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Partnerships among the top competitive dancers can look like a game of musical chairs. Just look at the recent sad news of Stefano and Dasha. At the highest levels, the pressure of different personalities, goals and competition itself can be extraordinary. Every once in a while these partner splits result in a new match that becomes legendary.

Update: just one week after this article was published, Polina posted on her Instagram that she is now partnered with Pavel Zvychaynyy, saying that “We are beyond excited to come back on the dance floor as a team… and looking forward to the hard work behind the scenes that will allow us to express ourselves for you through our performances around the world.” Sigh.

The dance world is already buzzing about the brand new professional Latin pairing of Russia’s Andrey Zaytsev and Polina Teleshova. This partnership is so new (February of 2021) that they haven’t even had a chance to compete yet, but their showcase performances are mesmerizing. The chemistry between them is remarkable, and their quality as dancers goes without saying.

Andrey was previously partnered with Anna Kuzminskaya, competing in both the Latin and Ballroom genres. They started out as Juniors back in 2000, then quickly moved on to the Youth division and by 2004 were achieving high placements in the Adult age category. In 2005 they won the European Cup 10 Dance championship at the Russian Open. If you were at Vancouver’s SnowBall Classic in 2008 you would have witnessed them dancing to a first place finish in the International Open Latin and finishing second in the World Cup 10 Dance event.

Andrey and Anna won the Under 21 Latin Championship at Blackpool in 2007 and went on to take a second place finish in the World Championship Latin event in 2012. They won the Russian Latin championship and European amateur championship in 2013.

The following year the couple split and Andrey turned professional. He partnered with Elizaveta Cherevichnaya and the two achieved some impressive results. As pros competing in the WDSF (which is less challenging than professional WDC events), this couple won most of their events, but in 2015 they split. Andrey returned to his partnership with Anna at the end of 2015. They won every event they entered. But the partnership was not to be. Whatever dynamic had held the couple together for 16 years previously was gone. In 2016, Andrey and Anna split for good. The dance world was saddened as he faded from the scene over the next few years.

Polina Teleshova had previously been partnered with Kirill Belorukov. Dancing in the more challenging WDC professional Latin category, the two had excellent results, including multiple first place finishes in World Cup Latin events, making the finals in Blackpool and finishing fourth in the UK Open in 2020. Before her partnership with Kirill, Polina danced with Vyacheslav Samokhin in the Youth age category for Russia, placing second in the Youth World Championship Latin event in 2015.

Their background as individual champions is clearly visible in the confidence and quality they exhibit through their dancing. Their connection is outstanding, neither one overshadowing the other. But what really shines is the chemistry they seem to share. We can’t get enough of watching them and hope to see what they bring to the competition scene in the future. For us, the big question is whether Andrey and Polina will join WDC, a more prestigious and challenging environment for professionals, or stay with Andrey’s previous WDSF professional affiliation.

Take a look at a showcase Rumba performance they put together for our enjoyment:

George Pytlik

Author George Pytlik

Before turning pro, George achieved impressive results as an amateur competitor, holding the Senior (30+) Latin championship in BC, Canada for 7 consecutive years with his wife Wendy. The couple twice achieved a top-3 Canadian ranking in Senior Latin as well as a 3rd place Canadian ranking in 30+ Ten Dance. Today, George and Wendy are professional teachers with a vision of growing a strong dance community in Delta near Vancouver, BC.

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