WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2014/2015

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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or solo, the social dances are designed to have everyone switching partners frequently. Low-key competitions are also part of the mix. Menard was paired once with Fred Astaire Dance Studio instructor Kemar Bennett and won that week. An experienced choreographer as well as instructor, Bennett works with both female students and couples in many forms of dance including Ballroom, Latin, Hip Hop, Modern, and Contemporary. Male students are paired with female instructors. "If you can walk, you can dance," Bennett will say to those who try a free introductory lesson. In just 30 minutes, he'll teach the basic steps that are the foundation of almost all ballroom dances that are split into two categories: either smooth or rhythm. "Smooth" dances include the Foxtrot, Tango, and the different varia- tions of Waltzes. Bennett explains that couples strive to keep a straight body line as they travel widely around the dance floor. "Rhythm" dances generally stay in a more confined area, but allow for more freedom of expression through sexy hip actions and other movements suggestive of romance. Salsa, Merengue, Rumba, Cha- Cha, Mambo, and Samba are all rhythm dances. So, too, are the many variations of Swing that are enjoying a huge revival across the country. This broad category includes Jive, Jitterbug, Lindy Hop, and Shag, among others. The popularity of shows like Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance?, and various spinoffs have had a meteoric impact on the interest in ballroom dance, but can also be intimidating. Fred Astaire Dance Studio director Renzo Aida cautions viewers to keep in mind that these are slickly produced shows with professional dancers and confident, telegenic participants. Their outfits are not only dazzling, but also specially crafted to move well and accentuate each body in the most flattering way. Do You Think You Can Dance? "IF YOU CAN WALK, YOU CAN DANCE." 134 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 4 / 2 0 1 5

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