Rita Gekhman was born in Minsk, Belarus. She attended a gymnastics school from age 7 to 13 and she fell in love with ballroom after attending a competition in Vilnius. Soon after, she was accepted in a ballroom company and together with her partner, they became one of the leading couples in Belarus.
After immigrating to Israel in 1990, she and her partner Gena Kigher became the first Israel Latin American amateur champions in 1991. They represented Israel in the World Latin American Championship in Oslo, Norway. From then, she was Israel National Amateur Champion in Latin, Standard 10 dance, and Classic Show dance divisions.
In 1995, she turned Pro and starting dancing with a new partner, Garry Gekhman. She represented Israel in numerous World and European championships. In 1999, she moved to America and started working in an independent studio in New Jersey. She was eager to learn and further develop her dancing and technical knowledge. It was then when she started taking lessons abroad with the best teachers in the world: Michael and Vicky Barr, Marcus and Karen Hilton, and Kenny and Marion Welsh, just to name a few.
In 2002, they became first couple to win US national open and close rising star Championships, all in the same year. They started making rising star finals in England shortly after that. They made US national Championship finals twice. Their most memorable victories in open standard division were in prestigious competitions such as Yankee Classic, World Masters, Philadelphia Dance festival, Constitution State Challenge, North East Invitational, Maryland Dance Sport Championship, and Virginia State Championships, just to name a few.
The highlight of her career was an invitation to perform the Robot Show dance in Blackpool 2008. That was her last public performance, after which she decided to retire from competitive dancing and focus on teaching and judging. Just when she thought she would never dance again in front of a large audience as a professional, she and her partner received an invitation from the television show
Dancing with the Stars. This was one of the best experiences of her dance life.
Werner Figar is an International Latin dancer who has been Austrian Champion three times and has placed in the top 31 of Professional International Latin dancers of the world. He recently performed on the Austrian version of Dancing with the Stars (Dancing Stars Austria). Werner started as a gymnast at the age of 5, but when he was 8, he was inspired to dance by the movie Dirty Dancing. He started competing with his sister with whom he was three time Austrian Amateur Latin Champion! When he was 18, he decided to pursue other dance styles and learned modern, ballet, and jazz. He performed in West Side Story in Germany, then moved to New York City to study modern at Alvin Ailey. After completing the program at Ailey, he joined the Elisa Monte Dance Company and toured all around the globe. In 2009, he fell back in love with competitive ballroom dancing and has continued to explore and develop his International Latin dancing!