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Tatsiana Lahvinovich Galchun

See also: Categories: Instructors, Adjudicators, Dancers, Latin, WDSF

Born: February 23
Hometown: Minsk, Belarus
Current location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Current status:

Tatsiana Lahvinovich Galchun is a former Professional Ballroom Dancer, specializing in the International Style Latin division. She is a 4-time Croatian National Amateur Champion, a WDSF European & World Latin Champion in the Amateur and Professional divisions, as well as the winner of almost all possible major DanceSport competitions including the German Open Championships (GOC), International Championships, UK Open Championships and Blackpool Dance Festival. Tatsiana is currently a WDSF Licensed Adjudicator and the coach of many top couples including WDSF 10 Dance World Cup Champions. Residing in Ljubljana, Slovenia, she is the co-owner of the Plesna Šola Diamant Dance Studio.

Overview

Tatsiana was born in Minsk, Belarus on February 23. Her parents were dancers, and so she also decided to become one. "I still didn’t know how to walk, but it was already decided that I would dance."

She began at 6 years old, and at the age of 7, danced her very first competition. At the age of 20, she got together with a partner from Belarus, and they performed quite successfully in that country until Zoran invited her to Slovenia.

The Beginning of Something Special

"My previous partner and I participated in a tournament in Hradec Králové, Czech Republic. I remember this tournament so well, because for me it was special. This was the first time I danced at an open competition at an international level. I was wearing a delightful new dress, applied a tan, and everything went well.

At that tournament, we reached the final for the first time and took 4th place. In the judging panel, there were three judges whose names I still remember: Hubert De Maesschalck from Belgium, Branko Bohak from Slovenia, and Jerry Abrate from Italy. They very closely followed my dance during the tournament and each marked us for 1st place. I said then that it was the best tournament in my life.

It was a great start. At that time, I was also dancing the Standard program and participated in the tournament for this program the next day. Then, one pair struck me in the head with an elbow, which concluded the tournament for me. So it was both joyful and sad. But from the very beginning to the very end, there was something very special for me in this tournament."

Tatsiana

Two months passed and Tatsiana was dancing a competition in Minsk when the wife of the president of the federation approached her, saying, "I have something for you." She handed her a small piece of paper after which she disappeared. Tatsiana thought something was wrong.

Tatsiana looked at the note - it was a fax from Slovenia in which was written: "Please help us find the address of Tatsiana Lahvinovich." She never thought that she would be one of those people that would leave to go and represent another country. Tatsiana did not even think about it because she had a pretty happy life in Minsk, and was already teaching at a dance school. She had students, her own couples. "Oh my," she thought. Holding this note in her hands, she told herself: "I don't know, maybe I have lost something and it was found in Slovenia." She sent a reply that it was her, and in 5 minutes received a long letter with a presentation of Zoran and all his results.

Until this moment, Tatsiana and Zoran never competed against each other. Tatsiana's partner was older, and they danced in a different age category. In addition, it was the age when you quickly move from one age category to another. So they never crossed each other on the dance floor.

"At first, I could not believe it, telling myself, "This is impossible, world champion?! Better to confirm everything." But it was true. They wrote to her: "We really want you to try to dance together. Please answer if you are interested." I still could not believe it, but in response wrote one sentence, "Yes, I'm interested."

Tatsiana

She again received a long letter detailing all conditions, plans, etc. Then, everything happened very quickly.

"It was necessary to participate in competitions and all countries part of the Soviet Union needed a visa for entrance. My partner and I then planned to go to an open tournament in Copenhagen, and I had to give my passport to get a visa. So I had to explain to my partner that I wanted to go to Slovenia instead. We canceled our trip to the tournament, but he told me that he understood and would do the same in my place."

Tatsiana

The First Meeting

Tatsiana and Zoran had never met before. Their partnership was the initiative of the coaches. It would not even be like a try out as Tatsiana came with all of her belongings. The coaches had already wrote out the plans and dates of the competitions that they would dance together - Tatsiana most of all liked that in three weeks, the duo would be dancing at the Slovenian National Championship. In half a year, they also planned to perform at the European Championship in 10 Dance.

Zoran says that he did not know what Tatsiana looked like and came to the airport with his whole family. Tatsiana was 20 years old at the time.

"I was waiting at the airport and because I did not know what she looked like, I was looking for a sign, a bag with a name or something else."

Zoran

There were no telephones to get in contact.

"A girl came out of the airport, and my father said excitedly, "There, that's her". And I said, "No, it cannot be".

"Yes, it is her. Go, come on, go", he said.

"No, it is not her," I repeated.

Then, immediately after this girl, another girl came out of the door, something like this... (at this moment, Zoran mimicked her swaying gait and the distorted face of someone who is dragging something very heavy) with a huge bag.

A small girl with a huge bag, and I said, "That's her". "Oh, no," my father said disappointedly. "For sure, it's her. Do you see her Choice bag? Only dancers carry these bags. Therefore, it's her."

I came up and said, "Hello, Tatsiana." In response, I heard, "Tanya". I thought, "Well, it does not matter. Come on". We went to the car, and already in the car I thought for another five minutes, was she the same girl? And so we rode."

