The Family that Dances Together…
interview by K. Angel Horne
Cultivating an inclusive, welcoming, supportive community is paramount at Go Dance. Spend any amount of time around our students and staff and you’re sure to hear a reference to “my dance family.” So it’s really special to us that, with the addition of the youth program, we find ourselves with three generations of dancers from one family under our studio roof(s): Lana, Gene & Elena, and Roman Florintsev.
I asked our young competitive dancer, nine-year-old Roman, to sit down with me after class at our South Austin studio with his mother, Elena, and grandmother, Lana, to chat about their special shared passion for dance. They shared the interview “floor” with the grace and consideration of trained dancers; no one stepped on anyone else’s toes!
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When I assumed the “natural order” of who started the dancing bug in the family, Lana explained, “It’s not that natural; actually, Elena and my son, Gene, started dancing in Boston. I was curious, so I came to see, and then I got addicted.” Roman added, “My brother, who was 11, was dancing and I got inspired by him and started too.”
While Roman’s parents began with Ballroom and then Latin, and enjoy the social aspects and benefits of dancing most, Lana and Roman both prefer competition. Lana presently trains and competes with instructor Brett Morris in Ballroom. Roman participates in group youth classes as well as private lessons in Ballroom and Latin (with dance partner, Maya) from instructor Hilary Carlson.
Lana and Roman both competed at the Sapphire Dancesport Championships in Austin, and will compete in San Antonio in January. They agree that it’s fun to attend these events as a family, and Lana added, “I hope, someday, I will be able to dance with him–when he grows up a little more!”
Roman, who has been dancing since age five, says he chose Ballroom and social dances because, “There’s more connection and you need to be stronger to dance with a partner.” He also noted what he likes about learning in different settings: “In private lessons, you add on to your routines and practice more choreography. In group classes, you socialize with other people and do dances and play games.”
A few months ago, Roman and Maya performed a Cha Cha at The Blanton Museum of Art’s member party. Though we often teach at these events, they were the first dancers Go Dance had brought to perform for the audience, and they were a huge hit! Roman likes to perform and compete to show others that it’s fun and they can dance too.
“I started dancing because I was inspired and I wanted to inspire other kids to dance more.”
“I wish that more kids would participate — I think it would bring happiness and fun into their lives.”
Lana, Elena & Gene all lived in Russia, then Boston, then Austin. Lana said the family members all found dance to be a great way to find a place in the community:
“Dance doesn’t need language — dancing is [a] language to itself — which is important when you get into some new surroundings.”
I point out how remarkable it is that her family shares three languages: English, Russian, and dancing!