Empire Ballroom Studios

Empire Ballroom Dance Studio of Sarasota!

  • Locally Owned & Operated here in Sarasota, FL
  • International Experience
  • Numerous top teaching awards
  • Worldwide recognition and certification

Progressive teaching techniques, experienced instructors, and innovative dance studios will help you dance with passion, romance, and artistry while you stay in shape and have fun!

We believe that dance is about discovering new ways to express yourself in an exhilarating, active, and healthy way.  We stand by our community and support various causes.

We are experts in teaching brand new students here in Sarasota, giving them confidence, a sense of rhythm, and a LOVE for dance!

Couples and single students are always welcome!

Drop In’s Welcome!

Walk into our studio and take the first step to a happier and healthier life!!

Curent Events Calendar!

About Us

Empire Ballroom Studios in Downtown Sarasota opened its doors in 2010.

Our primary focus is dance instruction in Ballroom, Latin, Social, Competition and Wedding.

With our top professional teachers, we have developed a syllabus to ensure each student learns popular dances in only a few sessions.  Our curriculum, unlike other studios, lets students customize every single session to meet their needs

Our program is aggressive and highly structured by World Champions and the best Coaches in the country.  Our diversity has also proven successful in keeping lessons fun, easy and interesting.  We encourage our students to dance anywhere and everywhere, whether it be night clubs, cruises or dance competitions.

Our downtown location is conveniently located on Boulevard Of The Arts with plenty of parking. The Studio design is the most elegant in the area with a welcoming atmosphere.

sid-zydrunas-pociusSid 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 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 etiquette’s, with a destination of self-fulfillment and well-being…

Vidas Orlovas, Manager

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.

Giedrius Sapezinskas, 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.

Joshua Alexander, Instructor

Joshua began his interest in dancing with hip hop and b-boying at the young age of 11.

In 2006 Joshua attended New York College for massage therapy. After graduating, his passion for dancing was revived when one of his clients encouraged him to give Ballroom Dancing a spin. Needless to say he never looked back.

He began his teaching career at Arthur Murray in 2007 Long Island, NY. By 2010, he held the position of number 2 teacher out of 4,900 in the world. He kept that status for 6 years, because as he says “he is doing what he loves”.

His path has brought him to our beautiful town of Sarasota, where he is proud to continue doing what he loves, teaching Ballroom. He continues to inspire all around him with his teaching and passion for dance.

Elina Budagyan, Instructor

Elina became fascinated with dance early in life, which was inspired by her cultural upbringing and natural passion. In 1991, she moved to the United States from Baku, Azerbaijan with her family at the age of four. Elina took her first ballroom class at the age of nine at a studio near her home in Akron, OH. Eventually she would learn other forms of dance including ballet, jazz, character, and folk. Pursuing further dance education, Elina worked with many of the top ballroom coaches in North America. She has competed across the U.S. and Canada, winning numerous competitions. She now spends her time dancing professionally and bringing her knowledge and love of dance to her students.

Contact Empire Ballroom Studios!

Mailing Address:
1370 Blvd Of The Arts, Sarasota FL 34236

Hours of Operation:
Mon-Fri: 12:00 pm – 9 pm
Weekends: By Appointment Only

Shall we dance?

Please complete the information below and we will contact you at our earliest convenience.

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Guest Party - Open House

March 30, 2017, 7:45pm - March 30, 2017, 9:00pm


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Dancing well on a cruise was my goal when I went to Empire Ballroom. Mission accomplished, but I found I was enjoying the lessons so much I am continuing them. Dancing with one of their consummate professional instructors you learn a lot, get great exercise, and they make you look and feel fantastic. The group classes and weekly practice parties are great fun too. Participating in Empire Ballroom is a healthy treat.

Sue G. Sarasota, FL

I’ve been taking private ballroom dance lessons at Empire for almost a year and I can not say enough wonderful things about my instructors, Vidas and Sid. They are so encouraging and they make you feel comfortable and confident at any level or ability. All the instructors are so friendly – it’s fun to dance with all of them at the practice dances! I always look forward to my next lesson. They are incredibly talented dancers, and very well respected in the ballroom dance community. Want to learn from the professionals? Empire Ballroom Studios is the best place to go to learn to dance.

Judy K. Sarasota, FL

I’ve been taking weekly private lessons for several months with Sid and he is phenomenal! He is so good at reading people’s skills and he’s a very thorough, patient instructor. I have danced with some of the other instructors there and they are all so talented. They have a great team, friendly environment and it’s great exercise! I definitely recommend taking lessons at Empire Ballroom!

