This Somers Teen and His Partner Are Award-Winning Dancers

A Somers teenager and his partner put on a powerhouse show in some of the world’s most elite dance contests.

When not hanging with friends or doing schoolwork, Luke DeBellis and Abigail Gekker rehearse for three to six hours, five to six days a week for high-profile Latin and ballroom dance competitions. That persistence has paid off: In mid-March, Luke, 17, of Somers, and his partner Abby, 15, of Manalapan, NJ, clinched 8th place in the 21-and-under category at the U.S. National Dance Championship in Provo, Utah. With unwavering skill and stamina, the pair also made it to the quarterfinals of the Latin Youth Championship, ranking 17th out of 82 youth contestants.

Luke and Abby started dancing together during COVID, and thanks to their focus, discipline, and talent, this summer the pair will head to the Empire Open Dance Festival in Jersey City, hosted by international ballroom sensations Heidi and Donnie Burns; they also have their sights set on representing the U.S. at the Worlds Competition in the Netherlands this fall.

Courtesy of Anthony DeBellis

Their recipe for continued success: “Simply practice, practice, practice, practice.”

Luke, a former youth baseball player, says family members persuaded him to exchange his cleats for wing-tips. “I would always say, ‘No, no, no, no, I don’t want to try,’” he says. But once he gave dancing a whirl, he was hooked, and he’s grateful to be sharing the floor with Abby, who has been dancing since she was 2.

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Photo by @thekidwiththecameras

When he’s not practicing, Luke keeps his head in the game. “I’m always repeating the actions in my mind,” he says. “That’s what really separates winners and people who just want to be good, because what you have to strive for is to challenge yourself mentally.” Abby says, “We always strive to have a goal for ourselves and that really helps.”

Luke DeBellis and Abigail Gekker and at the United States National Amateur DanceSport ChampionshipsTo bersperorrum
Luke DeBellis and Abigail Gekker and at the United States National Amateur DanceSport Championships. Courtesy of Anthony DeBellis.

On the stage, this teen couple gives expressive, high-energy performances in cha cha, samba, rumba, paso doble, and jive, with each routine lasting about two minutes. Abby’s hand-made costumes are adorned with colorful gemstones and Swarovski crystals; Luke wears outfits that suit his body and give him “the best look while we’re on the floor,” he says. “But I think it doesn’t really matter what you wear. If you are the best dancer on the floor, you’re going to get [noticed].”

Their recipe for continued success: “Simply practice, practice, practice, practice,” says Luke. “You must wake up every day, consistently doing the same thing over and over and over again … If you find that focus, you’ll be unstoppable.”

See their fancy footwork at @officiallukeandabby.

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