The Team 

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Tatiana Banko was born in Volgograd, Russia, where she began dancing Ballet at the age of 6 and within a year added figure skating to her training regimen. 

At the age of 10 she saw a dance competition on TV and immediately fell in love with Ballroom and Latin dancing. By the age of 13 Tatiana became a top finalist in multiple competitions in Russia, including Russian National Championship. When she turned 16 she continued dancing in Europe representing Italy, becoming a national finalist and finalist of many dance competitions in Europe. In 2006 Tatiana received an invitation to continue her dance career in the United States where she became one of the highest ranking international Latin dance competitors. Amongst her achievements: US Open Professional Latin Super Series top 6, UK Open Rising Star top 5, Blackpool Rising Star top 7. Winner of Yankee Classic World Masters, Eastern Dancesport and Windy City Chamionships.

Tatiana loves to teach, perform and compete with her students and she is one of the top Pro/am instructors in the country.

Julia Mincheva began her training at age 5 in Russia, and went on pursuing a professional competitive career. Julia has won several championships in Europe and Russia. Between 2003 and 2005 alone she won 7 prestige dance titles on the best competition arenas in the world, including London Open Professional semifinalist, International championship Rising Star finalist, Dutch Open Showdance top 3, Russian Professional Standard Championship runner up. 

She was equally if not more successful in the US becoming a world finalist in Classic show dance in 2005, national Rising Star smooth finalist and North American smooth champion title holder. 

Yulia has been teaching dance since 13 and is a nationally certified instructor in Smooth, Latin, Standard and Rhythm. When Yulia is not teaching, she loves to spend time in artistic venues, she calls fashion her second love. She is also an experienced Yoga practitioner.

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Andrei Stanev is a professional dance teacher from Bulgaria. Andrei started his career at a very young age. He became very successful by winning Bulgarian National Championships in two styles, Ballroom and Latin two years in a row. Andrei owns a degree from the National Sport Academy and shortly after his graduation he decided to move to America to expand his career. His ambitious and creative spirit brought him success in biggest dance companies in the States which led him to become an expert in all 4 styles. Andrei received an Award for Outstanding Performance in the advance department of teaching in 2006. 

Brook Diamond was born and raised in Anchorage Alaska where he became his journey as a dancer at age of 5. Brook is an award-winning NY- based dancer, competitor and private instructor with an affinity international Latin American Smooth. Over the years Brook has trained world- renowned coaches and in 2010 he was granted a scholarship at the Joffrey School ballet after which he continued his dance career in New York City. Brook works with students of all ages and all levels of experience, ranging from  dance professionals focused on furthering their competition resume, to novices interested to begin a competitive career which leads them onto competitive floor under Brook's guidance.

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Karen Schneider

Trained early in tap and jazz, I began ballroom in 1997.  Performances at the Copacabana, Wainwright House, and earning 1st & 2nd place in the 1998 Fred Astaire TriStar Dance Sport Championships added experience. It was a privilege, for many years, to teach at the famous Stardust Dance Weekends. 

In 2005 & 2006, I choreograph the presentation of The Cubist Works of Pablo Picasso (televised by News 12) at Yonkers International Baccalaureate World School and in 2009 Seniors Come Out Swinging held at Yonkers Public Library to a sold-out audience.  I headed, in 2010, a multi-generational dance program organized by the Health & Recreation Department for Lyndhurst, NJ.

A passion for Argentine Tango, I earned my teacher’s certification in Nov 2012 from The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Incorporated and along with my partner, Carlos Sampelayo, we were chosen as Sub-Champions of the 2013 US Tango Championship.  Enjoying our partnership of many years, Carlos & I continue to teach social level ballroom and Argentine Tango.  Our goal is getting students onto the dance floor quickly and with techniques they can be comfortable with regardless of age.


