“Ode to Svet” by Mollie Lawrence

“Ode to Svet” – By Mollie Lawrence, one of his students.

Svet has been my dance instructor for the past year at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Morristown. It has been a joy and an inspiration to learn from him.

What makes it so, you may ask?

Well, to start with, Svet is a talented dance instructor, and this means that he is an excellent dancer, but also, he knows how to teach! Svet is skilled at knowing how explain concepts and to uniquely inspire each of his students to learn, and to stretch their capabilities. He holds a high bar for his students and believes they are capable.

You might expect, as I do, that these talents are a “baseline” of what should be offered by Fred Astaire Dance Studios, as they take pride in offering the highest quality of dance instruction vs. their competitors. Their teacher-training program includes development in how to teach, explain, inspire as well as encourage students to push themselves. I believe Svet absolutely delivers on the excellence we would expect from a Fred Astaire Dance Studio.



However, what Svet has to offer goes beyond what you would expect. Perhaps it is due to an excellent upbringing and good genetics … but he’s definitely got something extra. Here are some of the personal attributes that allow Svet to deliver such a great experience:

Svet is Respectful. Svet realizes that his students are people with families, professions, and degrees. He never speaks down to them. He realizes they are “whole people” with full lives, priorities and responsibilities that go beyond learning to dance. And, although he doesn’t ask for it directly, he also commands the same respect from his students. This is notable given his young age.

Svet is Authentic. For me to have respect for my teacher … any teacher, I have to see and know that they are authentic. Authenticity requires being real, being comfortable with personal imperfection, showing vulnerability, and being able to laugh at the human condition, their own as well as their students. Svet’s vulnerability, along with a generous dose of fearlessness, is apparent as he seeks to develop his English speaking skills. He is certainly able to make himself understood, but he is transparent as well as humbled and humored about what he doesn’t know. This is a charm! And, it earns respect and admiration from his students! (Not to mention, students listen more carefully to be sure they understand him!) He is curious, asks questions, he listens, and he seeks to learn and grow himself… just as he wants his students to learn and grow in their dance skills.

Svet has a great sense of humor and wit! This is an incredibly powerful skill especially when paired with the first two attributes of Respectfulness and Authenticity! He observes, listens and connects the dots, and doesn’t miss a trick! His timing in dance, as well as in humor is impressive and always has impact! He is an interesting and funny guy!

Truly, it is joy to learn from him!