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From left: Daniel Novikov, Alla Novikova and Mishella Vishnevskiy at Blackpool 2018. Photo by NYC Digital Media, courtesy of Alla Novikova

Alla Novikova began her dance training at a ballroom studio called Edelweiss in Saratov, Russia, when she was 9 years old. She was immediately recognized for her natural talent and work ethic, placing third at the Russian Open just three months after beginning ballroom lessons. The lessons she learned at Edelweiss shaped her career and provided the foundation she needed to open her own ballroom studio: Work hard to prove that you're good enough to be here, and give honor to the experiences that brought you to where you are today.

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Photo by Joe Toreno

This past weekend was a busy one for us at DT—we've been in Long Beach, California, attending our Dance Teacher Summit, which included honoring our DT Award winners Award winners (best acceptance speech of the decade goes, hands down, to the fabulous Joe Tremaine) and the Capezio A.C.E. Award champions on Saturday night. It was a big evening: The overall winner of the A.C.E. Awards goes home with $15,000 to use towards the production of a future show. Here's who scored the top three spots:

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Istvan Cserven has his students practice their footwork independently before they partner up. Photo courtesy of Fred Astaire Dance Studio

As the director of dance at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Belmont, Massachusetts, Istvan Cserven organizes the biannual student showcases, prepares dancers for competition and trains new instructors. On top of all that, he teaches the upper-level technique classes. A former ballroom champion in Hungary, he is well-acquainted with both rhythm and smooth ballroom-dance styles.

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