Ballroom Dance Club Brings the Beat to the Hallways

Lila Epstein ’10

At a regular professional studio, a ballroom dance lesson can cost up to $75 for only 45 minutes. However, Anya Kostenko ’12 and Anastasia Kulikova ’11 are bringing the same instruction to Staples students for free! The two dancers started the Ballroom Dance Club, which meets every Thursday after school on the second floor bridge in the hallway.

“We go to a ballroom dance school, and we wanted to open up a club at Staples to share what we know and teach others,” Kostenko said.

Kostenko and Kulikova have both taken professional lessons and and plan on carrying out their expertise throughout the student body. However, they only knew the female steps of the dances. According to Kulikova, they had to learn the male steps in order to teach all members of the club.

The members of the club do not make up any of their own steps. This is because they use the French Fred Astaire dances, which have specific patterns of steps that are pre-written.  The club dances both smooth and rhythm dances, including the Waltz, Cha Cha, Rumba, and the Hustle. Yet, Kostenko noted that the Hustle is not always considered a ballroom dance.

Each meeting consists of the members pairing off to dance, and peer-editing the dances of other pairs. The dancers listen to the music for the different dances off CDs that Kostenko brings and plays on her laptop. Many of the girls have to learn the male steps because not many boys partake in the club to perform them.

“A lot of the guys are like ‘ew dancing’ but I think it’s really cool when a guy can dance,” Kostenko said.

While Kostenko and Kulikova are experienced dancers, they encourage students of all abilities to join them and learn even more.

“Many people claim that ‘I can’t dance,’ but many people are total beginners. It doesn’t matter if they can’t dance at all,” Kostenko said.

Tanling Tsao ’10, a member of the club, describes herself as a “total beginner,” and says she has never felt uncomfortable or intimidated dancing during any of the meetings.

“It just sounded fun. It’s something different,” Tsao said.

Kostenko and Kulikova are  enjoying teaching ballroom dance to their new students, and hope that many more will sign up in the near future.

“It’s something different. It’s productive and it’s fun,” Kostenko said.