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Our Instructors

Areté Dance Center was created to provide excellent dance instruction in an aesthetic and inspiring environment in our Los Altos dance studio. Our dance instructors are artists with very deep backgrounds in the styles of dance they teach.


Kristina Mola Kuvshynov

A lifetime of experience in classical ballet and modern dance brought Kris to pursue ballroom dancing. In addition to training the outstanding community of ballroom dancers within Areté Dance Center, she loves inspiring people to move freely in her LaBlast fitness classes and is certified in Zumba and line dancing. Kris attended the Juilliard School, graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and holds a BFA from the Ohio State University in Dance Performance.




Yuriy started his dance teaching career assisting nightclub and ballroom dance classes at Foothill College. From there, Yuriy began teaching International Standard and International Latin dance full time at Areté Dance Center, eventually becoming a co-owner of the studio. Yuriy teaches private lessons as well as ballroom and Latin group classes. Yuriy competes pro-am in ballroom and Latin with his students, and professionally with his partner, Kris, in Rising Star Ballroom.

Dima and Olga Sukachov

Dima and Olga Sukachov

(Master Coaches)

Dima and Olga Sukachov are a professional Latin couple from the San Francisco Bay Area. They are former United States Professional Rising Star Champions, Grand National Finalists, and World Quarter Finalists in the International Latin division. Trained by the legendary Ray Rivers, Dima and Olga bring a strong passion for dance and authentic technique into their private coaching and master workshops.

Mark Scolieri

Mark Scolieri


Mark is well known in the dance community for his expertise in many styles of partner dancing.  He is a classically trained dancer who also has studied jazz and theater arts extensively.  Mark also teaches and judges competitions for the Bay Area’s large ballroom community and beyond.


Richard Hornor


First introduced to the Fine Arts through Theatre, Richard approaches Ballroom Dance with a unique perspective. Using concepts and skills learned through theatre performance, Richard curates his dancing to showcase his independent spirit. Combined with a deep technical understanding of movement and dance, Richard crafts unique performances that deliver an artistic message. Richard enriches the lives of his students through their dancing and hopes to make a contribution to the history of partner dance.


Zi Guo

Zi first started ballroom dancing at community college in 2017. He remembers feeling so nervous for the first few weeks that he couldn’t step into the classroom, but over time, he was able to learn and have fun. His dance journey has given him many different experiences, from performing in front of an audience to meeting amazing individuals he would have never met in any other circumstances. Since dancing has changed Zi's own life for the better, he wants to share this positive experience with others and help them learn to dance as well.


Chrystal Chen

Growing up with a background in fashion and costume design, Chrystal tried dancing for the first time while attending college in her late teens. She learned the basics of ballet, belly dance, jazz, tap, and hip hop, but her favorites were Latin and ballroom. She stayed on the Contra Costa College ballroom formation team for three years, and then joined Sukachov Dance Academy to train in Latin under Olga and Dima Sukachov. Almost a decade later, she now frequently competes in open Latin with her partner, Oscar Rodriguez, winning many awards all over the West Coast. Other styles she offers include American Smooth, Rhythm, and Club.


Oscar Rodriguez

​Oscar Rodriguez began his dancing at the age of five, inspired by the one and only Michael Jackson. Throughout his teen years, he focused on hip hop. In college, he tried ballroom dancing out of curiosity, and decided to make that his new focus. After three years of being on the college’s ballroom formation team, he began training in International Latin with Sukachov Dance Academy. Now, he frequently competes in open Latin with Chrystal all over the West Coast. Other styles he offers include American Smooth, Rhythm, and Club. 

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Tais Zhukova

Tais started her dance journey in Ukraine at the young age of 5. She was introduced to ballroom dance after an accidental encounter, and has been in the industry ever since. Upon moving to the United States at age 12, she began working with well-known master coaches Dima and Olga Sukachov. Although Tais is strictly a ballroom instructor, many other forms of dance interest her. In her teaching, Tais strives to educate her students on proper body mechanics and safe dance techniques. With over seven years of experience working with children and competitive dancers of all ages, Tais is a highly qualified instructor in her field. Tais and her partner were 2022 Open Amateur Ballroom National Finalists.


