By day, Great Neck resident Jadis Armbruster has been doing work for SHIFT Communications, a public relations firm in New York City.
But by night, Armbruster will be embracing salsa and swing at the Gold Coast Arts Center starting July 11, teaching both singles and couples simple steps and the art of movement in its first ever ballroom dancing course set to last six weeks.
“I really love the stories that you can tell through dance,” Armbruster, 28 and a ballroom dancer for 12 years, said in an interview after her workshop. “… It’s a little bit acting, it’s a little bit movement, it’s a little bit just listening to your favorite songs, picking out what kind of story the song is telling and then being able to express that through movement.”
During the workshop, around a dozen couples followed Armbruster’s lead in a room with large mirrors, a line of chairs and water on a black table-clothed table. She broke down each step carefully, explained the importance of stance, and took questions.
One of the couples was Donald Klein and Eda Lindenfeld, who described themselves as longtime lovers of dance who’d been looking for a class to formally learn how to waltz and salsa.
“We received an email online talking about dancing and Eda in the past had said it would be great if we could take dance lessons, because we love to dance and we were ‘freestyle’ dancing,” Klein said.
Now the both of them are signed onto the six-week course.
“It’s ‘never too old to learn,’ right?” Lindenfeld said.
Ellen Schiff, director for the School for the Arts, said the workshop was a taste of what the six-week summer course – and later full session in the fall – would offer.
The six classes would add turns, vary music, and feature more advanced steps, she said, while serving as a way for people to get exercise and socialize in a relaxed environment.
“It’s something for people to have fun,” Schiff said. “They’re learning in some cases a new skill or developing skills they already have and getting expertise from an instructor.”
“Learning shouldn’t be creating tension, it should be creating joy, and that’s what our classes do and I think that’s what this did as well,” Schiff added.
The classes will run July 11 through Aug. 15 every Wednesday from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuition is $90 per person or $120 per couple.
“If you’ve ever considered maybe learning how to dance, if you’ve seen ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and thought, ‘Gee that looks really cool, I wish I could do it,’ now is your chance,” Armbruster said. “Now is the time.”