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The Daily Dish Dancing Queens

"I Will Make You a Champion": Meet the Professional Dance Partners on Dancing Queens

In the world of Pro-Am dance, as seen on Dancing Queens, amateur competitors count on their pro partners to have all the right moves.

By Joe Dziemianowicz

It takes two to cha-cha — and to samba, rumba, paso doble, and jive.

How to Watch

Watch Dancing Queens on Peacock and the Bravo app.    

Just ask the fierce  and ferociously competitive ballroom dancers stepping, twirling, and kicking like their feet are on fire in the new docuseries Dancing Queens, premiering Tuesday, May 9 at 9/8c on Bravo and streaming the next day on Peacock.

These six talented amateurs — Gaëlle Benchetrit, Leonie Biggs, Donie Burch, Pooja Mehta, Colette Marotto and Sabrina Strasser — all have their eyes on the prize. And each is counting on their professional partners to have all the right moves to wow the judges.

Pro-Am combines amateur dancers competing with professional partners. But over the course of the Bravo series, the passionately fleet-footed pros the women of Dancing Queens work with do more than dance. They coach and counsel and occasionally even add a source of friction. 

Meet the professional dance partners adding sizzle and sparks on Dancing Queens.

Nino Langella – Gaëlle’s Pro Partner

Image of Nino Langella and Gaelle Benchetrit

Nino has danced since he was a kid in Italy, notching his first competition win at age 9. He’s talented — and generous. After a Latin dance contest victory in 2000 in Sarajevo, he reportedly gave his prize money to charity. Now he’s among the top dancers in the world, as the other Dancing Queens contestants know. “

He is the best of the best,” says Sabrina. “It’s a bit scary.”

Kostiantyn “Koysta” Samarskyi – Leonie’s Pro Partner

Image of Kostiantyn Samarskyi and Leonie Biggs

Koysta is a seasoned pro whose Instagram makes proud mention of being a European 10 Dance champion. That means he’s fluent in the five Latin ballroom dances (cha-cha, samba, rumba, paso doble, and jive) as well as the five international dances (waltz, foxtrot, quickstep, tango, and Viennese waltz).

For Leonie, Koysta is a new partner, so they’re building a connection and confidence one step at a time.

Iliah Vinikovskiy – Donie’s Pro Partner

image of Donie Burch and Ilia Vinikovskyi

Iliah, who was born in Kiev was just 12 when he took home his first Latin national championship prize in Ukraine. When he was 15, he set out to study with the top instructors across Europe — in England, Denmark,  and Italy — to intensify his training, according to

And it shows: He’s a recognized force in Latin dance. The sparkle in his eye rivals the sequins on the dancers’ dresses.

Kristijan Burazer – Pooja’s Pro Partner

Pooja Mehta Himovich and Kristiajan Burazer

Before pairing up with Pooja, Kristijan danced with Colette, who describes their dance-floor divorce as getting “partner dumped.”

Growing up in Slovenia, Kristijan began ballroom dancing when he was around 7 years old. Flash forward a couple-plus decades, and he’s honed his skills.

RELATED: Meet The Cast of Dancing Queens

The main reason I started dancing was because I love music,” he told “Music gives me freedom and ability to express who I am.” He also gives himself liberty to choose his partner.

Oleksiy “Alex” Pigotskyy – Colette’s Pro Partner

Colette Marotto and Oleksiy Pigotskyy

Alex’s Instagram photo captures him in a winking pose that’s all about fun. But when this professional ballroom dancer, choreographer, and coach is competing he’s all serious business. As a result, he has bragging rights to being a three-time U.S. National Dancesport champion.

While Colette recovers from her split with Kristijan, she’s grateful for Alex.

“He’s a completely different dancer,” she says, “a completely different teacher, a completely different personality.” She later adds, “Alex is sexy.” Well, yeah.

Stanislav Kochergin – Sabrina’s Pro Partner

Image of Stanislav Kochergin and Sabrina Strasser

“Stas,” as Sabrina calls this accomplished professional dancer from Canada, has years of ballroom experience under his belt. He knows his way around a dance floor and has the prizes to prove it. Stas also has a way of pushing Sabrina’s buttons.

“From the minute we met, Stas promised me I will make you a champion,” says Sabrina. “But it just came to a point where we had to stop dancing before I stabbed him in the eye with the heel of my shoe.”

To see the pros and their partners in action, cha-cha your way to Dancing Queens, premiering Tuesday, May 9 at 9/8c on Bravo.

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