From Shy to Champion

Woodlake DREAM Showcase 2019, Artemi and Anna, Photo Source: Alex Havasi

We would like you all to meet Anna Denise Gilichensky.  She is a young dancer that we interviewed and is part of the Pro-AM dancesport experience.  In case you do not know what that is, it’s when an amateur dancer dances with a professional dancer in competitions.  In Anna’s case, she is the student of Erica Arnold and Artemi Okunev of EA Dance Studio in Encino, CA.  You can frequently see Anna dancing with Artemi, her dance instructor, at many competitions and doing quite well.

Anna is often a guest dancer at our DREAM/Fordney Foundation ballroom showcases, needless to say, she is awesome out there and the kids love her! We hope you will enjoy this brief interview with an up and coming ballroom dance star.

Freddie Brock:   Anna how old are you?

Anna Gilichensky:   I am 10 years old.

FB:   What school do you go to?

AG:   Sherman Oaks Elementary Charter.

FB:   What age did you start to dance?

AG:   I was 5 years old when I started to take dance lessons.

FB:   What style of ballroom dance do you prefer?

AG:   I like all ballroom dance and perform Latin style quite often.

FB:    How much training goes into how well you dance today?

AG:   It takes a lot of training and lessons.  I practice dancing Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for at least one hour and a half.

FB:   What are you a champion at?

AG:   I am a World Champion in Standard.  The category is Pre-Teen 2.

FB:   What’s your favorite color?

AG:   Blue.

FB:   Do you have any hobbies?

AG:   Dancing.

FB:   How did you go from shy to champion in Standard?

AG:   At first, I was scared and shy but after performing for over a thousand people, the nerves kind of go away.  I just picture myself dancing with no one else around.  And, when you start winning, it builds confidence.

FB:   Wow, that’s good advice for our new, up and coming dancers who can keep that in mind when they feel scared.

FB:   Can you share with our readers and young dancers some inspirational words?

AG:   Whenever you are upset or in a bad mood, try to dance and watch your bad mood fade away.

Some wise words from a girl that we will probably see dancing her way to success for a long time!

**We have received contributions from individuals who would like to have a dear relative or friend who passed on remembered that loved to dance or was a dance aficionado.  We call these memorial contributions.  Perhaps you would like to have someone memorialized in this manner.  Make a donation and give us their name.  We will soon put on our website a yellow brick road to add their name to a brick as a memorial to that person.  This contribution will assist future generations of dancers and help keep young people more positive and healthy.

Thought Of The Week:

A person’s greatest strength develops at the point where he overcomes his greatest weakness – Elmer G. Letterman



Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website