MEET THE TEAM

YOU’RE IN GREAT HANDS

ELENA SAMODANOVA

BALLROOM/LATIN INTERNATIONAL TEACHER

Elena Samodanova is an international multi-award winning artist originally from Russia, who has worked extensively throughout Asia, United Kingdom, Australia, North America and Europe as a judge, choreographer and dancer while also being a mentor to many dancers across the world. Some of her major credits include being featured in the Russian version of TV hit show “Dancing With The Stars” as a JUDGE and Choreographerin 2015, touring North America with “Dancing Pros Live”2016 and creatively assisting Gleb Savchenko in Strictly Come Dancing in the UK 2015, also in Series 7 of “Dancing With The Stars” in Bollywood aka “Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa” 2014 on the Colors TV Channel in India to great acclaim.

Prior to that she has also worked on both the Australian and American versions of hit TV show “Dancing With The Stars” as well as the Australian version of “So You Think You Can Dance”2014.

Elena also holds the highest credentials and qualifications to teach in Russia, Hong Kong, Australia and England. She has also won the 4 major dance titles down under and as a result she has represented Australia on the World Dance Championship reaching Top 10 world ranking in Latin American with WDC. Her international championship titles also include being the Australia Professional, Asian, Japanese, Singaporean and England Champion.

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GLEB SAVCHENKO

BALLROOM/LATIN INTERNATIONAL TEACHER

Gleb Savchenko is the National Australian Professional Latin American Champion having won 4 major dance titles down under and as a result he has represented Australia at the World Dance Championship. His titles also include being the Asian Professional, Hong Kong, Japanese, Singaporean and English Champion. His dancing progressed further when he joined the Top 10 professional dancers in the world ranking of Latin American. He graduated from the Russian Theatre Arts University with a Masters in choreography and holds the highest credentials and qualifications to teach in several countries.

Gleb has taken part as a pro on the Australian, Russian, US and UK versions of Dancing with the Stars. His first year as a pro in the US version, he was partnered Lisa Vanderpump. He then made his debut on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing where he reached the semi-final with his partner the presenter Anita Rani. He then spent a season on the Russian version partnered with Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova. Soon after, he returned to Dancing with the Stars in the US and was partnered with country singer Jana Kramer. The duo reached the finale, but were most known for their tango which has amassed millions of views on YouTube. After the finale, Gleb made his UK West End stage debut in the spectacular show ‘One More Dance’ which was choreographed by his wife, Elena. Gleb continued as pro on Dancing with the Stars and has been partnered with Erika Jayne, Pretty Little Liars actress Sasha Pieterse, basketball star Arike Ogunbowale and comedian Nikki Glasser. Most recently in season 28 he took his celebrity partner singer Lauren Alaina to the semi finals with a perfect 10 country freestyle. He also has performed in the DWTS live stage tours that traveled across the country over the past few years. Gleb is once again a pro on “Dancing with the Stars” season 29 and partnered with actress Chrishell Stause from “Selling Sunset” on Netflix.

Sharing his expertise and love of dance is important to Gleb. He was a big part of Pro Dance Camp and A Day of Dancing produced by his wife Elena. These were a unique experience for dancers and fans. A way to bring dance lessons to other parts of the country.

If you are a beginner or a competitive dancer, you have an opportunity to learn from dance expert Gleb Savchenko at Pro Dance LA.

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OUR DANCE TEACHERS

Artur Yemchyk

HIP HOP | STRETCHING

Artur Yemchyk is an international dancer and choreographer who is a teacher of Hip-Hop and stretching.

He graduated from European University of Industry as Director and Choreography. He trained at famous dance conventions in Europe.

Artur has over 10 years of teaching experience in Ukraine, Russia, Poland, France, Azerbaijan and USA. He has been a judge of Hip Hop International Ukraine and many more national championships. Also, he has directed the shows “Release Dance Cup”, “Alice in the Wonderland” and “The Snow Queen”.

