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Can Love Survive Within a Competitor's Heart?

Happy Valentine’s! Ah, love, there is nothing quite like it. However, love becomes even more interesting when dance partners share a life both on and off the floor. Doing the thing you love with the person you love? A perfect situation! It is a unique situation that is cherished, but can also bring complications. We set out to see how Aida couples deal with the happiness and complications that comes from being partners in dance as well as in life. Let’s see what a few of them have to say! 

Danelle Newman & Ryan Lockhart


How did you two meet?

Danelle: “Emerald ball 2014. Introduced by Kasia Kozak and Christine Bar. We had a 15 min tryout and 2 months later moved from Iowa to California to dance together. 3 months later we started dating.”

Ryan: “Kasia Kozac called me and was like "I have a partner for you, she looks good, right height but I don't know if she can dance, get your butt up here and have a try out" So met her at the Emerald Ball 2014, had a 15 min try out and decided this could work.”

What do you adore in your partner? 

Danelle: “I adore his silly, geeky personality!  Haha, even though I'm not geeky at all, there's something sexy about a man wearing a virtual reality headset and killing some bad guys! He also has martial arts skills that bring a great sense of protection and safety within the relationship, so that is attractive.”

Ryan: “She is strong, driven and knows what she wants. She also is outspoken and has no filter, which I haven't decided if that is something I adore or not but it does usually make me laugh or shake my head.”


How do you balance love and work? 

Danelle: “We try our best to leave whatever happens at the door and learn to let things go. We enjoy being together all the time, but all couples argue and need some space, we try to move on as quickly as possible. We take time at home for each other as well as individually to balance things out.”

Ryan: “No matter what, we try to find any time to just laugh together, enjoy our company and be ourselves.”

Can you share a memory of when your partner made you feel loved?

Danelle: “If I am having a really bad day and not feeling well, he often times comforts me, cooks dinner, runs a bath and pours me a glass of wine to make me feel better.”

Ryan: “I feel loved everyday in the little tasks that she takes care of for me that I hate to do. It's little moments like this that remind me of how great a partner in life she is.”


Ron Garber & Klaudia Petriti


How did you two meet?

Ron: “It was a late evening in April of 2017. We were both in Miami to dance the Miami Vibe competition and our friend was having a birthday party at a salsa club. In the salsa club, I had my eye on Klaudia, so I sat next to her and I ordered us a giant margarita to share. And the rest is history.” 

What do you adore in your partner? 

Klaudia: “What I adore about Ron is how caring he is on and off the dance floor. I adore that he is super funny, and I adore how hard-working and determined he is. 

Ron: “For me, I adore that Klaudia is always a positive source of energy. Whenever she is dancing or just talking it really makes people light up and be happy. She is my source of happiness.”


How do you balance love and work? 

Ron: “I don’t think that you can ever have a true balance. It’s a constant work in progress. You always have to be respectful of your partner and be patient. You have to pour your energy into the goals that you set out to do together.” 

Can you share a memory of when your partner made you feel loved?

Klaudia: “Well that’s a tough question because Ron does a lot of things everyday that make me feel loved. If I could share one cute memory that I love is when we had gotten in a pretty big argument at the studio. Of course me, being dramatic, had left the studio without speaking to him. When I came home, he surprised me with some nice flowers and I had walked in all dramatic so I didn’t see the flowers right away. I was still mad at him but he was trying to get my attention to see that he had tried to make things better. When I noticed the flowers I was like ‘Oh my God, that’s so sweet!’” 

Ron: “Yeah, always get you lady flowers.” 

Klaudia: “But yeah, he makes me feel loved everyday.” 


 Ivan Kudashev & Ksenia Sokolova


How did you two meet?

Ivan: we met in a dance group! We never danced together while there, but once we danced as a couple and I realized that there was something in this girl!” 

Ksenia: “We met in a dance group, never danced there together, but once Ivan's partner got sick and they put me to dance with him, it was tango, I thought to myself: ‘damn, I would love to have such a partner’ then we didn’t see each other for 2 or 3 years and met because of study at the university, Vanya was even my pop dance teacher for half a year, when we were already dancing and were together.” 

What do you adore in your partner? 

Ivan: “I adore her for her honesty, she is who she is, always!”

Ksenia: “His patience, because sometimes I myself can’t tolerate myself.”


How do you balance love and work? 

Ivan: “I try to distinguish where we are dance partners and where we are husband and wife) but it is very difficult.”

Ksenia: “It’s impossible to imagine one without the other, for 8 years almost 24/7 together, I think our secret is to give ME a break from dancing in time and then happy wife = happy life and also miss the dance, a new breath opens.”

Can you share a memory of when your partner made you feel loved?

Ivan: “Once we worked together, in a nightclub, like dancers, animators) before any romantic relationship! it may seem too funny, but in the interval between dances, it’s like someone inside me said, like an insight: hold this girl and don’t let go!!”

Ksenia: “Vanya prepares breakfast for me every morning, and since I like to sleep, you can’t imagine more care!!!”


Tykhon Zhyvkov & Yana Zhyvkov


How did you two meet?

Yana: “We met at a karaoke bar.”

Tykhon: “She thought I was just a dancer, but I also turned out to be a singer!”


What do you adore in your partner? 

Yana: “Tykhon is very funny. I'm never bored when he is by my side.”

