Teaching a variety of dance techniques, Jeff Allen's Latin and Ballroom Dance Studio, 332 Atwood Ave, has reopened its doors and is ready to help people across the city, and state, to prepare for …
Teaching a variety of dance techniques, Jeff Allen's Latin and Ballroom Dance Studio, 332 Atwood Ave, has reopened its doors and is ready to help people across the city, and state, to prepare for their wedding, ignite a newfound passion for dance or just provide a taste of something new.
“When I look at someone I see vectors,” Allen said in explanation of how he views the human body and the way it moves. “I see perpendicular vectors. I see a spine. I know it will move perpendicularly to the ground from one place to the next place. That’s forward, and back is the opposite that. Sideways is always dictated by the plane of your shoulders. “
Everything you do is in proportion to your body, he explained. The simple act of stepping forward takes on a new light when being taught by a master of movement. Despite walking with a cane himself, Allen quickly showed his skill in teaching by simply offering a few words to his students that make them take a new look at their bodies, movements and their own center of gravity. With each simple instruction you could see backs straighten and understanding of their own movements grow.
“There are more things to do with the hands in partner dancing than to do with the feet,” Allen said with a smile. “Everybody that walks in my door, or has been to another dance studio, thinks ‘show me where to put my feet and I’ll learn how to dance,’ but your feet are only a piece of it. You need to know how your body is made. In essence if you move away from your center then you’re moving out of control.”
With classes teaching wedding dancing, salsa, bachata, hustle, West coast swing and more Allen’s studio is run by the award-winning dance teacher himself. Having won numerous awards in dance and teaching since competitions since the 70’s, Allen has a long list of trophies, competitions and wins under his belt. He is also one few accredited national examiners with the Dance Vision International Dancers Association (DVIDA) and Pro-DVIDA in the state.
“In every other country in order to teach dancing you need legitimate credentials,” Allen explained. “I’m not trying to throw shots, even if I kind of am, but elsewhere you have to pass very difficult examinations to prove you know what you’re doing. I’m an examiner. I’m the one that can give that exam or present the credentials if they pass.”
Allen has written multiple books on the subject of dance, including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Ballroom Dancing,” “Quickstart to Social Dancing,” “Quickstart To Swing,” and several others. In his classes he focuses on the important of fundamentals, your physical body and how it influences footwork and, for some classes, how to work with a partner. This approach to teaching dance through the physics of how your body moves, rather than where your feet should go, clearly resonates with his students.
“We had been taking lessons for six years,” said John Lischio. “This was our first lesson back in a while.”
“It was great coming back,” his wife Judy followed up. “It was a bit to get going and find the balance again. We’ve taken other classes here and enjoyed them all. We’ve done hustle and cha-cha too.”
Feeling, Allen explained, is the essence of learning dance. “As a dancer you have to develop that connection to what you’re doing. You have three partners at the same time. One, your feet, two, the music, and three, the person you showed up with. The more you obey the laws of physics, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and know that the more pressure you put on the floor the better quality of lift and carriage of your body. Dancing is a marvelous study in the gain and loss of pressure.”
Whether you’re preparing for a wedding, trying to bond with your partner or just looking for a new way to stay active, dance may be the option for you. Offering a variety of classes, boot camps, and packages, those interested in seeing what else this small business has to offer can find more information on its website, www.jeffallendance.com.