The Fordney Foundation is proud and excited to do an interview with two people who really can shake up a dance floor. Naomi Spektor and Yusif Amsatr are our 2015 winners of the Youth and Junior Latin and Standard competitions at the Arnold Youth Dancesport Classic. Together these two young dancers have won a total of $8,000 from competitions. As you may know, we are now, after sponsoring the Arnold Youth Dancesport Classic in the past, officially associated with the Arnold Youth Dancesport Classic. As an ongoing spectacular gesture, the first place winners from the Fordney Foundation Junior and Youth Dance Series will be invited to perform for Arnold at the Sports Festival as part of their award. Now what competition can offer you that? That’s a big incentive to be part of this competition every year! That being said, Naomi and Yusif were Fordney Foundation’s first couple to be invited back to perform with all expenses paid! They have started a tradition that will now take place going forward. These two extraordinary dancers have set the bar for more of you to follow!
We congratulate Naomi and Yusif on what they have already achieved. They certainly do leave lasting impressions. We hope all you dancers out there will enjoy finding out about them as much as we did.
Freddie Brock: Where are you from? And how old are you?
Yusif Amsatr: I am from Ukraine and I’m 16 years old.
Naomi Spektor: I am from Pennsylvania and I am 14 years old.
FB: How did you first become interested in dance?
YA: I went to a dance class at my school because I was very active and I had to spend my time doing something. I never actually thought about becoming a dancer. It all happened by accident.
NS: My uncle, Ilya Reyzin, is a professional ballroom dancer and has a studio in Philadelphia. I guess you can say, it’s a family thing and I am following in his footsteps.
FB: Give our readers a little background on how your career started? Where and how did the two of you meet and become partners?
Winners of 2015 Fordney Foundation Youth Scholarship w/Marilyn Fordney, Naomi Spektor, Yusif Amsatr, Photo by Alex Havasi
YA: I started dancing at the age of 7 at my school. I found a partner and I liked ballroom dancing, so I just continued dancing. Naomi found me on the internet, when I was searching for a partner, and brought me here.
NS: I wanted to dance since I was about three years old on a basis just kind of to keep it up, but I began doing it seriously and found my love for it when I was 9.
FB: Do you have any mentors? To dance as well as you both do, would you like to tell us how your teachers, coaches, etc. have influenced you?
YA: We both have our mentors and they are parents and coaches. They are a big part of our dancing. We wouldn’t dance as well as we do if it were not for the parents and coaches. They pay for dancing, they give us information we need to improve and much more.
NS: I completely agree with Yusif. Our coaches teach us so much information not only on dancing but on life to, and they influence us to keep being motivated and always wanting to improve. As for the parents, without them driving, paying, and putting their complete dedication and love towards us, we would be literally nowhere. So I think parents are one of the most crucial and influencial mentors to us.
FB: You both are fantastic dancers and have already won many competitions. It is easy to be inspired by you and we would love if you would tell our readers what competitions you have won already?
YA: We have won many local competitions and three National titles this past year.
NS: We are also 8th in the World Junior Ten Dance.
FB: Is there any competition or country you would love to perform in, or any other dance experience that you particularly would like to share with us?
NS: The competition I want to perform in is in Utah because I love the atmosphere with so many people and the audience all around me which really drives me to do my best. Overall, there are many good but also bad experiences we have been through but they have all taught us in one way or another.
FB: Which dance is your most favorite to perform?
YA: I would say that Cha Cha Cha is my favorite dance to perform.
NS: My favorite dance to perform is the Rumba because it is slow so I have more time to do everything.
FB: Do you both want to be professional ballroom dancers?
YA: Yes, we do.
FB: Can you give our future dancers any pointers that would help them in competing?
YA: Mindset is a very important thing in competing. Without the focus and the right mindset many things don’t work on the dance floor.
NS: Don’t think about who is watching and the dancers around you. Do what you got to and want to do.
We thank Naomi and Yusif so much for taking time out to do this interview. They have easily made me an instant fan out of me. There is no way after seeing these two people dance, that you will not be inspired. They have both incredible technique and their craft is down to perfection. I know we will be seeing these two dancers on the circuit and much more for a long time to come!
Thought Of The Week:
Attract what you expect, reflect what you desire, become what you respect, mirror what you admire #Team PW