Aug 29, 2014 08:50AM
● By Linda Sechrist
Thanks to Dancing with the Stars, a hit television series in which celebrities are coupled with professional dancers to competitively perform choreographed dance routines, the art of ballroom dancing is enjoying a resurgence. After watching the graceful movements of the Viennese waltz, the sultry hip gyrations and fancy footwork of the samba, rhumba, and cha-cha or the fun and exuberant moves of the East Coast swing, local residents sometimes feel motivated to sign up for lessons at local dance studios.
The flood of interested dance students is a dream come true for Anastasia Kazmina, a Russian-born, internationally competitive professional dancer who moved to Naples in 2012 to open the Arthur Murray Dance Center of Naples with her business partner Roman Gomez. “Although I’ve been busy dancing professionally for 23 years and represented different countries such as Russia, Canada, the United States, and most recently Italy, I’ve always held on to the dream of opening a studio,” she affirms.
A champion in the categories of ballroom, classic show dance and professional ballroom, Kazmina concurs that television shows like Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance help the dance industry. “The best thing about these programs is that they show the viewing audience that dancing is fun, great exercise and something that people of all ages can do,” she adds, recalling the benefits of her childhood dancing experience.
“My parents knew that learning to dance would help me to build coordination, poise and self-confidence, so they enrolled me in ballet classes at age 4. Dance lessons were part of my school curriculum and kept me interested,” Kazmina relates. “Eventually, I took lessons in a professional dance studio. I stayed with dancing because I liked it and appreciated the discipline that it instilled in me. I trained every day for many hours and participated in dance competitions all around the world on weekends,” she notes.
Kazmina is now inspired to share the opportunities to dance with students as a proud member of the Arthur Murray organization. “I specifically wanted to open an Arthur Murray franchise because the company has been in business for 102 years. Thousands of people like me have had a lot of fun and enjoyed socializing while they learned from a professional instructor who used a system that is proven to work,” she enthuses.
Styled like a New York night club, with its purple leather and gleaming chrome lounge, sophisticated spotlights, floor lights and objects d’art, the Dance Center holds a social on Wednesdays from 7 to 9 p.m., generally attracting more than 30 dancers during the off-season and more during season. “Two or three times a year we hold dance showcases, which give our students an opportunity to perform in front of an audience. We also participate in local charity events such as the American Red Cross Star Struck fundraiser, which our studio won in 2013,” explains Kazmina, adding that few students are as interested in competing as they are learning to dance just for the sheer fun of it.
“Students are quick to catch on to the idea that dancing is more about socializing, making friends and exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise. I’ve seen students turn dancing into a lifestyle that includes group classes, lessons and social parties, which is why we offer group classes three times a week, a social party once a week and dance lessons five days a week and occasionally even on Saturday. When dancing brings people together they know for certain that they have two things in common—a love of dancing and music,” says Kazmina.
Location: 3339 Tamiami Trail N, Naples. For more information, call 239-919-8501 or visit ArthurMurrayNaples.com.