Iveta Lukosiute is so New York City.
Busy, diverse, more approachable than Hollywood, but every bit as chic. This Arthur Murray consultant and studio owner has made moves, turned corners, and can teach us all a thing or two about hard work.
Iveta Lukosiute: Bright Lights, No Sleep, and Hard Work
AML: So what's your dance story? Where did it all start?
IL: I was born in a town next to the Baltic Sea called Klaipeda in Lithuania. Started dancing in the first grade, at 6 years old. Grew up and lived there until, at the age of 17, I moved to United States.
AML: So let's talk about your long time dance partner, and current business partner, Gherman Mustuc! How did the two of you first start dancing together?
IL: Gherman and I used to compete against each other. He lived and danced in Salt Lake City, Utah and I lived in Chicago. To be honest, at that time I didn't like him that much (laughs), but after he split with his partner, and few months later I did, he called me, we set up a try out and it felt right. We had same goals, same dreams, same drive. One month later, we packed our bags and moved to New York on the same day, to dance and follow our dreams. It was August 22, 2003 Gherman's birthday.
AML: This might be an obvious answer for some, but for those that don't know..
What would you say is your greatest dance achievement?
IL: Our greatest achievement in dance was winning World ten dance championships two times in a row and placing first in all ten dances.
We were the first couple in history who has done it, no one ever won all 10.
AML: So did you always intend to do 10 Dance?
IL: When I was young, we had to do both styles, but I liked Latin better at that time. Once I moved to US, at the beginning, back in Chicago, I couldn't find a partner who would do all ten dances so I only did Latin for some time, and I really missed standard. Then I found a standard partner, and at one point I had 2 partners, one for Latin and one for standard. Later my standard partner suggested to do 10 dance with him since he had Latin training as well, so we did.
AML: Seeing your Arthur Murray 5th Avenue studio and the way that it's decorated, you probably could have been an interior designer. What do you think you'd be if you never started ballroom dancing?
IL: When I was young and in college I did study arts, since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I used to draw my own paper dolls, make their clothes, and things. In Chicago, I did study arts and when I moved to New York I was planning to transfer either to FIT or Parsons, but dancing kept me so busy with practices and competitions that I put school aside and focused on dancing. I did designed every single dress I competed in and my evening wear I judge in. I have, and still do, design dresses for our students. Eventually I'm planning to get back to that passion and start working on my own collection. Thank you for the compliment regarding the studio! I was in charge of its interior.
AML: Describe the sequence of events that led you to joining Arthur Murray.
IL: When we were competing, Augusto Schiavo was one of our standard coaches. After he joined Arthur Murray, he was telling us about it, how great the company is, and that we should open our own studio. He invited us to do shows and coaching in all of his studios in Italy and we loved it. We loved the system, we love the students, and what it does to people - So we decided to open our own studio in Manhattan.
AML: How would you describe the company to someone on the outside, now that you're part of it.
IL: When it comes to trusting your health and quality of life, Arthur Murray has worked on it and proved itself for 100 years. No one else will take care of your personal needs the way Arthur Murray will, and it will change your life!
AML: What is your greatest non-dancing accomplishment?
IL: My greatest non dancing achievement is my baby son, Vidas, who was born September 24th, 2016. He has changed my life, and I love every day of it more and more.
AML: Yes! Congratulations on becoming a Mom and having your son Vidas. Tell us about what it's like being a first time Mom.
IL: Thank you! I love being the mom, it's the best thing ever. Sometimes, I don't understand how I live my life without him. It was very hard the first two months, he didn't sleep at all, had stomach issues, so I was literally like a zombie, but now it's wonderful! And because of my mom, I am able to come back to work, teach, and judge - she's been tremendous help for me. Now I'm still working on adjusting and balancing my life so I can do what I love, but at the same time raise my child and be in his life full time. These days I feel busier than ever.
AML: You've been on some different dance TV shows, tell us about your experience on them.
IL: I've done So You Think You Can Dance season 8, I've danced in India on Dancing With The Stars as a guest pro. I was a guest judge in Dancing With The Stars in Lithuania and I was a pro dancer for 3 years on "Strictly Come Dancing" in London, UK. I had the best time ever. It was an amazing experience, and I learned so much!
AML: Speaking of which, what did you learn from the process as a whole?
IL: First, how powerful TV is. A few minutes on a screen and you are known, recognized on the street, followed by fans, many more doors open up. However, I learned that fame is temporary, it doesn't make you happier, happiness is the true friends, family and love in your life. There's always going to be people who love you and hate you at the same time. I learned not to take things personal, not get distracted or emotional and deal with stress. Also learned how to work really fast, get things done in a short period of time. Sometimes we had to put a dance together in 2 hours and perform to millions of people. I also learned how to work with cameras, lightning, stage, while choreographing. Understand what works on TV and what good TV is. In general, it was a priceless experience and one of the most memorable periods of my life.
AML: Okay, weird question. Describe your day today in 12 words or less.
IL: My day was fast, long, colorful, flavorful, fun, worth of 100 things to thank for!
Iveta's story would have been impossible without hard work. It's easy to see someone who achieves something - wins a trophy, is on a hit TV show, or opens a business - and take a short sighted, they-just-got-lucky, type of viewpoint.
But achievements are the external representation of internal, less public, efforts.
Some might call it the American Dream, but if you've learned anything about Iveta Lukosuite, it's that dreams are worthless without action.
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