When Daniella Karagach was first partnered with Pasha Pashkov, she thought she could never have feelings for him. More than a decade later, the professional ballroom dancing champs are husband and wife.
Karagach joined Dancing With the Stars in 2019, becoming one of two married professional dance couples on the show. She and Paskov returned to DWTS for Season 29, which premieres Monday, September 14, 2020, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
The dancing duo are seven-time United States 10-Dance Champions and Latin Champions. They were selected to represent the U.S. at the 2009 World Games in Taiwan. She also appeared on America’s Ballroom Challenge and World of Dance before joining DWTS.
Here’s what you need to know:
Karagach’s Coaches Warned her That She & Pashkov Might Not Be Compatible Dance Partners
Karagach was first partnered with Pashkov about 12 years ago, when she was only 15. Pashkov was seven years her senior. Her coaches told her she and Pashkov might not be compatible dance partners.
“My coaches warned me that because I was so young and he was a top dancer in the finals already, people might not respect us as a compatible pair,” she told Dance Spirit in 2013.
They eventually began dating, and they were married in 2014. They celebrated six years of marriage in July, according to Distractify.
Her mom was concerned Karagach might start developing feelings for Pashkov, but she assured her mother it was not a possibility.
“It is funny, because my mom, just before [we tried out together], was asking: ‘What if you start liking him. What if you start having feelings for him?’ And I was like, ‘No way, he is so old! It’s never going to happen,'” she said, according to Distractify.
Karagach Joined Derek Hough on his Tour, Derek Hough Live!
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Karagach joined Derek Hough as a dancer on his tour, Derek Hough Live!, but she told Dance Dish with KB it was a difficult decision because she was still competing.
“At first, I was a little hesitant because I am still competing. I compete with my husband, who is also my partner. We had to weigh out a lot of things. It was difficult, but then again, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You’re not going to get many of these opportunities and competitions will always be there,” she said.
Hough asked Karagach to join him on his tour after working together on his music video for “Natural.”
“[Pashkov] was the one who said, “You’re going. You’re going to go, whether you like it or not,” she said.
Karagach was born in Brooklyn, New York, and her parents were immigrants from Moldova, according to her Dancing With the Stars bio. Her parents, Regina Yvette Karagach and Mark Karagach, divorced when she was still a baby, and she was raised mainly by her mom.
She wrote about her excitement in returning to DWTS several times on Instagram, often sharing pictures of herself and her husband.
“Just so freaking grateful to do what I love with the person I love the most. #dwts #dwts29,” she captioned a photo of a kiss between her and Pashkov.