Ballroom dancer Serge Onik, who competed in season 11 of So You Think You Can Dance, has died. Onik’s representative Jim Keith of the Movement Talent Agency, confirmed the dancer’s passing in a statement to E! News on Tuesday remembering Onik as “an amazing dancer with a huge heart and he touched the lives of everyone who met him” who “will be truly missed.” Onik was 33. Further details about Onik’s death have not been released.
Born in Kharkov, Ukraine, Onik’s family moved to the U.S. when he was just 3. He began dancing at the age of 9 while part of a Russian cultural program, according to Deadline. He went on to join the ballroom dance craze three years later. Onik trained in all styles of Ballroom, his website notes, and became a National Champion and also took eighth place at the World Games in Taiwan in 2009. In a 2014 YouTube video, Onik said, “what inspired me to dance was the beauty, the energy, and the ability to be creative with your body.”
In 2014, the ballroom dancer competed on the beloved Fox dancing competition So You Think You Can Dance. Although Onik was ultimately eliminated in Week 4 of the results shows after making it to the Top 10, his time on the series launched his career. Onik went on to work closely with Maksim Chmerkovskiy on choreography for Dancing With the Stars, with his other TV credits including Agent Carter, Bones, and Jane the Virgin. He also appeared alongside Kirstie Alley in her 100 Days of Dance, a movement campaign and web series, in 2012. More recently, Onik appeared in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s movie adaptation of In The Heights, writing in a social media post, “it’s such a privilege to be part of a movie that represents the cultures and peoples and dance genre that basically raised me and I owe my whole everything to. Working with this choreo team aka the dream team.”
Amid news of his passing, many of those in the entertainment world have paid their respects. In a tribute to Onik, pro dancer Elena Grinenko wrote, “we going going to miss you,” alongside a throwback photo of Onik. She added, “I’m so sad that world lost such an amazing person like you.” Former Dancing With the Stars pro Anna Trebunskaya commented on Grinenko’s post, “I’m so so sad about this. RIP Serg.”