All are welcomed on May 14, at 6:00 p.m., as DC DanceSport Academy is hosting a Grand Opening Gala, with Fairfax Mayor R. Scott Silverthorne doing the honors at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony. Academy-trained U.S. national champions, finalists and pro-am world champion dancers will perform. A social dance party will follow. “As mayor, I am excited to welcome DC Dancesport Academy, a small business with a global presence and world-renowned dance instructors, to our professional community,” said Mayor Silverthorne.
The studio is located at 9703 Fairfax Boulevard in the Fairfax Circle Shopping Center. “We saw the potential in this space immediately,” said Mrs. Lydia Petrigova. “It offered ample floor space and is very accessible and centrally located with plenty of parking.” Formerly a Weight Watchers, the site required substantial demolition to make way for crisp white walls, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, a high-end acoustic system and what Mrs. Petrigova calls the “very best dance floor in the DC metro area.” Manufactured by Signature Systems Group, the flooring combines the aesthetics of a classic, plank-style wood floor with modern design to create the ultimate high-end dance surface. It is what’s known as a sprung dance floor, which provides more shock absorption than a traditional dance floor. All levels of dance require repetitive vertical movements and a sprung dance floor is considered top of the line whether you are performing a Baryshnikov-style jump or just practicing the basics.
DC DanceSport is known for its extensive children’s program. The Academy trains students five years and up in youth ballroom, ballet, gymnastics and social dancing. “Dance is a wonderful way to develop coordination, flexibility and strength and have fun at the same time. Some children will enjoy the classes in a purely recreational way and others will take to it more seriously,” Petrigova explains. “The earlier you introduce the fundamentals and create discipline in body and mind, the easier it will be for a young dancer with talent and drive to progress.”
Katya Batenhorst’s daughter has studied with Petrigova for almost two years and shared the following, “DC Danceport Academy is truly a special place. The children are genuinely loved there. You feel the positive atmosphere as soon as you enter the front doors. My daughter…fell in love with it from day one. Lydia is a fantastic teacher— very friendly, patient and enthusiastic. Our overall experience has been warm, welcoming, positive and fun.”
The Academy’s youth and adult programs have produced U.S. national champions and finalists in both Latin and Ballroom as well as a pro-am world Latin champion. Petrigova is director of the Latin program, as well as the owner of the studio, and has a devoted following in the area’s dance community. Long-time student Mircea Cernev says, “Lydia is hands down the most creative, determined, caring coach I have ever worked with during my seventeen-year dance career, twelve of which have been under her watchful eye. Under her guidance and encouragement, I have achieved various championship titles and nation-wide recognition and consider her an integral part of my success.” Students also love working with Anna Mikhed, director of the Ballroom program, who is a world championship finalist and was a guest performer on Dancing with the Stars.
And what if you’re a casual dancer just interested in adding some new moves to your social dance repertoire? Petrigova insists that you shouldn’t be intimidated by DC DanceSport’s high-octane reputation. “We also have a wide selection of programs for adult beginners, with classes pretty much every night of the week in everything from ballroom to the popular nightclub dances, such as salsa, bachata and merengue. There’s a little something for everyone. Dancing gives you confidence, grace and style. It’s empowering. So even if you’re not looking to compete, if you simply want an opportunity for social dancing, you’ll find a community of like-minded dancers here.”
Singles might be particularly interested in a little-known fact about Mrs. Petrigova: Five of the amateur couples that she has paired up and trained have gone on to get married. Sounds like she could give the Washington Post’s Date Lab a run for the money.
– Christine Gordon