Today we continue our interviews with Junior division winners and their parents from the Emerald Ball. It is interesting and informative about what it takes for families to be involved in Ballroom/Dancesport competition. Our hope is that you can learn from their experiences and apply it to your own experiences. We interviewed Irene Yarovoi, her parents, and her dance partner, Daniel Zakirzyanov, and his parents too; who all happen to be part of and work with Brilliant DanceSport Studio in Warminster, PA.
Irene and Daniel have talent and technical skills in Latin. They are both striking and command attention when they move. Their choreography is sharp and in sync with each other! Here are the awards they won at the Emerald Ball and we hope you enjoy Irene’s interview.
Junior 2 3 Dance Latin Championship 4th Place
Junior 2 5 Dance Latin Championship 6th Place
Interview with Irene Yarovoi:
Freddie Brock: How old are you?
IY: I am 15 years old
FB: What category are you in? Pre-teen/Junior/Youth Series? Latin or Smooth or both?
IY: I am in the Junior category for Latin.
FB: At what age did you start to dance and what made you want to dance?
IY: I started dancing at the age of 6 and I initially gained interest in it when I saw one of my close friends, who was already competing at a high level, perform one of her Latin routines at a show. My 6-year-old self was in awe of the musicality and the artistic viewpoint of her performance and it inspired me to pursue my own career in dancing. Once I started taking classes, I was hooked. I think what kept me in the industry, was the artistic and emotional factor of it all. Dance gave me a way to express myself that was completely new. It was a way that words couldn’t really put into perspective. Also, I was drawn to the friendly warmth of the dance community.
FB: Wow Irene, I like your enthusiasm and ability at just 15 years old, to know exactly what motivates you!
FB: How much training went into you being able to perform today?
IY: Years and years of training have gone into this performance. When I first began dancing, I wouldn’t have ever imagined that I would be able to get such an amazing opportunity to compete in such a prestigious competition with all of these top-level dancers.
FB: What’s the one thing you want people to know about you?
IY: I would not have been here today without all the people and support I have received throughout my years of dancing. I would like to thank my parents, my partner, my friends, everyone that has supported me in the past, and most importantly my coach, Nina Estonia, and Brilliant DanceSport Studio, for always believing in me and putting in their best effort to help me succeed. The dance community has become my second family and their positivity and feedback is what helped me become the dancer I am today.
FB: Can you share with our readers and young dancers the one thing they would want to know, to be where you are today, performing at the Emerald Ball?
IY: This competition has some of the most advanced and skilled dancers in the business. Make sure to prepare yourself physically and emotionally for the event and never get discouraged when comparing yourself to other dancers. Focus on your own dancing and work upon improving yourself. Being inspired by others is a good thing, but comparing yourself to them will only distract you.
Interview with Parents of Irene Yarovoi–Helen and Serge Yarovoi:
Freddie Brock: What category is Irene in? Pre-teen/Junior/Youth Series? Latin or Smooth or both?
Helen and Serge Yarovoi: Irene and her partner Daniel compete in the Junior category for Latin.
FB: How old are they?
H&SY: Irene is 15 years old and her partner is 14 years old.
FB: How long have they been dancing?
H&SY: Irene has been dancing for 9 years.
FB: Are both you and you Irene looking forward to a professional career in dance?
H&SY: Yes, one of our main goals is to reach that professional level of dancing. As the parents, we look forward towards helping our child reach her full potential and helping her pursue the career of her choice. We know that there are a lot of risks and obstacles that follow in such a competitive field, but we are willing to try our best. To ensure that we are constantly moving up that ladder towards the main goal, we’ve made sure that they receive the best possible experiences and coaching and that they are prepared to make decisions for what’s ahead. For the past 6 months, we have been endlessly attending competitions week after week. Almost all of the time spent outside of traveling to these competitions, we have spent in the studio practicing or at dance camps taking master classes. With all the stress of the required preparations, traveling, and practices, it really takes a whole community of dancers, coaches, and parents to achieve the final goal.
FB: As a parent, what are some of the challenges of getting ready for a performance at the Emerald Ball?