He has worked with such performers as In-Grind (Italy), Ani Lorak (Ukraine), Surfaces (USA) ARASHI HUGE JPop group, Tour Gentleman Sasy Dolby Theatre (USA), Huong Tram Tour (USA) Iann Dior, Ashlee Keating, Tango POP by Luis Bravo, The Kid Laroi, Carla’s Dreams and many more!

 At Artur Yemchuk’s classes, children and adults will learn everything about the modern dances, will always be in the loop of the latest dancing novelties and will be able to find themselves in dancing.

Cole Mills

LATIN | CONTEMPRORARY | BALLET | PRO-AM

Cole Mills has been training and studying Latin ballroom dance since he was seven. He’s been very fortunate to work with the top coaches and competitors over the last 20 years. He was able to venture out of his little hub in New Jersey to compete around the world and win a national title before being a teenager. Through this he got a broad look at the world, traveling and acquiring that knowledge from different coaches.

On top of his Latin ballroom experience, he has a BFA from Montclair State University and is classically trained in ballet and modern technique with that a full understanding of the human anatomy, the human body and the engineering on how the human body works. He is fluent in all movement languages and able to breakdown that information for a student who has never danced before or someone who is a very experienced technical dancer. He can teach anything at any level.

Cole can work with students who would like to go into a more athletic adventurous route or a social route. For those who want more athletic route, students are given a much more vigorous regiment including exercises and various stretches to maintain and keep their bodies recovering and recuperating. On the other end of the spectrum, for a more social student, he would break down the hardest steps and make it accessible to have a good time dancing to the music.

When it comes to dance lessons, he feels that group classes are a great place to shake off a bit of the fear someone may have and try to use the knowledge that we learn from private lessons. Cole notes that “it’s very important to maintain both private and group classes when you are trying to learn and have an education in a style/technique. The private lesson is where you go get privatized time to dial in and look at things under a microscope, and really have it hand-fed to you so you can really process it and digest it. And then bring it back into a classroom and apply it.”

He has experience teaching two year olds and seventy year olds. He explains, “The only difference is fear and which type of fear students have. So it’s important to really making someone feel comfortable whether it’s a child or an adult. Making them feel comfortable by breaking down those boundaries and learning something that may or not be uncomfortable. That can be weird and uncomfortable, so to break that boundary and to make them feel comfortable enough to learn and soak up the information is the most important thing.”

Cole can not only teach technically but has vast experience in commercial dance on such shows as Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding, NBC’s Blacklist and Saturday Night Live, Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance making the top 10 and assistant choreographer on Dancing with the Stars.

Having learned dance from such a young age and having those opportunities to perform on television and stage came a turning point where he realized that he wanted to give back all this information. As he puts it, “there were children and adults who were hungry enough in their own respects to want that information. And as you get older you there are parts of the things that you have learned that you don’t necessarily use every day but I enjoy still maintaining value in that knowledge and giving it to people who want it. That is why I love teaching.”

Cole is the first to say, “I’m not the easiest teacher to take because I do have an expectation and that expectation is that I want you to progress from the first minute to the last minute. I will never ask anything less than progression and just that we are learning and we are applying and we are moving forward. So, if you are hungry for knowledge and information then who else better to go to then a technician.”

Tatiana Vasilieva

LATIN | SWING | BALLROOM | PRO-AM

Tatiana started dancing when she was 11 years old in Sochi, Russia with her brother and has been dancing professionally since 12 years old. Coming from a small city there weren’t many options for dancing competitively. So she started traveling and later moved to Moscow to take lessons, go to camps, do competitions and learn from top coaches to improve her dancing.

She first came to the United States at age 17 to dance at a Boston studio with a new partner but soon went back to Moscow to attend college, continue her dance training and start teaching. That teaching experience brought her back to Boston where she starting working as a teacher at a local studio in addition to her pursuing her professional dancing. She was there for 6 years.

