Looking for a class that will instill your child with social skills, physical agility, grace, promote confidence interacting with the opposite gender and be useful for various events throughout their entire life? What if I told you most if not all the equipment was supplied and the cost was about two bucks and some change per lesson? Sounds too good to be true right? Well it’s not, this is the Gold Star Youth Program ballroom dance club. ~Lindy Wilson, KAG Contributor
A little about Greenville Ballroom Dance
The Greenville Ballroom Dance club is led by ballroom professionals Roy Jordan and Dottie Schipper, who volunteer ten hours of instruction time a week. Roy has very diverse and advanced training across a variety of ballroom dance styles, having taught for over a quarter century. Dottie co-directs the program which started 14 years ago and has won various awards for community service. The club is based on an idea that started in New York inner city schools to bring ballroom dance to students from all walks of life. Watch the documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom”, currently on Netflix, if you’d like to know more,or check out the Hollywood version of the story, called Take the Lead which stars Antonio Banderas.
The only cost is currently a small “club” fee of $15/month, which is more or less to encourage accountability and regular attendance. The full costs are covered through a combination of volunteering and donations, including the competition entrance fees for advanced dancers and their costumes. That works out to about $3-4 per weekly class depending on how the month falls. Children in advanced levels take more than one lesson a week at no additional costs. Classes take place almost every week, through school breaks and are only cancelled for major holidays, so no worrying about shifting schedules–just show up!
What to expect if you attend a Greenville Ballroom Dance Lesson
When we went to our first class a few months ago, we were cheerfully greeted as my daughter was fitted for dance shoes and given a new pair in her size for FREE, along with a name tag and labeled storage box as well as a practice CD of dance music. They don’t always have every shoe size but they try to keep as much on hand as they can, all funded by donations. They only ask that the shoes remain on site stored in each child’s own container and not worn outside. There’s also skirts and various other dance apparel available, including donated high end gowns the older girls can wear for performances. However for class, any neat and casual outfit is fine. This is preferably swishy dresses or skirts that girls can move in, and for boys, slacks and a nice top. If they don’t have shoes for you, a comfortable pair of dress shoes is fine, ideally leather soled. The dress code is highly encouraged but you won’t be sent away for sweats and sneakers. (My daughter wears dresses I buy on clearance at Target for around $5, along with tights and a cardigan if it’s cold. The first day she wore some supportive sandals but she was immediately given dance shoes.) Girls should also tie back their hair and fancy updos per ballroom competition caliber are appreciated.
All school age children are welcome (approximately ages 6-18) and boys especially are welcome, because as with most dance programs, there tends to be a gender imbalance. There are quite a good amount of boys already though so your sons won’t feel like the odd man out. (Classes seem to average 40% male/60% female from what I can see). Ballroom is particularly enriching for guys as it encourages good leadership skills, confidence and for later down the road, ease in socializing with girls. The middle schooler who has the self assurance to whisk a girl around the dance floor is a guy who will never lack for female admirers! There is also the light footed dance cross training aspect that can help in sports, as in the classic “football player taking ballet” advice. For more artistically inclined kiddos, this is a physical way to learn rhythm and design.
While not heavily entrenched in music theory, learning the basic differences between ¾ time for waltzes and common 4/4 time for foxtrot/rhumba/what have you, expands their understanding in ways not otherwise experienced. The spatial reasoning, independent split second decision making and timing awareness necessary for ballroom blows me away most days, even the ones I’m fully caffeinated on! Unlike other forms of dance such as jazz or ballet, where you are given a specific routine or exercise, ballroom has its basic steps, a myriad of variations and then you are left to circle around the floor with your partner in whatever fashion you find fit.
- Classes meets Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 pm – 6 pm. Beginner classes are Monday, followed by intermediate on Tuesday and advanced on Wednesday.
- Classes meet at the Long Branch Baptist Church, 28 Bolt Street, Greenville. Arrive early for extra practice. Additional practice is available free to everyone every weekday (except Friday) from two until 6 o’clock. This practice time is highly encouraged.
- The fifteen dollar membership fee is collected every month. Dress nicely- think comfortable and neat.
- Classes are structured to accommodate all levels. Slower dances are reviewed at the beginning of class each week with basics explained for any newcomers and then more advanced dances are introduced at the end of the hour.
- Practicing at home is highly recommended. CDs are provided for guidance and YouTube is great for visual demonstrations between classes.
- Gold Star Youth had a United States Ballroom Dance winner in the pre-teen division at the National Dance Competition last Labor Day in a Orlando. You will find several pictures on Facebook. Come check it out!
The details on Greenville Ballroom Dance
When: Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays 5 – 6 pm. (Monday: Beginnings, Tuesday: Intermediate, Wednesday: Advanced)
Who: School age children (approximately 6 – 18 years-old)
Cost: $15 per month club fee.
Free classes: free workshops, free competition gowns, free practice shoes, free CDs, and two showcases at no charge per year
Where: Long Branch Baptist Church, 28 Bolt Street, Greenville
You are welcome to try Greenville Ballroom Dance for free before paying the monthly club fee.
Contact: Dottie Schipper 864.414.5500 email@example.com, or Roy Jordan: RoyJordan10 @AOL.com
Visit their Facebook page for more details.
Do you want to give Greenville Ballroom Dance a try?