DELAFIELD — Dance has always been not just a form of movement but an expression of passion. At Social Style Dance Studio, owner Erin O’Boyle teaches couples the art of ballroom dancing. O’Boyle knew she wanted to start a dance studio because of the joy it brought her when she started dancing in high school. An iconic movie stuck in his mind, “Dirty Dancing.”
“I saw them dancing on a stage, she had a fluttery dress and silver shoes. I was like, I have to get there,” O’Boyle said.
She has been teaching various styles of ballroom dancing at the current location of Delafield for nine years. O’Boyle teaches both group classes and solo classes. Both offer several different styles of ballroom dancing. Couples learn the basics and move on to more advanced moves as the class progresses.
One of the main advantages of dancing at Social Style Dance Studio is the size of the classes. Classes are small. This means that if a couple is struggling with certain dance steps, O’Boyle can help correct their steps. Classes are also separated by skill level. O’Boyle strives to create an environment that is not only educational but fun for those who take his classes.
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“Groups are really fun because they’re very social and people start talking to each other. They become friends outside of the studio,” O’Boyle explained. “I try to encourage that in the class. With all the jokes and laughs and helping people relate to each other.
Couples who take the course often form friendships with the other couples in the course. O’Boyle even offers beer and other refreshments and has a lounge area where people can hang out and chat after class.
“I think it’s fun that people who have never met or never would have met find themselves with this common interest. They learn a new skill and make new friends. Especially as adults, I feel like it’s harder to do that as adults,” O’Boyle said.
As with any field of education, there are challenges to overcome.
“When people are struggling and feeling frustrated with themselves, I just try to help them stop feeling that way. I just keep it light and fun. So even though it can sometimes be hard to learn a new move, I don’t want people to feel uncomfortable being there or learning something new,” O’Boyle said. “Again, as adults, we’re used to having learned everything already so it’s different from learning something as an adult I think trying to make sure people don’t feel frustrated or upset so they come back without ceasing is the hardest part.
Social Style Dance Studio not only offers classes and lessons, there are also monthly themed dances. These are events where dancers of all skill levels can come out for an evening of drinks, dancing and socializing.
“I wanted to have dance parties so people could come and train, but I didn’t want it to be the same thing all the time. I tried to start thinking about different themes and that changed over the years,” O’Boyle said.
One of his recent themes was prom night.
“I kept seeing all the parents posting pictures on Facebook of their kids going to the prom. I thought, how fun would it be for parents to dress up, take their pictures and prom?” O’Boyle explained. “That was super cute. Everyone had bodices and buttonholes and went all out for it. I don’t think many adults do this for themselves. Again, it’s about trying to keep things light and fun and helping people find joy in their lives.
For those who have never tried dancing as a couple, the idea may seem daunting. However, with the small class sizes and light-hearted environment, O’Boyle makes learning to dance a fun experience. Interested couples can also try their first class for free before deciding if they want to continue. For O’Boyle, her students’ experiences are what motivate her to teach dance.
“Making people laugh and seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces fills my heart. I can’t even begin to say how blessed I am every day to be able to do what I do. Helping people have more fun in their lives makes me feel wonderful,” O’Boyle said.