BERNARDS – Ballroom dancers since the age of 4, Nicholas and Sophia Kartashov of Bernards’ Basking Ridge section weren’t about to let a stay-at-home order stop them from doing what they love.
On an international broadcast on Saturday night, the brother and sister learned they had placed first in the Under-10 category for American-style ballroom dancing in a virtual competition sponsored by Champions Tour.
Created in 2016 by former dancers, the Champions Tour is a series of international sports dance tournaments leading to a championship. Videos were sent to the competition. The selected winners in each age category of a qualifying event enter a draw to determine an overall winner.
This big winner is then invited to prepare a one-minute and 30-second presentation in the dance of his choice for the grand final. In the Grand Final, the winners of each competition and the junior, youth, adult and senior representatives of the tour, present and compete for the title Best of the Best DanceSport Champions at their own level.
As first place winners, the twins are now eligible to represent the United States in the virtual open global competition in May.
Their parents, Danila and Nuria Kartashov, owners of Arthur Murray Dance Studios in Cranford and Hillsborough, were thrilled with the victory.
“As dance teachers it is natural to want to teach your children,” said Danila Kartashov. “Our kids are really enjoying it. It was so exciting.”
Normally, the twins would dance in the studio with their parents. But since the COVID-19 pandemic closed dance studios, they have been exercising at home. Between virtual dance lessons, parents worked with their children to keep their dance skills up to date.
“This competition was a natural fit,” said Nuria Kartashov. “Children from all over the world submitted videos and the judges selected them as one of the top two dancing couples.”
The other couple of dancers in their category live in Israel. On Saturday, they and the Kartashov twins danced live remotely on the website.
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On the show, videos of the top contenders were shown, the judges discussed what they saw and then announced the winners. Nicholas and Sophia danced the cha-cha.
“This is the first time that we have participated in a ballroom dance competition from our basement,” said Danila Kartashov. “When the children’s video came out they were glued to the screen. Nuria was making a video. When they were named winners in their category, they started jumping up and down. I never experienced anything. thing like that. It was all virtual. “
It was a big change for longtime dance teachers. For years, they taught dance in person – with groups on the dance floor of their Arthur Murray studios. Recently they have added private virtual dance lessons. The Kartashovs hope to continue classes in person when the studios are allowed to reopen.
“Nothing stops a dedicated dancer,” said Danila Kartashov. “It was a really quick change. But we and our students have adjusted. There are even advantages. To be on time, all you have to do is turn on your computer or your phone. it’s very private – just you and the instructor. That means it can be intense one-on-one training. “
In the new normal, as in competition, dance lessons are currently a home activity.
“The benefits are the same – good physical activity and great stress reliever,” said Danila Kartashov. “It’s healthy exercise that we need more than ever. We are so proud that our children realize how important it is.”
For more information on the virtual dance competition, visit www.championstour.dance/.
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Cheryl Makin is a trade reporter for MyCentralJersey.com. To gain unlimited access to his award-winning work, please register or activate your digital account today.