Inspiring People: International dance champion shares passion with children of SWFL

An international dance superstar is inspiring children in Southwest Florida with confidence, discipline and a little bit of rhythm.

“I want to give kids that experience of ballroom dancing, and at the same time maybe grow some champions,” said Lithuanian-born dancer Iveta Lukosiute.

Lukosiute moved to the U.S. in 1997. Two years ago, while living in New York, she decided she was ready to start a family.

“When I became a mother, with my first child, I realized that my lifestyle has to change,” Lukosiute said.

She found Naples and opened the Glow Dance and Art Academy to share her love of dance and inspire children to (literally) follow in her steps.

“She’s kind of the reason that I’m so good at dancing,” said 10-year-old Ardin Stepas. “When I hit the floor and dance, I’m just in the zone and I don’t stop.”

These aspiring dancers are learning from the best. Pictures and trophies in the corner of Lukosiute’s studio share her history: winning world championships, becoming a five-time U.S. national professional dance champion, performing on Dancing with the Stars in England and on So You Think You Can Dance? in America.

“I think there’s so many benefits for kids,” Lukosiute said. “Teaching rhythm.”

Judging by her students’ faces, the benefits are far beyond a little rhythm.

“She teaches us a lot,” said 7-year-old Kylei Chavez. “I love dancing with her.”

Lukosiute is bringing dance to all of Southwest Florida May 13 through 15. For the first time ever, there is a major competition in Naples called the Crown Jewel of Dancesport bringing in professional and amateur dancers.

“It’s a really big deal, and I think Naples deserves something like that,” Lukosiute said. “This is a great place.”

You can buy tickets at the door. More info can be found on the event website.

Reporter:Lindsey Sablan
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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