Saratoga County

Saratoga Springs dance teacher finds family members alive in Haiti

A local dance teacher and Haitian native has found his daughter and his mother alive after return


A local dance teacher and Haitian native has found his daughter and his mother alive after returning to his earthquake-destroyed homeland to look for them.

Ricardo Sopin found his 8-year-old daughter, Marsha, on Friday, said Iraida Volodina, Sopin’s partner.

“I was so happy to hear it,” Volodina said. “It’s the most important part — she’s alive.”

Now Sopin is trying to find a way to bring the little girl with him back to the U.S.

Marsha was staying with her grandmother, Sopin’s mother, in Port-au-Prince before the earthquake, Volodina said.

“The house is gone. There’s nothing left,” she said. “He cannot leave her there.”

Both Volodina and Sopin teach at the Arthur Murray Dance Studios in Saratoga Springs after meeting in Florida. Both have been in the U.S. for just over two years; Volodina is Russian.

Volodina knows few of the details, including where Sopin and his daughter are staying and whether they have enough food and water, because phone connections have been spotty since he left about a week ago.

They can sometimes talk for a couple of minutes before losing the connection, but mainly they correspond through text messages, she said.

“We’re almost not able to talk at all.” When they send texts, the messages sometimes take a few hours to go through.

“He said to me that it’s much harder than it’s showing on TV,” Volodina said.

The couple held a dancing event in Latham before Sopin left where people could donate money for his trip.

“It was very, very helpful for us,” Volodina said. They plan another in March, although that depends on Sopin.

Sopin left Jan. 18, nearly a week after the Jan. 12 earthquake.

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