Our Instructors

Gary and Diana McDonald – Co-Owners & In House Coaches

Gary and Diana McDonald established a competitive partnership in 1991 and quickly became very successful. They are 10 times undefeated US 10 -Dance Champions, 1997 US Latin Champions, 2 times US South American Showdance Champions and 2002 US Classic Showdance Champions and 1997 World 10- Dance Champions.They have had the honor of representing the United States in 24 World Championship Events. Gary and Diana are highly qualified instructors and adjudicators in all styles of dance. They have retired from competitive dancing to focus on running Rogers Dancesport Center and raising their daughter Shayna. Diana is currently an examiner for US Terpsichore Association.

Katusha Demidova – In House Coach

2 Time World Professional Ballroom Champion
Katusha Demidova and partner Arunas Bizokas are the current World Professional Ballroom Champions, British Open Champions, United Kingdom Champions, International Champions and 3 times United States Champions.

 

Arunas Bizokas – In House Coach

2 Time World Professional Ballroom Champion
Arunas Bizokas and partner Katusha Demidova are the current World Professional Ballroom Champions, British Open Champions, United Kingdom Champions, International Champions and 3 times United States Champions.

 

Pamela Licht  – Assistant Manager, Dance Evaluation Processor and Instructor

Pamela has been an instructor at Rogers Dancesport Center for almost 11 years. Her training in the studio began at the age of nine. Having also trained in other dance forms, she was an original member of the New Jersey Tap Ensemble and received a BFA in Dance from Montclair State University.

Pamela’s competitive training has been in both the International and American Styles. She was a 2001 World Mambo Finalist and ranked 4th in the 2004 United States Professional American 9-Dance division.

With former partner, Azamat Evgamukov, Pamela has won several Rising Star competitions including the Manhattan Dancesport Championship, the Holiday Dance Classic, and La Classique De Quebec in Montreal. In 2008 they were United States Professional Rising Star American Rhythm Finalist as well as silver medalists in the 2008 World Professional Salsa Championship held in Puerto Rico.

During the 2010 Competitive Season Pamela, with former partner David Hannigan, won several Rising Star American Smooth Events.

Along with her competitive accomplishments, Pamela has also taken her judging exams in the Theater Arts, American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Latin and Ballroom styles passing highly commended through the United States Terpsichore Association. She is also currently an adjunct professor at Montclair State University teaching their 245-Dance Class on World Dance: Latin Dancing section and PEGN-271 Social Dance Class.

Azamat Evgamukov – Dance Evaluation Processor and Instructor

Azamat originally came from Russia & started dancing at the age of  8. He has had the opportunity to train with many top World coaches including training in England for 1 1/2 years. Some of his accomplishments are:

 

 

Azamat Evgamukov titles:

  • 3 times United States  Junior  2 Champion,
  • Represented the United States in the World  Junior 2 Latin Championships & finished 2nd,
  • 3rd place in 1998 Blackpool Championship in England,
  • Represented the United States in the Russian Open in 2001 & placed 3rd,
  • Represented the United States in the Spartak Open finishing 4th,
  • placed 4th in the 2002 United States Salsa Championship,
  • 2004 Tri State Open Champion,
  • placed 9th in the United States Amateur Latin Championships in 2005,
  • placed 4th in the Ohio Star Ball Championships Under 21 Latin Championships.
  • Azamat has turned Pro and is currently competing in Professional Rhythm.
  • Some of Azamat’s results are:
  • 2009 Caribbean Dancesport
  • 1st in Rising Star Professional Rhythm
  • 4th in Open Professional Rhythm
  • 2010 Embassy Ball
  • 1st in Rising Star Professional Rhythm
  • 2010 Caribbean Dancesport
  • 3rd in World Salsa Championship
  • 2011 Manhattan Dancesport Championships
  • Finalist in the Open Professional Rhythm
  • 2011 Vegas Open
  • 5th in the Open Professional Rhythm
  • 2011 Tri State Challenge
  • 2nd in the Open Professional Rhythm
  • 2011 Costa Rican Classic
  • 1st in the Rising Star Professional Rhythm
  • 2nd in the Open Professional Rhythm

Igor Mikushov – Instructor

Igor is originally from Tomsk, Siberia and started dancing at the age of 9. In the age of 17 he moved to Moscow to continue his dancing career and to study in the best Art and Dance University in Russia called GITIS. In Russia he trained extensively with the best teachers and competed in both ballroom and latin. In Russia his best result was top 12 from over then 400 couples on Russian Open Championship in 2006. some of Igor’s other achievements include: US Amateur Ballroom Champion 2008, US Amateur 10 dance runners up 2008, Ohio Star Ball Amateur Champion 2007 and 2008, Manhattan Dancesport Amateur Champion 2007 and 2008, 2 times Blackpool Dance Festival(England) finalist in Under 21 category, 2 times International Championship finalist(England) in Under 21 category, as well as the Runners up at Austrian and Italian Open.

