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 Professional Ballroom Judge and Coach, co-owner and organizer of 5 Star Ballroom Events, Organizer of Sarasota Challenge Competition, and owner of Empire Ballroom Studios. ...Ballroom Dancing is a journey through cultures, times, social etiquettes, with a destination of self-fulfillment and well-being...
Vidas Orlovas started his dance career when he was 4 years old in Lithuania. After 18 years of dancing in competitions internationally, he went to Klaipeda University to acquire a degree in Choreography and Dance Instruction. During his college education he continued to dance in a formation team, Zuvedra II, in order to compete in world championships. After graduating from college Vidas moved to the Sarasota area to share his international dance expertise with Empire Ballroom Studios.
Sofya Sokolenko has been involved with dancing since the age of 6. She began her ballroom dance career in St Petersburg, Russia, and continued it in USA since she moved here 3 years ago. In addition Sofya brings to her teaching a strong background jazz, and modern dance, fitness Latina and an in-depth understanding of movement.
Sofya graduated from University of Economy and Finance and has a Master in Management of Organization. Along with traditional ballroom dancing she has big passion for Latin dances such as Salsa, Bachata and Merengue.
Kathryn Kulik began her training at the age of two at her mothers’ studio in Pennsylvania. After winning many awards and titles, she decided to follow in her mothers’ footsteps and make her passion her career. Kathryn believes in being a well-rounded dancer. Her background includes ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, and of course ballroom. She specializes in teaching brand new students, and enjoys instructing students with “two left feet”.
Ina Piatajeva started dancing when she was 7 years old in Lithuania. She and her partner were winners or finalists of very popular Lithuanian competitions. Her talent and charisma was noticed by famous leaders Idzeleviciai. They invited her to represent Lithuania and dance in Latin formation team Zuvedra II, in order to compete in world championships. Ina came here to share her 20 years of experience and knowledge and feel passion in dance. Ina is also a certified Zumba instructor.
Giedrius Sapezinskas “G” began dancing at the age of 4 in Lithuania. He specializes in International as well as American style. After graduating from Klaipeda University of Arts in Lithuania, he came to Sarasota to share his love of dance with students of all levels.
Adam Horna, grew up in his parent's ballroom dance studio in Ohio he started performing at age five and continued to explore different styles of dance including jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, theater arts, as well as American rhythm and smooth. Adam has trained with professionals such as Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo, Mia Michaels, and 5x World 10 dance champion Alain Doucet. Later in life he took time off to complete college and earn his associates degree in business management. After relocating to Florida he has become a member of our staff and is ready to share his passion for dance from social to competitive level.