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Ballroom dancer stars with his date at Valley Stream South prom

Valley Stream South High School senior and ballroom dancing champion Filip Konieczny shows off while his date, Caitlyn Lopeck, holds her own during Valley Stream South's prom at Jericho Terrace in Mineola on Wednesday.  Credit: Jill Ryan

From ballroom to Cardi B, Valley Stream South High School senior Filip Konieczny channeled his champion dance skills for June 20’s prom at Jericho Terrace in Mineola.

For nine years, Konieczny has competed as a ballroom dancer — five of them with his 16-year-old sister, Victoria, as his dance partner.

At the prom, Konieczny brought a new dance partner — his best friend since seventh grade, Caitlyn Lopeck.

Although Lopeck isn’t a ballroom dancer, Konieczny noted, “I can say on the dance floor she is a very terrific dancer, and I can’t wait to have a good time with her tonight.”

He was right, as she held her own when he started showing off the skills that has allowed him to compete in several states, including a victory at the Golden Star DanceSport Championships in Jersey City in 2017.

Lopeck, also a senior, first became friends with Konieczny in their art class five years ago.

“For ‘South’s Got Talent,’ which is our talent show, he has performed [with his sister] and I have cheered him on,” Lopeck said.

Senior class adviser Jessica Ricotta has known Konieczny since he was in the fourth grade. Ricotta, who started as a substitute teacher right out of college and then got hired at the high school, has watched as Konieczny and his classmates grew up before her eyes.

“He’s one of the greatest kids to ever walk South,” Ricotta said. “He’s won many competitions and he’s not only academically inclined but this talent of his just puts him over the top.”

Konieczny didn’t always know he was going to like dancing. He began in a ballet class and new teachers introduced him to the ballroom style.

“As time went on I developed a very deep interest in dancing,” Konieczny said. “And ever since then, dancing has not only become a passion but also a hobby and a sport that I do.”

Every year, Ricotta and many of the school staff receive Christmas cards from Konieczny with a picture of his sister and him dancing.

“He and his sister have a relationship that is admirable, something you wish you might have with your siblings,” Ricotta said. “They love each other, it’s one of a kind.”