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December 19, 2007 > Dance for the Holidays

Dance for the Holidays

By Shari Wargo

Twas the night before a big holiday celebration and while the children were nestled all snug in their beds, visions of a guest appearance on "Dancing with the Stars" filled mom and dad's heads.

When was the last time you danced? This year, avoid the awkward feeling of inadequate dance moves and allow yourself to go out and have fun with confidence in what you're doing. It's the end of December, and with that comes holiday parties and events followed by a New Years outing. With all of these parties and events coming up, an added step you can take to be prepared is last minute dance lessons.

By going to a club or dance studio for drop-in lessons you will be able to learn the dance of your choice without the time commitment of a series of classes. Drop-in classes at clubs are normally at set times in the evening and are self-contained, meaning that you would not have to have been at the class the week before or the week after to understand what is going on. Clubs also offer drop-in for beginners, intermediate, and advanced, as well as a social dance time after class where you can practice your moves in the safety of a fun learning environment rather than showing up to a party, trying to remember what you learned.

Some clubs in the nearby area offering drop-in classes are: The Saddle Rack, the Starlite Dance Club, and Premier Dance Studio.

The Saddle Rack:

A Country Western themed nightclub which opened in Fremont in 2003, The Saddle Rack offers live band concerts, an oxygen bar, food, a "margarita chair", a mechanical bull, and a large dance floor for anyone age 21 and older. They offer dance lessons from 7:30 - 9 p.m. with a $5 cover charge Wednesdays and Thursdays; there is a $10 cover charge on Fridays. Dance lessons are set to Country music, but some moves are more traditional and given a Country spin. These lessons will come in handy if you go to The Saddle Rack New Years party, or to adapt to your own dancing style for the holidays.

Premier Ballroom:

Premier Ballroom was established in Fremont in 1995. They offer drop-in dance lessons Thursdays - Sundays in 2-Step, Chinese Tango, International Foxtrot, Rumba, Hustle, and Cha Cha. Classes generally cost $11, but ladies receive a discounted price of $5 on Thursdays and Fridays if they arrive before 9 p.m. The ballroom has over 9,000 square feet of cushioned maple floor for dancing, and floor-to-ceiling mirrors so you can perfect your movements.

Starlite Dance Club:

Starlite Dance Club in Sunnyvale has three different areas for various dances called the club, the cafˇ and the ballroom. Starlite offers their studio for dance practice for $10 per couple per hour. The dance club offers social dancing, private lessons, and series dance instruction daily, and drop-in lessons Thursday - Sunday in Salsa, Argentine Tango, Swing, and the Hustle to name a few. Most of their drop-in classes for beginners start at 7:15, followed by an intermediate then advanced class. General dance usually starts at about 9 p.m. Starlite Dance Club has a no partner required system, and an informative dance etiquette page on their website, which TCV recommends for anyone going out dancing for the holidays. The website,, will give you tips on how to decline a dance and what type of attire to wear.

At dance studios, drop-ins are allowed during regular season lessons, and so are not always self-contained as in at a club. The cost for drop-in at a studio usually averages at $15 per hour or session drop-in. Some studios such as Step 2 This and Arthur Murray offer a free trial session for first time attendees to their studio, and other studios will offer a discounted drop-in rate for first time attendees. Also, forms such as hip hop or ballet are available at some of these studios and not at clubs.

Arthur Murray Dance Studio:

Arthur Murray Dance Studio prides itself on being the "leader in ballroom dance since 1912." Arthur Murray is known for breaking dance forms into parts to create easy-to-follow steps and progression for beginning dancers to follow and accomplish. Now, Arthur Murray is a franchised dance studio that can be found worldwide. The Arthur Murray location in Hayward is co-owned by Chris Lynam and his wife, Daisey. At Arthur Murray, both private and group lessons are available in various styles of dance.