H&SY: Sadly, we were not able to attend the Emerald Ball itself and support the dancers, but we tried to contribute by helping out with all the preparations that went into the performance. We had to make many arrangements concerning the outfit and dress that Irene would be wearing at the Emerald Ball and many weeks of training went into their preparation for this competition. It was extremely difficult to balance dance and school for the young dancers. To make the schedule fit, we had to drive them to the airport at 3 AM on Saturday and drive them straight to school from the airport on Monday.
Emerald Ball 5-6-18, Irene Yarovoi, Nina Estrina, Freddie Brock, Daniel Zakirzyanov, Photo by Alex Havasi
FB: As a parent, is there anything you can share with our dancers, parents, and readers that would inspire them on their dance journey in hopes that they could one day perform a the Emerald Ball?
H&SY: All those preparations are worth it, to see your child enjoy performing at the Ball!
Interview with Daniel Zakirzyanov:
Freddie Brock: How old are you?
Daniel Zakirzyanov: 14 years old
FB: What category are you in?
DZ: Junior 2 – Latin
FB: At what age did you start dancing and what made you want to dance?
DZ: 7 years old
FB: How much training went into you being able to perform here today?
DZ: 5-6 times a week, 3-6 hours a day
FB: What’s one thing you want people to know about you?
DZ: I respect the athletic and artistic views of ballroom dance.
FB: Can you share with our readers and young dancers, the one thing they would want to know, to be where you are today, performing at Emerald Ball?
DZ: There is a commonly used phrase in our studio: “Practice not till you can do it right, but practice till you can’t do it wrong.” Irene and I worship this phrase like religion. After every class, no matter who it might be with, take the given information and embed it into every movement of our dance. We also enjoy to take it slow. We hardly ever practice without changing the speed of the music to 75%. It is vital that you take your time with the dances and feel the limit that your body can reach. And lastly, don’t be afraid to try something new. Even though there is a chance you’ll embarrass yourself, there is also a chance you change your dancing for the better!
FB: What is the role Brilliant DanceSport Studio has had in your dancing career and future development?
DZ: Brilliant DanceSport Studio has given us a huge three-floor space, with all the coaches and music one would need! It’s like a home away from home. The trainers here also enjoy enlightening you mentally. During rounds, the trainer who runs the class frequently, stops and makes you imagine the dances differently, enlightens change, and inspires greatness. So in short, Brilliant has given us a huge space full of great teachers!
Interview with Parents of Daniel Zakirzyanv–Svetlana and Oleg Zakirzyanov:
Freddie Brock: What category is Daniel in?
Svetlana and Oleg Zakirzyanov: J2 Latin
FB: How long has Daniel been dancing?
S&OZ: Daniel has been dancing for 8 years.
FB: Are both you and your child looking forward to a professional career in dance? What steps do you take to accomplish this goal?
Daniel Kakirzyanov, Irene Yarovoi, Emerald Ball 5-6-18, Photo by Alex Havasi
S&OZ: Daniel seems to be definitely on board with this goal and so are we. Daniel recently started to teach and dances singles with many girls at competitions. Daniel also coaches Krill (another son) very frequently and dedicates huge portions of his time and energy to Kirill and his own success. Both Kirill and Daniel frequent classes with internationally accomplished professionals and coaches. Most recently Daniel participated in the Brooklyn Dancesport Club’s performance camp where he took lessons With Maximilian Winkelhust and Eugene Katsevman. Daniel and Kirill also work with a gymnast that stretches their bodies and a stamina trainer in the studio.
FB: As a parent, what are some of the challenges of getting ready for a performance at the Emerald Ball?:
S&OZ: After many, many preparations for many, many different competitions locally, nationally, and internationally, we have become accustomed to it. But no matter how many times we go, we still struggle to time our flights in with school and competition times. Since competitions may be an hour off schedule and school becomes more and more demanding, it is a struggle to fit in the travel times with day to day routines.
FB: As a parent, is there anything you can share with our readers that would inspire them on their dance journey in hopes that they could once dance/perform at the Emerald Ball?:
S&OZ: As a parent, you must be prepared for sleepless nights, for tired kids, and for constant jetlag. If you want your child to succeed then you must give your child the support they need. You need to keep pushing them yet making them feel as though they are making progress. You must be involved in the lessons, in your child’s practice wear, their hydration, mental and physical health, in your child’s competition costumes, etc. Even through all of these are struggles and hardships, it is all worth it to see your child dance their heart out and see them smile with pride when they succeed.