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The Competition


In what proved to be an incredible competition, all four champions brought their best to the dance floor. It was International Standard Champions Jonathan Wilkins and Katusha Demidova who took the title of "America's Best."


The Finalists

 
Male dancer in brown with umbrella dances with female dancer in orange dress.

Jonathan Wilkins and Katusha Demidova

© Jeffrey Dunn

America's Best

Jonathan Wilkins and Katusha Demidova (International Standard)
New York, NY

Jonathan grew up in a suburb of London where his mother sent him to a local dance school. Katusha is from Moscow and began her training as an ice skater. They met in New York when he was searching for a new partner in the mid-1990s. They maintain a disciplined practice schedule, fitting in other training methods such as yoga and pilates, while teaching many professional and amateur couples, including Katusha's younger sister. "We do all we can to be the best," says Jonathan.

 

Male dancer in grey dances with female dancer in white dress.

Ben Ermis and Shalene Archer- Ermis

© Jeffrey Dunn

Ben Ermis and Shalene Archer- Ermis (American Smooth)
Nashville, TN

Ben and Shalene were married a few years ago, after successfully teaching and dancing together since the early '90s. Neither of them danced as children, but they caught the dancing bug while training to become teachers. After a few years of dancing in the Standard division, they switched to Smooth and have been strong competitors in that category ever since. They are very sophisticated dancers with long, picture-perfect lines. When they're not working on their own routines, they both love to teach and frequently compete in Pro-Am divisions with their students. They announced their retirement from competition at this year's Ohio Star Ball.

Male dancer in black suit dances with female dancer in black lace dress. OR Male dancer in black and white dances with female dancer in black.

Tony Dovolani and Elena Grinenko

© Jeffrey Dunn

Tony Dovolani and Elena Grinenko (American Rhythm)
New York, NY

This is the second year Tony and Elena have competed together at the Ohio Star Ball. They are both very experienced dancers who have been friends for quite some time. Tony learned to folk dance as a young boy in Kosovo, then fell in love with ballroom when he moved to the United States at age 15. Elena trained in ballet, folk, and ballroom dance in Russia before moving to America when she was 21. Tony and Elena have tremendous technique and dance highly creative routines. All their movements are well thought out and Elena's footwork is exceptional. Both have won many titles with other partners. Elena has also danced on Broadway,while Tony has been a dance consultant for feature films.

Male dancer in black dances with female dancer in black outfit.

Jonathan Wilkins and Katusha Demidova

© Jeffrey Dunn

Andrei Gavriline and Elena Kryuchkova (Latin)
Fords, NJ

As the 2005 winners of the "America's Best" competition, this is the couple to watch! Elena started as a figure skater and gymnast, but took up ballroom dancing when she was nine. Andrei was studying law in Moscow when he rediscovered his childhood passion for dance. He and Elena met in Moscow, fell in love and became dance partners. Since moving to the U.S. and marrying in 1999, they have been finalists in many international competitions in the Latin division.

 
Music
EventSong TitlePerformer
Exhibition:
Garry Gekhman and Rita Gekhman "Rockit" and Herbie Hancock
"Freak-a-zoid" and Midnight Star
"Popcorn" Hot Butter
Short Program:
Ben Ermis and Shalene Archer-Ermis "Reunion" from "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" — Soundtrack
Short Program:
Tony Dovolani and Elena Grinenko "Exodo II" Bajofondo Tango Club
Short Program:
Jonathan Wilkins and Katusha Demidova "Too Darn Hot" and Byron Motley
"Too Darn Hot" Sammy Davis, Jr.
Short Program:
Andrei Gavriline and Elena Kryuchkova "Fever" Joe Cocker
Cabaret:
Eric Luna and Georgia Ambarian "Remember Remember" and "Every Reborn" and "Knives and Bullets" from "V for Vendetta" — Soundtrack
Cabaret:
Felipe Telona and Carolina Orlovsky-Telona "Goodbye My Lover" James Blunt
Exhibition:
Tommye Giacchino and and Gregory Day "When You Say You Love Me" Josh Groban
Cabaret:
David Savoy and Jenya Goremykina "Ribbon in the Sky" Stevie Wonder
Long Program:
Tony Dovolani and Elena Grinenko "Sexybacky" Justin Timberlake
Long Program:
Ben Ermis and Shalene Archer-Ermis "Fever" Bette Midler
Exhibition:
Center Stage Formation Team "Die Another Day" Madonna
Long Program:
Andrei Gavriline and Elena Kryuchkova "I Miss You" Bjork
Long Program:
Jonathan Wilkins and Katusha Demidova "Autumn Leaves" Andre Bocelli
Exhibition:
Anton Belyayev and Karolina Paliwoda "Assassin's Tango" John Powell
Final Dance:
  "All Blues" Brent Mills
 

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America's Ballroom Challenge fourth season premieres on:
February 25, 2009
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