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The Competition


What a nail biter! A virtual tie between Andrei Gavriline and Elena Kryuchkova and Max Kozhevnikov and Yulia Zagoruychenko meant having to consult the rulebook. Both couples proved they are serious contenders with Max and Yulia narrowly taking the groupdances and Andrei and Elena winning the showdance with their spectacular Paso Doble. But it was Andrei and Elena who had the most first placings.


The Finalists

 
 Male dancer in black and red dances with female dancer in red and black dress.

Andrei Gavriline and Elena Kryuchkova

© Jeffrey Dunn

International Latin Champions

Andrei Gavriline and Elena Kryuchkova
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.

 

 Male dancer in pinstripe black suit dances with female dancer in red jacket and hat.

Ilya Ifraimov and Nadia Goulina

© Jeffrey Dunn

Ilya Ifraimov and Nadia Goulina
Bloomfield, NJ

Ilya grew up in Russia, then immigrated to Israel. Nadia represented Russia at the Lillehammer Olympics, making it to the top six. Both were invited to teach at a studio in New Jersey, where Nadia switched from Standard to the Latin division. They started a partnership and have been dancing successfully for seven years in professional ballroom competitions.

 Male dancer in red dances with female dancer in red dress.

Max Kozhevnikov and Yulia Zagoruychenko

© Jeffrey Dunn

Max Kozhevnikov and Yulia Zagoruychenko
Somerville, NJ

For many years, Max and Yulia have been dedicated teachers to a wide array of students including children, professionals, and ice skaters. Meanwhile, they have maintained a strong competitive presence in the International Latin division. They competed against each other in Russia as amateurs and Max always thought highly of Yulia's dancing. When Max moved to the U.S. and needed a partner, naturally he thought of Yulia. Now both in the U.S., they have been burning up dance floors ever since with creative and highly energetic routines.

 Male dancer in black and red dances with female dancer in red dress.

Andre Paramonov and Natalie Paramonov

© Jeffrey Dunn

Andre Paramonov and Natalie Paramonov
Toronto, Ontario

Andre and Natalie's partnership is over 10 years old. As Canadian National Professional Latin Champions, they have developed highly skilled and innovative routines, and present an exotic look. They teach and choreograph for dance styles outside of the Latin division and have developed a strong ability to manage a crowded floor. They also choreographed the first Russian productions (using ballroom dancing) of "My Fair Lady" and "West Side Story" for the National Russian Conservatory.

 Male dancer in black and white dances with female dancer in black dress.

Vaidotas Skimelis and Jurga Pupelyte

© Jeffrey Dunn

Vaidotas Skimelis and Jurga Pupelyte
Pacifica, CA

Jurga and Vaidas, from Lithuania, have a strong love of dance, believing it gives people skills beyond the body and cultivates a sense of self-confidence, patience, and creativity. Sometimes working from their own life experiences, they strive to emphasize the narrative elements in their routines. They've been partners since 1999, presenting elegance and strong chemistry in the Latin division.

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

Delyan Terziev and Boriana Deltcheva

© Jeffrey Dunn

Delyan Terziev and Boriana Deltcheva
Woodside, NY

This couple used to dance together as amateurs in Bulgaria. After gaining more experience, they partnered up again when they both moved to New York, competing professionally in the Latin division. Audiences love their showmanship and exotic look, which are especially prevalent in their cha cha.


Exhibition Dancers

 
 Male dancer in black and white dances with female dancer in purple dress.

Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Valeriya Kozharinova

© Jeffrey Dunn

Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Valeriya Kozharinova
Saddle Brook and Bordentown, NJ

Valentin and Valeriya have been dancing together for three years and are currently United States Amateur Latin Champions. They are also one of the first couples from the United States to win a championship title at the prestigious Blackpool competition in England. Originally both from Russia, they started dance training when they were very young. Over the years, they have found that ballroom has taught them teamwork, dedication, and discipline, while providing them with exercise and fun. Although both have been very successful with other partners, they feel that they are very well matched and hope to accomplish a lot more together.

 Male dancer in black dances with female dancer in pink pantsuit.