Igor joined the RDC staff in 2007 and is now representing the USA. Igor and former partner, Margaret Midura, placed 5th out of 249 couples in the Amateur Rising Star at the 2011 British Open located in Blackpool UK. He is now teamed up with new competitive partner Ekaterina Romashkina. They are consistently going to London to compete in the biggest competitions in the world and take lessons with the best teachers there.

Igor believes that in everything you decide to do, you have to put your heart and be very passionate. If you are going the right way, soon or later the result will come.

Travis Tuft – Instructor

Travis is originally from Boise, Idaho where he began dancing in a once-a-week social ballroom dance class at the age of 14. He went on to attend Brigham Young University, graduating with a degree in Spanish and a minor in Ballroom Dance. While attending school he traveled the world as a member of their prestigious formation ballroom dance team. With the Latin team Travis placed 1st at the British Open Championships in Blackpool, England and is a four time U.S. Latin Formation team champion. He is also a two time U.S. Amateur Theatre Arts runner up and has trained and competed in International style Ballroom and Latin, and American style Rhythm and Smooth.

After their marriage in 2008, Travis and Jaimee teamed up to become the undefeated two time US Amateur American Smooth Champions.  Since turning professional in February 2011 they have danced their way into the finals of many important competitions across the country including Vegas Showdown, Yankee Classic, Manhattan Dancesport Championships, La Clasique du Quebec in Montreal, the Costa Rican Classic in Costa Rica, and the Caribbean Dancesport Championships in Puerto Rico .   Their most recent and greatest accomplishment since turning professional was their success at the prestigious Ohio Star Ball, winning both the Rising Star American Smooth and the Open Professional Theatrical Arts Championships.

Due to their immediate success as professionals, Travis and Jaimee have been invited to present their award winning solo in the Theatrical Arts Championships at the world renowned British Open Championships held in Blackpool, England.

Jaimee Tuft – Instructor

Jaimee is originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho where she began training in classical ballet at the age of 5.  She trained exclusively with former principal dancers from the NYC ballet and Ballet West for 15 years.  While in high school she began training and competing in International style Ballroom and Latin, and American style Rhythm and Smooth. She later attended Brigham Young University, graduating with a degree in Mathematics and a minor in Ballroom Dance.  She was a member of their acclaimed formation ballroom dance team and placed 1st at the British Open Championships in Blackpool, England in 2010.  She also placed 1st in Amateur Rhythm at Embassy ball in September 2008.

After their marriage in 2008, Travis and Jaimee teamed up to become the undefeated two time US Amateur American Smooth Champions.  Since turning professional in February 2011 they have danced their way into the finals of many important competitions across the country including Vegas Showdown, Yankee Classic, Manhattan Dancesport Championships, La Clasique du Quebec in Montreal, the Costa Rican Classic in Costa Rica, and the Caribbean Dancesport Championships in Puerto Rico .   Their most recent and greatest accomplishment since turning professional was their success at the prestigious Ohio Star Ball, winning both the Rising Star American Smooth and the Open Professional Theatrical Arts Championships.

Due to their immediate success as professionals, Travis and Jaimee have been invited to present their award winning solo in the Theatrical Arts Championships at the world renowned British Open Championships held in Blackpool, England.

Anna Demidova – Instructor

Anna was born in Moscow, Russia. She started dancing at the age of 6 in the local community center as an after school program, following in the footsteps of her older sister, World Champion – Katusha Demidova. At the age of fifteen Anna won the British Open Junior Championship and the Ireland Open Championship.

After finishing high school in Moscow, Anna moved to New York to live with her sister and pursue her dancing career. She began dancing with Andrey Begunov. After becoming the United States National Youth Champions in 2005 and 2006, they represented the U.S. at the World Championships in Austria and Moldova, where they made the finals. They also won Ohio Star Ball, Kings Ball, Tri State Challenge, BYU Championship and many more competitions in youth category.

