Team & Affiliated Instructors
Born in Kazakhstan, Nikolai Shpakov grew up in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, in the Ural mountain region, the only child of an architect father and an attorney mother. He started dancing “before I learned how to walk,” he says, first Russian folk dancing, then jazz, and finally ballroom when he was 10 years old (both Latin and Standard).
After college, Nikolai was inspired to study law by his mother, a nurse who went back to school to become a lawyer. He thought that dance would be a “serious hobby.” But it was in his blood, and he and his female dance partner, Yana, competed successfully in the Ural/Siberian region for several years. In his third year of school, he and Yana were offered the chance to come to New York City to teach ballroom.
He decided to follow his heart, and he and Yana emigrated to America in late 1998.
Tatiana Banko was born in Volgograd, Russia, where she began dancing Ballet at the age of 6 and within a year added figure skating to her training regimen.
At the age of 10 she saw a dance competition on TV and immediately fell in love with Ballroom and Latin dancing. By the age of 13 Tatiana became a top finalist in multiple competitions in Russia, including Russian National Championship. When she turned 16 she continued dancing in Europe representing Italy, becoming a national finalist and finalist of many dance competitions in Europe. In 2006 Tatiana received an invitation to continue her dance career in the United States where she became one of the highest ranking international Latin dance competitors. Amongst her achievements: US Open Professional Latin Super Series top 6, UK Open Rising Star top 5, Blackpool Rising Star top 7. Winner of Yankee Classic World Masters, Eastern Dancesport and Windy City Championships.
Tatiana loves to teach, perform and compete with her students and she is one of the top Pro/am instructors in the country.
Brook Diamond was born and raised in Anchorage Alaska where he became his journey as a dancer at age of 5. Brook is an award-winning NY- based dancer, competitor and private instructor with an affinity international Latin American Smooth. Over the years Brook has trained world- renowned coaches and in 2010 he was granted a scholarship at the Joffrey School ballet after which he continued his dance career in New York City. Brook works with students of all ages and all levels of experience, ranging from dance professionals focused on furthering their competition resume, to novices interested to begin a competitive career which leads them onto competitive floor under Brook’s guidance.
Igor Gayenko is originally from Ukraine where he started international Ballroom and Latin training at the age of 5. It wasn’t too long before he became a successful competitor around the world, becoming a 3 times junior Blackpool finalist and United States youth National bronze medalist. Amongst his achievements: New York City Dance Festival Rising Star champion, Platinum Dancesport Rising Star champion and Kings Ball Rising Star champion. Igor competes with his students in United States as well as in Europe, achieving great results and helping them become finalists and winners of multiple major events such as Blackpool Professional/ Amateur division. Igor continues to compete , choreograph showcases and inspire students to achieve their goals.
Viktoriya Kolbenkova Is originally from Russia, at the age of 6 she started taking classes in gymnastics, couple years later she moved to Ballroom Dancing. In teen years she also perused training in different styles of dance such as hip hop and jazz. After high school she moved to United States to get her college degree in Economics and later returned to competitive dancing in Latin and Standard . Viktoriya is World Level competitor in many International Championship, semifinalists in PD World Championships representing United States in both programs. Ballroom and Latin . She and her partner Seeger Dementyev are still regularly traveling to Europe and Russia taking lessons from World famous teachers and coaches. Viktoriya will be leading kids program here at Danznik Studios.
Julia Mincheva began her training at age 5 in Russia, and went on pursuing a professional competitive career. Julia has won several championships in Europe and Russia. Between 2003 and 2005 alone she won 7 prestige dance titles on the best competition arenas in the world, including London Open Professional semifinalist, International championship Rising Star finalist, Dutch Open Showdance top 3, Russian Professional Standard Championship runner up.
She was equally if not more successful in the US becoming a world finalist in Classic show dance in 2005, national Rising Star smooth finalist and North American smooth champion title holder.
Yulia has been teaching dance since 13 and is a nationally certified instructor in Smooth, Latin, Standard and Rhythm. When Yulia is not teaching, she loves to spend time in artistic venues, she calls fashion her second love. She is also an experienced Yoga practitioner.
Was born in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. His parents loved Ballroom Dancing and used to bring him as a child to watch different dance competitions, so at the age of 13 he decided to be part of that beautiful art and started taking classes.
He got excellent results very fast representing Russia. Later Sergey found partner in different country and decided to move and represent Slovenia. Here he got opportunity to train and take lessons from world famous Ballroom and Latin teachers advancing his technique.
In 2010 he had opportunity to move to United States. Here he met his current partner Viktoriya Kolbenkova, they have been finalists at USA Dance National Championships, winners of Manhattan Amateur Classic Championship.
Both Sergey and Viktoriya are World Level competitors in many International Championship, semifinalists in PD World Championships representing United States . Sergey also competes in ProAm in both programs: Latin and Ballroom. He loves to teach and share his experience with students while making it fun and enjoyable lessons.
Andrei Stanev is a professional dance teacher from Bulgaria. Andrei started his career at a very young age. He became very successful by winning Bulgarian National Championships in two styles, Ballroom and Latin two years in a row. Andrei owns a degree from the National Sport Academy and shortly after his graduation he decided to move to America to expand his career. His ambitious and creative spirit brought him success in biggest dance companies in the States which led him to become an expert in all 4 styles. Andrei received an Award for Outstanding Performance in the advance department of teaching in 2006.
Trained early in tap and jazz, I began ballroom in 1997. Performances at the Copacabana, Wainwright House, and earning 1st & 2nd place in the 1998 Fred Astaire TriStar Dance Sport Championships added experience. It was a privilege, for many years, to teach at the famous Stardust Dance Weekends.