Zoran

"He told me about this later! In my country, Tatsiana is a full name, and Tanya is a short one, but in Slovenia, these are completely different names."

Tatsiana

"So for me it was strange when I called her "Tatsiana" and she said "Tanya". Now I had to check if she was actually the girl, so I asked her if she liked Standard or Latin more. She replied "Latin", and I calmed down."

Zoran

They traveled from Vienna, where they picked up Tatsiana, all the way to Slovenia where they sat down to eat dinner at Zoran's house. In half an hour, Tatsiana said, "Come on, let's go." It was after 8 o'clock in the evening, so Zoran was intrigued, "Where?"

"To training, to try-out," Tatsiana said, and so they went. They arrived at the studio, danced for about a minute after which Zoran said, "Yes," as did Tatsiana.

"We just bowed our heads to each other and danced a little."

Tatsiana

Zoran said to himself: "I think I want to dance with this girl," and after their try-out, he realized that he was not mistaken. "You just feel it, and you do not need anything else to confirm it."

A Competitive Career Together

After training with Alenka and Branko Bohak, for all but three weeks, the newly formed couple won the 2000 Slovenian 10 Dance Championship and placed third in Latin. It was a good result in Latin for the couple because they danced in the Amateur division where Andrej Skufca took 1st place and Matej Krajcer took 2nd. These were top couples and for the duo, this result really was a victory.

That same year, Zoran and Tatsiana represented Slovenia at the 10 Dance European Championship where they concluded in 4th place - the couple's quest for excellence got off to a very promising start at the international level.

They said that everything was happening quite swiftly - quickly, but with a clear plan.

Zoran and Tatsiana eventually decided to focus on Latin only. They moved from Maribor to Ljubljana and teamed up with another Slovenian trainer, Latin specialist Barbara Ambroz. The rest is history: the duo's well-earned European and World Latin titles had them attaining their most ambitious goals.

Achievements Most Proud Of

Tatsiana says that she remembers her first National Championship, driving home in the car thinking, "God, I must be the happiest person in the world." Another proud career moment rests in their participation in the World Championship that was held in Hungary in 2005, where they became third. "I remember standing on the pedestal, the feeling of happiness just overwhelming me. And then, of course, Blackpool of 2009."

They told themselves that they could not think about the results - they must reach the final and that's it. "We really wanted to enjoy our performance in the final, because it was a great experience. Everything was wonderful. And when our 2nd place was announced, Zoran ran out onto the floor! I could not believe that it had happened." In 2010, the couple then went to the greatest of heights - they achieved the highest ranking - 1st Place at the Blackpool Dance Festival.

And of course, the UK Open of 2010. "I really liked it when Len Armstrong told us: "Now nobody will take this away from you. You will enter into dance history as the winners of the UK Open". After that, when I spoke with my mother on the phone, I told her: "Can you imagine, even after 100 years, my name will be on the list of winners of this tournament." You really feel great pride, because you are finally rewarded for all the hours of work and sacrifices."

Off to the Pros

Zoran and Tatsiana had very carefully selected the time and the place for what was to be their last win in an outstanding career as "Amateurs." They chose to end their best year ever in the very place where they started out as a couple twelve years earlier. It had to be Maribor, Slovenia.

In fact, it was the organizer of the Maribor Open, Branko Bohak, who brought the two together in the beginning. After he had seen Tatsiana dance at a tournament in the Czech Republic, he suggested that she and Zoran and should pair up. Tatsiana, the Belarus 10 Dance Champion at the time, did not take long to consider the option and traveled to Slovenia without having seen Zoran ever before. The rest is history.

As they had told the WDSF Communications Team in an interview after their win at the WDSF World Latin in Singapore, Zoran and Tatsiana made an official announcement about their competitive future at the 2011 Maribor Open in Slovenia. They decided that they would dance in the WDSF Professional Division from then on.

Throughout their career, it was Natasa Ambroz who gave them advice and support at all times. She was considered their “Slovenian Mama” – since Tatsiana’s parents live in Belarus – and she was obviously party to this important career decision too.

The couple danced their last competitive event in Moscow, Russia on February 23, 2013, at the Latin Kvartal Cup where they secured their second WDSF European Latin title as Professionals.

A Career of Success Together

Tatsiana and Zoran had a very beautiful and successful competitive career. They danced together for 13 years, and in that time, achieved everything you possibly can achieve in the world of DanceSport. They were WDSF European & World Amateur and Professional Latin Champions, German Open Championship (GOC) Professional Latin Champions, 4-time Croatian Amateur Latin Champions, International Championship Amateur Latin Champions, Blackpool Dance Festival Amateur Latin Champions, UK Open Amateur Latin Champions, as well as 4-time WDSF GrandSlam Champions.

Life After Competition

Currently, Tatsiana is a WDSF Licensed Adjudicator, as well as an instructor and coach of many top couples including WDSF World Under 21 Latin Champions and WDSF 10 Dance World Cup Champions. She lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia where she and Zoran, along with both of their spouses, run Plesna Šola Diamant Dance Studio. Tatsiana, along with husband Alexey Galchun, are the parents of two beautiful children, a girl and a boy.

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