About Us

About the Organizers - Jonathan Wilkins & Olga Foraponova

Jonathan Wilkins

Born in Slough, England, Jonathan's love for dance started at the tender age of six. His mother enrolled him in dance classes at the Kent Bateman and Blanche Ingle Studio of Ballroom Dancing, the very school that produced many former world champions, such as Richard Gleave, Alan Dixon and Timothy Howson.

His career as a youth/amateur competitor was short-lived. When he moved to NYC in the summer of 1991 at the age of 20 he turned professional in order to teach in the Fred Astaire Dance Studio on the Upper West Side.

Jonathan Wilkins with his first professional partner Katusha Demidova after years of work acclaimed a United States Professional Ballroom Championship Title, and would go undefeated for the next ten years. They won most titles in North America, and in addition were Dutch Open Professional Ballroom Champions, World Dance Council's Most Outstanding Couple, and runners up in the most prestigious competitions in the world including Blackpool and UK Championships. They were United States Showdance Champions six times and in 2003 they became World Professional Showdance Champions.

After a long career together they split and Jonathan began dancing with Hazel Newberry. Both of them being British they represented England at many international competitions. They became British National Professional Ballroom Champions and European Professional Ballroom Champions held at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. After many years of dancing they decided the time had come to hang up their shoes in 2009.

Now Jonathan resides in New York City, and is an active teacher training the next generation of dancers to follow in his footsteps. He is a world-class judge at many competitions on every continent across the world.

Olga Foraponova

Coming from the industrial city of Cheliabinsk, she was originally a gymnastic champion in the Ural Mountains area of Russia before she set her sights on dancing.

Olga graduated from the Cheliabinsk State Institute of Culture in 1986. She devoted four years to studying different forms of dance such as ballet, folk, historical, jazz and ballroom. She received a diploma as a High Qualification Professional Dance Teacher.

In 1989 Olga became a Grand Finalist in the Soviet National Championship and the rest was history. She represented Russia in several prestigious competitions like the German Open Championships, London International in Albert Hall and the Copenhagen Open. Olga left Russia in 1993, and in she and her partner, Michael Mead, became finalists in the International Standard Ballroom at the US Ballroom Dance Championships in 1996.

In 1996, Olga started dancing with David Hamilton, a seasoned dancer from Nashville, TN, who had his own track record in the ballroom. Olga and David made instant fame when, with barely three months of practice after their initial teaming they finished as runners-up, and ultimately winning the title of U.S. Smooth Champions and the respect and admiration of other competitors.

Olga is a DVIDA Regional Examiner and currently owns and operates the Dorothy Jayne Studio in Everett, WA.