MB Jacksonville, FL

I have been taking private dance lessons for over a year and I can give grate compliments to my instructor and the staff of Empire Ballroom Studio. My teacher Vidas, gives me encouragement in learning new steps, easy to follower his instruction and just enjoyment to dance. The studio is warm and welcoming, as are the rest of teachers with whom I have a chance to dance at the practice and gest parties. My hat goes off to Sid, the owner of the studio for well run business.

Eda S Venice, FL

Empire Ballroom is simply the best Sarasota and Southwest Florida have to offer. It all starts with Sid Pocius who not only has an incredible competitive resume at the highest levels of international ballroom dance, but also has a proven record of producing students who win competitions far above any other studio. His attention to detail is reflected in the quality of his instructors. They are the best of the best. But even if competition is not your thing, Empire and Sid offer a boutique ballroom studio with every attention to getting the right ambiance, clientele, and fun dance parties. The focus is on quality dance instruction here, not volume. You will not find a more fun place to train seriously or dance just for the joy of it. Your health will improve, your social life will take off, and your life will be full with one of the great passions and hobbies of all time.

Tom H. Sarasota, FL

We started taking ballroom dance lessons for the first time at Empire Ballroom Studios a few months ago. It is a family affair, with our teenage children also taking lessons. Our children said they would “see” if they wanted to take lessons after their first trial lesson. Much to our surprise, they love dancing and even look forward to competitions. They are learning social skills and grace and a lifelong skill. We come to our dance lessons after a busy day at work and feel lighter, happier, and enjoy the exercise and improved posture. We love learning a new activity that brings us such social pleasure as a couple. The instructors at Empire Ballroom Studios are simply the best and we highly recommend them.

Drs. Jill Morris and Burr Bakke, World Class Dentistry

The highlight of my week is going to Empire Ballroom Studio for my dance lessons with Sid Pocius. The environment created by Sid and his instructors is a professional one, yet filled with the fun and joy of dance!

Emily Walsh Parry, The Observer

Sid Pocius I have known since moving to the Sarasota area. He has always conduced himself in a first class manner as a competitor, in pro and pro/am dance sport events, as a judge, dance organizer and studio owner. I had the pleasure of attending his grand opening of the’ Empire Ballroom Studios in downtown Sarasota and was very impressed with his studio and wonderful new staff. Sid and his staff are highly qualified in all styles of dance and a very nice looking group of young professional dancers. So if you are interested in learning to dance or brushing up on your dancing, this is one of the places to check out. See you on the dance floor!

Larry Dean, President of the Triple Crown & Crown Jewel Of Dancesport Championship

Perhaps you have questions?

Do I need a partner?

Absolutely not. Empire Ballroom Studios offers lessons for singles and couples alike. Whatever your situation, one of our well-trained professional instructors will guide you. Many partners are available at our social activities.

Drop In’s  always welcome. Drop in’s can expect a 30 minute lesson at Introductory Special Pricing. We teach Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Rumba, Cha cha, Swing, Salsa, and all other Ballroom and Latin dances. We also offer packages and choreography for Weddings or Special Events.

How many times do I have to take lessons each week?

This is entirely up to you. Some students come in once a week while others come in several times a week. We’ll develop a schedule to fit your dance goals.

How much do lessons cost?

You can get started dancing for as little as $45. As with any hobby or sport, there are many different levels of participation. Dancing can be relatively inexpensive. Of course, more serious dancers invest as much as they choose.

How should I dress for my lesson?

Comfort and class is what we encourage. The only rule about dress is to strive for comfort, so consider wearing loose clothing. Smooth soled shoes dance best on our ballroom floor (heels are optional), and please no tennis shoes. (Dark soles mark our floor).

I saw ballroom dancing on TV…can I learn to dance like that?

We teach all the styles and levels at Empire. Some of our students do compete in various dance competitions and win top places in the Nation. You CAN learn to dance like the pros if you choose. The level of dance on TV usually is very advanced and requires years of work and many hours of practice. The pros you see on TV probably practice 4 hours a day, 6 days a week! Whether you want to become a professional, or dance in an amateur division, we are here to help you achieve those goals.

What if I’m self-conscious on the dance floor while I’m learning?

