2015 US National Professional American Style 9-Dance (Smooth & Rhythm) Champion
2015 US National Professional Rising Star American Smooth Champion
2010 International Latin North American Champion
Lana started dancing at age 12 in her hometown of Tallinn, Estonia. She soon found a partner and began training seriously in both International Latin and Standard. They became national junior and youth champions in Latin. Lana and her partner represented Estonia three times at the World Championships. They earned many titles in junior, youth and amateur 10 dance competitions.
Pursuing a professional competitive career brought Lana to the US and Philadelphia. She competed successfully in Latin winning numerous titles including 2010 International Latin North American Champions. Lana thanks her many outstanding coaches, including
Eugene Katsevman and Maria Manusova.
In 2015, Lana and her partner switched to American Smooth and won the National Professional Rising Star Championship in American Smooth. More success followed in 2015, when they captured the National American Style 9 Dance Championship. Lana achieved further recognition as a featured dancer in the Oscar winning movie "Silver Linings Playbook". Lana is continuing her professional career in Smooth with her partner Ilia Zakharav. They currently train with top coaches David Hamilton and Jonathan Roberts.
In addition to competing, Lana has been teaching since age 15. She offers private lessons and group classes in all dances, including American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Latin, International Standard and Latin club style dances (salsa, bachata, etc). She competes with her dedicated pro-am students and teaches workshops and lessons for the University of Pennsylvania Ballroom Team and the Ice Skating Club of Philadelphia. Lana also judges many pro-am and amateur competitions.
5 Times National Belarus Champion
US National Standard Show Dance Champion
Eastern European Standard Championship Finalist
Ilia began dancing at age 6 in his native country of Belarus. After making the finals in his first competition at age 7, he chose dancing. Ilia went on to become a 5-time National Champion of Belarus in 10 Dance, an IDU Federation World Cup Champion and a finalist in the Eastern European Championships. Ilia has studied under some of the world's best European coaches as well as world champions Arunas Bizokas and Edita Daniute.
Ilia brought his talents to the stage, choreographing and starring in a full-length ballroom show. He has been featured as a headliner on several major cruise lines, touring 64 countries. After coming to the US, Ilia won the USA Dance National Showdance Championship. He competed successfully in professional International Standard becoming a finalist in numerous national
competitions. He now coaches competitive couples and competes Pro-Am with his students, leading many to victory as champions and finalists.
Ilia is currently performing and competing in professional American Smooth with his partner Lana Rossi. Ilia and Lana train with David Hamilton and Jonathan Roberts, two of the top coaches in the country. A noted competitor, coach, choreographer and performer, Ilia teaches group classes and private lessons in International Standard, International Latin, American Rhythm, and American Smooth at Vivid Ballroom.
"If you move great, you feel great, and you look great" - Sam Paliashchuk
Sam discovered his love of dance at the age of seven. Sam attended the State University in Belarus to study performing arts. He earned his degree in dance and choreography plus world culture and history. Sam loves to compete and was two-time Latin vice champion of Belarus. He was a finalist in multiple competitions in Europe and a Latin finalist in multiple competitions in the U.S. Sam is a notably talented dancer and teacher who is actively teaching Latin, Rhythm, ballet, and hip hop.
In addition, Sam is a National Academy of Sports and Medicine certified personal trainer with over 10 years of multi-sport and movement training, such as judo, boxing, kickboxing, and power lifting.
Juan believes that "the authentic principles provide the best foundation for any Tango dancer and that this is what is necessary in order to learn the proper way to lead for the man and the proper way to follow for the woman, as well as learning the embrace which is essential for the connection with your partner, and how to interpret the music."
Born in the southernmost part of Argentina, Ushuaia, Juan Manuel Alessandrini was introduced to Argentine Tango at the age of ten. Raised by his grandparents, he became familiar with Tango in their home and soon after as a part of their Tango community. He started attending Milongas and began his formal training with his younger sister under the tutelage of Carlos Espinoza. Juan and his sister, Nicole, began performing in festivals and various venues. It was at this time that Juan began assisting Mr. Espinoza’s classes at his academy and performing with the Tango and Bolero un Tierra del Fuego and Saint Christopher Christopher Milonga. He has performed in multiple theatres and venues such as the “La Noche Mas Larga”, one of the most important folklore festivals in Argentina.
At the age of 18, Juan moved to Buenos Aires where he became an Assistant to his aunt and
uncle, Carolina Zokalski and Diego di Falco, to their school’s “Tours to Argentina” Milongas.
Thereafter he was invited to the United States to teach in his aunt and uncle’s school, the
Authentic Argentine Tango School in Summit, NJ. Juan prefers to teach in the
more traditional style of Tango.
Stijn started dancing at age six in his native country Belgium. He studied classical ballet for twelve years at the Conservatorium Mechelen where he learnt the foundational principles of dancing and performance. At age 16, he also started studying flamenco, which he continued for another six years. This gave him a deeper understanding of more traditional forms of music and how music heavily influences dance expression.
He started dancing ballroom and latin when he moved to the United States as an exchange student in 2013 and has been competing since then with his partner Mitali Desai on the University of Delaware Ballroom Dance Team and University of Pennsylvania Latin and Ballroom. He has competed in all four dancesport styles, but focuses more heavily on International Standard and American Smooth. He competes at several Amateur collegiate competitions at the Pre-Champ level and enjoys teaching beginner dancers through group and private lessons.
He also works full time as a biopharmaceutical investigator after having received his Ph. D in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 2018. He finds that his strong analytical skills help him to better understand mechanics and dance technique and is able to impart his knowledge to his students through clear and consistent instruction.
“Dancing creates happiness and energizes the soul. When we dance with someone else, we can share this joy with that person and everyone else around us. In this way, it is a universal language that connects us all.” – Mitali Desai
Mitali started dancing at age 20 on the University of Delaware Ballroom Dance Team, where she studied Rhythm, Smooth, Latin, and Standard. She competes with her partner Stijn Koshari at several Amateur collegiate competitions at the Pre-Champ level. While she focuses more heavily on International Standard and American Smooth, she enjoys attending latin social dances like salsa and bachata. She has also taught group dance classes to college students and other members of the community and provided private coaching to wedding couples.
Mitali grew up in India and Singapore and moved to the United States at age 16. As someone who was exposed to different cultures throughout her life, she has a keen interest in the cultural context and history of different dances and incorporates these ideas into her teaching. She studied Biology and Economics as an undergraduate and then earned her Masters of Health Administration from Johns Hopkins University. She currently works full time as a Project Manager in Population Health.