After her partnership with Andrey ended, Anna started dancing with Igor Mikushov, with whom she became the United States National Amateur Champion and won many competitions such as the Ohio Star Ball, Emerald Ball, Manhattan DanceSport Championship, Tri State Championship, and San Francisco Open. They were also the Blackpool Dance Festival Under 21 ballroom finalists, United Kingdom Open finalists, and International Championship grand finalists.

In 2009 Anna won a Professional Dancer competition held by ABC TV Show “Dancing With The Stars” and was partnered with a Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michal Irvine for Season 9. Anna also appeared in some professional show numbers during Season 10 and 11.

Anna has since returned to competition, reuniting with Andrey Begunov.  Premiering at the Manhattan Dancesport Championships, debuting as professionals, placing second in Rising Star International Standard. Since then Andrey and Anya became the United States Rising Star Professional Standard Champions and the U.S. Professional National Ballroom Finalists. Also becoming Rising Star finalists in all-major competitions In the world such as Blackpool Dance Festival, United Kingdom Open Championship and International Championship.

Anna Demidova titles:

  • United States Rising Star Professional Ballroom Champion
  • United States Professional Ballroom Open Finalist
  • Winner of Pro Ballroom Maryland DanceSport Championship
  • Winner of Pro Ballroom Florida State Championship
  • Yankee Classic Professional Ballroom Champion
  • Tri-State Challenge Professional Ballroom Champion
  • Golden State Challenge Professional Ballroom Champion
  • Caribbean Classic Professional Ballroom Champion
  • Ohio Star Ball Professional Show Dance Runner Up
  • Manhattan DanceSport Professional Rising Star Champion
  • Millennium DanceSport Pro Rising Star Champion
  • Embassy Ball Pro Rising Sat Champion
  • Blackpool Dance festival, UK and International Pro Rising Star Finalist
  • US National Amateur Ballroom Champion
  • 2-times US National Youth Ballroom Champion
  • Junior Blackpool Dance festival  Ballroom Champion

Slawek Roszak – Instructor

Slawek started dancing at the age of 9 in Poznan, Poland. While in Poland Slawek was not only the Polish National Salsa Champion, he also trained in both the International Latin and Ballroom styles giving him the opportunity to compete throughout Europe. He was also featured in the widely acclaimed TV series “So You Think You Can Dance,” in Poland. Once Slawek came to the United States, he began competing in the American Rhythm division, making the Final of the 2011 Professional Rising Star Rhythm Championship at the San Francisco Open. Slawek has also continued to appear on TV having been hand picked to perform on the Univision TV show “Sabado Gigante” broadcasted in over 24 countries.

Zoya Altmark – Instructor

Born in Moscow, Zoya began her dance career at the age of 5 studying ice skating and classic ballet. By age 8 she had discovered Ballroom and Latin dancing and she was hooked! She quickly became a competitive ’10 dancer’ and by age 12 she was the Israeli National Champion in her division. With a strong background in theater as both a dancer and choreographer, Zoya brings a wonderful disciplined artistic flair to her dancing and her teaching.  Although her specialty is in Latin dances, Zoya teaches Ballroom and Club Style dances and for the past year she has been training extensively and teaching Argentine Tango. She is available for private lessons with beginners as well as high level competitors

Katia Romashkina – Instructor

Katia started dancing at the age of 8 in Moscow following her cousin’s footsteps. At the age of 15 she began competing with Igor Mikushov for Russiain the International Ballroom division where they placed in the top 12 at the Russian Open Championship. Throughout their youth and amateur career they placed in the finals of many International competitions such as the Blackpool Dance Festival, the International, and were runners up in the Italian Open and Austrian Open. Katia is a graduate from Russia’s most prestigious artistic university – GITIS, and is a certified teacher. In 2007, she moved from Russia to Italy to compete and study and spent several years travel around the world gaining the World Amateur Championship title. In 2012 Katia was reunited with Igor Mikushov to dance professionally for the United States. They recently won the United States Rising Star International Ballroom Championship and were placed in the Final of the Open Professional International Ballroom Championship at the International in October 2013.

