Monday, November 23, 2009

Spotlight On...Greg Fidurski & Gabriela Jileva

By Catherine Brill, Fred Astaire Dance Studios copywriter

Greg Fidurski and Gabriela Jileva have it all – a thriving studio combined with a distinguished competitive dancing career. Although their workday schedules are structured and rigorous, with mornings devoted strictly to dancing and the rest of the day to running their studio, they are able to successfully balance the challenges of studio ownership and the intensity of competing with enthusiasm and good cheer.

Dance partners and co-owners of the Morristown, New Jersey studio, both Greg and Gabriela (“Gaby”) have years of experience in dance. Gaby started dancing and competing at the young age of 10 in her native country of Bulgaria where she won the National Open International Standard title and represented Bulgaria in the World Cup Championships. Greg has danced for the past 24 years. Originally from Poland, Greg was the Polish National Youth and Open International Standard Champion, representing his country in many international championships while running a dance studio for children there. When Gaby moved to the United States eleven years ago, she began teaching at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Upper Montclair, New Jersey; Greg, arriving in the U.S. a few years later, taught at an independent studio before moving to our organization. They began to dance together in 2006, and it became quickly apparent that their partnership was a winning combination.

A month after competing for the fi rst time at a New York/New Jersey regional competition, they won the National Fred Astaire Open International Standard Championship. After dancing less than year together, they were National Rising Star fi nalists. In 2007, they became International Standard Rising Star vice-champions as well as Masters World Cup finalists and Classic Show Dance vicechampions. In 2008, for the third time in three years, they became Fred Astaire National Open International Standard Champions, Rising Star Standard vice-champions, and World Masters vice-champions.

As if this wasn’t enough, they recently decided to add Smooth style dancing to their repertoire. At this year’s NDC, they placed 4th in the American Open Smooth division!

“I have the best partner in the world. We are really a great team,” Gaby says.

Their commitment to our national competitions is unwavering. For the past three years, Gaby and Greg have competed in nearly every single Fred Astaire national competition, missing only one because of a flight cancellation!

Of their performance at last year’s United States Dance Championships, Armando Martin, our National Dance Director, noted: “Although the standard competitions didn’t produce any FADS winners, it was a great showcase ... Greg and Gaby … were in the final of the Open to the World Rising Star competition and were also second in the Standard Showdance. This couple’s expression and musicality truly sets them apart when they are on the floor. Greg’s happy-go-lucky personality is always a refreshing sight on the Standard floor…”

Greg and Gaby opened a brand new Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Morristown, New Jersey. Their studio has been running for over two years now and is only getting stronger. According to Gaby, “We have the best staff anyone could dream of.”

Over the years, they have found that it is the people associated with our organization who make all the difference. Along with Antoinette Benevento and Rae Josephs, Gaby gives special credit to her mentor, Kay Connors. “If there’s a reason why I’m with Fred Astaire, her name is Kay Connors. It’s hard to disappoint people when they believe in you. You don’t want to disappoint them, and I don’t want to disappoint Kay.”

Along with working on their Smooth and Standard dancing, their main goal for the upcoming years is to develop their studio to its fullest potential. We have no doubt that they will achieve this with their usual determination, energy, and drive.

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