Moving to music with a seemingly inner rhythm, ballroom dancers embody grace and elegance as they glide and swirl across a room. Ballroom dancing uplifts the heart and captures the soul of dance as every emotion is expressed without a single word ever spoken. Originally, ballroom dancing got its name from being performed in ballrooms. Not surprising, these dances were almost exclusively enjoyed among the elite. Today anyone can enjoy ballroom dancing and many do so for many different reasons. The beauty of ballroom dancing is so fanciful that it has a transformative quality. Connecticut residents are fortunate in that there are many ballroom dance studios located throughout this fair state.
North American Dance Academy
127 Pearl St.
Enfield, CT 06082
Sara Schilling is the owner of and an instructor at North American Dance Academy. “The studio hosts competitive dancers, beginner students of all ages and couples preparing for their weddings,” said Sara. She is proud to claim that she and her dance partner (also her fiancée) are the only Connecticut couple of instructors to have been in four World Championship events. “It’s an honor just to be included in these competitions,” she explained. While many studios offer ballroom dance lessons to couples who are about to be married, Sara has also offered lessons to father/daughter couples for that special wedding day dance. “Our studio is also unique in that we teach the Trinity College Ballroom Team and the University of Connecticut Ballroom Team. These colleges compete against other colleges,” she said. Open seven days a week, this studio opens its doors to the public every Saturday and Sunday evening. For a small fee, date night and fun night were never so affordable.
11 S. Main St.
West Hartford, CT 06107
Ask Nicole Lampros, owner and dance instructor at Van Dance, why more and more people are signing up for ballroom dance lessons and she’ll tell you there are many different reasons. “Some people take lessons to build up their confidence; some do it as a physical fitness routine,” she said, adding that people would much rather dance than do exercises. “We have clients who come for lessons before going on a cruise or traveling to a Latin American country. They want to be able to dance without feeling self-conscious.” She also mentioned that ballroom dancing changes people’s lives. “People forget their ailments; they become more energized and when a woman is in a dress and heels and in a gentleman’s arms, well – she is transformed.” All the instructors at this studio are certified by the National Dance Council of America.
Ballroom Dancin Fools
2351 Boston Post Road
Guilford, CT 06437
When it comes to understanding the popularity of historic ballroom dancing in this 21st century, Laurent Mullen, owner and instructor of Ballroom Dancin Fools, has a good explanation. “People see it on television and YouTube, and they want to do it too,” he said. As for Laurent, he started his dance career in ballet and segued into ballroom dancing. Many wedding couples seek Laurent because he will choreograph a song for you and your parents. Your first dance together will be a memorable one after meeting with Laurent. “Couples can bring their favorite song, or choose one from our library,” said Laurent, who added that all lessons are one-on-one individualized instruction. “I like to videotape the couple as they progress and they take the video with them,” said the prize-winning dance instructor, who has appeared on stage, television and film.
Vitti’s Dance Studio
10 Precision Road
Danbury, CT 06810
Vitti is proud to be an independent ballroom dance instructor. As a matter of fact, he likes to point out that he’s so not a part of a chain that he likes to be thought of as the “anti-name-brand studio.” One of the oldest dance studios in Connecticut, he recalls how he first became infatuated with ballroom dance. “At the age of seven, my mother sent me and my brother to ballroom dance lessons,” he happily recalled. According to the dance instructor, he and his brother got into competing within the state and then went on to compete nationally, winning national championships in New York, Philadelphia and Miami. “Anyone can learn,” he said convincingly.
Maria Fiora’s Dance Downtown
201 Summer St.
Stamford, CT 06901
While studying architecture in college, Maria Fiora taught dance to help pay tuition. She soon realized that dance was her real calling and has been dancing ever since. Having danced competitively, and having won division awards, she enjoys making clients feel comfortable while learning to dance. “Ballroom dancing is all about confidence, physical fitness and social skills,” she said. Passionate about dance, she also believes in the wellness healing quality of dance.
Joanne Greco Rochman is the arts editor of The Fairfield County Review, a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Republican-American and Hersam-Acorn Publications. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.