Arthur Nabok

Arthur was born and raised in Ukraine, where he grew up competing in ballroom dancing nationally and internationally since the age of 5. His titles include Blackpool China Rising Star Champion, Ukrainian Ballroom Champion, USA National Finalist, and others. Arthur specializes in working with kids - in his work he takes great care to raise kids according to proper body mechanics. He holds a college degree in kinesthetics and dance coaching.  He uses his background to educate young students about the demands of being a champion. In 2017 dance brought him to the US, where he has been dancing and teaching since.


Bud Ayers

Bud Ayers is well known in the Bay Area as one of the best teachers. He has won numerous top solo honors for his choreography skill and love for performing. Bud is well-versed in both American, International, and Social dances styles. He teaches Both American Smooth and American Rhythm dances. 

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Kami Dickerson

Kami is a slight dance addict, but don't worry - it's not a problem! Areté Dance Center inspired her to delve further into the International styles of dance (Standard and Latin), after first exploring social dancing and the American styles. Outside of the dance studio, Kami loves animals, theatre, and banana bread. 


Alejandra Serrano

Alejandra developed a passion for dance by training in classical ballet, jazz, and contemporary dance throughout her childhood. In search of exploring other dance styles, she began to take social ballroom dance classes at Foothill College and from there began her serious training and teaching at Areté Dance Center. She recently made her competitive debut with a cabaret style routine in the showdance category at the 2019 International Grand Ball competition, partnering with Mark Scolieri. She currently teaches private ballroom dance lessons at Areté Dance Center in both Latin and Standard.

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MacKenzie Soldan

MacKenzie started dancing at the age of four with tap and ballet. Her love of dance grew as she did, and she added jazz and contemporary to her practice. She performed and competed through high school and some of college. After college, she began learning International Standard and International Latin at ADC. MacKenzie brings her backgrounds in dance and education into her teaching.


Amanda Janesick

Amanda Janesick heads our ballet program. She trained in the Vaganova method and is formerly a soloist with Nevada Ballet Theatre. Her passion for classical ballet was first inspired in an adult class learning environment, and she leverages this experience to tailor her Sunday morning class specifically towards adults, emphasizing artistry, movement, and musicality. Amanda encourages the emulation of original ballet choreography as a method to cultivate technical skill and also incorporates education in partnering (pas de deux) in collaboration with Mark Scolieri.


Angela Luo

Angela grew up as a competitive figure skater, placing in the top ten in the nation in artistic and theatrical skating. Since the age of 4, she has also trained in a variety of dance styles, primarily focusing on ballet and jazz. Having performed all over the Bay Area for over 15 years, she enjoys bringing an interdisciplinary perspective to her performance and choreography. As a teacher, Angela is most passionate about spreading the joy of dance and movement with her students. She is excited to bridge together the worlds of ballroom dance, figure skating, ballet, and beyond. 


Abby Yuan

Abby entered the world of dance at age 6, blending a mix of ballet, contemporary, character (derived from folk dance), and lyrical styles. Studying Vaganova ballet intensely since then, she’s found a home in ballet, performing in classics like The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, and more. Now, she uses her experience and specialization from 11 years of ballet study to teach not only how students can express themselves through detailed, graceful movement, but also the technique, strength, and flexibility to do so.


Cortez, Rex, Sophie, and Gemma

Cortez: Chief Resource Manager

Rex: Human Rexources

Sophie: Branch Manager

Gemma: Barketing Intern


Cortez (tricolor), Rex (ruby), Sophie (blenheim), and Gemma (black and tan) are our studio mascots! They are all Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and have been a staple in the studio's office since 2017. They enjoy long naps, lots of toys, and the occasional waltz around the ballroom. Will work for treats and cuddles.

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