LAUREN WISDOM, RUN THE VALLEY STAFF WRITER
On a chilly night with ice coating portions of the parking lot, couples began to flood into the Cedar Falls Recreational Center. It was time for ballroom dance class. “I think [ballroom dancing] is a life skill,” Steve Minkel, 64, ballroom dance participant, said. “It’s like good table manners, or just how to interact in a polite society. I think ballroom dancing is kind of a lost art.”
Ballroom dancing had been offered at the Cedar Falls Recreational Center for nearly a decade, but it was recently started again. Each dance session is taught by Steve and Hilda Ostby, a local couple with a professional ballroom dancing background.
The Ostby’s have a goal of teaching the six main types of ballroom dances: waltz, tango, foxtrot, cha cha, rumba and swing. “We are giving people an opportunity to come and learn the different ballroom dances,” Hilda Ostby said.
“We want people to feel comfortable with dance. Learning is very different from actually doing.”– HILDA OTSBY
Participating in ballroom dance is a great form of cardiovascular exercise, according to ballroomdanceacademy. com.
Hilda believes that ballroom dancing not only exercises one’s body, but it also exercises one’s mind. Christine Anderson, recreational activities coordinator at the Cedar Falls Recreational Center, believes that joining a ballroom dance class is a way for people to stay active longer.
“If you took the average age of the people in that class, you’re looking at people in their 50s and 60s,” Anderson said. “So, they’re looking for things to do that are active and recreational. I don’t think there’s a lot of ballroom dancing around, and it’s a good exercise.”
The ballroom dance classes at Cedar Falls Recreational Center are for participants 18-years-old or older. If someone is interested in joining the ballroom dance sessions taught by the Ostby’s, there is an opportunity to participate as a single or as a couple. It is suggested that participants sign up ahead of time as the sessions do fill up.
“Just go,” Madison Diesburg, 23, ballroom dance participant, said. “The first step is just going in, and maybe you’ll just find the people who you love to dance with.”
Ballroom dancing at the center is offered in the fall and winter seasons.
“In previous generations, everybody knew how to dance. Everybody knew how to play cards. It was just a social interaction,” Minkel said. “Of course, now everybody’s got social media and handheld devices which kind of ruins that idea. Everybody should know how to dance.”
Minkel attends the ballroom dance classes with the Ostby’s at 7 p.m. every Thursday with his wife, Betsy. The couple also takes private dance lessons with the Ostby’s.
“Don’t be afraid, don’t be intimidated, nobody’s going to judge you,” Minkel said. “In our group that we’re in, we’re probably the worst dancers in the room. Everybody else has got years or decades of experience and we’ve had a year. We’ve made quite a bit of progress. But, don’t be intimidated by it because everyone encourages you.”
For more information, go to cedarfalls.com or contact Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.