Staff

Jolanta Mosteika – Studio Director

Jolanta is one of the most sought out after teachers at the studio. She has most recently partnered several amateur students to the highest levels of United States national championships including the USDC and Ohio Star Ball. Jolanta and Darius have been dancing together since 1986. As teenagers in Lithuania, they held the title of Lithuanian Amateur Standard and 10-Dance Champions in 1990, 1991, 1992. After emigrating to the United States in 1992, they consistently placed in the top 2 couples at the U.S. National Professional Standard Championships until their retirement in the year 2000. They were 7 times undefeated Fred Astaire International Standard Champions.

Darius Mosteika – Studio Director

Darius is a teacher and a coach and has published several articles on competing and competitions in leading industry newspapers and magazines, he has also taken successful students to Ohio and USDC. Darius is also the director of the West Side’s show, Dance Among the Stars, which has raised over $36,000 for the High School for Arts, Imagination & Inquiry, with annual audiences of 700. Jolanta and Darius have been dancing together since 1986. As teenagers in Lithuania, they held the title of Lithuanian Amateur Standard and 10-Dance Champions in 1990, 1991, 1992. After emigrating to the United States in 1992, they consistently placed in the top 2 couples at the U.S. National Professional Standard Championships until their retirement in the year 2000. They were 7 times undefeated Fred Astaire International Standard Champions.

Val Grebenin – Studio Director

With Darius & Jolanta Mosteika, Val is the owner of the Fred Astaire West Side Studio.  Born in Lithuania, Val began studying dance at an early age and has been an instructor for more than 20 years.  Val holds a bachelor’s degree in Ballroom Dance Coaching and teaches a wide range of students, from beginners to competitors.  Before coming to the US, Val also did advanced training in sports psychology.  In 2000, he was granted the distinguished “associate” title by the Council of the U.K. Alliance of Professional Teachers of Dancing, and was a member of the Lithuanian Union of Dance Sport Professionals.  Val believes in an engaged and dynamically based method of teaching.  And, above all, it should be fun.

Lyall Bradshaw – Dance Director

Lyall has been a member of the FADS  organization since 1976. He was top teacher numerous times in FADS Regional & National competitions. Lyall was appointed as Certified Adjudicator in 1982 and presently serves as Chairman of judges in all FADS National Competitions and all New York Regional competitions.

He is the New York Regional Dance Director and also the Executive National Examiner for the Fred Astaire Dance Studios with vast expertise and knowledge of the FADS curriculum.

Lyall specializes in coaching and syllabus training for Diplomas and Certifications. He excels in all levels of American Style, Exhibition, Theatre Arts, and Country and Western. He is also available for International Standard and Latin training and examinations.

He holds all levels of Certifications in American and International Styles, Theatre Arts and Exhibition.

Olga Barashihina – Instructor

Olga Barashihina was born in Latvia and moved to New York in 2003.  She is an International Ballroom and Latin DanceSport competitor, coach and adjudicator.  In 2008, Olga was a finalist in the American Rhythm Rising Star Division of the Ohio Star Ball, telecast as America’s Ballroom Challenge; she was the winner of the 2005 Emerald Ball Showdance;  American Smooth World Championship Finalist; 2004 United States American Ballroom Grand Finalist; 2002 Czech International Latin Vice-Champion; 2000 Latvian International Latin Champion; 1999 and 1999 World Cup International Latin finalist.

Talia Barrington – Instructor

Talia has been with Fred Astaire Dance Studios since 2012 when she discovered her passion for bringing dance to the lives of all who can find joy in it. Originally from London, England, Talia started dancing ballet when she was 2 and added ice dance to her life when still very young. Serious training in ice dance required extensive training in ballroom dance, and once opportunities were closing in ice dance and opening in ballroom, she made the decision to move professionally from the ice to the floor! Her taste for competition never died though, and she currently competes and performs on the circuit with both her professional partner, and her students who share her spirit for a competitive challenge! Talia loves to teach all levels of students, and equally enjoys teaching the first steps to those getting married or just starting out, as high-level techniques to those students who take dancing as their hobby and passion!

