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To dance or not to dance – It was the simplest choice; it was the toughest choice. I had stopped formal ballet training at the age of nine to pursue academic excellence at the request of my parents. Yet the desire to dance never abandoned me; however, it required a special kind of teacher to reignite the passion in me. Here came the easiest decision – after trying out lessons with two other standard teachers, I was introduced to Sergey Bolotnikov. Maybe it was his philosophical approach to dancing; maybe it was his mathematical way of illustrating the steps; maybe it was his bespectacled look when explaining the movements; or maybe it was his calming voice when describing the figures; I knew the night after the tryout, almost four years ago, that my standard teacher is Sergey.
Lessons with Sergey were never boring. Just when you think you have grasped a figure and steps, and ready to go into the next lesson with the spring of hope, the connection and movement may bring on the winter of despair inside your mind. This is due to the fact that, we, as students, come from all walks of life and all carry bags or have skeletons in our closets. Being our dance instructor, one has to be a Jack of all trade to handle different students’ various concerns on and off the dance floor. At times, Sergey is a teacher, a dance partner, a trainer, a motivational speaker, a psychiatrist, a physical therapist, etc., etc. Even though in numerous occasions I required multiple clarifications of movements and / or steps, I never once sensed agitation in Sergey’s tone of voice. He is extremely patient with students.
A little bit over a year ago, Sergey partnered up with Sasha. It was such a blessing to have both of them teaching and coaching me. Sasha brought in a different perspective, the follower’s point of view. The way they approach dancing is like both sides of the same coin. With their encouragement and guidance, I successfully competed as a Pro-Am student in Holiday Dance Classic Championships in 2013 and the Ohio Star Ball Championships in 2014.
Seven years ago, when my kids first started ballroom dancing, the yearning to move my body with the beautiful music across the dance floor was there. Yet, as an adult trying to learn this form of art I did not know who to turn to and thought I had nothing before me. After almost four years, taking lessons from Sergey, and now Sergey and Sasha, I am confident that I have everything in front of me.