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Orem dance studio to use fancy footwork to raise money for Ukraine

Posted at 5:54 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 20:55:28-05

OREM, Utah — With many of the world's top ballroom dancers from Ukraine, a ballroom dance studio in Orem had an idea of how to help those suffering during the current Russian invasion.

They're now rehearsing for a show that will help those halfway around the world.

“Ballroom dance is a huge a huge thing for Ukrainians,” said Cheyenne Murillo.

The pair of Murillo and her Ukrainian husband, Sasha Altukov, are among the best in the world at what they do, competing around the country and world in their craft, but the Ukrainian conflict has been tough for them.

“I'm originally from Ukraine. I moved to the United States in 2007,” Altukov said. “It's devastating to see because my family is still back home back in Ukraine and they have to go through this right now.”

So the pair had an idea of how to help.

Next week, Strictly Ballroom in Orem is hosting a training camp before the national championships.

A lot of the Ukrainian dancers that live right here in Utah are going to be participating, so they thought it would be great to put all that talent to good use.

“We originally had the idea because, you know, he's from Ukraine," Murillo said. “We've got lots of students from Ukraine. Lots of them are young and some are here without their parents. They're actually in Ukraine right now.”

On Tuesday, shoes will hit the floor for a gala including some of the most talented dancers in Utah, many of them Ukrainian.

People don’t have to attend to support — they can also attend virtually and donate to the cause.

One of those dancing will be Ukrainian Vladislav Povarili.

"I know it's a very hard time in Ukraine now,” he said. “A lot of people lost family … lost like a lot of people, lost their hometown, like all the spots.”

While the event is coming together incredibly fast, there has already been an unexpected Utah company that has generously stepped up.

“The doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation has agreed to triple whatever we earn up to $200,000,” said Murillo.

As those dancing continue to rehearse, Murillo's hope is the art of ballroom dance can provide a little light during a dark time for those in need.

“If they're Ukrainian, Russian, American, that they can all, you know, be together and dance together and be friends," she said.

Those who wish to attend can CLICK HERE for tickets, while a DONATION LINK is also available.