Will Fonda – Instructor

Will has recently joined the West Side studio from Midtown, he has been part of the Fred Astaire family for more than 6 years, training and working in the New England region before moving to New York in 2010.  As part of the Midtown Studio, Will became one of the top Pro/Am instructors in the Northeast region. He has competed successfully with both amateur students and professional partners.  Will is naturally drawn to the competition floor. His presence on the dance floor is sure to bring energy, insight and inspiration to everyone he meets.  Will also has a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design.

Anton Grigoryev – Instructor

Anton has been dancing for over seventeen years. He competed all over Russia in the Latin, Standard and Ten-Dance divisions, becoming Vice Champion in the Russian National Ten-Dance Championship. Anton has studied ballet, Russian dancing, and choreography at the University of Culture & Dance in Perm, Russia.  He joined the Fred Astaire West Side, after several years at the Fred Astaire studio in Rochester.

Anabel Henriquez – Instructor

Anabel Henriquez joined the West Side in 2013. She is almost a “Native New Yorker,” having moved here at the age of two. Anabel brings business know-how to our reception area, with business administration studies on her resume, and as a teacher in training, Anabel hopes to join us all on the dance floor soon.

Ivan Levin – Instructor

Ivan recently joined the West Side studio, following successful championship careers in his homeland of Russia. There, he competed in national and international world-ranking WDSF events in Russia, Spain, Germany, the Ukraine, Belarus, etc. He has been featured on the broadcasts of numerous championship events in Russia and Europe. Ivan currently competes in the Professional Standard division and have already become finalists of several championship events in the United States.

Shone Margaric – Instructor

Originally from Serbia, Shone joined the West Side Studio in 2015. Shone has competed in Serbia and nearby countries such as Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia and Montenegro,and he also owned his own dance studio for several years. He has choreographed many theatrical production and shows including Eurovision performances, TV shows and music video choreography. Shone has successfully worked with dancers at all levels, coaching them to perform at their best, extensive track record with wedding couples first dance and also competes in the Pro-Am division with his students. Shone has a bachelor’s degree in economics/accounting field where he worked for several years.

Anna Sivakova – Instructor

Anna recently joined the Fred Astaire West Side family, following successful championship careers in her homeland of Russia. There, she competed in national and international world-ranking WDSF events in Russia, Spain, Germany, the Ukraine, Belarus, etc. She has been featured on the broadcasts of numerous championship events in Russia and Europe. Anna currently competes in the Professional Standard division and has already become finalists of several championship events in the United States.

Dragan Strukelj – Instructor

Dragan joined Fred Astaire West Side in January 2016. Dragan was twice champion of Bosnia & Herzegovina in Latin (2008 and 2009). He was a member of National Team of Bosnia and Herzegovina and represented it in numerous World and International competitions from 2001 to 2011. Dragan was also a coach of the Latin Champions of Bosnia in Adults (2014) and representatives of Bosnia at the European Championship. He was a choreographer for musical theater plays such as Alice, The Wizard of Oz, Pippi Longstocking, etc. in Children’s and National theater in his country. Besides working as a dance teacher and choreographer Dragan holds bachelor’s degree in economics and he has been a manager of a dance studio in his city and project manager of WDSF International Dancesport Competition Banja Luka Open from 2011 to 2014.

Beata – Coach

Beata, born in Lithuania, started her dance career at the age of 6. She became the Lithuanian and former Soviet Union youth latin, ballroom, and folk dancing champion. She moved to the U.S. at the age of sixteen.

In 1998, Beata and Michael became World Amateur Latin Champions and won British Open (Blackpool), UK Championships, International Championships, US Open, German Open, Swiss Open and all other amateur competitions. In 1999, they turned professional and were finalists of every major international competition since their professional debut at the British Open. In 2004, they moved to New York and decided to represent the United States. At the end of 2004, Beata retired from competitive dancing. Presently, Beata is coaching and lecturing and adjudicating competitions in all parts of the world.

