As you may have figured out, I have a fascination with ballroom dancers, from all parts of the world. Not only have you never heard of Slavik Kryklyvyy (yet alone alone seen this name), I bet you have never seen him dance either. And if you have seen him dance, you probably didn’t know it was him! I first learned about Slavik from Karina Smirnoff. I hope by now you have read my interview with this talented dancer, who I interviewed in May at the Emerald Ball in May 2015. When she spoke of him, I knew I was going to do some research and find out more about him. Here is a little background into Karina and Slavik’s dance history. In fact, most of Slavik’s career is noted as being Karina Smirnoff’s former partner. When Karina and Slavik were dancing the international circuit in 2001, it was obvious that Karina and her partner, Slavik Kryklyvyy, were a dynamic duo. Incidentally, they both lived in England and represented the United States. They dominated ballroom competitions for 4 years and won 5 U.S. Latin Ballroom Championships, a World Trophy Championship, an Asian Open Championship, and made a joint appearance in the film, “Shall We Dance,” starring Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere.
Now that I’m sure that I’ve got your attention, let me tell you a little more about Slavik Kryklyvyy. Slavik is Ukrainian and was born in 1976 in Kiev, SSR, Soviet Union. He became a professional dancer specializing in International Latin. Before Slavik teamed up with Karina Smirnoff, he had another partner, Joanna Leunnis. Joanna and Slavik became amateur world champions in International Latin. In 2000, the couple took first place in the IDSF World Amateur Championship, the British Open in Blackpool, England and the ARD Masters Gala held in Germany and the IDSF European Championship. After Slavik became a professional dancer, he continued to win more competitions with various partners. However, his longest and most successful partnership was with Karina Smirnoff. They split up in 2005. In 2006 and 2007, Slavik won World Championships with another partner, Hanna Karttunen. Then Slavik formed a partnership with Anna Melnikova in 2009 – 2010, who was an amateur Latin champion at the time. They represented Russia as guest competitors and show performers.
Now here is where it gets interesting for Slavik. It was about the time when he was performing with Anna Melnikova that Slavik met Christian Holten Bonke and Andreas Koefoed, who wanted to do a documentary about Ballroom Dance. They approached Slavik and Anna to be in this documentary. The name of this documentary is “Ballroom Dancer.” It was a dark, sombre portrayal about this former World Latin American Dance Champion (Slavik Kryklyvyy) and his attempt to regain this position once again after a decade. This documentary tried to show the tough, serious and painful side of what happens on the public dance stage. Critiques say, it was unfortunate, that only a small portion of the film’s 80 minutes featured any dancing. The directors instead tried to capture the persona and moods of Slavik before and after his shows with his partner. The directors tried to emulate the contrast between the passion and enthusiasm that the dancers’ express in public as opposed to the mechanics and serious side of preparation behind the scene. Probably you never heard of this documentary because it did not do well. Even though Slavik is extremely handsome and easy on the eyes, they said the constant dramatic introspection did not make him an appealing matinee idol.
That being said, Slavik continues to dance internationally, and is a stand out, top notch professional dancer. Just see for yourself!
Thought Of The Week:
“No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you’ve already had…” – Gleb Savchenko