Your Private Dancer

Want to Emerge from Lockdown More Fleet of Foot? Online Dance Lessons Are For You

As we try to avoid infection by the COVID-19 virus, voluntary quarantine has offered many of us the gift of time. Time to learn, time for self-improvement. Time to dust off those Italian language CDs. Or maybe a YouTube video to help you fix the leaking toilet that’s been driving you nuts. 

But here’s something equally beneficial, an activity that can foster self-confidence, promote good health and, when social distancing ends, have you prepped to join the fun with terpsichorean talents sure to amaze friends and strangers alike. It’s time to learn to dance. In the privacy of your own lockdown space, of course, without pressure or embarrassment. How? Remotely.

It’s easy. You can trip the light fantastic alone (think Billy Idol in “Dancing with Myself”) but if you have a partner, better. I enlisted my wife Ofelia to join me.

Fred Astaire Dance Studio in your Home

Now, I don’t want to suggest that we’ve never danced before. At a wedding or in a lively bar where the salsa rhythms are pumping, we have been known to take to the floor, part of the crowd. But for my part, eagerness and a forgiving partner do not necessarily make up for lack of style and technique.

That’s where Vera and Vladimir Koserav, owners of Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Coral Gables, come in. Via Zoom, they came right into the house, no ballroom gowns or masks required.   

The first 30-minute class offered what Vera calls “a few basic elements,” starting with the foxtrot. Two steps forward, step to the side, feet together. And off we went, circling the Florida room while Vera through the magic of computer technology looked on with instruction and encouragement. How did we do on that first outing? Only once did Vera have to say, “Mike, your other left foot.”

The philosophy is simple. “We want to make sure you’re a good dancer no matter where you go,” says Vera, who like her husband is a former professional dancer. “Some people think they don’t need lessons because they already dance. But there is always something to learn.”

From the foxtrot we glided on to learn the basics of swing, merengue and salsa, with Vera emphasizing the importance of patterns, balance and weight transfer. After the second lesson, I waltzed away thinking I no longer had to fake it on the dance floor. With a little more practice, I may be ready for Vienna. 

Now, I am no Fred Astaire. But, when the lockdown ends, and Ofelia and I put on our dance shoes again, look out for the couple with new-found confidence. And Ofelia’s partner? He does know his left foot from his right. Mostly.

During the COVID-19 quarantine, the Fred Astaire Dance Studio is offering a free trial class. Regular Zoom classes begin at $67.50. No partner necessary. For information send email to Coral Gables Fred Astaire Dance Studio or 305-443-0085.

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Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers