Slavik Kryklyvyy, born Vyacheslav Kryklyvyy, began dancing at the age of 11 when his family moved from his hometown of Zaporizhia in Ukraine to Melitopol (Ukraine). Prior to that, he was engaged in swimming. The idea of taking Slavik to dance lessons came from his mother as she wanted him to be busy after school. However, Slavik’s father liked the idea of his son taking on bodybuilding.
From the very beginning, the Latin-American program best suited this dancer.
Slavik continued to dance in Kiev, at Valentina Fedorchuk’s dance club known as “Sport-Dance”. He tried to dance in Moscow, but was unable to find a partner.
In Kiev, Slavik partnered with Alena Fedorchuk. They attended their first international Amateur competition in 1997 – the Odessa Open hosted by the IDSF, where they took third place. The following month, Slavik and Alena attended the Yalta Open where they took second place.
1997 ended up being a year full of participation in various competitions. In the fall, for the first time, the couple traveled abroad to Gothenburg, Sweden for the World Cup. Here they placed significantly ahead of their main competitors, Sergey Kravchuk and Marina Rumyanova, who took 37th place, while Slavik and Alena 27th.
1998 was also a very successful year for the couple. Their achievements included winning first place at the international championship held in Slavutych, Ukraine, where they took the title of Ukrainian Champions in the Amateur Latin division.
In just two years, the couple took part in 12 competitions. However, 1998 was the final year for this couple as Slavik received an invitation from Joanna Leunis to move to Belgium and dance together.
It took the couple only five days of rehearsal to successfully take part in their first competition, the Belgian Cup, where they took first place.
With his moving to Belgium came the association of a “stage name” – “Slavik”. Born, Vyacheslav Kryklyvyy, it was in this time and place that he presented himself as “Slavik” after which he was registered this way at all upcoming and future dance championships.
Slavik was beginning to be distinguished by his own dance style, as seen and acknowledged by the press and dance specialists as very unique from the rest of his competitors.
Together with Joanna Leunis, Slavik competed in 19 international competitions throughout England, Germany, Canada, Denmark, Austria, Poland, Finland, Italy, the USA, Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
In 2000, the couple concluded their partnership in the United States with a speech after winning the title of IDSF Amateur Latin World Champions. Slavik then moved to New York where he began dancing with Karina Smirnoff as a Professional.
Career as a Professional
Slavik and Karina danced as a couple for five years, from 2000 to 2005. During this time, they became five-time United States Champions as well as silver medalists at the Blackpool Dance Festival and the World Championships in the Professional Latin category.
Kryklyvyy and Smirnoff were featured in the film Shall We Dance?, (starring – Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez). Slavik was credited as the partner of Paulina (Jennifer Lopez) as they competed in Blackpool as well as a dance instructor. In addition to their personal performances in the film, they were also directors of some of the dance scenes.
In 2006, Slavik moved to Moscow and began representing the country of Russia. He became partnered with Elena Khvorova where they made their debut in Stuttgart in August 2006 at the German Open Championships. Here, the couple took first place in the Professional Latin division.
In just one year, the couple took many first and second places at some of the most prestigious dance competitions, including becoming champions of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Their final accomplishment was winning the silver medal at the International Championships in October of 2007 in England.
In 2008, Slavik partnered with Hanna Karttunen, at that time one of the best dancers of the world in this class who, more than once, won many first places at various competitions. They represented Finland, but took part in only one competition – the UK Open in 2009 where they finished in 6th place.
In August of 2009, Slavik started dancing with Anna Melnikova. The new couple presented itself in Japan during a presentation where they earned a reputation as a bright Professional dancing couple.
The first competition in which Slavik and Anna participated in was in the United States where they took second place. At their subsequent presentation at the WDC Latin World Cup of the 2009 Kremlin Cup in Moscow, the couple took third place among Professionals.
In February 2010, Japan hosted the WDC Asian Open Professional Latin Championships where Slavik and Anna became fourth.
The couple won the hearts of a vast number of fans with their brilliant performances. However, Slavik and Anna danced their last performance in June of 2010 at the famous Blackpool Dance Festival, where the pair was fifth in the overall standings.
After Slavik’s split with Anna, he was forced to take a break from competitive dancing due to his search of a new dance partner.
In spring of 2012, Slavik took part in a performance with Daria Chesnokova. The pair had been registered as a couple representing the United States, but appearances at competitions were not followed. In August of that year, Daria came together to represent Italy with Stefano Di Filippo.
In the fall of 2012, it was announced that Kryklyvyy would be dancing with Ekaterina Lapaeva. Their debut was announced to be at the UK Open in January 2013, however on November 22, Lapaeva announced that she was retiring from Professional DanceSport altogether.
Life After Competition
In April 2014, Slavik Kryklyvyy reunited with former partner Karina Smirnoff to perform in Dance Legends. Since then, the couple has been occasionally performing in different events and shows.