Brooklyn Dance Sport Club is not just a dance school. Eugene Katsevman and Maria Manusova met for a purpose in New York in 1993, both coming from Kyiv and uniting as dance partners to win many national and international Latin dance competitions from the U.S. to the U.K.
By 2005 they became the number one couple on the IDSF ranking list, and placed in the top three of every major championship they competed in. They won three U.S. Open Championships, a Master Gala Trophy, and the IDSF Grand Slam Series. They represented the U.S. in the World Games in Germany, bringing home a Gold Medal. In 2009, the couple became Professional World Latin Championship Finalists, after winning the Blackpool Team Match for the second year in a row.
What does being in love means to you? How did it all start for you guys?
To us, being in love means having passion in life, being excited about work, and being grateful for everything you have. And also having appreciation and compassion for the people who surround you.
You both came from Kyiv to Brooklyn correct? How did you meet and find that connection to merge together as the number one couple in the world of Latin dance?
We competed against each other as kids in Ukraine, but we didn’t really meet until we both immigrated to the States. What we always shared was our love for dancing, and it has kept us together for the last 23 years. It has seen us through a long and successful competitive career, and now that we run our own studio in Brooklyn (Brooklyn Dance Sport Club) and our own competition (New York Dance Festival) together, we enjoy our relationship more than ever.
When did you start to dance, did you really love it so much when you were a kid? What were the ups and downs of your dancing career? Please give us some brief examples.
We both started dancing young, Eugene at 11, Maria at 7. We started dancing together when we were 14 and 12 years old. Obviously, we’ve been through many ups and downs. But through it all, we never once questioned our passion for dance or our commitment to our partnership. That’s why we still dance together today.
Who are your role models?
What we value in a role model are certain qualities that we try to embody and strive for every day: quality, integrity, dedication, and strength of character.
In your opinion, who are the best dancers in the ballroom world?
There are a lot of great dancers our there today, but our favorites are the ones who define the odds — ones who make it despite not having much, through pure passion, determination and perseverance. Like the kids who come to the studio and practice every single day regardless of the weather, no matter how they feel or how much homework they have. They are the ones with a sparkle in their eyes, and they are the ones everyone remembers when they grow up to be great champions.
What inspires you and how do you find your inspiration?
When you have an open heart and a keen eye, inspiration finds you. We find it in everyday life and in everything we do. Music, art, books, and movies — all of these things are inspiring. Traveling and teaching are also a major part of our creative process. Our students constantly inspire us.
You have a very nice dance studio in Brooklyn, I personally love it and would like to take classes, what do you offer that stands out from everyone else in your field of dance?
The motto of Brooklyn Dance Sport Club is: “More than a dance studio,” which means that what we offer is a safe heaven for crazy people like us: people who hold passion above everything else, people who believe in quality rather than quantity, people who want to create and express themselves. Those are our people and the studio is there for them.
What advice would you give to the emerging dancers, what are your words of wisdom for the new generation of dancers?
All you need is LOVE.
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