Carlos Sampelayo 

Carlos has been involved in tango since childhood. His parents loved tango, danced and lived within the tango culture all their lives. In his house, tango music was played every day and for the entire day. After seeing the show “Tango Argentino” in 1985, Carlos began studying Argentine Tango with a variety of instructors.  His main teachers with whom he studied extensively were Diego di Falco, Carolina Zokalski, dancers from the show “Forever Tango”. He also studied with Osvaldo Zotto (from Tango X 2), The Dinzels (From Tango Argentino), and Hugo Patyn (From Forever Tango) as well as Carlos Copello.

Chosen as the “Best Argentine Tango Teacher in Westchester 2010” by the Westchester Magazine.

In 1998 Carlos began teaching privately and hosting his own milongas in Westchester.  At present he teaches at several venues throughout Westchester.

Carlos has been teaching tango since 1999 and is now a Certified Argentine Tango Instructor by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing 

He and Karen registered in The US Tango Championship to help promote Argentine Tango in the United States achieving the Sub-Champions Position.        



Stephanie Shapiro has began ballet classes at the age of five in her home town of Park Ridge, Illinois. In high school she traded her ballet slippers for Drill Team and Flag Corp. As a young adult she lived in Israel where she joined a traveling folk dance company before serving in the IDF. After 6 years in Israel, Stephanie moved to NYC, studied acting at AADA and began to seriously embrace swing and salsa dancing along with ballroom.

Between 2008 and 2010 achieved honors in Bronze and Silver in medal exams.

Dance keeps you young, fit and happy and Stephanie's goal is to share that with her students teaching them how to move confidently and enjoy themselveson the dance floor.


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Igor Gayenko is originally from Ukraine where he started international Ballroom and Latin training at the age of 5. It wasn't too long before he became a successful competitor around the world, becoming a 3 times junior Blackpool finalist and United States youth National bronze medalist. Amongst his achievements: New York City Dance Festival Rising Star champion, Platinum Dancesport Rising Star champion and Kings Ball Rising Star champion. Igor competes with his students in United States as well as in Europe, achieving great results and helping them become finalists and winners of multiple major events such as Blackpool Professional/ Amateur division. Igor continues to compete , choreograph showcases  and inspire students to achieve their goals.

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Viktoriya Kolbenkova Is originally from Russia, at the age of 6 she started taking classes in gymnastics, couple years later she moved to Ballroom Dancing. In teen years she also perused training in different styles of dance such as hip hop and jazz. After high school she moved to United States to get her college degree in Economics and later returned to competitive dancing in Latin and Standard . Viktoriya is World Level competitor in many International Championship, semifinalists in PD World Championships representing United States in both programs. Ballroom and Latin . She and her partner Seeger Dementyev are still regularly traveling to Europe and Russia taking lessons from World famous teachers and coaches.

Viktoriya will be leading kids program here at Exclusively Dance Studios

Viktoriya has been working with kids of different ages from 4-16 years old over 6 years . She has an experience teaching children from the Beginner to More Advance levels. 
Her main goal is to help children to develop body coordination , balance, improve posture and learn to focus .
Many of her students later were advancing to compete in numerous United States championships!



Sergey Dementiev was born in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. His parents loved Ballroom Dancing and used to bring him as a child to watch different dance competitions, so at the age of 13 he decided to be part of that beautiful art and started taking classes .
He got excellent results very fast representing Russia . Later Sergey found partner in different country and decided to move and represent Slovenia. Here he got opportunity to train and take lessons from world famous Ballroom and Latin teachers advancing his technique.
In 2010 he had opportunity to move to United States. Here he met his current partner Viktoriya Kolbenkova, they have been finalists at USA Dance National Championships, winners of Manhattan Amateur Classic Championship. 
Both Sergey and Viktoriya are World Level competitors in many International Championship, semifinalists in PD World Championships representing United States . Sergey also competes in ProAm in both programs: Latin and Ballroom . He loves to teach and share his experience with students while making it fun and enjoyable lessons.


