World Rhythm Champion and former DWTS Professional, Elena, started dancing at the age of seven in her native country of Russia and her passion for dance became a career for life.
At the age of 15, Elena started teaching dance to children, and at the age of 21 immigrated to United States of America, which has been her home ever since.
After retiring from competition, Elena became a coach and choreographer for competitive couples. She is a qualified/certified adjudicator, world-class judge & national judge. Elena is also a choreographer for Olympic medalists in figure skating and is a board member for the National Museum of Dance Hall of Fame.
In addition, Elena was a pro dancer on the hit ABC show, “Dancing with the Stars," for two seasons. Elena and her husband ,Rib Hillis, are the owners of LA Ballroom Studio in Sherman Oaks California. She is also the proud mother of 2 little boys Magnus and Odin. .
Elena’s professional dance accomplishments include being a Russian National Champion in Latin and 10 Dance, US National Finalist in Latin, US National Champion in Rhythm, and World Champion in Rhythm.
Karina Smirnoff is best known as a professional dancer on Dancing with the Stars, winning the thirteenth season with army veteran and soap opera star J. R. Martinez. She's also won two runner-up titles, a semifinal title, and several quarterfinal titles.
She is a five-time U.S. National Champion, World Trophy Champion, and Asian Open Champion. Karina has won the title at the UK Open, is a three-time champion at the US Open, two-time champion at the Asian Open, five-time champion at the Dutch Open, and five-time US National Professional Champion. She has taken second at the British Open Blackpool Dance Festival and she is the first woman to also ever make the "British Professional Final" with three different partners.
Smirnoff attended multiple schools, including Nerinx Hall High School in St. Louis and Christopher Columbus High School in The Bronx. She finally graduated from Bronx High School of Science. Smirnoff graduated from New York City's Fordham University with a double major in economics and information system programming.
She is proud to be present the Dance Stars Festival and hope you enjoy dancing at the competition as much as she enjoys being part of it.