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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Alexandra Lyubchevskaya,

Manager

Alexandra Lyubchevskaya is a professional competitive ballroom dancer with over 15 years of experience teaching people of all ages and different levels about ballroom dancing. The organizer of Social Dance Events which brings people together through dance.
Alexandra earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Ballroom Dancing with Honors from the Russian University of Performing Arts and is certified by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. She has trained with the best teachers and coaches, and has performed all over the world. She had a successful competitive ballroom career.
Her awards in Dancesport includes:
Vice- Champion, Blackpool Dance Festival in England
Champion, Embassy Ball in California Finalist, The International Championships in England
Finalist of IDSF competitions around the world
Alexandra successfully managed two Ballroom Dance Studios in Manhattan, NY and is thrilled to bring her joy for dance and experience. As well as meet new ballroom dancing enthusiasts in the wonderful Empire Ballroom Sarasota.

 

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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

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Marea’s yoga practice began in 2001 during her time studying Design at University. Yoga offered her a
practical path to finding ease in the now. Since then she has completed trainings, workshops and
immersions with seasoned instructors.
In 2017 she was determined to share her passion for yoga and undertook a 200 H Yoga Teacher Training
and became certified by Davannayoga in Puerto Vallarta. Since then she has taught Hatha, Vinyasa and
Restorative sessions both private and to groups in Dance studios, Gyms and Hotels. She has led various
week-long yoga retreats in Mexico.
Her classes focuses on correct alignment, breath connection, building strength, balance and flexibility
whilst allowing the practitioners to focus inwardly with her graceful approach and soothing voice. Her
goal is improving the health and wellbeing of practitioners through intention, mudras (hand gestures),
mantras (chants), pranayama (breathing), meditation and asanas (body postures). Practitioners feel
more energized, happier and lighter after each session.
Marea is very honored to teach multi-level yoga classes at Empire Ballroom studios, starting this fall.

Marea Saldarriaga

Yoga Instructor