Professional dancer Yuliya Sofronova teaches classes and competes to help a childhood friend who is sick with cancer
Sometimes our dreams can be a real life saver.
From a young age, Yuliya Sofronova dreamed of being a professional dancer. Now, the competitive dancer and teacher uses the money to help a friend.
Aleksandra Evtushenko, Sofronova’s childhood friend, has been battling cancer for more than two years. Sofronova fundraises through workshops, private lessons, and performances to raise money for her friend’s cancer treatments.
“She’s been through so much. She’s had three different cancers. Ukraine has no health insurance or help from the government,” Sofronova said.
Sofronova started dancing with a girl’s troupe when she was 15, performing for the community in her home country, Ukraine. She wanted to start ballroom dance when she was 12, but was told she was too old as dancers typically start dance training earlier in Europe.
“Here [the United States], you can start at 70,” Sofronova said, adding that the goal is to make dancers into competitors in Europe.
She occasionally teaches an advanced Balboa-style swing dance class at Heights Community Center (823 Buena Vista Dr.) on a voluntary basis.
“Even if we’re not getting paid, we get a class full of people. I learn how to teach, and share the dance I love,” she said. “The more people I teach, the more people there are to dance with.”
Sofronova moved to Albuquerque from Ukraine in 2004. She has a bachelor’s degree in Russian language and literature, with a minor in world dance, from the University of New Mexico.
Sofronova will perform at “Speakeasy Swing” at Maple Street Dance Studio (3215 Central Ave.) Jan. 28. The event starts at 9 p.m., costs $5, and includes a dance lesson.
The performance is part of a series called “Zero to 60,” in which dancers created a 0- to 60-second performance. Performances include partner dances, solos, and group choreography.
Dancers perform for donations, and the money they receive goes to the cause of their choice.
If you’re interested in helping Evtushenko, but cannot attend the performance, you can send a donation through PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Mariam Bokolishvili