Last updated: February 03. 2014 10:23AM - 666 Views
By Mary Therese Biebel mbiebel@civitasmedia.com

Janet Cecchini will lead couples through waltz, fox trot, salsa, cha cha, swing and tango.
Janet Cecchini will lead couples through waltz, fox trot, salsa, cha cha, swing and tango.
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What: Ballroom dance classes

Where: Wilkes-Barre YMCA, 40 W. Northampton St., Wilkes-Barre

When: 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. Fridays for six weeks beginning Feb. 7

Pre-register: Call 570-823-2191 or visit wbymca.org

Cost: $110 per couple for YMCA family members; $120 per couple for members; $150 for non-members


The two main styles of ballroom dancing are American and International. American style is danced primarily in the United States and is not as standardized as International style, which is known worldwide. In the United States, American style is practiced more for social dancing, while International style is primarily seen in competitions.

In American style, the two categories are Smooth and Rhythm, and in International style the categories are Standard and Latin. For the most part, the Standard and Smooth categories contain the same dances, and the Latin and Rhythm categories contain basically the same dances.

American Style, Smooth includes the waltz, tango, foxtrot and Viennese waltz.

American Style, Rhythm includes the cha cha, rumba, East Coast swing, West Coast swing, bolero, mambo and samba.

International Style, Standard includes the waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, foxtrot and quickstep.

International Style, Latin includes the cha cha, samba, rumba, paso doble and jive.

SOURCE: justdanceballroom.com


Quick, name the five most popular ballroom dances in the world. … If you find yourself playing Trivial Pursuit or in the hot seat on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” you might want to memorize these fabulous five:

• Foxtrot

• Waltz

• Rumba

• Cha Cha

• Swing

Dancers skilled in these five dances can dance with partners from any part of the world.

SOURCE: justdanceballroom.com

A couple tangos to the theme from the movie “Psycho,” ending the dance with the man appearing to stab the woman.

On another occasion that same man dances a fiery paso doble with another partner. They’re dressed as vampires, and their grand finale shows sharp fangs sinking into a neck.

If you’re a fan of “Dancing With the Stars,” you’ve probably seen those Derek Hough specials along with many other theatrical performances, including some that capitalize on the athletic skills of former Olympic champions.

But don’t let any of that intimidate you.

The Wilkes-Barre YMCA has set up a six-week series of ballroom-dance classes for beginners, and the instructor promises to start with something simple.

“I always start with salsa,” course instructor Janet Cecchini of Swoyersville said, explaining the steps aren’t too difficult and the music should be familiar to many people. “It’s encouraging to start with that, and then cha cha builds off of that.”

The six weeks of Friday-evening classes also will cover swing, tango, foxtrot and waltz.

“Mom and Dad can come out and enjoy a nice evening, improve their coordination and skill, but mostly have fun,” Lauranel Banks, wellness director at the Y, said.

While not everyone who comes will be a parent, those who are will be able to bring their children. Child care will be provided for children ages 6 months to 12 years, and there will be an age-appropriate gym class for the youngsters.

The ballroom classes for the adults, set for 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., have been filling up quickly with pairs of student dancers, Banks said last week. If you find the class you want is full, she said, don’t be discouraged. She expects to arrange another series for couples and a class for people who want to enroll as individuals.

“I’m looking for ways to engage and enrich the community,” Banks said.

If you study ballroom dancing, she added, your new skills may provide a lifetime of enjoyment. “It’s the perfect way to add excitement to a relationship, start a new one or just grab a friend for a fun evening.”

Participants may wear any kind of clothing or shoes they find comfortable, Cecchini said.

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