To Dance, To Dream

03 Jan 2024

Dance Pros N&V brings a different kind of ballroom dancing to Wilmington

By Jen Reed  »  Photos by G. Frank Hart

“We bring people together to learn something they weren't sure they could do. And to see their joy is just incredible.”

Growing up in the Ukraine as a child, dreaming about what the future would bring isn't necessarily how Volodymyr (aka Vlad) Hrabovyi spent his time. Yet, if you look at the life he and his wife Nadia have carved out for themselves, you would believe it's a thing of which dreams are made.

The couple has brought ballroom dancing with a new attitude to Wilmington. Dance Pros N&V on Market Street has opened its doors ready to bring a dance experience unlike any other. For Vlad, it's much less about being a dance instructor and more about what he and Nadia are bringing to the community.

“We can bring joy to so many people through what we do,” he says. “To see people come in and think that this is too hard, then discover they can do it – it's amazing.”

Vlad credits his parents for the path he has taken as a dancer. As a child, he attended the School for the Arts in the Ukraine, where he learned to dance and perfected his craft. From there, he studied dance in college and eventually became a certified dance instructor.

The journey that brought Vlad to the Lower Cape Fear literally began oceans away. Vlad worked as a ballroom dance instructor with the Cunard Cruise Line, a fateful occurrence that found him and Nadia crossing paths in 2010 – becoming partners on the dancefloor and eventually life partners.

But that wasn't the only hand fate played in their lives. Following marriage, the two started thinking about raising a family; something not conducive to life on a cruise ship.

“We started thinking about where we wanted to live,” explains Vlad. “The United States was one of three places we were seriously considering.”

It was a chance meeting while Vlad and Nadia were still teaching on the ship. A couple from Wilmington was among their students and introduced Vlad and Nadia to their dance instructor back home.

“She was looking for someone to take over her studio here in Wilmington,” says Vlad. 

And that started the process—the United States it was. In 2017, the couple arrived, and Dance Pros N&V opened its doors on Oleander Drive. 

As with many businesses, however, the Pandemic prompted them to close the doors of the studio, temporarily. Vlad found himself in Pennsylvania for a short time while Nadia and their daughter spent some time back in Ukraine, but they all returned to Wilmington in the spring of 2023. 

Dance Pros N&V now has found a new home on Market Street. They are now introducing their craft to a new class of students and sharing the floor with those who have returned from their previous location in town. 

And while they may not be the only ballroom dancing school in Wilmington, they are the only one that offers lessons to young children – something inspired by their now-six-year-old daughter, who is learning right alongside her parents.

For Vlad, the social aspect of what they bring to Wilmington is among the things he loves best.

“We bring people together to learn something they weren't sure they could do,” he says. “And to see their joy is just incredible.”

And the opportunity to learn and grow has no limits on the dance floor. Vlad and Nadia have students as young as four and as mature as 87.

Encouraging fun and socialization, they host gatherings twice each month when those who are interested can come with other like-minded current and prospective students, learn a few steps, and decide if it's something they would like to pursue.

Classes are geared towards students of all levels—beginners to intermediate and advanced dancers. The goal is to help students hone their skills, whether it's for the first dance at a wedding, learning something new, or simply enjoying the company of others who are spending their time doing something they love, Dance Pros N&V has something for everyone.

“All people can do this. I promise you,” says Vlad. “You just have to have an open mind and be willing to try. You will surprise yourself.”

Dance Pros N&V specializes in Rhythm, Latin, Standard, and Smooth ballroom dancing for all ages. Classes are designed to help students extend beyond the standard moves typically found in choreography and to be confident and truly free as a dancer. Whether you are looking to join a class for a great workout or you want to find a fun way to meet new people, you'll find it all at Dance Pros N&V!

For more information, please visit danceprosnv.com

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