Guest Coaches

LEARN FROM THE WORLD’S LEADING DANCERS AND COACHES.

Your Fred Astaire dance instructors are the cream of the crop. They represent some of the best talent in the country. We believe in exposing our students and our instructors to new ideas and perspectives whenever possible. For this reason Fred Astaire proudly hosts some of the most talented, renowned and award winning dancers, coaches and choreographers from all over the world. Outside coaching from one of our guest experts will offer you new insight and ideas, and can take your dancing to the next level.

Many of our coaches are reigning world dance champions and several have been featured on hit television show such as ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ All are nationally recognized in the dance industry. If you’re serious about improving your dancing, sessions with Fred Astaire guest coaches are opportunities you must take advantage of.

We encourage you to contact us right away to schedule your time for a special coaching with one or more of these top ranked coaches at the studio this month.


 

Wednesday, January 9th – Tony Dovolani

Tony Dovolani was born in Prishtina, Kosova and began folk dancing at age three. He was 15 years old when he and his family moved to the United States. At age 17, he began ballroom lessons at a Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Connecticut and knew he had found his passion. Six months later, he began working as a FADS Dance Instructor, and he has been a strong and successful competitor in the professional ballroom dancing world ever since.

In 2006, Tony joined ABC’s Dancing with the Stars for their second season, and quickly became a fan favorite with his stellar choreography, elegance and bright smile. He spent 21 consecutive seasons on the show; Tony and his dance partner Melissa Rycroft were the Season 15 “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” Mirror Ball Trophy Champions. Tony’s professional body of work is impressive. He has guest hosted and choreographed for the world-famous Chippendales at the Rio/Las Vegas, (Spring 2018); choreographed the Miss Nevada pageant (2012) and was a judge for the Miss America competition (2011). He, with fellow DWTS Pro Cheryl Burke, choreographed and performed a special Paso Doble for Pixar’s Toy Story 3.  He’s guest-hosted segments on EXTRA, the Golf Channel’s The Morning Drive and on the ABC syndicated show On the Red Carpet.  He has guest starred on television series including TV Land’s The Exes and CBS TV’s Kevin Can Wait, and played Latin bad-boy competitor, ‘Slick Willy’ in the hit film Shall We Dance. He has toured with Dance to the Movies and Dance to the Holidays and has been a frequent guest on Good Morning America.

Of his role as Co-National Dance Director for the Fred Astaire Dance Studios network, Tony offers, “My life has now come full circle. At age 17, I began my dance career as an Instructor with FADS, and now, to carry on the legacy of the iconic dancer and choreographer Fred Astaire, is truly an honor. My goals as Co-National Dance Director are not only to bring all the knowledge and skills I’ve gained to this position, but even more importantly –  to work together with you to bring FADS – home of the best dancers in our industry –  to the next level. When I was a brand new teacher, one of my mentors told me, “what you learn at FADS will help you be successful not only in your career, but in every aspect of your life”, and it’s been incredible how true that was. What I learned while working at that Fred Astaire Dance Studio has helped me with my family, my dancing, in movies and TV shows… in all the accomplishments I’ve ever had. But the truth is, I always wanted to come back – to be here, because THIS is where I belong, this is where I am proudest – to know when I walk out on a stage or anywhere, that I represent Fred Astaire Dance Studios – THAT is truly an honor.”

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • 2006 Nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Choreography / Dancing with the Stars episode #208 (Dance: Jive)
  • 2o06 PBS America’s Ballroom Challenge Rhythm Champion with Elena Grinenko
  • 2006 Emerald Ball Open Professional American Rhythm Champion with Elena Grinenko
  • 2006 United States Open Rhythm Champion with Elena Grinenko
  • 2006 World Rhythm Champion with Elena Grinenko
  • 2005 Ohio Star Ball American Rhythm Champion with Elena Grinenko
  • 2005 United States Open Rhythm Champion with Inna Ivanenko
  • 2005 World Rhythm Champion with Inna Ivanenko
  • Fred Astaire National Champion – International Latin (multiple years)
  • Fred Astaire National Champion – American Rhythm (multiple years)

Friday, January 11th – Ilya Velednitsky

Ilya moved from Ukraine in 1989 and has been teaching professionally with Fred Astaire Dance Studios for 11 years total, 4 years at the Milwaukee location and 7 at the Brookfield location. He is currently the Studio Director of the newest Arizona Studio, Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Ahwatukee, and competes professionally both regionally and nationally. He and his partner, Ms. Mariya Ilchenko, are multiple-time Fred Astaire Rhythm Champions, Show Dance Champions, and Ohio Star Ball Professional Rhythm Finalists. He is now making his way into the world of coaching and adjudicating.