Ben Ermis and Ruthie Perkins

© Jeffrey Dunn

Ben Ermis and Ruthie Perkins
Nashville, TN

Ben, now retired from competition, is a champion professional competitor and a busy teacher in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. Ruthie has been his student and Pro-Am partner for seven years. They compete in all four styles of dance and have won many championships together, including titles at the Ohio Star Ball. Ruthie has recently taken up interest in the creative design process that goes into making ballroom apparel and has started working with top ballroom designer Maria McGill. She also enjoys playing golf, traveling, and spending time with her children and grandchildren.

 Male and female dancers dance together.

Chicago Formation Team

© Jeffrey Dunn

Chicago Formation Team
Chicago, IL

The Chicago Formation Team is composed of four couples ranging in age from 12 to 16. The students are from diverse backgrounds and have been working with their teacher Tommye Giacchino for about four years at the Chicago Dance studio. They have excellent training and manage to show incredible discipline and a playful nature at the same time, even while performing gravity-defying stunts!

 Male dancer in black and purple dances with female dancer in purple dress.

Pasha Pashkov and Inna Brayer

© Jeffrey Dunn

Pasha Pashkov and Inna Brayer
New York, NY

Born in Russia, both Pasha (20) and Inna (19) came to the United States when they were young, and have fervently pursued dance their entire lives. Building on their records of success with other partners, they have danced together for three and a half years, becoming National Amateur 10-dance champions and representing the USA at the World Championships. Their training routine is tough, requiring work for four hours a day, six days a week. They are also full-time college students: Inna is in her sophomore year at Hunter College and Pasha is a junior at Bernard Baruch Business School.

 Male dancer in black dances with female dancer in lavender and white dress.

Leonid Juashkovsky and Daniella Karagach

© Jeffrey Dunn

Leonid Juashkovsky and Daniella Karagach
Brooklyn, NY

Daniella (13) and Leonid (14) have been dancing together since 2003. Both began dance instruction when they were very young, Daniella studying ballet and Leonid joining a ballroom class because his friends were doing it. They have remained passionate about their training in spite of its increased intensity and the demands of competition. Daniella's mom sometimes finds her dancing in her room after she "goes to bed." In addition to dancing, Daniella plays basketball and Leonid plays hockey, football, and guitar. Their dream is to open a dance school for underprivileged children.

 
Music
EventSong TitlePerformer
Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Valeriya Kozharinova "Kiss" Prince
Group — Cha Cha "Ay Morena" Formula Abierta
Group — Samba "Tu y Yo" Paulina Rubio
Group — Rumba "Pretty" The Cranberries
Group — Paso Doble "Spanish Gypsy Dance" Banda Espana
Group — Jive "Route 66" John Mayer
Ben Ermis and Ruthie Perkins "I Just Want to Make Love to You" Etta James
Delyan Terziev And Boriana Deltcheva "The Stoned Guys"
"Kyochek"
"Woodwitches"
Georgi Andreiev
Georgi Andreiev
Georgi Andreiev
Vaidotas Skimelis And Jurga Pupelyte "La Del Ruso" Gotan Project
Chicago Dance "Candyman" Christina Aguilera
Ilya Ifraimov And Nadia Goulina "Respect" (Medley) Mark Pont
Daddy Freddy
Aretha Franklin
Captain Cardiac and the Coronaries
Max Kozhevnikov And Yulia Zagoruychenko "Victory" Bond with the London Session Orchestra
"L Musica Notturna Delle Strade Di Madrid No. 6, Op. 30" Richard Erdoes,Michael Fisher, Simon Oswell, Timothy Landauer, and Bruce Dukov
Pasha Pashkov And Nadia Goulina "Tainted Love" Pussycat Dolls
Andre Paramonov And Nataliev "Sparkling Diamonds" Nicole Kidman
Andre Gavriline And Elena Kryuchkova "Movement No. 2" Vangelis
Leonid Juashkovsky And Daniella Karagach "With Arms Wide Open" Creed
Andrei Gavriline and Elena Kryuchkova
(honor dance)
"Temptation" Diana Krall

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