Everyone starts from the beginning. The students and instructors at Empire Ballroom are very helpful. Our students are constantly telling us how many people compliment their dancing when out at a function. The studio is a safe and supportive environment in which you can learn dance. Students enjoy the learning experience and are amazed at how quickly they become proficient. There is no reason to feel self-conscious.

What is a private lesson?

All lessons are 45 minute sessions; the hours of instruction are Monday-Friday 12pm-9pm and weekends by appointment only. Private instruction is tailored to your personal needs. Learning at your own pace is the optimum method of comprehension and that is what private instruction enforces. Our students have found that learning in this environment has given them a major advantage in social dance settings.

What is your cancellation policy?

Due to the growing popularity of ballroom dancing, we ask that our students cancel any lesson a minimum of 24 hours ahead of time to avoid being charged.

What type of dances can I learn?

Empire Ballroom Studios teaches all of the Ballroom dances: Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Rumba, Cha Cha, Swing, Samba, Mambo etc. in both the American Style and International Styles. We also teach nightclub dances such as Salsa, Hustle, Two-Step, and even Argentine Tango. Basically, we’ll teach any partnership dance.

Each instructor will discuss your individual goals with you before beginning lessons. If you’re uncertain as to your goals, you can begin taking lessons in the most popular dances. They include Foxtrot, Swing, Waltz, Cha Cha, Salsa, Rumba, and if you like, the Hustle. These dances will enable you to dance to most of today’s music. Additional lessons may be added as you become comfortable and more interested in various styles of dance.

Where can I go to practice what I have learned?

At Empire Ballroom Studios we provide social activities such as Practice Parties and special couples activities. These parties are designed for Beginner Students that don’t feel confident enough to dance in social situations. Not only are parties great to further your dance education, but they are also a great way to fill your social calendar and meet new people! Our professional instructors are there to offer any help, and make you feel comfortable.

Where will I use this style of dancing?

Empire Ballroom Studios teaches a style of dance that is used in any social situation. Although many students come to us initially to learn for a special occasion, for example, a wedding, cruise, bar mitzvah, Doctor’s ball, etc., they find many other events for dance in their personal lives. We also provide practice parties for your convenience. So, take your “first step” with our complimentary special.

Will I have a good teacher?

Yes! We have highly qualified and certified instructors on staff, all of whom have advanced training in ballroom dance. Several of our instructors are championship competitors on a professional level. We also bring to the studio, nationally and world recognized ballroom dance champions and judges on a periodic basis to provide additional opportunity for the students.

Will my lessons be at the same time every week?

Not necessarily. In order to accommodate your busy schedule, we attempt to be as flexible as possible. We also recommend that you book your lessons several weeks in advance in order to reserve your preferred times.

Benefits of Dance!

Dollarphotoclub_96585203It is almost impossible to convey the many benefits that Empire students have received as a result of their dance lessons. Many singles and couples find that it has created more romance in their lives. Others rave about losing weight and all the health benefits dancing has to offer. And still, others enjoy how great they look and feel when out on the social dance floor.

Let Empire Ballroom Studios be your partner as you take pride in the accomplishment of learning to dance. Become a part of our world, and relish the pageantry, fun and glamour of social dance. Dance can become more than your hobby, it will provide you with a new lifestyle filled with excitement and friendships. Don’t put it off for a single moment more…share in the Magic of Social Dance at your Empire Ballroom Studio.

FUN: Although your commitment to learn to dance will demand concentration, dedication and time, you will be constantly surrounded by artistic, cheerful people who will make your instruction at Empire Ballroom Studios a most pleasurable and rewarding experience.

FRIENDSHIPS: Beyond instruction, dance opens a wide spectrum of social settings in which friendships are forged and dreams come true. Scheduled Empire Ballroom Studio dance parties, local, regional and national competitions and fun nights out on the town provide dancers with a full social calendar.

Dollarphotoclub_80400203CONFIDENCE: Dancers possess an aura of self-confidence and an ability to enjoy themselves more in public settings. Their entire mental outlook takes on a renewed sense of creativity, motivation and energy.

CREATIVITY: Dance provides an emotional outlet in which a person can truly reflect his or her feelings through body movement. The ability to dance is present in everyone… it only needs to be cultivated through sound instruction methods. Then you’re on your own to express yourself with passion and flair.

HEALTH: Dancing helps the body’s circulatory system as it makes your heart pump blood faster. Dancing encourages weight control and overall fitness through calorie burn off. The constant movement and muscle extension during dance sessions also provides a pleasing, mild exercise most people long for but rarely achieve, especially in such pleasant circumstances.