Tuesday, January 22nd – Michael Mead

Mr. Michael Mead has developed a unique style that ultimately led him and his professional partner to setting a record by winning the Open Championships 4 years in a row (undefeated throughout). You can now find him coaching many of the U.S. top competitive couples, as well as judging for competitions and traveling the world doing shows. Become one of those top competitive dancers by joining Mr. Mead for one of his fantastic and informative coaching’s.


Wednesday, January 23rd – Stephen Knight

Stephen is one of the busiest men in the industry. As a Regional Franchise Director for the Fred Astaire Dance Studios’ Wisconsin Region, an NDCA Adjudicator, a Coach, Choreographer, and the Co-National Dance Director for Fred Astaire Dance Studios, his dance card is almost always full. Stephen and his dance partner, Rae Josephs, were 3-Time United States American Rhythm Finalists, and 6-Time undefeated Fred Astaire American Rhythm Champions. Stephen is also responsible for creating a large portion of the Fred Astaire Dance Studios Silver Syllabus. He is well-known for his choreography for Open Routines, Solos, Showcases, and Novelties.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • 6-Time Fred Astaire Open American Rhythm Champion
  • 3-Time USDSC Open American Rhythm Finalist
  • USDSC Theatrical Finalist
  • USDSC Rising Star Theatrical Champion

Monday, January 28th – Ricky Bentzen

Ricky Bentzen is originally from Denmark, and represented his home country throughout his Amateur career. He was undefined Danish Latin Champion and 2-Time World Latin Semi-Finalist. In 2008 he moved to the United States, where he became part of Fred Astaire Dance Studios and began his Professional career as an American Rhythm Competitor with Albina A. Habrle.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Danish Latin Champion
  • 2-Time Youth Latin World Semi-Finalist
  • 11-Time undefeated Fred Astaire Professional Open Rhythm Champion
  • World Professional Open Rhythm Vice Champion
  • 11-Time Fred Astaire National Open Professional Rhythm Champion
  • 3-Time US National Open Professional Rhythm Finalist
  • 4-Time World Open Professional Rhythm Finalist

Monday, February 4th – Ilya Velednitsky

Ilya moved from Ukraine in 1989 and has been teaching professionally with Fred Astaire Dance Studios for 11 years total, 4 years at the Milwaukee location and 7 at the Brookfield location. He is currently the Studio Director of the newest Arizona Studio, Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Ahwatukee, and competes professionally both regionally and nationally. He and his partner, Ms. Mariya Ilchenko, are multiple-time Fred Astaire Rhythm Champions, Show Dance Champions, and Ohio Star Ball Professional Rhythm Finalists. He is now making his way into the world of coaching and adjudicating.


Tuesday, February 5th – Ricky Bentzen

Ricky Bentzen is originally from Denmark, and represented his home country throughout his Amateur career. He was undefined Danish Latin Champion and 2-Time World Latin Semi-Finalist. In 2008 he moved to the United States, where he became part of Fred Astaire Dance Studios and began his Professional career as an American Rhythm Competitor with Albina A. Habrle.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Danish Latin Champion
  • 2-Time Youth Latin World Semi-Finalist
  • 11-Time undefeated Fred Astaire Professional Open Rhythm Champion
  • World Professional Open Rhythm Vice Champion
  • 11-Time Fred Astaire National Open Professional Rhythm Champion
  • 3-Time US National Open Professional Rhythm Finalist
  • 4-Time World Open Professional Rhythm Finalist

Tuesday, February 12th – Tony Dovolani

Tony Dovolani was born in Prishtina, Kosova and began folk dancing at age three. He was 15 years old when he and his family moved to the United States. At age 17, he began ballroom lessons at a Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Connecticut and knew he had found his passion. Six months later, he began working as a FADS Dance Instructor, and he has been a strong and successful competitor in the professional ballroom dancing world ever since.

In 2006, Tony joined ABC’s Dancing with the Stars for their second season, and quickly became a fan favorite with his stellar choreography, elegance and bright smile. He spent 21 consecutive seasons on the show; Tony and his dance partner Melissa Rycroft were the Season 15 “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” Mirror Ball Trophy Champions. Tony’s professional body of work is impressive. He has guest hosted and choreographed for the world-famous Chippendales at the Rio/Las Vegas, (Spring 2018); choreographed the Miss Nevada pageant (2012) and was a judge for the Miss America competition (2011). He, with fellow DWTS Pro Cheryl Burke, choreographed and performed a special Paso Doble for Pixar’s Toy Story 3.  He’s guest-hosted segments on EXTRA, the Golf Channel’s The Morning Drive and on the ABC syndicated show On the Red Carpet.  He has guest starred on television series including TV Land’s The Exes and CBS TV’s Kevin Can Wait, and played Latin bad-boy competitor, ‘Slick Willy’ in the hit film Shall We Dance. He has toured with Dance to the Movies and Dance to the Holidays and has been a frequent guest on Good Morning America.

