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DailyTidings.com
  • Stepping out to dance

    More people are learning the moves
  • It's pretty inexpensive to learn to dance in the Rogue Valley. There's a lesson every day somewhere and willing partners ready to take your hand, no matter whether you have two left feet or moves like Mick Jagger.
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    • Lessons
      Ashland Parks and Recreation offers beginning classes in swing, waltz, nightclub two-step, tango, foxtrot, rumba or cha cha now through May 14. There also are intermediate classes. The cost is $20 ...
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      Lessons
      Ashland Parks and Recreation offers beginning classes in swing, waltz, nightclub two-step, tango, foxtrot, rumba or cha cha now through May 14. There also are intermediate classes. The cost is $20 for three sessions. Call 541-488-5340 to register or visit www.ashlandparksandrec.org for more information.

      The Evergreen Ballroom is holding a Dance Lover's Ball hosted by Cori Grimm from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at 6088 Crater Lake Ave., Central Point. The cost is $15-$20. Call 541-826-8000 or visit www.evergreenballroom.com.
  • It's pretty inexpensive to learn to dance in the Rogue Valley. There's a lesson every day somewhere and willing partners ready to take your hand, no matter whether you have two left feet or moves like Mick Jagger.
    So what's your excuse? asks Cori Grimm, 42, who teaches ballroom, Latin and swing classes Tuesday nights through Ashland Parks and Recreation. A set of three one-hour group sessions at The Grove in Ashland costs $20.
    On a recent Tuesday night, there are about 40 people gathered on the wooden dance floor, some with a partner, some solo. January is peak season for dance lessons, says Grimm, who has been teaching in the Rogue Valley since 2004.
    "People have their New Year's resolutions," she says, smiling. It's also cold outside, making it inviting to come inside for socializing and exercise. And she has a few new students who wandered in because they have lost their spouse to death or divorce.
    "They are in transition," she says. "But it's OK because this is a welcoming, non-threatening place. It's friendly, but it's not a pick-up place."
    When Grimm straps on her headset microphone, her dance students settle down to listen to her explain the salsa steps that come next.
    Then the music starts and everybody does his or her best.
    "Everyone is nervous at the start," says Grimm, who also teaches at the Evergreen Ballroom in Central Point, which is owned by her dad, Bill Grimm. "But if you're patient, if you don't expect to be on 'Dancing with the Stars' right away and if you start at the beginning, you will dance and have a good time."
    She also recommends that budding dancers wear comfortable clothing and shoes that will not stick to the wooden floor and will stay on their feet when they walk backward.
    On this night, a few women kick off their sandals and are moving around the floor barefoot. One man walks into the room wearing tennis shoes and holding a spare pair of tennis shoes. Tucked inside one of the shoes is a tin of Altoids.
    After a few turns, about half the students in the class rotate to another partner. They introduce themselves and the music begins again.
    Couples who only want to dance together do learn, says Grimm, but not as quickly as the ones willing to experiment with a new partner. That's because many people in the rotating group are experienced dancers, so she says it's almost like getting a mini private lesson with many teachers.
    She demonstrates to her students the proper dance frame, the way to hold torso and arms to lead or be led. If couples have a good connection, they can move together even if it's against the beat, she says. If they're not working as a team, she compares it to sandpaper: One goes one way, the other goes the other way and it's irritating.
    She says that people learn in different ways. She teaches preteens ballroom dancing at Ashland's Willow Wind Community Learning Center, inspired by the documentary "Mad Hot Ballroom." She also offers private lessons through her company, Up and Dancing (www.upanddancing.com).
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