Serge Onik, an instructor at Broadway Dance Center, has died at 33. He was known for competing in So You Think You Can Dance, dancing in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s movie of In The Heights and helping the Israeli figure skating team at two Olympic Games.
Jim Keith, from The Movement Talent Agency which represented Onik, confirmed the news to Entertainment Weekly earlier in the week. This morning a funeral service was held in Hackensack, New Jersey.
“He was an amazing dancer with a huge heart and he touched the lives of everyone who met him,” Keith said in a statement. “He will be truly missed. This is a sad day for us at the agency and for the dance community as a whole.”
Olivia Hutcherson was a colleague from Broadway Dance Center attending the funeral today. “Serge danced with me through three rounds of cancer. He always made me feel safe and beautiful — no matter how many weird haircuts I had,” she said. “We can see a broken arm, but we can’t see a broken heart. I don’t know what happened and I don’t need to know what happened, but let’s just make a promise to check in on our friends and make sure everyone is okay.”
A cause of death has not been revealed. “His world was his family. He didn’t have students, he didn’t have friends — he had family,” his mother, Natalia, said today. “We will never know why. Maybe somebody wanted to have unlimited dancing lessons in heaven. Maybe an angel opened an ice skating rink and God called for one of the best to make it beautiful.”
Julie Syers, a friend who attended the funeral service virtually, said on Instagram: “May he rest in dance. He is leaving behind a legacy that has touched so many.”
For fellow Broadway Dance Center choreographer, Lyrik Cruz, this was the second loss in a month. In July, he was one of the friends who mourned the loss of makeup artist JP Ramirez. “So here I am in life writing another farewell, another goodbye. It’s just unreal, sad and disheartening. Exactly one month to date I lost one of my best friends and now this. I don’t want to gain any more angels — I want to keep my friends,” Cruz said on Instagram. “Gonna miss the hell out of you. Dance amongst the stars my friend. I’ll be looking out for you.”
Serge Onik was born in Kharkov, Ukraine. He moved with his family to the United States at the age of 3. He initially trained in ballroom dancing and became National Champion and took 8th Place at the World Games in Taiwan in 2009.
His professional career included assisting in the choreography of Dancing With the Stars as well as television roles in Marvel’s Agent Carter, Bones and Jane the Virgin.
Broadway Dance Center, where Onik taught salsa, said in a statement: “The dance industry lost a bright light this week. We are so saddened to hear of the passing of Broadway Dance Center faculty member, Serge Onik. He was an incredible teacher, dancer, mentor, and friend to so many. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this difficult time. He will be greatly missed.”
In June he featured in the on-screen release of In the Heights. “I mean it’s for literally 2 seconds but I’ve never been more honored to be part of a project,” Onik said on Instagram.