Olga Foraponova

Coming from the industrial city of Cheliabinsk, she was originally a gymnast and 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 (equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree in the U.S.A.) after passing the related professional State Examinations.

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. She and her Russian partner won national professional competitions in Leningrad, Riga and Cheliabinsk. During those years, the call for a bigger and more challenging participation in ballroom competition could not be resisted.

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, winning the respect and admiration of other competitors. So perfect were the vibrations between the two that they started accumulating honors and trophies immediately.