Our senior editor visits Step by Step Dance and learns to two step just in time for fall festival season.
BY SAVANNAH WASZCZUK | PHOTOS BY BRANDON ALMS
When I was 8 years old, my family moved from a city in southern New Jersey to a farm on a giant hill in Seymour. Seymour brought many new
including driving on gravel roads, falling asleep to the sound of crickets and attending an annual fall festival complete with a few nights of country
town square. This festival is the Seymour Apple Festival, and it’s celebrating its 43rd year this year (read more about it on p. 116).
I was always an outgoing kid, so I never had a problem running around the roped-off dance area and busting a move like there was no tomorrow. But as I got older, I started to realize that the dance floor wasn’t just a giant playground to work off all the sugar from those caramel apples. There were older couples out there—quite a few of them—and their dance moves were impressive. Soon, I became too shy to get out there and dance. In honor of this issue’s “Fall Festivals” cover story, we thought it would be fun to send me to a dance class where I could learn the proper technique for country dancing. I called Step by Step Dance, and I was soon at the Beginners Two-Stepping class dancing my way to a good time.
Step by Step Dance Studio has been teaching 417-landers how to two-step their way around the dance floor
offers various types of swing dancing, ballroom dancing, line dancing, country dancing and even Argentine Tango. Owner Kelly Frey teaches many of the classes herself but also works with a handful of other instructors.
Embarrassing fact No. 1: I showed up at Step by Step Dance Studio in gym clothes, just as I do for every other Get Fit class. But no one else was in gym clothes—not even close! There I was wearing my ready-to-sweat gear in a sea of normally dressed dancers. I was mortified, but I learned my lesson. If you plan to take a dance
class here be sure to ask about attire.
After pushing all wardrobe embarrassment aside, me and my Nike shorts joined the group of jeans- and dress-wearing dancers at one side of the room and got to work.
First Frey taught us the basic steps of two stepping, which included us simply stepping back and forth across the studio floor saying, “Quick, quick, slow… slow…,”
coordinating fast and slow steps. We did that for several minutes, to get the feel of how your feet should move during two stepping. We eventually worked in backwards stepping, and then we paired up with partners. I didn’t have a partner, so Frey paired me up with Jeffrey Maddox, another Step by Step instructor, for most of the class.
Once we found our partners, we practiced our basic steps around the room a few times as we learned how to turn corners and move together. Frey explained the importance of having the dancers truly feeling one another’s presence and explained how the girl really has to lean into the guy. In two-stepping, the guy is the lead, and he has to be in control. It was a little awkward for me to be paired up with someone I had never met, but Maddox was great at helping me feel comfortable with the situation. Once we got basic moves down, Frey added music so we could practice our moves to the beat. Then she had us work in turns and spins, and we eventually practiced those with music as well. What was great about this class is that everything moved so slowly. I am very uncoordinated, and even I was able to get the basic moves down after a few tries. Once I finally got the feel of it, it was really enjoyable. I couldn’t help but smile as Jeffrey and I two-stepped our way around the studio.
Frey knew I was writing this piece in conjunction with the Fall Festivals story, so she threw in a special treat after we were finished two-stepping: she taught us a line dance! The entire class got in a circle, and we learned all the footwork to “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” This was a great way to loosen up and laugh after two-stepping for an hour.
From weddings to occasional nights out with friends, the chance to dance always pops up every now and again. If you’re like me and feel a bit embarrassed of the way you move, this class will definitely help boost your confidence when it’s time to get down. But that’s certainly not all the good that comes of it. “There are studies that say dance is the No. 1 thing to keep away Alzheimer’s and dementia,” Frey says. It also burns a lot of calories, of course, and can help you change up your typical workout routine. Most of all, it’s fun. Now I can’t wait to attend this year’s Seymour Apple Festival and show off my new two-stepping moves.