For Misha Konstantynov, ballroom dancing has always been a family affair. Though he was born in Russia, Misha and his family moved to Ukraine when he was very young, where his parents opened a dance studio. He started dancing at age 10 per his father’s suggestion, primarily because his sister needed a partner to dance with. However, Misha quickly developed his own passion for the sport, and he and his sister began winning championships shortly after that.
Misha recounts the diligence and work ethic he learned through dancing and training with his family. He and his sister would practice six days a week, for hours each day, which only increased with his age and skill level. Dancing is a major competitive sport in Ukraine, and Misha was determined to always perform his best.
In 2006, Misha was offered a job teaching ballroom dancing here in Memphis. Becoming a teacher shifted his focus from his individual success to developing the best programs for his students. He says, “When I competed, all of my focus was toward the goal of being the best. Here,
my passion has switched to how much dancing means to my students and its impact on their lives. I love talking to my students and seeing how their dance lessons are changing their lives for the better.”
In 2012, Misha opened Ultimate Dance Ballroom Studio in Cordova, where he teaches between 30 and 40 students in recurring weekly sessions. Owning his studio has allowed Misha opportunities to customize his workshops and lessons, and provide the best experience for his students. His studio features the highest level of floors, sound systems, and instructors available in the MidSouth, with classes to accommodate each student’s different goals and intentions. Ultimate Ballroom offers private and group dance lessons, social dance parties, and lessons catered to specific events like wedding dance practice.
For Misha and his students, the benefits of ballroom dancing run far deeper than just the physical benefits of strength, coordination, and agility. Misha emphasizes the importance of mind-body connection to the sport, saying, “The benefits of ballroom dancing are that it requires both brain exercise and physical strength. You have to be in shape in both the body and the mind.” Misha has found that the mental focus required to learn and remember coordinated dance moves has trickled into other aspects of his life, giving him better clarity and attentiveness in his day-to-day tasks.
Additionally, Misha has seen his students benefit from the sense of community experienced at Ultimate Ballroom. He says, “Some of my students have used dancing as a way to be interactive in their community and find an escape from loneliness and discomfort. Dancing can provide a sense of accomplishment, elevate the mood, and lead a much happier life.”
Now, Misha and his sister both teach at Ultimate Ballroom, and he appreciates that they can work together again to share the love of dance they developed as children in Ukraine.
For more information, visit Ultimateballroomstudio.com or call 901.752.0501.
By Zoe Harrison
Photo by Tindall Stephens