Our Instructors and Dance Classes

Private and group classes

Competitive Ballroom and Latin dances
Social Ballroom dancing
Argentine Tango
Ballet for adults and children
Club Dances
Belly dancing and other ethnic dances
Wedding Dances

Private Lessons
Group Classes

Our Instructors

Andrey Stanev

Andrey was born in Bulgaria where he started his career in ballroom at an early age. He won the Bulgarian National Championships. He then moved to the U.S. to expand his dancing and had a very successful career in a popular franchised studio. Andrey teaches in Hawthorne, NYC and in Nantucket. During the summer months in Nantucket, he directs a theater company.

Carlos Sampelayo

Carlos began studying Argentine Tango in 1985. He intensified his studies with Diego Di Falco and Diego Blanco as well as a variety of instructors. In 1998, Carlos began teaching privately and hosting his own milongas. He became a Certified Argentine Tango Instructor by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. In 2006, he began a teaching partnership with Karen Schneider. In 2013, he and Karen registered in the US Tango Championship and achieved 2nd place.

Chris Lawatsch

Born in Germany, Christoph started dancing at the age 14. He competed very successfully at the amateur level (special Standard) before became a professional. Christoph opened his own dance studio in 1987. He taught amateurs of all ages from beginner to the State Champion. Christoph became a certified Aerobics Instructor in 1996 for Aerobic, Step Aerobics, Thai Bo, and Power Dumbbell and a Member of the International Fitness and Aerobic Akademie (IFAA). Christoph moved to USA in 2003 and worked for Fred Astaire Dance Company until 2012. Since 2013, Christoph has worked as an independent Instructor in Fairfield, CT and Westchester, NY. Christoph is a certified Dance Teacher at the US Terpsichore Assoc. (USTA) and the National Dance Council of America (NDCA). He teaches American and International Style.

Dragan Ranitovic

It was dancing brought Serbia-born Dragan in New York city in 1991, teaching International and American style ballroom, Salsa, hustle, West Coast swing, tap, jazz and ballet. He lingered in that Rapidly evolving tango world for over 10 years, and eventually came to Focus almost exclusively on this dance. The music, the passion, the elegance, the natural embrace, the freedom of movement and expression…there are many elements that mark tango as uniquely compelling dancing and culture, which often becomes an obsession. He teaches Saturday and Monday group Classes and daily private lessons in NYC. For the past ten years, he has conducted monthly tango workshops for the tango community of northeastern Pennsylvania. He is also a guest teacher and DJ for Dancin’ with Nash in Randolph, NJ. He hosts Tuesday & Thursday Milongas and teaches Argentine Tango Group and Private Classes at Exclusively Dance in Hawthorne, NY. 

Karen Schneider

Karen originally trained in tap and jazz and then ballroom, including performances at the Copacabana and wins a reginal competition. She choreographed the performance of the “Cubist Works of Pablo Picasso” and was televised by Local News 12. While still teaching Ballroom, her ongoing romance with Argentine Tango brought her to Lynn and Carlos. They turned her interest into an all consuming passion and she earned her A.T. certification in 2012 A partnership with Carlos was formed; she’s now entirely dedicated to the dance and its teachings.

Nikolai Shpakov

Nikolai started dancing at the age of 12 in Russia. What began as training in Russian Folk dancing, evolved into a career in ballroom. When he had the opportunity to come to the U.S., he couldn’t resist. His love of dancing superseded law school. He and his professional partners have won many national titles in the United States, but now teaching is his passion.

Randy Dias

Randy’s dance career began in Rhode Island State Ballet, where he was a principal dancer. His competitive ballroom career flourished in his partnership with Viktorija Barasihina; they won numerous rising star events , were the Eastern US Pro Smooth Champions and won the Latin American World Dancesport Champion.

Tatiana Banko

Tatiana Banko started dancing ballroom at the age of 12 in Russia. At age 15 she moved to Italy to train and compete there. 10 years ago, she moved to the United States to form a new partnership for competition. She has won numerous competitions in America . She now splits her time between Hawthorne, NYC and Boston, where she coaches the Harvard and MIT Collegiate Ballroom teams.

Tatiana Keegan

Tatiana’s career began in Russia at 7 years of age as a standout rhythmic gymnast. She began training in ballroom at age 14 and proceeded to win National competitions in Russia. After she moved to the United States, she became our National Rising Star Champion in Latin. Tony Dovolani, of the hit TV show “Dancing with the Stars” said of her, “Tatiana is the fasted girl I’ve ever danced with, period.

Tomas Mielnicki

Tomas is one of the finest Smooth Style Dancers on the East Coast. He and his partner JT became the 2007 US American Ballroom Champions. Since then, they have been undefeated in the American Smooth division. In November of 2007, one year after they became finalists at the Ohio Star Ball, they also became World American Ballroom Champions. Here at 26 Broadway, Tomas has agreed to take on some new students with an interest in the Smooth Discipline of Ballroom. If you want to coach with your regular Pro (your Pro will make the appointment), Tomas can accommodate you as well.
Beginners are welcome. Please call him at 917/497-6041 to schedule your free ½ hour session appointment.

Vitaly Novikov

Vitaly is a native of Russia. He was the winner and finalist of numerous Russian and European competitions. Vitaly has over 25 years of dancing, competing and teaching experience.