Almost anyone can learn to dance at any age, and Columbia has the resources to teach beginners the steps to take. Dancing is an excellent way to exercise, socialize, perform and gain a new skill.
Dancearts Academy of Columbia
110 N. 10th St.; 573-875-1569
Dancearts Academy of Columbia has been at its well-established location on North Tenth Street since 1979.
Dancearts Academy offers ballet, tap, modern, body toning (workout classes for ab toning) and jazz classes for teens and adults throughout the week.
Studio owner Marie Robertson, 69,noticed that many retired adults and mothers always wanted to dance but never had time.
“This is their time, so they are totally engaged when they are here,” Robertson said.
The key to being able to learn at an older age is to feel comfortable in the class and with the teacher as students practice new steps, rhythm and choreography, Robertson said. Because she is older than the majority of her adult students, she believes they feel comfortable listening and trusting her as an instructor.
Dancearts Academy teachers guide students to incorporate rhythm with movement. Not only do students learn a useful exercise and skill, but for older adults, it helps keep their mind sharp.
“Some people don’t want to go to the gym, don’t want to jog,” Robertson said. “When you are dancing, you are not only engaging your body, but your mind.”
Most of Robertson’s students are beginners, but there is an adult tap class for intermediate dancers. This is the most advanced adult class offered, and members perform in recitals, she said.
The Dance Group
For opportunities to just get out and dance, try the Dance Group, a ballroom dance social club in Columbia.
The Dance Group has a paid membership, typically for a season where seven or eight dances are held during the year.
Instead of classes, the club holds dinners with big bands and dances that include swing, Latin, foxtrot, rock ‘n’ roll styles and more.
The group is open to dancers of all levels. President Jim Bixby, 72, said some members dance quite well, while others are “at least enthusiastic.”
On occasion, instructors will come to events and offer guidance between sets about certain dances. While it is not a formal dance training, adults can be active, social and improve by practicing different steps.
Because of the pandemic, no events were held last year, but Bixby hopes to bring them back once it is safe.
The organization has deep roots in Columbia.
“I think I remember this right — the group actually started way back around World War II and has been meeting ever since then,” Bixby said.
When it started, the Dance Group did not have big bands or venues. According to Bixby, the group only had a record player and went to members’ homes to dance in each other’s living rooms.
As time went on, the group became, “more formal and less flexible,” Bixby said with a chuckle.