Austin Moon and Whitney Guerrero are on a mission to change the perception of ballroom dancing.
“People think of ballroom as white gloves and suits,” Moon said. “But it’s also swing dance and salsa. They are all ballroom dancing.”
Moon and Guerrero opened BallroomU in April to provide a venue for the community they hoped to create. Guerrero points to the popularity of dancing in the South.
“I think it’s crucial down here to be able to go anywhere and dance,” she said.
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Moon, who has been dancing since accompanying his mother to classes at age 10, agrees. “I was surprised by how much dancing there is here.”
The couple relocated to the Triangle from the Washington, D.C., area to be closer to family. While searching for a place to live, they drove through Cary and knew that they had found their home.
Ballroom U, in Harrison Pointe Shopping Center, offers both private and group lessons as well as parties and special events. Every Friday evening there is an open party for people to practice, network and mingle.
“We are trying to create a different idea of what ballroom dancing is,” Moon said. “People are afraid they are going to go and someone is going to yell at them if they do the wrong step. We are trying to create something for people to get out of the house that’s physical and that’s social, too.
“More than anything, dancing is social. And I don’t mean it’s a dating scene.”
Guerrero said the most requested dances are salsa and tango.
“That’s what they see on TV,” Guerrero said. “There is always a new dance craze, but at the end of the day, ballroom dance is there.”
Moon said shows such as “Dancing With the Stars” have made it acceptable for men to know how to dance.
“The stereotypes are not what’s out there,” Guerrero said. “This is the most youthful thing I do. It’s completely opposite of what people imagine.”
A majority of their clients come to the studio without a dance partner, which can cause some nervousness that’s quickly alleviated.
“We make sure people have dancing partners,” Moon said.
Adds Guerrero: “You don’t have to have a partner. The teacher is your partner.”
The teachers are also available for competitions. Moon said most of the competitions he and Guerrero enter these days are pro/am contests with their students.
Students are encouraged to take classes at other studios as well.
“The more people that are involved in a person’s dance life, the better they will be,” Moon said.
Mostly, he says, dancing is a way of life.
“It’s impossible to have a bad day and dance at the same time,” Moon insists. “I know, I’ve tried it.”
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