Juan Alessandrini  was born in the heart of Buenos Aires, Argentina where he was introduced to Tango when he was 10 years. While studying with the tango master Carlos Espinoza, Juan joined the dance company “Ensueno de Tango” with which he performed in the prestigious dance festival “La noche mas Larga” for four consecutive years, from 2003 to 2006. Juan was invited to teach in the United States at Forever Tango’s Broadway stars Carolina Zokalski and Diego Di Falco’s “Authentic Argentine Tango school”. For the last six years he has been actively teaching and performing at milongas and galas in the tri-state area, Milongas such as the Authentic Argentine Tango School, Pedro Guiraudo’s Latin Grammy Quintet show,Vivid Ballroom School, Hudson Riverfront Performing arts, Milonga Pantera, El Chamuyo Milonga,Milonga Trucha, Los Pitucos Milonga,Tango Lover of Long Island, Princeton Milonga, Anytime Dance School, Josie's International Dance School, Joy to Dance and, G and J studios,as well as been featured in the popular music video “Que Pena” by Sony Music recording artist MALUMA.

Juan prefers to teach in the traditional style of Tango. He “believes that the authentic principles provide the best foundation for any Tango dancer and that this is what is necessary in order to learn the proper way to lead for the man and the proper way to follow for the woman, as well as learning the embrace which is essential for the connection with your partner, and how to interpret the music.


Eddie Melendez 

Eddie Melendez is an American dancer/musician of Puerto Rican descent. His professional career began in 1988 at the age of 12, when he began touring as a musician, traveling all over the United  States and South and Central America. At the age of 21 he was signed by the New York record label, MP, to sing with the salsa band, Face 2 Face. Eddie wrote, sang, danced and recorded with the group, releasing 2 albums while continuing to tour.


When Eddie wasn’t touring he began his training as a professional dancer and instructor. He completed his professional certification in 2000.  Making the switch from full time musician to dancer, he competed professionally to advance his teaching abilities.  In this venture Eddie became a World Mambo finalist, American rhythm finalist, and Puerto Rican Salsa champion. Since then, he has trained and managed with Independent, Fred Astaire, and Arthur Murray franchise studios. 


Eddie Melendez uses all his experience as a musician and dancer, to rhythmically teach and advance each individual dancer in Smooth, Latin, and American Rhythm styles. Whether you’re a social, or competitive dancer, he’s ready to take you to the next level.


Currently Eddie Emcee’s s, plays live music, and competes Pro-Am at professional dance competitions.


Vitalii Kaliuzhny

Vitalii started ballroom dancing at the age of 3. Among his marked accomplishments are: 2015 International Dance Sport Association World Champion; 2016 International Dance Sport Association World Cup winner; 2016 Ukrainian Champion; 2018 Ohio Star Ball Professional RS Champion; 2019 Blackpool Dance Festival Professional Semi Finalist. He was awarded the Merited Master of Sports of Ukraine degree for his dancesport accomplishments and is currently a multiple winner and finalist of numerous international dancesport championships.
He has extensive experience in training for both social and competitive dancing. His competitive students have been winners and finalists of multiple International and Ukrainian Dancesport competitions.

“In my opinion, dancing is the greatest gift to mankind. It unleashes the luminosity of the soul and helps me to enjoy life and get through many life challenges. I love to share all the wonderful experiences dancing gives me, that’s why teaching for me is my way of making people around me happier and become proud of their accomplishments.”  -- Vitalii Kaliuzhnyi


Vitaly Novikov 

Vitaly Novikov was born in Russia and began dancing while he was in middle school. His first big achievement was becoming Saint-Petersburg International Ballroom and International Latin champion. Later on he became a finalist and a winner of multiple Russian and European competitions. At about the same time Vitaly started his teaching career. Then he moved to London where for several years he was studying dancing and methods of teaching with the world renowned teachers and dancers. He continued competing successfully in United Kingdom and Europe. 

Arriving in the United States in 2001 Vitaly continued his dancing career by teaching, choreographing showcases and competing with his partner and his students both in International and American styles.

Vitaly likes to teach helping his students to achieve their competitive and social dancing goals and getting great results.