Some of the dances taught at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Hayward are Fox Trot, Swing, Waltz, Samba, Mambo, Freestyle, Hustle, Rumba, Tango, Merengue, Cha Cha, and Mambo. Arthur Murray also has different programs available for new students. If a student doesn't know which dance they want to learn, they are able to get a sampling of many types of dance - private and group instruction - to round out their knowledge. First time guests at Arthur Murray can enjoy a private session with a new student instructor rather than simply dropping into a large class. In a private session, an instructor can concentrate on areas of your choice and create lessons specific to individual dance needs. There is also social dance time at Arthur Murray where you can practice your new moves in a social setting while your personal trainer is nearby if you should need some help.

Step 2 This Dance Studio:

Step 2 This Dance Studio in Fremont is owned by Rhonda Balajadia, who has extensive experience in cheerleading, body building and fitness, choreography and dance competitions, and teaching. At Step 2 This, instructors work to give high quality training and create a solid foundation for all ages to meet their personal dance goals. This studio believes that training takes time and depends on the individual. Instructors mentor students and highlight the benefits of dance to well-being and healthy habits. Step 2 This offers classes Monday- Thursday in Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Lyrical, Modern, Hip-Hop, and Fitness. These classes are usually held on a semester or term basis, but new attendants can try out a lesson for free.

Why would you want to learn hip hop or ballet for a holiday event? We aren't saying you should be a ballerina or a hip hoper, but the principles you take from these lessons may help your own dancing. The point of getting lessons after all is to prepare yourself for the fact that you will be dancing in the near future and these classes will serve as a warm up. By learning hip hop, you will be more loose and comfortable; ballet helps gain strength, posture, and grace in your movements.

More information about clubs and dance studios are listed below, along with some of upcoming classes. Take this opportunity to dazzle everyone at your holiday event or New Years outing and take advantage of free trials or drop-in classes. Whether your goal is to loosen up and improve your form before the big event, or to learn a new dance form to show at a party, these locations have you covered. Who knows, you may decide to continue to take dance lessons as a part of your social calendar while improving your metabolism, health, flexibility... and have fun.

The Saddle Rack

Wednesday, Dec 26
7:30 - 9 p.m.
Watermelon Crawl and 10-Step
Cover: $5

Thursday, Dec 27
7:30 - 9 p.m.
Cowgirl Twist and West Coast Swing
Cover: $5

Friday, Dec 28
7:30 - 9 p.m.
Swingin' Jeans and Colorado Cha Cha
Cover: $10

42011 Boscell Rd., Fremont
(510) 979-0477

Premier Ballroom Dance Studio

Thursday, Dec 20 & 27
Lessons: 8 - 9 p.m.
Dance: 9 - 11 p.m.

Friday, Dec 21 & 28
Lessons: 8 - 9 p.m.
Dance: 9 p.m. - 12:50 a.m.

Saturday, Dec 22
American Tango
Lessons: 8 - 9 p.m.
Dance: 9 p.m. - 12:50 a.m.

Sunday, Dec 23
Lessons: 7 - 8 p.m.
Dance: 8 - 11 p.m.

4181 Cushing Parkway, Fremont
Thursday - Sunday
General Admission: $11 (call for specials)
(510) 770-1178

Starlite Dance Club

Friday, Dec 21

Beginning West Coast Swing
7:15 - 8 p.m.

Beginning Salsa
8:30 - 9 p.m.

Saturday, Dec 22
Hustle Dance
8 - 8:45 p.m.

Sunday, Dec 23
Beginning Salsa
7 - 7:45 p.m.

Thursdays - Sundays
General Dance
9 p.m.

1160 N. Fair Oaks Ave (at Tasman Dr), Sunnyvale
(408) 745-7827
Cover: $10 - $12
For more class times visit

Step 2 This Dance Studio
Monday - Friday
Classes Monday - Thursday
Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Lyrical, Modern, Hip-Hop, and Fitness
37263 Fremont Blvd., Fremont

Arthur Murray Dance Studio
Monday - Saturday
Private and group lessons and dance parties in variety of dance styles
22445 Foothill Blvd., Hayward
(510) 537-8706

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