Alex Kozhukhar & Rachel Sayotovich

Oleksandr was born and raised in Ukraine. At the age of 8 a neighbor forced Olexsandr to try dancing, and their his passion slowly began to grow. After giving it some time and with exceptional guidance from his instructor, he came to appreciate ballroom dancing and decided that he wanted to make a career out of it. Coming from a small town, he spent many years traveling around to numerous cities in order to try to find any careers which intrested him  or opportunities for him to pursue his dancing. Eventually he moved to Kirovograd to study at the Kirovograd State Pedagogical University, where he graduated with a degree in Choreography as well as an Instructor of the English Language, Ethics, and Aesthetics. After graduating from university, he made the decision to move to the United States, where he can take advantage of the opportunities and continue to grow in his field. A few years in America, his journey eventually led him to Wisconsin, the hometown of his future partner. 


Rachel, a Milwaukee native, began dancing at the age of 8 through a local studio. She soon began competing in ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary, receiving national awards and scholarships for her solo and group work. After high school, Rachel attended Marquette University and kept dancing only as a hobby. She continued to teach a variety of ages and styles of dance, while also working with local movie productions and theater companies as a choreographer. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Marquette University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education and Broad Field Sciences, she planned to pursue a career in dancing after being accepted to the American Musical and Drama Academy in New York City. However, after a spontaneous decision to try ballroom lessons as a graduation present, she decided to pursue training in ballroom. After a quick two year long pro-am career that brought numerous national titles, it was time to turn professional and she began competing in American Rhythm. 


Alex and Rachel had known each other for some time before they first danced together for a regional Fred Astaire competition. Something that was meant to be for fun soon became the foundation for their partnership only a few months later. They were both searching for new partnerships and after some convincing, Rachel decided to switch from American Rhythm to the International Latin style. Their partnership became official in the new year and they began to compete in the summer of 2019, winning their very first Rising Star competition together. In just two short years, even amidst a global pandemic, they have already accomplished quite a bit in a short time. They are most proud of their finalist placements in all Rising Star Latin events at major U.S. competitions, including USDC Open to the World, Ohio Star Ball, New York Dance Festival, Emerald Ball, and more. 

Alex and Rachel both work and train at Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Alex is a full time instructor and Rachel is the studio manager and teaches part time. They both have had and continue to have much success with their students in a variety of styles. As their partnership continues to grow, they are of course striving for notable significance within the industry. However, even more important than results, they would like to leave a lasting impact on the dance community. Both through those they are fortunate enough to work with, and also a lasting impression on the audiences that are able to watch them do what they are most passionate about. They look forward to continuing to represent the USA at many national and international competitions, and cannot wait to see what the future holds!