tell me why there are a bazillion ballroom dancers in the USA with Russian names?

  2. Because professional ballroom dancers can make a nice living in the US, even if they’re not finalists, and in Europe generally they cannot.

  3. So, they come over.

  4. SanderO, You see in Pairs and Ice Dancing too. America in all retrospect doesn’t have the talent base that Europe/Russia has.

    I’m going to have to tape it but I can’t wait…Hey Tonya, do you happen to know if Maks’s brother is going to be there do you?

  5. But is it because there’s money in it? Big money? I thought these were all amateurs who had “real” jobs.

  6. OK these dancers have amazing bodies and control of them. I do not like the staccato look of this genre and it IS a sport more than a dance. It looks very very hard to do that well.

    What I can’t stand are the costumes. I hate them. The whole look is so tacky and without class and elegance.

    I must not get it.

    The audience loves it!

  7. Katrina,

    I’m not Tonya, but I didn’t see Val and Val on….I was bummed. Anna T had a very odd costume tonight! I want to chat about tonight’s show with you all but don’t want to give it away for those that have not seen. we are beginning to need a message board, lol!

  8. Loved the Latin! Too bad Anna didn’t place higher – the host (sorry, don’t remember his name) seemed to think they would do better. In fact, seems like I agree with his opinions more than with the judges. I didn’t like the showdance winners. Transformers? Didn’t like it.

  9. Sorry you guys — I’ve had the most insanely busy week ever, and I’m just now watching the show (which I had to tape last night) and will post soon on it!

    SanderO, I’m pretty sure I’ve said before, professional ballroom dances are by definition full-time dancers; most amateur ballroom dancers have sponsors and work full-time on their dancing as well.

  10. Man, Jurga looked TREMENDOUS. And as a couple they continue to improve literally every time I see them. Loved the dress, loved the dancing in the finals, and loved the tongue-in-cheek showdance, OMG! I had them definitely higher in the final. Anya and Pavlo look better but still not as connected or sharp as they could. Boriana was sort of a ringer for Carmen in that wig she wore for the showdance, no?

    The showdance results were interesting – I agreed with the third-place finish, but was torn for 1 and 2. For me it could’ve gone either way. I’m a leeetle tired of robots in ballroom, I have to say.

    The group dance results were interesting – with the exception of the winning couple, all the other couples gave up dances to each other.

    Max and Yulia gave a great final performance of the Bird routine – to still dance it with so much conviction after all this time. Wow… and her body conditioning was just insane. That’s as fit as I’ve ever seen her.

    I’m so glad she’s not retiring from competition (as they kept saying last November when they taped she show.)

  11. Yah, Sharon I had to tape it because it was on at 11pm here because of Company *eye roll* So thanks for not sharing so much!

  12. I tried! I have to say its nice to finally have people that UNDERSTAND that I need to talk about what I’ve seen…love my hubby, but he just doesn’t get it. He likes to watch, just doesn’t feel the need to discuss.

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