Sergei Slussky: who can mix a “wild ‘n crazy fun guy” approach to teaching with his formal accomplishments and knowledge of 35+ dances.
“The most important lesson dancing has taught me is to be resilient and persistent!” says Sergei Slussky, owner and instructor at Aquarius’ Dance Studios.
To learn and excel at dance, he would need both – in large amounts – as he started dancesport later in life and needed to catch up to competitors who had studied from a very young age.
“At 18, when I was a student of fine arts in Yaroslavi, Russia, I came upon a large crowd gathered at the Palace of Culture. They were watching a dance exhibition. I was immediately fascinated. At one point, one of the lady dancers came up to me with a rose and invited me to dance with her. Sadly, I had to refuse because I did not know how.... but that gave me an incentive to learn! A week later, I signed up for lessons in International Waltz, Tango and Cha Cha.”
Resilience and persistence paid off for Sergei as he would go on to learn an extensive number of dance styles, join the professional dancesport team “”Vesna,” tour Russia, Poland and Romania, and earn top honors along the way. Following this experience, he started coaching in his hometown of Arkhangelsk.
In 1991, Sergei left Russia and immigrated to Portland, Maine. In 1994, he entered Brigham Young University’s largest collegiate ballroom dance program in the world. There, he excelled at the Ballroom Dance Metal Tests (both American and International) and danced with the school’s Formation Team.
This expanded education and experience – along with a love of teaching – led Sergei to work at an Arthur Murray dance studio in Boston. Maine felt more like home to him, however, so in 1999, he opened the American Ballroom Dance Academy in Portland. He and his students would go on to win awards in competitions across the US and Canada.
Today, you’ll likely find Sergei at Aquarius’ Dance Studio in Portland – the studio that offers the widest array of dance instruction in the state. He has a satellite program in Brunswick, teaches in Harrison and performs at functions, exhibitions and fundraisers throughout the state.
While he still teaches advanced students and competitive dancers, most of his time is spent helping social dancers, wedding parties, theater performers and those preparing for a special occasion.
“When I was first learning to dance, it was very hard for me at times – so I understand when a student feels frustrated. I try to make the learning as easy and as fun as possible. I want to encourage them to just get through those beginning steps. Once it starts to click in your head, the dancing feels great. That’s what I want my students to feel each time they dance: Really great.”
He encourages students to explore more than one dance style and experience the benefits of cross training. “But each student is different, so we adapt to meet each person’s needs.”
Professional affiliations and memberships: Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD), Dance Vision International Dance Association (DVIDA).
When he’s not in the studio dancing or coaching, you may find him working out, enjoying the arts & sciences, or developing new and exciting programs, products and services for the New Age Playground.