Social dance class grows in popularity

By David Pollard

Men and women are joining a social dance class that has been growing in popularity; it’s not just for easy credit anymore and students are having fun earning it.

Barbara Heimerdinger, teacher of PHED 150, said, she has trained for years in social dance and has been teaching at NIU for twenty years.

Heimerdinger said, “I like teaching social dance and I like working with the kids. I enjoy it so much.”

The two classes meet every Monday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Heimerdinger said the students are trying to learn the foxtrot, waltz and other dances. She said that in her later class that she has about 100 students.

A new trend is that more guys have signed up for the class this semester so that every girl has a partner, she said. She also added that some guys who have taken the class previously show up at class to be partners to girls who need them and help with demonstrations.

Some people have signed up for the class two semesters in a row, she said, adding that there are many students who have asked if there were other classes available to continue learning.

The class is combined with dance majors as well as those who are not, she said.

“I try to keep the class relaxed,” she said. There is a variety of different steps and students acquire a sense of self-confidence, she said.

Heimerdinger commented that if one of her students has trouble catching on, “I tell them that they can’t expect to know everything. Some groups move faster than others.”

She said she thinks that the students get a lot out of the class. I think they gain cofidence (through the class) for going onto a dance floor anywhere.

Tim Dorgan, a member of the class, said, “The class is very enjoyable and a lot of fun.”

Dorgan said, “It’s easy and you start off slow.”

Dorgan said that from the experience he has gained “a better sense of dance coordination and it helps your modern dancing, too.”

“It helps you to not be afraid to ask girls to dance,” he said.

Dave Broustis, another dance class member, said, “It’s fun to have a class in which you can talk to people. Also there’s a lot more exercise than I expected.”

Broustis said the social dance class instructor is friendly and helpful and he would recommend the class to everyone.