In 2005 & 2006, I choreograph the presentation of The Cubist Works of Pablo Picasso (televised by News 12) at Yonkers International Baccalaureate World School and in 2009 Seniors Come Out Swinging held at Yonkers Public Library to a sold-out audience. I headed, in 2010, a multi-generational dance program organized by the Health & Recreation Department for Lyndhurst, NJ.
A passion for Argentine Tango, I earned my teacher’s certification in Nov 2012 from The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Incorporated and along with my partner, Carlos Sampelayo, we were chosen as Sub-Champions of the 2013 US Tango Championship. Enjoying our partnership of many years, Carlos & I continue to teach social level ballroom and Argentine Tango. Our goal is getting students onto the dance floor quickly and with techniques they can be comfortable with regardless of age.
Carlos has been involved in tango since childhood. His parents loved tango, danced and lived within the tango culture all their lives. In his house, tango music was played every day and for the entire day. After seeing the show “Tango Argentino” in 1985, Carlos began studying Argentine Tango with a variety of instructors. His main teachers with whom he studied extensively were Diego di Falco, Carolina Zokalski, dancers from the show “Forever Tango”. He also studied with Osvaldo Zotto (from Tango X 2), The Dinzels (From Tango Argentino), and Hugo Patyn (From Forever Tango) as well as Carlos Copello.
Chosen as the “Best Argentine Tango Teacher in Westchester 2010” by the Westchester Magazine.
In 1998 Carlos began teaching privately and hosting his own milongas in Westchester. At present he teaches at several venues throughout Westchester.
Carlos has been teaching tango since 1999 and is now a Certified Argentine Tango Instructor by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing
He and Karen registered in The US Tango Championship to help promote Argentine Tango in the United States achieving the Sub-Champions Position.
Vitaly Novikov was born in Russia and began dancing while he was in middle school. His first big achievement was becoming Saint-Petersburg International Ballroom and International Latin champion. Later on he became a finalist and a winner of multiple Russian and European competitions. At about the same time Vitaly started his teaching career. Then he moved to London where for several years he was studying dancing and methods of teaching with the world renowned teachers and dancers. He continued competing successfully in United Kingdom and Europe.
Arriving in the United States in 2001 Vitaly continued his dancing career by teaching, choreographing showcases and competing with his partner and his students both in International and American styles.
Vitaly likes to teach helping his students to achieve their competitive and social dancing goals and getting great results.
Vitalii started ballroom dancing at the age of 3. Among his marked accomplishments are: 2015 International Dance Sport Association World Champion; 2016 International Dance Sport Association World Cup winner; 2016 Ukrainian Champion; 2018 Ohio Star Ball Professional RS Champion; 2019 Blackpool Dance Festival Professional Semi Finalist. He was awarded the Merited Master of Sports of Ukraine degree for his dancesport accomplishments and is currently a multiple winner and finalist of numerous international dancesport championships.
He has extensive experience in training for both social and competitive dancing. His competitive students have been winners and finalists of multiple International and Ukrainian Dancesport competitions.
“In my opinion, dancing is the greatest gift to mankind. It unleashes the luminosity of the soul and helps me to enjoy life and get through many life challenges. I love to share all the wonderful experiences dancing gives me, that’s why teaching for me is my way of making people around me happier and become proud of their accomplishments.” — Vitalii Kaliuzhnyi
Sonya started her career as a ballroom dancer at the age of 5. From the beginning, she was fortunate to be taught by some of the greatest teachers — all former national and world champions. She won her first national title at the age of 12 and went on to win two more titles, including the United States Amateur 10 Dance Champion. Her dancing has taken her all around the world, where she was selected to represent the United States at 10 World Championships. Internationally, she is a Blackpool Rising Star Semi-finalist and a European Championship Semi-finalist.
Sonya teaches social dancing (all styles) and competitive dancing (Latin and Standard). She can teach students from all levels (beginner to advanced) and ages (kids to adults). She is proud of training US Junior and Juvenile National Champions. For her, there is nothing more rewarding than guiding a student to reach their fullest potential – beginners and competitors alike!
Originally from Bulgaria, Lubomir Asenov started dancing at a young age and quickly became a Youth and Amateur Latin champion. He relocated to the United States in 2000 where his professional career officially began. Lubomir has won numerous professional competitions throughout the US and abroad. He is a World Cup Professional Latin grand finalist and a Ohio Star Ball Rising Star Latin Champion. He currently teaches in New York and is one of the top ProAm teachers in the area. His competitive students consistently place in grand finals and win championships but his greatest fulfillment is seeing his students’ growth and improvement in the studio.
Anton Domansky is a champion Professional Ballroom and Latin dancer with over 25 years of competitive and show dance experience. Originally from Ukraine, he has been dancing since he was 8. After winning the Ukrainian National Youth Championship at 16, he went on to study with the world’s top teachers in London and Italy. Since immigrating to the US in 2001, he has won multiple US National Youth Ballroom and 10-dance championship titles and represented the US in three World Championships. After his first trip to Buenos Aires, Anton fell in love with Argentine Tango; 10 years later, he is US National Argentine Stage Tango Champion.
Anton currently competes in both professional and pro-am divisions and performs with his students throughout the tri-state area. He also enjoys coaching ballroom couples, working with children, and volunteering as a dance mentor.
As an instructor, Anton teaches both social and competitive styles. Taking a holistic approach to dancing, he helps students develop their full potential by moving in a way that is natural for the body. He has been studying the Feldenkrais Method for four years, incorporating advanced bodywork and awareness of movement into his teaching.
Jes Ann Nail