Karina Smirnoff of Dancing with The Stars Gives Back Helping Kids Get Affordable Arts Education
Things were pretty crazy as a bunch of celebrities came, all at the same time, into the tent around the pool on the roof of the L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Karina was busy visiting vendors and non-profit booths to help them promote their projects and products, when she stopped for a minute to talk to me about her passion AIM.
Karina was so fun and so cool and she was happy to talk about the cause she has been supporting.
So Karina thank you very much for taking the time and being so gracious. – JW
Season 13 Mirror Ball Champion Karina Smirnoff has made her mark for the past six years as one of the featured dancers on ABC’s hit reality series Dancing with the Stars. Her success on Dancing with the Stars, the #1 rated show in its category averaging 36+ million viewers per week, has made Karina a household name and a sought after beauty, health, fitness, and fashion icon. In 2011 she was the most Googled professional dancer on the show.
What most people don’t know about the Ukrainian beauty is that her skills are not merely physical. She studied diligently at Fordham University in New York and earned two degrees – a B.A. in Economics and in Information Systems Programming. Karina is also a talented fashion designer and choreographer. She choreographs all of her own partnered routines on Dancing with the Stars and has been designing all of the costumes for both her and her current partner for the season since day one.
Karina started competing in ballroom dancing competitions at the age of 11. She is a five-time U.S. National Champion, World Trophy Champion, and Asian Open Champion. She has won the title at the UK Open, is a three-time champion at the US Open, two-time champion at the Asian Open, five-time champion at the Dutch Open, and five-time US National Professional Champion. She has taken second at the British Open Blackpool Dance Festival and she is the first woman to also ever make the “British Professional Final” with three different partners. Karina has also been ranked #2 in the world for Latin Dance.
She is considered “one of the most stylish and fit stars in Hollywood” and has been featured in numerous publications: FHM, Fitness Magazine, LA Confidential, Muscle & Fitness, TV Guide, and Woman’s World. She is a regular on the pages of People Magazine, Life & Style, US Weekly, OK! Magazine, and In Touch.
In 2011, Karina released two new designs from her Bearpaw Boots KS Collection – the Alyeska and the Capulet. She also joined forces with Girlactik Beauty to create Karina’s Hurry Up & Get Ready Look – a quick solution to look party perfect in minutes. She released her first successful dance fitness DVD called Shape Up with Karina and will be releasing a series of workout DVD’s called DanceFITNESS. She also opened a successful dance studio in Woodland Hills, CA called Karina Smirnoff Dance. The studio incorporates competitive, social dance classes, and fitness dance classes, as well as a scholarship program for at-risk youth directly related to her charity Dance Intervention – a division of Alternative Intervention Models.
Karina has a passion for environmental causes and her dance studio is the first eco-friendly LEED certified studio of its kind. In addition, Karina has led a celebrity consortium to activate the Wildlife Champions initiative with Procter & Gamble. She is also a PETA spokeswoman for the “I’d rather dance naked than wear fur” billboard and print campaign.
Karina recently launched her successful DanceFIT – KS program. DanceFIT – KS is a customized, unique fitness experience for hotel, resort, and cruise ship guests with a celebrity dance instructor that they will not get elsewhere. It is also gaining momentum at large, medium and small corporations as a way to keep workers motivated in the workplace, build company morale, and help workers achieve their health and wellness goals. Karina is touring internationally with the program.
Her past accomplishments include a starring role in Broadway’s hit record breaking sold out show Burn the Floor and a performance at the 61st annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Karina has hosted segments for E! News, TV Guide, EXTRA, and has appeared in specials on Bravo, ABC, and Lifetime. She has appeared on Good Morning America, The View, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Hannah Montana, among others. She has also appeared in the film Shall We Dance.
Karina is a versatile and dynamic talent and a force to be reckoned with. She continues to captivate fans and audiences worldwide with her charismatic personality, unparalleled performance capabilities, beauty, and grace.
Alternative Intervention Models
Alternative Intervention Model’s goal it to enrich lives through the arts.
Our mission is to transform and develop hearts and minds of at-risk youth using the arts to inspire critical self-reflection and self-improvement.
Alternative Intervention Models envisions an educational system transformed at its core to recognize the value of “heART Education”: educating the hearts of youth and instilling emotional literacy through training in the arts. Education is a journey of self exploration as well as an exploration of our relationship to the world around us.
Through the process of heART education we help youth examine their purpose and relevance in life. We believe that the most powerful and most effective way to positively effect the minds of youth is to first reach them via the heart with art being the most effective tool. In a time of tremendous pain and struggle globally, it is through the study of arts and the artist that we learn our humanity and develop the skills necessary to heal our diverse communities emotionally while uniting them around shared experiences and values.
Our Core Values
Education – a lifelong process of developing individuals technically, emotionally, physically, spiritually and otherwise to reach their full
Love – the most powerful force in life, the catalyst of all of our work
Creativity – a character trait with which we are all born; we believe we are all called to express our unique creativity.
Respect – being aware of and valuing the diversity of other individuals, other cultures, other ways of life.
Empathy – the arts are a tool that help us understand and relate to each other; heART education teaches greater empathy.
Community – it takes a village to raise a child; we live in a global village and are responsible for modeling the best examples for the youth.
Accountability – through difficult and controversial conversations using the arts, we help each other become accountable for ourselves and each other.
1) Artist Intervention – in our Artist intervention programs we hold assemblies at elementary schools, high school, and colleges designed for the specific audiences at these various locations based on the issues that they need to address in their communities. We also operate Mic Sessions workshops at juvenile facilities, community centers, prisons, group homes, and other locations. Artist educators, a diverse selection of music artists perform at assemblies and at Mic Sessions workshops, and focus on unifying members of these various communities using music to breakdown barriers and open lines of communication and freedom of self-expression.
2) Dance Intervention – Karina Smirnoff heads up our Dance Intervention program, working with youth who find dance and movement as their chosen form of artistic self-expression. This program teaches consistency, dedication, attention to detail, and healthy physical and emotional lifestyle.
3) Athletic Intervention – AIM’s Athletic Intervention programs currently include basketball, yoga, and fitness training. Ahmad Clayton directs our Athletic Intervention program, bringing a unique form of basketball training to at-risk youth that focuses on providing a high quality alternative option to high cost athletic after school programs.
AIM’s Athletic Intervention programs help youth grow technically, emotionally, and physically while instilling values such as teamwork, strength, healthy-diet, non-violence, positive work ethic, and good sportsmanship.
4) Acting Intervention – AIM’s Acting Intervention program features guest lectures and workshops from highly experienced film industry professionals that train actors/actresses as artists in every facet of the film entertainment business. Focused mostly on aspiring teenage and young adult actors/actresses, the Acting Intervention program provides mentors, skill training, and career guidance. One of the major goals is to engage these youth and help them learn to tell their narrative and their communities narrative through their work.
5) Media Intervention – AIM’s Media Intervention program provides education in traditional media and new media technology, teaching youth about the resources that are accessible to them within and outside of their communities. We show youth how to effectively communicate on a local and global level using new media and a host of collaborative methods made available via the internet and related technologies.