Time to let your inner Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers out? Why not check out Step It Up Studios Lakeside Ballroom Society at 101 A Avenue in Lake Oswego, this Saturday, February 2, at 6:00 p.m. as they host the opening party for the LO Reads program.
The event is free and includes champagne and appetizers, a group class teaching you four of the most popular social dances, followed by a demonstration by award winning dancers and time to practice what you’ve learned on the dance floor. You’ll also receive a pass for a complimentary private lesson for a later date. RSVP by February 1 to 503.744.0105.
Not sure social dancing is for you? Neither was Larry Fox. He didn’t start kicking up his heels until he was 58. Now seven years later he travels from Aloha to downtown Lake Oswego three times a week to step on to the ballroom floor at Step It Up Studios.
Fox is not alone. Step It Up has over 200 members who sign up for a combination of personal lessons, group classes and socials. Check out some of the reasons they put on their dancing shoes.
- It’s fun. For the last year and a half, Fran Dishman has been going to Step It Up Studios three to four times a week. “Everybody has so much fun and it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, if you’ve danced a lot or are somewhere in between.” Check out the film clip of the “Shall We Dance?” scene from The King and I. Even the stern-faced King of Siam, played by Yul Brynner, cracks a smile as he counts, “1-2-3” while whirling Deborah Kerr around the dance floor.
- THE INSTRUCTORS ARE TOP RATE. Owner Kristy Higgins brings over 18 years of musical theater and ballroom training into the studio. Between her and her partner, Stas Trilisky, they hold 19 dance championships. But it’s not just what they know that members value. “More importantly, they care about what they’re doing,” explains Fox. And they know how to teach.
- PERSONALIZED INSTRUCTION. Members buy packages based on the number of lessons they want and move along at their own pace. All you have to do to become a member is take your first free lesson. Sign up on their website.
- Exercise. Dancing provides a great cardio workout. When in doubt, check out the weight loss claims of recent Dancing With the Stars contestants: Gladys Knight shed 60 pounds, Chaz Bono lost 18, and Kirstie Alley claims to have lost 100 and dropped 10 dress sizes since her first appearance on the show. Depending on your tempo and the style of dance, you can burn anywhere from 130 to over 500.
- IT’S A GREAT DATE NIGHT FOR COUPLES. Mike and Sue Richmond have been dancing at Step It Up since it opened. “It’s something we can work on together,” he explains. Larry Fox agrees that partner dancing can be good for relationships. “When you move well together, it’s an exquisite experience.”
- DANCER’S HIGH. Runners don’t have the market cornered on this feeling of euphoria. Dancers can feel it too. “For me, it’s when it becomes something you do without having to think about it and you’re actually with the music, you feel like you’re flying—it’s a feeling that’s not unlike a really great downhill ski run,” explains Mike Richmond.
- COMPETITION. Last year Higgins and Trilisky traveled with eight studio members to the Caribbean Dancesport Classic Competition in Puerto Rico and ended up coming home champions. Higgins and Trilisky won first and second place awards in the Best Teacher category, Step It Up was named the top studio, and each member won the first place award in each of their divisions.
- SPECIAL OCCASIONS. Step It Up instructors often work with couples and wedding parties who want to make a good impression on the dance floor.
- PRIVATE PARTIES. Higgins also books events in her studio and has hosted rehearsal dinners, corporate parties, bar mitzvahs, and even weddings. She and her staff work with clients to tailor the event package to the client’s budget, with offerings ranging from champagne and cheese plates to sit down dinners for 150.
- CHANCE TO TRY SOMETHING NEW. At 58 Larry Fox was a latecomer to the ballroom floor but after seven years he admits, “I’m dancing at a level I never would have imagined.”
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