Ryan began dancing aged 7 in the Norma Martin Dance School in Lurgan just a short walk from the family home. “I can remember walking into the dance school with my mum and dad, it was full of girls and for about the first 3 weeks I just sat at the back of the class and just watched”.
It didn’t take him long to get on his feet and as a child he just couldn’t stay still, with his first dance partner we won everything on the Island of Ireland, moving up through the ranks with contained success. He had a number of great partners and amazing coaches, but he really made his mark when he came to his first British Competition which happened to be the British National at Blackpool, where he made the Final of the Youth. Two Months later he returned to Blackpool for Champions of Tomorrow where he took the Youth title.
Growing up Ryan also played Football, Golf & Volleyball at a very high level playing for Glenavon FC, Co.Armagh, Univerestiy of Ulster and Northern Ireland School Boys but dancing was always at the forefront of what he wanted to do. “Dancing was just the biggest challenge of my life, mixing Sport with Art I got the best of both worlds”.
Aged 18 Ryan gained a scholarship to the University of Ulster, after completing his BSc Hons Sports Science degree he moved to Liverpool and started to dance with Rachael Heron, within a year of dancing together he was invited to be part of the prestigious British Team and was in the top 12 couples in the World.
Now dancing with the very beautiful and talented Ksenia Zsikhotska the story continues…
Ballroom dancing was not Ksenia’s first introduction to dance, at the age of 4 back in her home town of Ivano-Frankivsk (Ukraine) where she originates from, she attended folk dancing classes. She moved from Ukraine when she was 6, her mother only wanted the best for her, more opportunities and experiences.
However it wasn’t all plain sailing as there was financial and language barriers that came with such a massive move. Ksenia managed to find a way to overcome the language barrier by teaching Ukrainian to her fellow class mates.
Ksenia’s introduction to Ballroom dancing was in the World Famous Winter Gardens (Blackpool). She entered the Ballroom to the sound of a wonderful orchestra and into a world of beautiful dresses, colour and sequins, every girls dream. It was from this moment that Ksenia knew that, this is what she wanted to do with her life. After her mum took her to Blackpool she researched dance schools in London and she came across Crystal Palace Dance Club. At the age of 14 she went to her first dance class where she felt self conscious, “I was a bit of a tomboy at heart” she stood at the back of the class until she was noticed by her teacher. ‘I remember running for my first dance class, and my shoe broke! In my head I was thinking oh great, spot the new kid’
“After just 4 weeks of dancing I was entered into my first completion, I wasn’t ready for it. But my coaches wanted me to have a go… through all the nerves and stress, the music started playing and I looked at my mum ‘what dance is it!’ by the time I remembered which dance it was… it was over!”
Ksenia has achieved many successes in the short time that she has been dancing and each new experience she carries out with the same passion and drive as when she first started dancing.