Because he was a “weak, frail child,” Mr. Goncharov’s mother encouraged him to participate in sports and dance to build his strength. In 1974 at the age of 11, he successfully competed with fourty other applicants for one opening in the Kieu Ballet School. After graduation in 1982, five different companies offered him positions, but he chose the Donetsk Ballet to be closer to his parents’ home. As a principal dancer with the Donetsk Opera and ballet Theater from 1982 to 1992, Valery toured the United States four times, danced at the Nervi International Ballet Festival in Genoa, Italy, and completed numerous tours of Europe. He was also the medal of honor winner at the Ukrainian International Ballet competition. In 1991, while on a U.S. tour, he defected to America and eventually brought his wife Irena and two children, Dimitri and Jenya from the Ukraine.