Ballroom Center was founded by Donald Johnson and Irina Shukhat in 2000
Having grown up under the tutelage of his dancing parents, Donald has been deeply involved in the dancing arena for over 40 years. Over the course of his career, he has earned a number of different titles, professional qualifications, and a great level
of respect amongst his peers in the industry. Some of his accomplishments are listed below. Donald prides himself in his ability to share the love of dance with his students and mentees. As a valued coach, judge, teacher, mentor, and co-studio owner, Donald is a vital asset to Ballroom Center and anyone’s dance career that he has ever touched.
- 1997 U.S. Pro Rising Star Open to World Latin Champion
- 1999 British Open Professional Latin Rising Star Champion (Blackpool Dance Festival)
- 1997-2000 U.S. Professional Latin Grand Finalist
- National Adjudicator
- World Class Adjudicator
- World Dance Championship Adjudicator
- DVIDA Regional Examiner
- 1997 U.S. Pro Rising Star Latin Champion
Born into a dancing family, Irina began nurturing her passion for dance at the young age of 6 in Odessa, Ukraine. As a child, she moved to New York and continued to dance, train, and compete under some of the
top coaches in the country. Early on in her career, she became a strong competitor as a professional in the International Latin division where she earned a number of championship titles with her partner, while also coaching her students to a successful level and high achievements. Irina’s contribution to the dance community is unmatched and her dedication to her students is inspiring. Irina takes great pride in her students and their achievements. She has cultivated a talented group of individuals serving as a premier coach and mentor to numerous junior, adult amateur, and professional couples. With 28 years of dance experience, 20 years of teaching adults and children, and 17 years of studio ownership, Irina has become a highly respected coach, mentor, and competitor to dancers of all ages and levels. As co-owner of the studio, she hopes to extend her love of dance into your heart and home as well.
Dasha moved to the United States from Belarus four years ago to pursue her career in ballroom dancing. She has been dancing for over twenty years and has won several National and International competitions in Latin and Standard styles. Dasha earned her Bachelor’s degree in choreography and dance at the Belarusian University of Culture and Arts, and was a principal dancer in their ensemble. While studying at the University, Dasha taught dance at a local elementary school which is where her passion for teaching originated. Following graduation, she toured with the President’s Orchestra and performed in numerous dance shows. In addition to being a ballroom dance instructor, Dasha also has fitness certifications in aerobics and pilates.
Born in South Carolina and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Joseph moved to Illinois last year to further his ballroom dance career. Joseph enrolled in Ballroom dance classes at the age of 13 but stuck to his Southern roots and also focused on country western dance. At the age of 17, he started competing in Ballroom Pro-Am divisions, while also competing in the Amateur and Pro-Am divisions within the UCWDC circuit. Despite Joseph's success in country western dance -placing 3rd as a finalist at the UCWDC World Championships 2 years in a row- his passion for Ballroom dance grew and he started focusing solely on International Latin and International Standard styles. He has since become a well-rounded instructor, teaching American Smooth and Rhythm along with International styles.