BRANDON, Fla. — A local dance studio encouraged people to dance in the name of peace.
Over the weekend, Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Brandon invited people to the studios and encouraged them to wear blue and yellow.
One of their dance instructors, 23-year-old Dmytro Tkachenko, is from Ukraine. He moved to the United States about a year ago but his family is still in Ukraine. Tkachenko said his brother is studying in Poland so their mother joined his brother there. His father stayed in Ukraine, prepared to fight.
"My city is on the western border of Ukraine so we haven't been attacked yet," said Tkachenko.
His grandparents are also in Ukraine.
"I mean when everything started, I went through a lot of stages. I was in complete shock. I was shaking," said Tkachenko.
Kelle Chancellor, the owner of the Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Brandon, said she wanted to show support for Tkachenko. She described him as hardworking and dedicated. He has won numerous awards as a dancer.
The studio held a gathering on Friday. Everyone showed up to dance in the name of peace.
"Every Friday night, we hold a social that gives people a chance to come in and practice their dancing. We wanted to do something special for him to show him that we are supporting him and his American family here so we asked everybody to wear blue and yellow and come and dance," said Kelle Chancellor.
Tkachenko said he appreciates the support.
"It helps a lot because it's hard because I don't have family here. I have Ukrainian friends here and I have American friends here. I don't have family so it's hard to find somebody you can put your head on their shoulder and cry," he said.
"It means a lot. Our students here, they're just the best. They help me feel supported and loved," he added.