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Sid Pocius,


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,


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

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Maria Balashova,


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 the United States.


Megan Ripley grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and started dancing at the age of 4, performing in tap, jazz, and ballet. At the age of 14 she began training and competing around the US in ballroom and Latin dance. Right away she knew ballroom dancing was her passion. After competing in many competitions for 8 years, she took a small break to move down to Florida where she is now pursuing her dream career as a ballroom dance instructor.

She enjoys working with couples and individuals of all ages and levels. She is passionate about competing, as well as taking new dancers and helping them become the best versions of themselves. 

Megan Ripley,


Austin Aldridge,

A native of Hiram, GA, Austin Aldridge discovered his love of ballroom dance at the age of 19 after he was invited to a party at a local studio.  From that party, he signed up for lessons and from there was picked out by the studio manager to train to be a teacher.  He jumped on the opportunity and never looked back!  He continued to teach and compete with students for the next 8 years. He quickly became the top teacher and was promoted to Dance Director at the previous studio.  Austin has a natural talent with developing students. 


His passion for all things ballroom shines through in his devotion of his students and his fun, energetic and engaging lessons.  Cabaret/Theatre Arts is also a passion of his, giving his students the opportunity to venture into many different aspects of ballroom.  He loves going to competitions and currently competes regularly in pro-am American smooth and rhythm, showdance and theatre arts.  

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