Mechyk Pavlyuk - Instructor

Mechyslav was born in Ukraine, where he started ballroom dancing at age 7. After moving to the U.S. in 2004 he became the U.S. Youth National Champion and represented the U.S. at two youth World Championships: World 10 Dance in Denmark and World Standard in Spain. In 2013 Mechyslav won the U.S. Amateur National Championship with his current partner Gemma Arnold. Together they represented the U.S. at the 2012 World Championships in Australia and the 2013 World Dancesport Games in Taiwan. After Mechyslav and Gemma started representing England they became 2015 British Professional Ballroom and Showdance Finalists. Mechyslav is a very experienced teacher, who’s readily available to teach from beginner level to the highest competitive level.

Claire Hansen – Traveling Coach

Claire fell in love with Ballroom Dancing at 11 years of age. Claire started by competing in International Latin/Standard and American Rhythm Pro Am competitions in the US and Amateur Standard/Latin Competitions in Canada. At age 16, Claire moved to Europe for 3 years and had the opportunity to train under many English World Champions in International Standard and Latin Styles. A highlight of this period was in 2003, becoming a Blackpool Finalist in the Under 21 Standard Division with her English partner. Claire currently competes in the professional standard division with her partner Richard Tonizzo.  They represent Canada all over the world while training with the world’s best coaches.

Claire’s credentials include: 

• 2014 WDC World Ranking – 20th
• 2014 Canadian Vice Champions
• 2014 World Professional Standard Quarter Finalists
• 2012/13 Ohio Star Ball Professional Standard Finalists
• 2011 Blackpool Professional Standard Quarter-Finalists
• 2011 UK Professional Rising Star Vice Champions
• 2010 & 2011 World Professional Standard Quarter Finalists
• 2010 & 2011 1st Runner Up in all of Canada in Professional Standard
• 2010 International Professional Rising Star Vice Champions
• 2009 North American (Ohio Star Ball) Amateur Standard Champions
• Canadian Amateur Standard Champions
• Ontario Amateur Standard Champions
• Manhattan Dancesport Amateur Standard Champions
• Blackpool Under 21 Standard Finalist
• International Under 21 Standard Finalist

 

Richard Tonizzo - Traveling Coach

Richard hails from Perth, Australia and started dancing at the age of 4. He competed in Standard, Latin and New Vogues Styles.  Richard was Youth Standard Champion in Australia, representing Australia at the World Youth Championships. Richard moved to England with his Australian partner in 2003 to train under top English coaches. For the past 10 years Richard consistently takes lessons from current and former world champions in order to compete at a world-level.

Richard’s credentials include:

• 2014 WDC World Ranking – 20th
• 2014 Canadian Vice Champions
• 2014 World Professional Standard Quarter Finalists
• 2012/13 Ohio Star Ball Professional Standard Finalists
• 2011 Blackpool Professional Standard Quarter-Finalists
• 2011 UK Professional Rising Star Vice Champions
• 2010 & 2011 World Professional Standard Quarter Finalists
• 2010 & 2011 1st Runner Up in all of Canada in Professional Standard
• 2010 International Professional Rising Star Vice Champions
• 2009 North American (Ohio Star Ball) Amateur Standard Champions
• Canadian Amateur Standard Champions
• Ontario Amateur Standard Champions
• Manhattan Dancesport Amateur Standard Champions
• Blackpool Under 21 Standard Semi-Finalist
• Australian Youth Standard and New-Vogue Champion
• Australian Youth Latin Finalist
• Australian Junior Standard Champion

 

Denise A. Sobiewski – Instructor

Originally from Miami, Florida, began her dance career with jazz and ballet at the age of 4.  Alongside dance, Denise took up gymnastics and began competing nationally, placing in and winning several competitions. After a bad elbow injury 11 years later, she retired from the sport, but continued training in ballet and jazz. She studied Pointe at the American Ballet Company in Florida and performed in the Nutcracker, as well as in numerous high school plays. During high school, Denise also began studying American Smooth and Rhythm at Arthur Murray. She later taught and competed professionally within the company for 9 years, 7 of which at the studio near her home town in Coral Gables. She also graduated with Honors with a Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Miami during that time. Denise is very passionate about dance and loves to share her excitement with her students and coworkers.  She is currently competing professional smooth with Slawek Roszak.

Some of Denise’s achievements include:

  • American Smooth RS Finalist- USDC, Millenium, Manhattan, Ohio Star Ball 2015
  • Open American Smooth Champion- Grand Nationals 2015
  • Open Smooth Semifinalist- Ohio Star Ball 2015
  • Arthur Murray RS Smooth Finalist 2014
  • Arthur Murray Open Rhythm Semifinalist 2010
  • Arthur Murray Salsa Champion 2009