Of his role as Co-National Dance Director for the Fred Astaire Dance Studios network, Tony offers, “My life has now come full circle. At age 17, I began my dance career as an Instructor with FADS, and now, to carry on the legacy of the iconic dancer and choreographer Fred Astaire, is truly an honor. My goals as Co-National Dance Director are not only to bring all the knowledge and skills I’ve gained to this position, but even more importantly –  to work together with you to bring FADS – home of the best dancers in our industry –  to the next level. When I was a brand new teacher, one of my mentors told me, “what you learn at FADS will help you be successful not only in your career, but in every aspect of your life”, and it’s been incredible how true that was. What I learned while working at that Fred Astaire Dance Studio has helped me with my family, my dancing, in movies and TV shows… in all the accomplishments I’ve ever had. But the truth is, I always wanted to come back – to be here, because THIS is where I belong, this is where I am proudest – to know when I walk out on a stage or anywhere, that I represent Fred Astaire Dance Studios – THAT is truly an honor.”

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • 2006 Nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Choreography / Dancing with the Stars episode #208 (Dance: Jive)
  • 2o06 PBS America’s Ballroom Challenge Rhythm Champion with Elena Grinenko
  • 2006 Emerald Ball Open Professional American Rhythm Champion with Elena Grinenko
  • 2006 United States Open Rhythm Champion with Elena Grinenko
  • 2006 World Rhythm Champion with Elena Grinenko
  • 2005 Ohio Star Ball American Rhythm Champion with Elena Grinenko
  • 2005 United States Open Rhythm Champion with Inna Ivanenko
  • 2005 World Rhythm Champion with Inna Ivanenko
  • Fred Astaire National Champion – International Latin (multiple years)
  • Fred Astaire National Champion – American Rhythm (multiple years)

Monday, February 25th & Wednesday, February 27th – Lene James

For more information on this world renowned coach, adjudicator and dancer, speak to your professionals today!

 

 


Monday, February 25th – Mariya Ilchenko

Mariya Ilchenko has been competing in ballroom dance since she was just 7 years old. Aside from currently managing one of the top of Fred Astaire Dance Studios in the country, she, and her partner Ilya, are Fred Astaire Open Rhythm Champions, Fred Astaire Show Dance Champions, US Open Rhythm Finalists and Ohio Star Ball Open Rhythm Medalists. Ms. Mariya Ilchenko and Mr. Ilya Velednitsky have just recently began their newest endeavor – becoming Studio Directors/Owners of one of the newest studios in Arizona, Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Ahwatukee.


Monday, March 4th – Ricky Bentzen

Ricky Bentzen is originally from Denmark, and represented his home country throughout his Amateur career. He was undefined Danish Latin Champion and 2-Time World Latin Semi-Finalist. In 2008 he moved to the United States, where he became part of Fred Astaire Dance Studios and began his Professional career as an American Rhythm Competitor with Albina A. Habrle.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Danish Latin Champion
  • 2-Time Youth Latin World Semi-Finalist
  • 11-Time undefeated Fred Astaire Professional Open Rhythm Champion
  • World Professional Open Rhythm Vice Champion
  • 11-Time Fred Astaire National Open Professional Rhythm Champion
  • 3-Time US National Open Professional Rhythm Finalist
  • 4-Time World Open Professional Rhythm Finalist

Wednesday, March 13th – Eduard Apolonov

Eddie specializes in all areas of International Latin, Standard, American Smooth, American Rhythm, as well as choreography for Showcases, Solos and Novelties. Eddie is a Choreography Specialist on Open Routines and coaches top competitive couples in the country.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • USA National Rising Star Champion
  • USA Open to the World Rising Star Champion
  • 1998 Top Rising Star Couple in the United States
  • Open USA National Championship Finalist
  • Ohio Star Ball Finalist
  • Emerald Ball Finalist
  • Manhattan Dance Sport Champion
  • Millennium Dance Sport Champion
  • Heritage Classic Champion
  • Empire State Champion
  • UK: Rising Star British Open to the World Championship Finalist
  • Blackpool: Rising Star British Open to the World Championship Finalist
  • World Class Adjudicator, NDCA
  • National Judge, NDSA
  • Bachelor degree of Choreography from University of Fine Arts, Russia

Tuesday, March 19th – Ilya Velednitsky

Ilya moved from Ukraine in 1989 and has been teaching professionally with Fred Astaire Dance Studios for 11 years total, 4 years at the Milwaukee location and 7 at the Brookfield location. He is currently the Studio Director of the newest Arizona Studio, Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Ahwatukee, and competes professionally both regionally and nationally. He and his partner, Ms. Mariya Ilchenko, are multiple-time Fred Astaire Rhythm Champions, Show Dance Champions, and Ohio Star Ball Professional Rhythm Finalists. He is now making his way into the world of coaching and adjudicating.


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