Ballroom dancing
Ballroom dancing

Olga Ginzburg escaped death, found new life in dancing career


Olga Ginzburg grew up daddy’s little girl in the Ukraine.

“I was spoiled rotten,” she said. “I had everything I wanted and didn’t want. New dresses for $2,000? I’d buy two at a time. I had my own driver. I threw money on the ground, watched poor people scramble for it and laughed.”

That Olga Ginzburg is long gone, the aspiring dancer having left the Ukraine when she was 15 with her mother and sister for San Diego after her father was killed.

“We had no money when we arrived,” Ginzburg said. “My mom told me that I had to wash dishes. I went to school, worked at a Russian kindergarten and went to the dance studio. The $40 a month I got working paid for the monthly bus pass to go to the studio.”

But a drastic change of lifestyle, from the lap of luxury in Eastern Europe to borderline poverty on the California coast, also helped put Olga in front of Mary Murphy, one of ballroom dancing's premier coaches.

Olga's harrowing journey began when her father, a billionaire businessman, was murdered while she and her mother were on vacation in Turkey. According to Olga, her father’s wealth made him a target.

“When I saw dad in the casket it didn’t look like him,” she said. “Something died in me that day.”

Nearly six months later, her family survived another traumatic event.

“My aunt had come to visit us from Germany,” Olga said. “Our door bell rang and my aunt opened it without asking who it was. Two people had masks on; one didn’t. The person without the mask on put a knife to my aunt’s throat. One of the masked men put a gun to my head.”

Olga’s mother and sister were not home but a friend of hers was there along with her aunt. According to Olga, the intruders demanded money. They found $3,000 and tied up the three women, using duct taped on their hands, mouth and legs, and put a sheet over them. Olga remembers grabbing the Star of David necklace her father gave her from her neck and putting it in her pocket.

“I played out all of these scenarios in my head,” she recalled. “I thought I was going to die.”

Fearing for their lives, the family hired security guards to travel from the Ukraine to Moscow. They fled to America to live with Ginzburg’s aunt and uncle in San Diego.

Olga explained that in Ukrainian culture relatives don't inherit money when family members die. So they struggled in San Diego. A foreign country, an unfamiliar language. Ginzburg’s mom worked three jobs and if Olga wanted to dance she was somehow going to have to find a way to pay for it.

“I remember trying to fill out a application for a job at a dollar store,” Olga recalled. “It asked what can you do. I wrote dance.”

A job at a kindergarten allowed Olga to make an appointment at Murphy’s studio. She didn’t understand a word Murphy said at their introduction. But Olga's body language did all the important communicating. The instructor could feel how fragile, desperate and uncertain Olga was.

“She has the biggest eyes. They are very expressive,” Murphy said. “She looked up at me and said ‘I want to dance.’ I think I fell in love with her at that point.”

Less than a year later, the girl who started dancing at 8 because she liked the clothes and the makeup turned professional.  She competes in the Open Professional International Latin event with partner Sergiy Kvashyn in the Millennium Dance Championships Saturday on ASN.

“Mary is like my second mom,” Olga said. “She has done so much for me.”

Murphy feels that Olga has done so much for her.

“I have no children of my own,” Murphy said. “She’s fulfilled that part of my life that is missing. Our relationship has enriched my life.”



On the cover: Getty Images





Dance League on ASN
All of the glamour, glitz and athleticism from the Millennium Dance Championships from Tampa will be on display this Saturday, as well as the next two Saturdays. Streamed here beginning at 8 p.m. ET and repeating at 10 p.m. ET all three Saturdays, the show will also be available on the stations and at the times listed below.


ALABAMA
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Birmingham
WABM (MyTV)
7-9 p.m.
Saturday




7-9 p.m.
Aug. 1


Mobile/Pensacola
WFGX (MyTV/This TV)
7-9 p.m.
Saturday




7-9 p.m.
Aug. 1








ARKANSAS
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Little Rock
KATV-2 (RetroTV)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday








CALIFORNIA
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Bakersfield
KBFX-2 (This TV)
6-8 p.m.
Saturday




1-3 p.m.
Aug. 1




2-4 p.m.
Aug. 8


Fresno/Visalia
KFRE (CW)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday




8-10 p.m.
Aug. 1




 8-10 p.m.
 Aug. 8








D.C.
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Washington
WJLA-3 (Live Well Network)
7-9 p.m.
Saturday




7-9 p.m.
Aug. 1




7-9 p.m.
Aug. 8








FLORIDA
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Gainesville
EGFL (My Net)
3-5 p.m.
Sunday




