A native of Moscow, Russia, professional dancer Elena Grinenko soared to fame as one of the competitors in seasons three and four of the blockbuster ABC reality series Dancing with the Stars (based on the BBC program of the same name). Grinenko began intensive professional training as a dancer from the tender age of seven, and in time focused most intently on the triple areas of Russian folk dance, ballet, and traditional ballroom. She was also selected for the prestigious and exclusive Ballroom Formation Team of Russia, through which she qualified as a Soviet Union finalist in three separate stylistic divisions of ballroom dancing. A recipient of the rarely-issued O-1 visa for extraordinarily talented people (which enabled her to leave Eastern Europe and immigrate to the U.S.), Grinenko actually debuted on television with PBS's America's Ballroom Challenge (filmed between 2005 and 2006) and then made the short leap to Dancing. Her on-camera partners included political spokesperson Tucker Carlson (in the third season) and basketball player Clyde Drexler (in the fourth).
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Began dancing at the age of 7.
- Was the 1994 Russian youth champion.
- Has had training in ballet and Russian folk dancing in addition to ballroom.
- Left Russia to move to the U.S. in 1998.