Just follow the ladies wearing dancing shoes as they stroll through the twilight, and you’ll find yourself in the right place.
Individuals, couples and small groups of all ages head to the recreation center. Their attire is otherwise rather informal, which makes the dance shoes stand out even more. They head to the Four Freedoms Park ballroom dance class, hosted by the Cape Coral satellite group of the nonprofit USA Dance Chapter 6049.
Inside, after checking in and paying the modest $ 6 fee for the evening lesson, they line up – men and women – along opposite walls, reminiscent of a college dance. Unlike a dance school, however, all eyes are on ballroom dance teacher Greg Kurth, co-owner of the Rhythm in Motion dance studio, who teaches these ballroom dance classes at the park.
Wearing a headset, Kurth gives a quick recap of the previous week’s lesson, then begins to explain and demonstrate tonight’s dance steps. Classes focus on one dance style per month, so classes are cumulative over the month. His teaching technique provokes laughter as he does and says things to help students remember the steps.
He shows how to make turns, then asks the students, âLadies, what is your mantra? He said: “Never …”
The women whisper in unison to complete his statement, “… let a man know you need him.” “
“That’s right – he has to pick you up after any round,” said Kurth.
While instructing the men on how to conduct, he said, âThe framework of the dance is the same as for any other dance. You can’t expect to steer, gentlemen, when the steering wheel is made of gummy worms. A flywheel is made of steel, right? So how do we do it? We keep our elbows raised on both sides.
After a few more indications, he sends the students to look for partners at the start of the music. He enthusiastically calls out the rhythms of the music to help the students stay in time. At one point in the lesson, Kurth asks the students to pull out their smartphones to film a video of him showing the dance steps so they can refer to it later for a reminder.
âGreg has been with us for a year in July,â says Carol Davis, Vice President of Cape Coral Satellite, USA Dance Chapter 6049. âWe are fortunate to have an instructor like him. “
While the typical pattern is for students to start early in classes offered by the park dance group, and then follow the instructors to more advanced classes in the studio, Kurth has at least two students who have taken a step in the opposite direction. .
âWe took private lessons with Greg at Rhythm in Motion, but then he started teaching here,â says Mary Iverson, who attends lessons with Paul Holm. âSo he told us about group lessons and USA Dance and got us involved. “
Iverson says that some months the park lessons serve as a refresher and workout for a dance style she and Holm had previously learned at the studio. Other months the classes introduce a style in which they have no previous experience.
âSometimes we combine the two,â she says. “We’re going to schedule a private lesson and double down and get more practice.”
Davis describes ballroom dancing as addicting, at least once people get over their inhibitions in trying the dance form. She says classes at the park offer advantages in this regard.
âThe hardest step in ballroom dancing is walking through the door of a dance studio for the first time,â she says. âWhen they come here they know they’re all newbies, unlike going to a studio where you’ll have people more educated in ballroom dancing. We teach the basics here, then encourage them to go out dancing and try out the different studios.
In addition to dance classes at Four Freedoms Park, the larger Chapter 6049 offers classes and workouts in Fort Myers. The group also hosts themed dance parties at dance studios and other locations in Lee and Charlotte counties, offering the chance to go dancing in a smoke-free, bar-free atmosphere.
Paid dance lessons require no commitment and are open to non-members, although joining USA Dance offers discounts on events and perks such as a magazine for members. People who attend classes or dances do not need to bring their own partner.
âWe have so many people who have lost their spouses and they’re not going anywhere because they don’t like going to bars,â Davis says. âWe alternate partners here so that they always have the chance to dance. Our mission is to promote the quality and quantity of ballroom dancing, and we do it economically and in a comfortable environment.
Davis says that potential students should understand that they won’t be ready to “Dance with the Stars” after attending a few entry-level classes, but they will have the opportunity to learn a foundation they may choose to take in. studio classes or just to practice. to have fun.
âIf you’re invited to a wedding or a class reunion, you can go there with your basic ballroom steps and look great,â she says. âAnyone can dance. If you can walk, we can make you dance.
Connect with this writer: @LauraTichySmith (Twitter)
If you are going to
What: Ballroom dancing lessons
When: 7-9 p.m. Wednesdays
Or: Parc Four Freedoms, 4818 Tarpon Court, Cape Coral
Cost: $ 6
Info: 574-0804; usadance6049.org