INSTRUCTORS

Sid Pocius,

Owner

Empire Ballroom Studios was founded by Sid Zydrunas Pocius, World Class Professional Champion Ballroom Dancer.  He started his career at the age of 6 in his native country – Lithuania.  By the age of 13, he became National Champion and started competing throughout the world.  At the age of 18 he opened his own studio in Europe. After having 5 successful years as a studio owner, he decided to come to the US to share his passion and experience. Now he is a proud American Citizen, Certified World Class Championship Professional Ballroom Judge and Coach, owner and organizer of 3 Annual major ballroom dance competitions.

….Ballroom Dancing is a journey through cultures, times, social etiquette’s, with a destination of self-fulfillment and well-being…

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Andrius Butkus,

Instructor

Andrius Butkus competed for both the Lithuanian Latin Formation National Team with the Lithuanian
Dance Sport Federation, as well as the national dance club, Zuvedra of Klapeda Unviersity in national and
international dance competitions. During this time, Andrius won several European Championships in
Formation Latin as well as the World Championships in Formation Latin. Andrius’s talent and charisma
as a dancer led to other roles on national television shows in Lithuania. Hi status as a national dance
celebrity grew as he worked as a professional dancer on the Lithuanian version of “Dancing with the
Stars”, “Dance with Me”, and “Let’s Dance”. He performed on the shows “Stars on Ice” and “Dance on
Ice” as a celebrity dancer performing dances on ice in competitions with Lithuanian celebrities. In
addition, Andrius was the host of the shows “Let’s Dance: Passion awakened” and “Celebrity Duets,
History Starts Again” where he also performed as a dancer in various segments of these shows.
Andrius was also a choreographer for the national television show “Your Face Looks Familiar”.
His expertise were utilized by Lithuanian television producer, TVPLAY, which used him to be an
adjudicator for their national television show “Passionalte Coast” on TV3. Andrius’s
achievements, performances and roles have been written about extensively in Lithuanian national media
outlets and publications in the field of dancesport including: Zmones (People), 15min, Kauno Diena, and
Delfi.

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Maria Balashova,

Instructor

Maria Balashova started dancing in her native country Russia and always dreamed about coming to United States.

Being a well-rounded individual and excellent student, after moving to US Maria graduated with a combined degree in Biomedical Sciences and Rehabilitation Medicine as well as successfully continued to compete and teach dance. Maria started implementing her medical knowledge in dance teaching and worked with people with certain injuries and medical conditions to help them achieve their goals of physical fitness and well-being. Her passion is to help people to feel their best through dance.

Currently Maria also continues to perform and compete professionally around United States.

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William became a dance enthusiast at the age of 7. His dance career has lead him to compete in International Competitions in youth level, Standard style, Latin style, and 10
Dances for the last 14 years. 
He recently obtained a Bachelor's degree at Klaipeda University for Dancesport  Education and Pedagogy Qualification.

Due to his passion for exercise and healthy living he is also a European youth record holder for 100 meter sprint (9.8s). 
He is very excited to be a dance instructor at the Empire Ballroom Studios.

William Kazlauskas,

Instructor