3-5 p.m.
Aug. 2




3-5 p.m.
Aug. 9


West Palm Beach
WTCN (MyTV)
9-11 p.m.
Saturday




9-11 p.m.
Aug. 1








IOWA
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Des Moines/Ames
KDSM (GetTV)
7-9 p.m.
Saturday




7-9 p.m.
Aug. 1


Sioux City
KPTH (MyNet)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday








KANSAS
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Wichita
KMTW (MyTV)
7-9 p.m.
Saturday








KENTUCKY
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Paducah
WDKA (MyNet)
7-9 p.m.
Sunday




7-9 p.m.
Aug. 2








MARYLAND
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Baltimore
GBFF (This TV)
9-11 p.m.
Saturday




6-8 p.m.
Aug. 1




9-11 p.m.
Aug. 8








MAINE
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Portland/Auburn
WGME-2 (Get TV)
8-10 p.m.
Aug. 1




8-10 p.m.
Aug. 8




8-10 p.m.
Aug. 15








MICHIGAN
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Flint
WBSF (CW)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday




8-10 p.m.
Aug. 1


Grand Rapids
WWMT-2 (CW)
7-9 p.m.
Saturday




4-6 p.m.
Aug. 2








MINNESOTA
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Minneapolis
WUCW (CW)
7-9 p.m.
Saturday




7-9 p.m.
Aug. 1








NORTH CAROLINA
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Asheville/Greenville
WLOS (Grit TV)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday


Greensboro
WMYV (MyTV)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday




8-10 p.m.
Aug. 1


Raleigh/Durham
WRDC (MyNet)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday




8-10 p.m.
Aug. 1








NEBRASKA
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Omaha
KPTM-2 (This TV)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday








NEW YORK
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Albany
WRCB (This TV)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday


Buffalo
WNYO (MyTV)
7-9 p.m.
Sunday




5-7 p.m.
Aug. 1


Rochester
WHAM-2 (CW)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday




8-10 p.m.
Aug. 1


Syracuse
WSTQ (digital 3)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday



WSTQ (CW)
8-10 p.m.
Aug. 1




8-10 p.m.
Aug. 8








OHIO
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Cincinnati
WKRC-2 (CW)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday


Columbus
WWHO (CW)
9-11 p.m.
Saturday




9-11 p.m.
Aug. 1


Dayton
WRGT-2 (MyNet)
7-9 p.m.
Saturday




7-9 p.m.
Aug. 1








OKLAHOMA
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Oklahoma City
KOCB (CW)
7-9 p.m.
Saturday




7-9 p.m.
Aug. 1








PENNSYLVANIA
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Harrisburg
WHP-2 (MyNet)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday




8-10 p.m.
Aug. 1


Johnstown
WJAC-2 (MeTV)
7-9 p.m.
Saturday


Pittsburgh
WPNT (MyTV)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday




8-10 p.m.
Aug. 1


Wilkes-Barre
WSWB (CW)
6-8 p.m.
Sunday




6-8 p.m.
Aug. 2




6-8 p.m.
Aug. 9






SOUTH CAROLINA
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Charleston
WCIV (ABC)
9-11 p.m.
Saturday




9-11 p.m.
Aug.1








TENNESSEE
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Chattanooga
WTVC-2 (This TV)
12-2/9-11 p.m.
Saturday


Nashville
WUXP (MyTV)
7-9 p.m.
Saturday




7-9 p.m.
Aug. 1








TEXAS
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Beaumont
KBTV-2 (Bounce)
6-8 p.m.
Saturday




6-8 p.m.
Aug. 1




6-8 p.m.
Aug. 8


El Paso
NFOX-2 (Retro TV)
6-8 p.m.
Saturday




6-8 p.m.
Aug. 1




6-8 p.m.
Aug. 8


San Antonio
WOAI-2 (Antenna TV)
7-9 p.m.
Saturday




7-9 p.m.
Aug. 1








VIRGINIA
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Norfolk/Portsmouth
WTVZ-2 (GETTV)
9-11 p.m.
Saturday




9-11 p.m.
Aug. 1


Richmond
WRLH-2 (MyTV)
5-7 p.m.
Saturday




6-8 p.m.
Aug. 1








WASHINGTON
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Seattle/Tacoma
KOMO-2 (This TV)
6-8 p.m.
Saturday








WISCONSIN
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Green Bay
WCWF (CW)
8-10 p.m.
Sunday


Milwaukee
WCGV (MyNet)
7-9 p.m.
Saturday




7-9 p.m.
Aug. 1








WEST VIRGINIA
STATION
LOCAL TIME
DAY/DATE


Charleston
ECHS-2 (GetTV)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday




8-10 p.m.
Aug. 1




8-10 p.m.
Aug. 8


Wheeling
WTOV-3 (MeTV)
8-10 p.m.
Saturday



Subject to change

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