Russia is a promised land of aesthetic sports and disciplines. The country  produces several world champions or vice-champions across all age categories in dancesport every year. New or old-fashioned names of young and ferocious couples will surely appear in the results list this season, and their ambitions are certainly not small. Who is worth watching in 2020?

Semen Khrzhanovskiy & Elizaveta Lykhina

Semen Khrzhanovskiy & Elizaveta Lykhina, © Arkadiy Aristov 2020

Semen and Liza got to the final round at their first adult Russian National Championship latin last year, still belonging to Under-21s by that time. They finished just under the podium on the 4th place. The couple from Moscow’s ‘Imperia’ club have been dancing together since the summer of 2016.

They have managed to become, among other things, world champions latin and ten dances since that time. But 2019 surely was a breakthrough among the world’s best adult couples. After the mentioned successful adult Russian Championship Latin, they also won the World Championship Latin in Under 21 category and the World Championship ShowDance Standard in main category.

It seems this year can only be better. Semen and Elizaveta have just made the 2nd place at Russian National Championship Ten Dance. The have won the latin part of the biathlon, but Sveridonov & Barkova were better in standard and paso doble. Only one judge (Alla Aksyonova) judged them worse than third in all dances.  Will there be a breakthrough at the latin national championship?

Vladislav Kolesnikov & Alina Ageeva

Oleg Chzhen & Alina Ageeva were undoubtedly among the best rising stars of Russian dancesport until the middle of last October. World and European champions in ten dances achieved the biggest success on the domestic scene with their 6th place among adults at the Russian National Championship in latin in 2019. But right after the split of the couple, they both set out to find a new partner.

Vladislav Kolesnikov & Alina Ageeva, © Arkadiy Aristov 2020

Alina have joined the new club ‘Akademia’ and got together with Vladislav Kolesnikov. “It wasn’t complicated to find a new partner. Vlad was already training with my coaches Alexander Litvinenko and Evgeniy Kazmirchuk, so he was the first person I asked to try out,” says Alina about making new couple.

Vladislav became the youth world champion in all three disciplines with his former partner Anna Isakovych. Then he moved to Slovenia, where he became the U21 world champion in latin and standard. Also he won the Slovenian National Championship latin among adults there. These days he’s back in the Russian top competitive dancing after two years in Slovenia and after a short break off the competition dance floor. “I had a great experience when I was dancing for Slovenia. I was lucky with the really great team of coaches. I’m still using the knowledge I’ve gained there in my daily practise,” says Vladislav.

Alina is studying the psychology course at the university in addition to top dancing, so everything is much more difficult for her. All in all the top dancing is a time consuming. „I have started extramural studies from last September. So it’s much easier to attent the lectures only in two weeks three times in a year. But I have to do all the study at home,“ says Alina.

And what’s their most important strenght of their couple? Alina thinks that it is the way how they come together: „The respect to each other. Not everyone have this.“

Oleg Chzhen & Julia Khurtina

As Alina moved to a new club and met a new partner, Oleg stayed in the ‘Indigo’, Moscow. He also managed to find a new partner in a very short time. They created a couple with Julia Khurtina, who is a finalist of the 2018 latin youth World Championship. Oleg previously danced with mentioned Elizaveta Lykhina and Alina. Julia is his third partner.

Oleg Chzhen & Julia Khurtina, © Arkadiy Aristov 2020

The new couple started the career perfectly. „It was very difficult because we reduced our days off to a minimum and we had no free days in recent weeks. We spend all our time in the hall without any time for a personal life. It was also problematic to make costumes in such a short time. Nevertheless, we did not pay attention to the technical aspects of our dancing at the competition, but we simply enjoyed it,“ describes Oleg the way to their first competition. They won all 5 standard dances and 3 latin dances over Kolesnikov and Ageeva at the very first Russian competition of the year, which is the Moscow Championship in 10 dances. Next big competiton was adult Russian National Championship Ten Dance in the end of February. Oleg & Julia made the 3rd place. It is clear that the juicy, but balanced duel of former partners is on the way.

They’ve got big goals in front of them. Oleg wishes to reveal and show the true identity of the new couple this year, And the long-term goal is World Champions title in 10 dance. Julia is skipping the ‘under 21’ category, moving straight from the youth to the adults: „It is not so difficult for me at all, this category was not so popular few years back and I’m prepared for the adults.“ And when it comes to the strengths of the couple, she has a clear idea: „It is a interaction between male and female. We enjoy dancing together, so it certainly affects our expression of the dance.“

The next dancers knocking on the door

It is not a long time ago when Egor Kulikov & Mariya Goroshko announced their split up. They were the youth world champions, also European and Russian champions. Now both of them will be looking for a new dance partner. Another promising young couple is Yaroslav Kiselev & Sofia Philipchuk. They’re vice-champions of the world in Under-21 Ten Dance category and of the youth European Championship Ten Dance in 2019. And for sure it is good to mention another promising couple Vladislav Kozhevnikov & Eleonora Metelitsa. They made it into the finals of the recent adult 2020 Russian National Championship in ten dance category. What a great result of the youth couple from Moscow!

Unlike the others in this overview, these last mentioned couples do not have to rush into adults as they have the opportunity to compete in the U21 or even youth category for next season(s). It is clear that Russian dancesport education produces great youth couples every year. It’s up to the dancers to stay on the top and make their career great also among adults. We’ll be more clever about them after two key competitions of the season: Russian National Championship Standard (29/02) and Latin (28/03).