CSI Senior Computer Science major and Verrazzano School student Julia Seleznyov recently won Third-Place Honors in the Saxonian Dance Classics, WDSF World Championship Showdance Latin dance competition in Dresden, Germany.

A multiple-time national finalist and a two-time national vice-champion, Julia remarked that her Third-Place ranking “truly feels like a dream come true…I hope I can experience that feeling again because it was unforgettable.

“To participate in the world championship competition,” Julia explained, “you have to rank top two in your nation, which we did at the beginning of this year. This is a little bit different from what I usually do. I normally do regular ballroom dancing but this was ballroom dancing combined with a show. It is kind of a separate category. This was my partner Kairat’s and my first show dance so we did not expect much out of the results. We ended up going through each round and in the final round, we were ranked third. It was a complete shock because we never expected it…Also, it was a complete shock because I believe I was one of the youngest dancers in the final, so it was truly amazing.”

Julia, who has been ballroom dancing for 16 years, since she was 5, said that she became interested in it due to her Ukrainian heritage, noting that many children are attracted to ballroom dancing because it’s popular in the culture. She adds that she also had some encouragement from her mom, who wanted to dance when she was young.

Julia has been in two other world championships for regular ballroom dancing and a few Grand Slams internationally. As most of these large competitions are in Europe, it’s a challenge for her to compete and keep up with her school and work responsibilities.

In regard to the academic side of her life and her major, Julia recalled that “I decided to pursue Computer Science mostly because I wasn’t quite sure what else to do. I was undecided when I first applied to CSI, but after considering it, I decided on Computer Science. All of my family are also in IT so it actually was a perfect fit for me as well.”

She is also happy to be a part of the Verrazzano School. “I’ve really enjoyed being in Verrazzano. I particularly enjoy having access to Cheryl [Craddock] and Cynthia [Palumbo] because they are very helpful and the best advisors I could ask for,” she said.

Looking to her future, post-graduation, Julia notes that she “will be looking for a software engineering role. I will also continue pursuing dancing because it is my passion. Hopefully I will be able to balance both.”

By Terry Mares