Karina Smirnoff

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Karina Smirnoff (Russian: Карина Смирнова) is a world champion professional dancer from Kharkiv, Ukraine. She is a five-time U.S. National Champion, World Trophy Champion, and Asian Open Champion. Smirnoff has taken the title at the UK Open, is a three times champion at the US Open, two time champion at the Asian Open, five time champion at the Dutch Open, five time US National Professional Champion, ranked 2nd in the World, and took second at the British Open Blackpool Dance Festival. She is "the first woman to ever make the British Professional Final with three different partners."


Smirnoff was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine in 1978 to a Greek father and a Russian mother. When Smirnoff was five years old, she began taking ballet lessons, followed by gymnastics, aerobics, figure skating, ballroom dancing and piano. Eventually she chose to pursue ballroom dancing. In 1992, Smirnoff moved to the United States and became a U.S. citizen. Once in the U.S., Smirnoff took time off from studying dancing for school. She attended Christopher Columbus High School in New York and the Bronx High School of Science before going to Fordham University, during which time she picked up her interest in dancing again.

Smirnoff graduated from Fordham University with a double major in economics and information system programming. During her academic studies, Smirnoff's goal was to go to law school and become an attorney; however, she found a dance school in Brooklyn, New York and over time dancing became her profession.

Early in Smirnoff's dancing career, Roman Nabatov and she competed as an amateur couple for USA. They ended their dance partnership in January 1997. Smirnoff soon after started dancing with Paul Killick in October 1998 as a professional couple for England; this partnership ended in July 1999. Immediately, Louis van Amstel and Karina Smirnoff, in July 1999, entered a professional dance partnership, representing the U.S.A; the partnership ended in December 2000. From January 2001 to September 2005, Karina Smirnoff was in a dance partnership with Slavik Kryklyvyy and they represented the U.S.A; this partnership thus far is her most successful one. Kryklyvyy and Smirnoff earned many top titles and high ratings together. Smirnoff is currently dancing with Dmitri Timokhin for Russia as of October 2005. They won first place at the 2006 Grand-Prix Dynamo in Moscow, Russia.

Dancing with the Stars

She was a performer on the third season of the ABC series Dancing with the Stars with celebrity partner Mario López. They finished in second place, losing to the team of Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke. Karina returned on the show on March 19, 2007 for Season 4, this time partnered with Billy Ray Cyrus, country singer and Hannah Montana star. The couple was the eighth to be eliminated from the competition on May 8, 2007. Her partner for Season 5 of the show was current five-division world champion boxer, Floyd Mayweather Jr.. On October 16th, 2007, Karina and Floyd were the fourth couple eliminated from competition. She returned for season 6, partnered with singer Mario.

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@ The LA Confidential Magazine Emmy Kick-Off Celebration in West Hollywood - August 25, 2010

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