Tykhon: “Yana thinks that I'm the funny one, but in reality she has no idea how funny she is as well. She is my bundle of joy.”


How do you balance love and work? 

Yana: “If you do what you do with love and pleasure, it brings you joy!”

Tykhon: “In addition to personal and business development, its important to develop the relationship! We try to find mutual interests and participate in various activities together. For example, boxing, scooter riding, painting, exploring new places. These activities create good memories and fulfill our need for variety!”

Can you share a memory of when your partner made you feel loved?

Yana: “The most romantic and probably the best memory is the day when Tykhon proposed to me. It started with a beautiful breakfast on the edge of a cliff. I totally wasn't expecting it, and when he got on his knee I got very scared, thinking he is about to fall in the water from the precipice.”

Tykhon: “I feel that I'm loved every single day, Yana loves giving gifts and making surprises. It is in her nature to be caring and loving, and therefore there are tons of memories. Life consists of the little things. One day Yana prepared a parachute jumping surprise. So i wouldn't be afraid, she gifted me a medallion, which says: "Always believe in yourself! I love you!" And I suddenly become more brave!”


Artem Shiller & Ginny Ray Shiller


How did you two meet?

Artem & Ginny: “We met at a dance studio where Ginny already worked part time and had just hired Artem and brought him from Moscow to VA. They set up a "staff training" with only the two of us...there's actually a video of our first dance floating around somewhere. Man, we've come a long way since then. “

What do you adore in your partner?

Artem: “She's not a really good way”

Ginny: “His drive. It makes everyone around him want to be better and do better. It's pretty awesome to be part of that.”


How do you balance love and work? 

Artem & Ginny: “It's a daily process that we are both committed to. That doesn't mean the scales don't tip from time to time, but it is always a work in progress.”

Can you share a memory of when your partner made you feel loved?

Artem: “Very early in our relationship she agreed to fly to Ukraine with me and audition for their So You Think You Can Dance. She just said yes to going to a place where she wouldn't understand a word, with someone who she hadn't known for more than a few months...all because she trusted me.”

Ginny: “Every. Damn. Day. Actions speak far louder than words and there isn't much that he does that isn't solely based on how much he loves me. However, if I had to pick one would be when we lived in our one bedroom apartment. He made space for, bought, and put together a desk for my crafty-ness. My rhinestones and crochet would be annoying to anyone else, but he made sure I had space to do my thing, even when there wasn't really that much space for it.”


Stanislav Savich & Nicole Prosser


How did you two meet?

Nicole: We met at a dance studio for our first try out”

Stanislav: “It was where Nicole used to work.”

What do you adore in your partner?

Nicole: “I adore the fact that he can eat a lot, all the time, constantly.”

Stanislav: “I like the way Nicole is with all the children that we teach. I think she is great with them and they love her.”


How do you balance love and work? 

Nicole: “I strive to always remember who is standing in front of me, at work, or in private life, I respect this man so for me there’s not much balancing necessary- relationship with him is one and the same in all aspects of my life.”

Stanislav: “We got better at balancing love/work relationship when we realized that it’s important to take breaks from one another and occasionally spend some time apart. Then when we are together, we are always able to bring something new into all projects that we do with each other.”

Can you share a memory of when your partner made you feel loved?

Nicole: “Stas makes me feel loved every time he comes back from the coffee shop with a piece of vegan cake for me.”

Stanislav: “Nicole makes me feel loved when she plans so carefully all the food that I’m able to eat all the time.”


Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova


How did you two meet?

Nikita and Nadeza: “So we met teaching at the same dance company when we first moved to America called Dance with Me USA. It was my second year there already and Nadya had just moved. We basically were the first to pick out rooms in a house that was rented for the employees of the company. We were the first roaming around and picking rooms and that’s kind of how we got to know each other. We ended up being roommates sharing the same floor. We were on the same floor across the hallway from each other, and that’s how the trouble started!” 

What do you adore in your partner?

Nikita: “She always smells really nice.”

Nadeza: “He is the funniest comedian I’ve ever met! Like seriously, he is so much more funny than Russian comedy club and American Comedy Cellar put together.”

How do you balance love and work? 

Nikita & Nadeza: “We don’t balance it. We mix it all up! We hug and flirt at work and then we do scheduling and book flights at home. So it’s all mixed up at this point. We have periods of more love and more work.”

Can you share a memory of when your partner made you feel loved?

Nikita: “The first year I took skis to Utah, when we were amateurs and dancing Nationals there, we went skiing at Sundance with Eugene Katesvman because he introduced us to an amazing brunch spot there, the food is to die for. Nadya went skiing with me and if anyone has ever been there, it’s Springtime and snow is melting so there is a cliff and there are no guarding rails. She just basically learned how to ski all on her own in a couple of hours and then she went skiing with me. It was awesome because she had joined me on an activity that I really enjoyed doing as much as possible every year.”

Nadya: “This one New Year in Montreal, I was invited to Nikita’s family’s house. By that time, Nikita had gone a half a year without a partner and he was trying out with all different girls, because he had a rule to not mix his professional and personal life. During that New Year’s vacation, he proposed that we dance together. For me, that was as significant as a few years later when he proposed to me to get married, because that was a commitment and a risk he took to put everything into this partnership, to mix it up and go against his rules.” 

Thank you to all of the couples who participated!

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