Meet Daniella Karagach, the Latest ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Pro Superstar
On Monday night, underdog Iman Shumpert won Season 30 of Dancing with the Stars with his professional partner Daniella Karagach. This is only Karagach’s second season on the show, and she’s already proven herself to be an incredible teacher and choreographer.
“Iman has been one of the most improved competitors on the show and that is what the show is all about,” Karagach said during the finale. “Taking someone who’s never danced a day in their life and making them into a dancer.”
Who Is ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Pro Daniella Karagach?
The 28-year-old dancer was born in Brooklyn to immigrant parents from Moldova. She was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, so her mother put her into ballroom dancing at age 6 to help her cope.
“I’ve been in love with it ever since,” Karagach said in an interview. “I started focusing better. I did better in school. It just helped me overall in life.”
Karagach eventually partnered up with fellow ballroom dancer Leonid Juashkovsky, and the pair went on to become three-time United States junior I and II Latin champions.
In 2009, Karagach began dancing with Pasha Pashkov, who has competed in three seasons of Dancing with the Stars. (He was partnered with Christine Chiu this season.) Karagach and Pashkov are seven-time United States 10-Dance Champions and Latin Champions.
Karagach and Pashkov also happen to be a married couple, having tied the knot in 2014. They appeared together on Season 2 of NBC’s World of Dance in 2018. Derek Hough later asked Karagach to join his summer tour. The couple joined Dancing with the Stars in 2019, although Karagach didn’t have a celebrity partner that season.
Karagach Won the Mirrorball Trophy in Her Second Season
Last year, Karagach was paired with rapper Nelly for Season 29 of Dancing with the Stars. The pair ended up taking third place, improving from an initial 16 out of 30 to a perfect score for their final Freestyle performance in the finale. It just goes to show what a good teacher Karagach is, as Shumpert had a similar trajectory.
For Shumpert’s first dance of the season, he earned a score of 21 out of 40. By the finale, both of his dances received a perfect 40 from the judges, and he earned America’s vote to win the coveted mirrorball trophy. Shumpert officially became the first former NBA player to not only make it to the finale, but win the whole show.
One of the best aspects of Karagach and Shumpert’s routines on the show was how they embraced their height difference. The fresh and exciting choreography frequently featured moves in which Shumpert would hold Karagach on his shoulders like it was nothing.
Assuming Karagach is returning for future seasons, we can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve.