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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

PTSO sponsors formal dance lessons for students

When sophomore Shivani Chadha showed up at the Small Gym on Jan. 31, she and about 140 other students didn’t know what to expect from two professional dancers who had been hired to teach them to dance “properly.” After instruction and practice, she left with a better knowledge of dances like Merengue and foxy.

Besides these two dances, the instructor, Raul De la Torre, and his partner Stephanie McShurley from Cheyrl Burk dance studio in San Francisco taught students various dance styles salsa and swing dance on another ballroom dancing event in the Small Gym on Jan. 24.

The idea to teach students formal dancing started at a PTSO meeting when a parent said students simply don’t know how to do formal dancing and need to be taught. Assistant principal Karen Hyde asked PTSO for a grant, and they gladly sponsored an event to introduce different styles of dancing to students.

De la Torre taught students step by step some simple moves of each dance and had the students repeat them in different combinations, rotating around the gym.

“[The dance] was pretty straight forward and I thought it was really fun. It was an easy pace to follow and I pretty much got it on my first time,” said sophomore Vineet Jain. “I would definitely go to another session.”

After students learned a couple of steps, the instructors asked everyone to rotate partners so they could get a chance to dance with different people. This allowed students to become more familiar with one another and make new friends.

“I was expecting something really exciting like salsa or tango or something of the likes, but the steps were really easy and repeating them over and over again was kind of mundane,” said junior Grace Kim.

The two-hour dance session was extremely popular among the students because many teachers offered extra credit for attending the event. Seventy students attended the first session on Jan. 24 while 140 went on Jan. 31. On Jan. 24, the students used the Small Gym to learn the dance. Since the students were too cramped in the small gym on Jan. 31, the session was moved to the Large Gym, which was filled with students eager to learn a new dancing method.

After the session was over, the instructors encouraged students to take the dancing style they learned into school dances.

“I would probably dance like that [at dances]. It’s so much fun and it’s a lot different from how everyone usually dances,” said Chadha.

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