For professional ballroom dancers, Oksana and Yuriy Shelkovyy, it’s hard to imagine life without dancing. Every aspect of the pair’s lives has been shaped by their love for this beautiful sport. Ballroom dancing has given them purpose, passion and a fulfilling career.
Since moving to Ottawa in 2010, Oksana and Yuriy have been successfully representing Ottawa in national and international competitions, both in amateur and professional categories.
Most recently, the Ottawa dancers were granted a very prestigious honor: the chance to represent Canada at the World 10 Professional Dance Championship in Quebec which will take place in Valleyfield, Quebec in October 18-19.
For both Oksana and Yuriy, dance has been a life-long pursuit. From a young age, Oksana’s parents instilled her with a love of the arts. Both her mother and father directed famous theatres in Russia. Her mother served in leading positions in Russian national radio, television and theaters. Her father held the position of director/producer at the world-famous Mariinsky Theater. Given her artistic roots, it is fitting that Oksana would later dazzle audiences as a competitive ballroom dancer.
Yuriy and his brother were the first in their family who focused on the performing arts. He was dancing from a very young age and his parents gave him all their encouragement and support to learn the art of dancing.
Eventually, both Yuriy and Oksana immigrated to Canada. Yuriy studied at Dalhousie University and later landed a job with the Government of Nova Scotia in Halifax. Oksana settled in Montreal where she went to college and university and later worked full time in the Human Resources field. On top of their work commitments, both competed as amateur ballroom dancers.
When they each found themselves without a partner in 2007, they connected through their dance network on the Internet. They started dancing in January of 2008 and only after three months of training on the weekendsthe couple landed on the podium at the Canadian National Championships in Halifax. For one year and a half the couple was managing day time jobs , traveling between Montreal and Halifax to train on the week-ends and successfully participating in multiple competitions in both Latin and Standard programs. Their passion for dancing united them as dance partners and later as husband and wife.
Today, Oksana and Yuriy are passing on their passion for ballroom dancing to a new generation of dancers. In 2011 they opened Dance with Us Ottawa (DWUO) with fellow pro ballroom dancer, Ilya Maletin. Since then, hundreds of students of different skill levels and age groups have benefited from their expert instruction.
Dance with Us Ottawa, which houses the largest dance floor in Ottawa, offers a variety of dance programs for all ages and levels.
The month of October will be a big one in the history of the dance school and dance life in Ottawa. Yuriy’s and Oksana participation in the World Professional 10 dance Championships in October will open a new chapter in the development and popularization of the dance sport in the National Capital region and sets a great example for young dancers to follow.
- Could Your Child Be Next The Karina Smirnoff Or Gillian Lynne? Dance With Us Ottawa Has The Answer! (dancewithusottawa.wordpress.com)