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The First Few Steps

Newcomer Night at Dancers Studio

By Libby Ryan

The ballroom dance world, to an outsider, is filled with men in suits twirling women in glittering dresses on dance floors packed with confident couples who know all the steps and flawlessly move across the floor without missing a beat. Everyone who has ever taken a dance class knows this is not true, and at Dancers Studio, Newcomer Nights aim to convince those unfamiliar with the dance world to take the first step into exploring it.

Taylor Wall, dance coordinator at Dancers Studio, said that they like to host Newcomer Nights to expand the reach of the studio. “It can be stressful for newcomers to even start to dance,” she said. “We like to give the opportunity for them to start in a relaxed and low-pressure environment.”

Newcomer Nights are hosted four times a year, the most recent having taken place on Memorial Day. Troy Lerum taught the basics of several dances, including foxtrot and tango, to a mixed group of new dancers, Dancers Studio’s regular students, and instructors.

Not only are there beginning-level lessons but also a party and a place to meet all the instructors. Wall added, “We like to encourage socializing.”

Scattered throughout the line of new dancers, Dancers Studio instructors joined the lessons and dance party, which helped make dancing even less intimidating.

A new instructor at the studio, April Johnson, said the welcoming nature of the studio shines especially strong on Newcomer Night. “It’s a really low-stress, friendly atmosphere where it’s easy to meet people.”

During Newcomer Night, like most ballroom group classes, participants rotated around from partner to partner, sometimes being matched with another newcomer and sometimes dancing with an instructor. Since many people just entering a dance community worry about finding a partner, the casual rotation of partnerships alleviated the fear of being left out in the cold without anyone to dance with.

“It’s such an awesome community. Everyone just kind of ….” Johnson trailed off and gestured a huge bear hug. “Whooosh.”

The latest Newcomer Night lessons covered enough basics to dance around the floor but not so many that the learning dancers felt overwhelmed. Afterwards, a dance party, complete with cupcakes and snacks, made chatting during dance breaks easy.

Michael Kasinkas, another Dancers Studio employee, said nights like these work to create a bigger dance market for the larger ballroom community. “Newcomer Nights are great for spreading the knowledge and love of dance,” said Kasinkas. “Getting people to enjoy dance should be a goal of all ballroom dancing.”