learn to dance
Fred Astaire Dance Studio opens
Looking for a hobby that is sure to add some sparkle to your life? Try ballroom dancing. A new Fred Astaire Dance Studio has opened in Lake Oswego and franchise owners Jan Lampee and Alex Aillon are eager to share the fun of ballroom dancing.
Aillon serves as the main instructor. He began dancing at age 18, and went through the rigorous training to become a Fred Astaire instructor, which he has been for the past 10 years.
After her husband died, Lampee enrolled in dance classes as a way to get keep connected socially. Aillon was her instructor and the two developed a wonderful relationship.
Friends started suggesting we open a dance studio, and the more we talked about it, the more it sounded like a good idea, she said. That was five years ago; the business has grown, leaving inadequate room on the dance floor.
The studio has relocated from Portlands Pearl District. The former studio not only lacked space for dancers, but parking was an issue, too, so Lampee and Aillon sought space better suited for their needs. They found a perfect spot at 6520 S.W. Rosewood St. off Boones Ferry Road near I-5 and built a state-of-the-art dance studio, complete with computerized audio, video and lighting, a large ballroom for group lessons, competitions and performances and a small ballroom, perfect for private parties and lessons. The ballrooms have specially constructed flexible flooring, important to ensure dancers safety.
Aillon focuses on dance instruction, along with his wife, Jessi and two other instructors. Lampee takes care of the business side of the operation.
Lampee explained that students begin with an introduction to all six dance styles offered: waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, swing and foxtrot. They receive two private lessons and one group session and then determine which styles they would like to study in more depth.
You select which groups you wish to dance with, she said. The teachers work individually with students and with a partner, and you switch partners, which adds to the social aspect. Changing partners also ensures dancers can lead or follow partners other than their spouse.
It is a safe place to socialize as a single or couple community, Lampee said. We will have about three shows a year and our recitals are professionally choreographed.
Dancers can come as often as they wish, and many come as often as four to six times a week. A dance party is held each Friday for students and a special exhibition and instruction event is planned the last Friday of each month.
The public is invited to attend a special event of dance instruction and general dancing to be held at 8 p.m. Feb. 26. To learn more visit fredastaire.com/portland or call the studio at 971-255-1918.
The studio is open 2-9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.