Igor Pilipenchuk and Polina Pilipenchuk, married since 1985, came to the United States from Belarus in 1994. Already dance instructors and Amateur dance champions in the former Soviet Union, they were introduced by some American friends to Glenis Dee, a Latin dance champion who ran a studio in Towson, Maryland and who was looking for a dancing couple to work for her. She sponsored the Pilipenchuks to come to America and has coached them since. In 1999, they took over Atlantic Ballroom.
Igor and Polina became U.S. Professional 10-Dance Champions in 2003, and held the title in 2004 as well. Incidentally, their son Nikolai and his partner Natalia Skorikova won the World Professional 10-Dance Championships in 2011.
Both Igor and Polina started dancing when they were young. According to them, Russian parents often get their children involved in art, music and dance at a very early age. Now, the Pilipenchuks are trying to encourage the same level of participation in America by holding classes for children as young as 4. They are also setting up a nonprofit organization to subsidize the cost of instruction, to help make dance lessons available to children in the community. “It’s great discipline for the kids,” says Igor. “When they get older, they appreciate it.”
In addition to running Atlantic Ballroom, Igor and Polina have also acquired Capital Ballroom in Bethesda, Maryland.
They also organize 3 National Dance Council of America (NDCA) competitions: Atlantic DanceSport Challenge, Platinum Classic, and Kings Ball DanceSport Competition (with Rita Gekhman-Algarra).