After seventeen years of trying, a popular contestant for the reality TV show “So You Think You Can Dance” has finally achieved citizenship. Her struggle underscores what many immigrants to the US already know – that the path to citizenship is long, involved, and often expensive.
Dancer Snow Urbin appeared on the first season of the popular Fox TV show So You Think You Can Dance. She placed fourth and received attention from fans. She later toured with Dancing with the Stars and then became a judge for the “Dancing with Chicago Celebrities” show.
The path to dancing and citizenship success has not been easy. Urbin was born in Siberia and is a choreographer as well as a dancer. She has taken dance lessons since age three, including lessons in jazz dance, modern dance, and folk and ballet dancing. She eventually specialized in ballroom and Latin dancing, sometimes practicing between four and six hours daily. By the age of five, Urbin was taking part in dance competitions, eventually winning the Russian Juvenile Junior championships. With the success, Urbin along with her dance partner were asked to train in the United States.
Once in the US, Urbin successfully pursued an amateur dance career, eventually taking part in the Manhattan Classic, the Ohio State Ball, the Amateur Latin Dance Championship, and other competitions. She won the prestigious U.S. Youth Latin championship. Although not a US citizen, Urbin represented the US in various championships, including the World Latin DanceSport Championships. She also taught dance at Rising Stars Academy. It was there that she met Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who would become her dance partner as well as the competition on the “Dancing with the Stars” show.
Once in the US, Urbin began to seek citizenship for her adopted country. The process took seventeen years, but Urbin pursued the immigration system. While there has been much in the news about the issues and concerns with the immigration system, Urbin’s successful naturalization shows that talented and successful people do successfully pursue US citizenship, enjoying all the benefit of citizenship. Now, as a US citizen, Urbin enjoys the right to travel freely to and from the US, the right to vote, the right to hold public office, and many of the other rights of US citizenship.
Urbin’s citizenship ceremony was emotional for her. She was sworn in with over four thousand other new citizens. Her story also shows that persistence and determination mean success – both in the immigration process and in dancing.