Studio invites kids to put on their dancing shoes
Former youth student Charlotte Vonstein rehearses with instructor Mark Thomas at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio. | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
NAME: Fred Astaire Dance Studio
SPECIALIZING IN: instruction in all styles of ballroom dance for all ages
LOCATION: 212 Burr Ridge Parkway, Burr Ridge
CONTACT: fredastaireburrridge.com, (630) 455-0665
Updated: October 7, 2012 6:16AM
BURR RIDGE — Amarik and Shveta Singh signed up for ballroom dance lessons as a way to spend time together, away from their three children. But it wasn’t long before two of the three were joining the Burr Ridge couple as they learned to swing, cha-cha and rumba.
Dancing is a family affair for the Singhs, whose daughters, Simryn, 7, and Karina, 4, are among a growing number of children and teens learning to dance at the Fred Astaire studio in Burr Ridge.
“It has built confidence,” Shveta said of the effect dance has had on her two girls.
That’s just one of many benefits that dancing can have on participants of any age, said Michael Micek, manager of the 5-year-old Burr Ridge franchise.
“Fred Astaire typically does not have youth dance,” said instructor Margie Leigh.
But requests kept coming in from parents and young people.
“For some reason, our studio has boomed,” he said.
The studio has responded with a new program, led by Leigh, which invites children and teens ages 5 to 17 to take private lessons, participate in group classes, perform and even compete.
Students in the youth program at Fred Astaire will learn 12 styles of dance, including salsa, samba and hustle, during the 36-week session. Several packages are available, each of which includes dance shoes and a Fred Astaire track suit. Children can sign up for group lessons only, a formation team or for the private lesson package, which includes participation in group and formation classes.
Along with the proper dance steps, children in the youth program will also learn etiquette.
“They’re going to learn manners,” Micek said, such as the proper way to sit at a table, the proper use of silverware and how to ask someone to dance. “We call that ballroom etiquette.”
Youth classes begin this month and continue through May.
Meanwhile, adult classes continue six days a week, day and evening, at Fred Astaire in Burr Ridge.
“We actually teach 23 different dances,” Leigh said.
There are classes that focus on fitness and others that prepare couples for the dance floor.
“Everyone has a different goal in mind,” Leigh said, but Micek believes that no matter the reason for learning to dance, one thing is true of all of his students.
“There is a little performer in everybody,” Micek said. ~.