Monday, January 17, 2011

Spotted: Steps on Toes, Dance Instruction, Oakland

If you’re one of the many brides or grooms out there with two left feet, or perhaps not even sure where your feet are, consider a lesson or two with Laurie Ann of Steps on Toes. Laurie started teaching social dance about 30 years ago when her partner and her, after learning Foxtrot and Jitterbug, had no place to use them as there was no real partner dance scene in the 70s except Disco. So, they mashed what they knew into one dance and styled it to fit Disco so they could go dancing. “People thought we were doing some new partner disco dance they had never seen before and asked us if we offered classes. So we started teaching!” Laurie Ann tells me. She says she’s been a teacher all her life and loved teaching dance, but her partner didn't. Laurie Ann began private lessons in her home. She was doing couples counseling and mediations at the time and also teaching self-defense classes to people with physical disabilities. When she decided to make it more of a career, she started learning more and more dances. Ultimately, she decided to target the market of people who had difficulty learning and needed a lot of special attention, which is most of us! She loves working with people individually where she can tailor her teaching to the individual needs and particular learning styles of each student.

Off weddings, Laurie Ann says, “I love them. There is something magical about weddings, and of course it's lovely to be around people in love. I use my background to teach couples how to practice without getting on each other's nerves, and a lot of the dynamics that come up with the challenge of learning to dance together are metaphors for the rest of their relationship. Couples can expect to learn what THEY want, rather than my own agenda. They may want to spend a lot of time learning how leading and following really works so they can do it the right way, or they may want to just put together something that works and looks good once, but they can't be used later on a social floor. They may come with enough lead time to get comfortable with the dance so they are just dancing, and not practicing, on their wedding day. They may come at the last minute and get one or two basic steps and learn how to make it look good. Most importantly, they'll all get advice on how to have fun with it, and to have the right attitude. It's not a dance recital, it's a metaphor for their love. When they remember that, it's guaranteed to be wonderful. In fact, none of my students have ever had anything less than a magical dance they loved.” We love this! And we love Laurie Ann: we've met her personally and can say she's full of all the spunk and energy you'll need to learn the perfect moves while having a friend teach you along the way.

1 comment:

  1. What a talented lady she is! She as helped us for years in floral designs for wine industry shows, and she really knows how to make a booth stand out with style, panache and care. She has also helped us with winemakers luncheons, creating beautiful flower arrangements and also coordinating logistics. I wish that I could create a 100 Paulinas to help me in my daily work.