Dancing With the Star

The search for the third metric, as defined by Arianna Huffington is the endless voyage for wisdom and a meditative state of mind, that has taken me on a journey towards new experiences. Allow me to share my latest discovery and passion: a weekly physical activity that is not only healthy, but also, creative, exciting and can help escape our daily stresses: social dance. Let me add that you need not be athletic, young or in great shape; if you want to learn social dance it’s never too late!

It all started on a flight back to New York from Amsterdam, where I performed the song “INTENSE“ with DJ Armin Van Buuren at the Zigi Dome. Finally, it was my time to unwind and I decided to watch an inflight movie, “The Bucket List”. At the end of this movie I found myself wondering, as I’m sure many other viewers did: what would my bucket listbe? Without hesitation I started to create one. I made a promise to start crossing off my new bucket list as soon as I got home and the next morning, I began to research tango classes in the Tri-State area. Why Tango? I have always loved the sound of the classical violins combined with a dance that is so passionate yet mysterious. Much to my surprise after searching the Internet, I found out that the US Argentine Tango Champion, Jevgeni Davidov was the artistic director of “Hudson Dance Studio“, which was right near my home. It did not matter to Jevgeni Davidov during my first dance introduction class, that I did not have any tango experience or expectations of becoming a professional tango dancer. Soon I realized that at Hudson Dance Studio you learn so much more than “how to dance the tango”. 

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Did you know that social dance is a form of communication that helps people become more fulfilled, confident, social, happy and beautiful, regardless of who you are, what you do and how well you can dance?
I asked Jevgeni Davidov, an award winning and critically acclaimed dancer, to share his experience of dancing, competing, teaching and touching people’s lives with the art of dance.

What brings a champion to Edgewater, NJ?
After years of intensive traveling and competing all over the world, I realized that the beauty of dance is in its power to touch people. I wanted to bring my vast European dance experience to a community that has never experienced it before. Edgewater is a beautiful small town on the Hudson River, accessible to the Tri-State area and the perfect place to introduce the culture of social dance.

Tell me about your competitive dance experience?
I started competing when I was six years old, I worked very hard and practiced a lot. I won many competitions, became the “Russian National Champion” and was named as the “Dancer of the year”, which is the highest achievement for competitive dance in Russia. My dancing career continued in Germany, becoming a finalist in the German National competitions and receiving a prestigious dance scholarship from the German government. Falling in love with the art of Argentine Tango caused me to dedicate my practice and studies to Tango and in 2014 I was honored to become the US Argentine Tango Stage Champion. 

Why social dance? 
Dance goes beyond the physical activity; it is a great way to connect with others. Social Dance gives you the opportunity to meet other social dancers and become “social” in a creative, expressive and fun way. 

I heard Tango is your passion. Why?
Tango is a very unique dance; it is artistic, creative, thoughtful and improvisational. I also love the social aspect of Tango: Hudson Dance Studio has a Milonga every Friday night, where people in the Tri-State area come to the studio and get introduced to Tango. The studio has a very inviting atmosphere, it is right on the Hudson River in Edgewater NJ with the most beautiful view of New York City, and it is quite an experience. You don’t need a dance experience to join us, there is a workshop right before the party starts to teach people the basics so everyone can join us on the dance floor.

I have two left feet. Can I dance?
Yes! :) just like other activities, dance requires practice and guidance, it is for everyone and everyone can dance. I guarantee that you will have lots of fun practicing your two left feet! 

I heard you are a great choreographer.
Thank you! I’ve trained a number of couples who were placed in the finals in Latin, Ballroom and Argentine Tango. I recently choreographed Olympic and Grand Prix figure skating champions, Qing Pang and Jian Tong for their performance at the 2015 World Championship in Shanghai. I was honored that they chose my Tango choreography as the final performance of their dancing career spanning over two decades.

What do you bring to a studio as an Artistic Director?  
My artistic expertise, my philosophy “Dance as lifestyle,” my love for the community, and the special dance programs that I put together with my amazing team, consisted of private classes, master classes, group classes and dance parties of social dance such as: Salsa, Bachata, Rumba, Merengue, Lindy Hop, Foxtrot, Swing and Argentine Tango. I also created the kids dance programs for the studio, which attracts hundreds of children in our community to dance Latin, ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop and even ballroom.

It is truly inspiring to see the small town of Edgewater grow with our dance studio, and attract audience not only from nearby towns such as Fort Lee, Cliffside Park, Jersey City, Hoboken, North Bergen and Closter but also students from the New York area who commute to us.
I would like to mention another dance program that is very close to my heart, dedicated to children with autism and special needs that I helped develop: ‘Dance Cause You Can“. The program was initiated by my friend and student, Beth Callahan, an attorney whose specialty is dealing with the rights of the disabled and education law, and our program’s dance classes have already touched the lives of over 300 children with special needs! 

This is very impressive. What made you come up with this program?
We saw the opportunity to give back to the community and touch people’s lives! 

“Dance as a lifestyle”, explain?
Our studio is an elegant escape from the everyday routine where people can combine a physical activity with fun and beauty. Most of our students are not professional dancers and you can find in our studio people from all walks of life: doctors, lawyers, housewives, celebrities, the mayor etc. who have one thing in common: social dance. 

Dancing with the stars?
Yes! Except to me the stars are the students!:)

Miri Ben-Ari