Slavik Kryklyvyy and Karina Smirnoff are two of the most talented and sought-after ballroom dancers in the world today. Together, they have won the USA National Professional Latin International Championships five times and have earned silver at both the Blackpool Dance Festival and the World Championships in the Professional Latin category.
As partners from 1999-2005, Slavik and Karina made a lasting mark on the ballroom world, and even after their 2005 split, the two were still frequently asked to perform together. Following a nearly 10-year break, they performed for the 2014 Dance Legends Show, which ultimately reignited their passion for dancing together.
Next week, the couple is once again returning to the dance floor for the 2017 Millennium DanceSport Championships to Orlando, FL, where Slavik and Karina will showcase a pair of evening performances on Friday, June 23, and Saturday, June 24.
The two began dancing together after becoming a romantic couple first. Although they had no intentions of leaving their current partners at that time, their romantic relationship led to their former partners pairing up with one another, leaving both Slavik and Karina partnerless. So they did the only logical move at the time and began dancing together. They went on to win many titles and dance many memorable performances together.
Salvik has an impressive list of accomplishments as a professional ballroom dancer. In addition to the titles mentioned above, he was also named the Blackpool Amateur Latin champion. After leaving his first partner, Alena Fedorchuck in 1998, Salvik's career took off as he accepted an invitation to dance with Joanna Leunis in Belgium. After only five days of rehearsing together, the couple competed in its first competition, the Belgian Cup, and took first place with ease.
After two years of dancing together, Salvik and Alena parted ways after winning the title of IDSF Amateur Latin World champions. Salvik then joined forces with Karina in New York City, where they pursued a professional career path.
Karina is a prominent figure in the world of ballroom dance, most known for competing on "Dancing with the Stars." In addition to the awards previously listed, Karina is the first woman to ever make it to the Blackpool Dance Festival finals with three different partners.
Originally from the Ukraine, Karina immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 14. While she attended Fordham University, dancing fell to the wayside momentarily as she turned her focus to earning a degree in both economics and information systems programming. Upon graduation, Smirnoff reignited her love of dance and decided to pursue it full-time in place of going to law school.
Salvik and Karina made their debut as partners at the British Open in Blackpool, placing sixth in the Professional Latin Category. After training under some of the most prominent instructors in the the world, Salvik and Karina went on to win the 2005 U.K. Open -- one of the crowning achievements of the careers. The couple also had the privilege of choreographing and appearing in in the 2004 film "Shall We Dance," starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez.
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