Larissa Nikitina  – Emerald City Head Coach.  Larissa is one of the most highly respected and accomplished coaches in the rhythmic world. She has produced multiple Level 10s, Elites, National Team Members, National Champions, World Team Members, World Team Group Members, National Team Coaches and Gymnasts of the Year in various levels.

Iordanka “Dani” Kovatchka is a former Bulgarian National Team Group athlete and was European Junior and Senior Championships Gold Medalist (1989 and 1990) and World Senior Championships Silver Medalist in 1991.

As a coach, she trained elite athletes in Bulgaria and Spain before moving to the USA.  She has coached in the San Diego area for the last twelve years.  Dani was previously region one coach of the year and JO Coach of the year, and was Head Coach at SoCal Rhythmics for ten years.

In addition, she has developed many programs that expanded options for her gymnasts, including Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced groups.



Nataliya has been coaching at Emerald City Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics since 2010. Nataliya’s athletes have won numerous titles and medals in local, state, regional and national competitions. She was the 2012 Level 4 rhythmic coach of Region 1 and the coach of the Level 4 2012 regional champion. Nataliya graduated with Honors from the University of California, San Diego with a major in Human Biology.

Nataliya joined a rhythmic gymnastics team when she was four years old and began competing the following year. She was trained by award winning Russian rhythmic gymnastics coach, dance choreographer and ballet teacher Olga Morozova. Along with rhythmic gymnastics, Nataliya was heavily involved in ballet, contemporary dance and Ukrainian folk dance throughout her childhood. She began coaching rhythmic gymnasts in early high school while still competing. Her other job was tutoring peers at her high school in various subjects including mathematics, economics, science and physics. Nataliya loves working with children and guiding them to build confidence, strengths and resilience.


Sveta was a member of Ukraine’s 2012 London Olympic team and participated in numerous World Cups and World Championships, including the 2013 World Championships.  Transitioning to coaching, she became the assistant coach of Ukraine’s Junior National Group Team, a post she recently left to join Emerald City.  A long-time athlete and then coach at the Deriugina School in Kiev, Sveta brings expertise in world class, high-level training, competition and coaching to her role.


Claudia comes from Zaragosa, Spain, and has been coaching all levels of rhythmic gymnastics since 2008.  She is a graduate of the University of Zaragoza graduated and has a  BA in Physical Education and Sports.

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Valentina Ivanova came to Emerald City after a long and successful run as Bulgaria’s Junior National Group assistant coach.  In July 2017, she led EMC’s FIG Junior Group to the 2017 USA Gymnastics Championships, where they became the USA Junior National Team for Group.
In October 2017, Valentina led the newly-minted USA Junior National Team to a Gold medal sweep of events at the 2017 Pan-American Championship, taking Gold in the All Around competition as well as the 5 ropes and 10 clubs events.


Elena Tokareva Baltovick began studying classical ballet at age nine in her native Kiev, Ukraine. She studied at the National Choreographic Ballet School of Ukraine and danced with the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet. Ms. Tokareva came to the United States in 1992 to continue her study of the Vaganova Method with the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts in Connecticut …

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