Bruno Collins – Coach

7-time US Theatrical Champion, 2-time World Cabaret Champion, 3-time Blackpool Cabaret Champion, US American Rhythm Finalist, 5- time Fred Astaire Rhythm Champion. He has performed around the world, in top competitions and shows, as both a guest star performer and champion. In addition, he has been featured on PBS’ Championship Ballroom Dancing. He has choreographed show numbers and showcases for top professionals across the country including several showcases for the West Side including The Fabulous Forties and An Evening At Smokey Joe’s Café.

Linda Dean – Coach

Former U.S. American Style Champion and U.S. Theater Arts Champion. She was the U.S. International Latin Champion for four years and was four times a finalist in the World Championship in International Latin. Ms. Dean has been a member of the Fred Astaire Dance Board 25 years. She currently serves an adjudicator at major United States and world championships.

Rufus Dustin – Coach

World Dance and DanceSport Council professional, coaching, choreographing and judging throughout the world. He has been certified as an adjudicator by the WD&DSC and Fred Astaire Dance Studios Inc. in international standard and latin, American smooth and rhythm, and theater arts. As a professional dancer, Rufus competed nationally and internationally, holding national titles in international latin, American rhythm and theater arts. He currently choreographs for the top professionals and amateurs. He has performed all over the world, including special presentations at Blackpool.

Wendy Johnson – Coach

Wendy Johnson is a former New Zealand Ballroom and Latin Champion who is now a world-renowned coach, choreographer, emcee, and adjudicator. In addition to her Ballroom training, she has had 10 years of ballet training, winning many prestigious competitions in both Ballet as well as Ballroom and Latin.
Wendy is a world-class adjudicator having judged in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, and the U.S.A.

Stephen Knight – Coach

Stephen started in the Dance Business in 1976. Chicago being his home, he still managed to move to Wisconsin for more growth and opportunity. Over the years Stephen became one of the Top Teachers in the United States winning many Top Teacher Awards Regionally, and Nationally. He also had many Top Ranking Students in the United States in the competitive world.

Hans Laxholm – Coach

Former World, U.S. and European Professional Standard Dance Champion, he is the uthor of a book on the techniques involved in of championship level dancing, “Would You Like to Dance”, currently in its fifth edition and companion DVD. He currently coaches and judges throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

Tony Meredith – Coach

Champion dancer and choreographer, Tony has been behind the scenes as well as made appearances in various films, TV shows, and Broadway, including feature film performances in “Dance with Me,” “The Thomas Crown Affair,” “Let It Be Me,” and “The Last Days of Disco.”

Tony started to dance as a toddler while growing up in Samoa, surrounded by the sounds of drums, guitars, and ukuleles.  He credits American Bandstand and Soul Train for helping him to hone his skills and to keep up with the latest moves.  Tony met Melanie in San Diego in 1981 where they began their professional partnership which has lasted over 30 years.

Tony is also known for co-hosting seasons 1 and 2 of the PBS series “America’s Ballroom Challenge” with Marilu Henner, and has appeared as a guest choreographer on FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Marianne Nicole – Coach

Former United States Rising Star American Style Champion, undefeated United States Theatre Arts Champion, North American International Latin Champion, Canadian Theatre Arts Champion, undefeated Fred Astaire American Style Champion, undefeated Fred Astaire Theatrical Champion, undefeated Fred Astaire International Latin Champion and World Latin Representative.
She is a World Class Adjudicator & Coach, and Co Organizer of the Capital Dancesport Championships and a National Examiner for the DVIDA Organization and former examiner for the Fred Astaire Dance Studio organization.

LuAnn Pulliam – Coach

LuAnn is one of the most decorated ballroom dancers in the Theater Arts and Cabaret divisions, including several Undefeated World titles. She and her husband and partner, Bruno Collins, have been with Fred Astaire for many years, and are currently owners of one of the top studios in the company. LuAnn is an expert at coaxing out a sensual side of dancers, and creating routines that highlight their best attributes.

Taliat Tarsinov – Coach

Taliat began dancing together in Russia in 1974 with Marina, a partnership that later blossomed into marriage and family. In 1988, after winning the Russian Amateur Championship, they turned professional and danced until 1995, when they announced their retirement from the competitive floor. Taliat is top ranking adjucator and a beloved coach and choreographer in the United States.