During that time, she was looking for a dance partner and found Serge Rozhkov. They went to Los Angeles for try outs and soon realized there were more opportunities there. Once relocated, she was introduced to Elena and Gleb by her partner. She then was hired as a teacher at Pro Dance LA.

One of the classes offered at Pro Dance LA that she teaches is the Teddy Bear Class for ages 3-5. As she explains it, “these young kids don’t know as yet if they are going to be a ballroom, jazz or hip hop dancer so it’s important to give them basic knowledge. We try to teach kids to catch the beat so they match their body movements with that beat. They don’t care at that age if this is rumba or a cha cha cha; for them they just about doing the movements. It’s about imagination. So they remember everything and keep it in their head with the sounds. So what we do is try to combine three main subjects of coordination, music and imagination together to get the kids a good base for the future. They are learning listening skills and understanding the music and different types of dancing. It doesn’t mater if in the future a kid is going to be a dancer or not, they are going to learn good skills including coordination and memory.”

Tatiana has a lot of experience to teach kids of all ages. She knows that kids learn differently at different ages. She knows how ballroom dancing can give kids that confidence they need to be good at something. She also can take kids to the competition level. So, for kids ages 7 and up their dance is more about steps and the syllabus. Many of the kids she teachers want to compete and become champions. She believes the best way to make a champion is through consistency but you need to be patient as it takes time. Also, she always says it about trusting in your team of teachers.
Tatiana believes people need socialization along with improving their body and dance skills with a good group of people. She brings that smile and the joy of dance to the studio along with hard work.

Valts Liepniek

BALLROOM | SMOOTH | SWING | LATIN | PRO-AM

Valts started to dance at age four when his parents took him to dancing classes. At that very young age, it was known that he was going to be a dancer and he hasn’t stopped
During his years of dancing, he was seven-time National Champion, World Vice Champion and Blackpool Vice Champion. He also has won many competitions and hold other championships.
Valts came to the United States when he was 18 years old. He moved to Manhattan, New York because a studio invited him to work. That is where he found his husband and together they moved to LA.
Although he’s been trained in Latin dancing, the majority of his dance style is Ballroom standard. His style of teaching Ballroom is the more aggressive Italian style not British classically style. In Italian style, arm position is more aggressive, ladies are more aggressive and there are sharper, bigger movements with more interesting figures.

Like all the teachers at Pro Dance LA, he teaches both group classes and private lessons. He likes to say that the group classes can be taught in more of a general way as the principal stays the same to make it apply for everyone while in a private lesson, you see each person differently and focus on what that student needs to work on.

Recently, Valts started teaching a LGBTQ Latin class. This class was the idea of the owners, Elena and Gleb. That community is very closed but they want to share and let people inside so they worked to develop this group class and Valts is very proud of it.

The other classes he usually teaches are salsa and ballroom. The salsa class is more of cardio workout salsa class while the ballroom class is more basics and syllabus but you don’t have to have a partner.
Valts is an expert in preparing students for Pro-Am competition which he believes starts with building a new relationship/friendship, working together as a team and making a plan. Also, practice is very important for a dancer/competitor and he, like other teachers, often leads the rounds at the studio. Rounds are on going dance practice that help build stamina and muscles which is so important for dancing along with technique.
Valts invites and encourages everyone to come dance as you will have an amazing time.

Vlad Kvartin

LATIN | SHOWDANCE | SALSA | PRO-AM

Vladislav  began his dance career at the age of 8, studying under renowned Latin American Ballroom coaches and adjudicators. In 2009, Vlad was named Junior National DanceSport Champion, and subsequently earned substantial national and international titles. Beyond his competitive career, Vlad is also involved with TV shows including troupe dancer on Dancing With The Stars and assisting choreographer on Why Woman Kill and Kidding. Vlad has also appeared on Fuller House and Saturday Night Live and has made an appearance on So You Think You Can Dance as a top 20 dancer. Additionally, Vlad was a cast member on a 2-time US tour titled Our Way and MVP Confidential as well as performed in SWAY: A Dance Trilogy pt.1 and pt.2.