Patrick Piazza, who runs Piazza Dance in Stoughton, and Claire Vaka, who teaches in Marshfield and Braintree, focus on social dancing. Piazza said his classes are popular with engaged couples and people out for a fun evening. He teaches foxtrot, hustle, merengue, salsa, tango, waltz, and club-style variations of salsa and hustle.
Vaka met her husband, Roger Vaka, while taking ballroom dance lessons in 1973. He was her instructor. Now they teach together, which she said enriches the classes because they can demonstrate the men’s and women’s dance parts at once. Their classes are held in rented spaces at Dance Forever in Braintree and the Daniel Webster Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Marshfield.
John Paul, owner with his wife of a studio in Weymouth called DanceSport Boston — “dancesport” is a term for competitive dancing — said he saw interest surge in the last decade with dance competitions on television, and the interest has not gone away. His most dedicated dancers, he said, tend to be women ages 30 to 50 who are established in their careers. They like the glamour and the fitness, he said.
Some studios, including his, host weekly or monthly dance parties for dancers to let loose in a social environment.
Teachers said interest is generally stronger among women, but, invariably, men who reluctantly start lessons end up having fun, too.
“I try to tell them, you have no idea how many women you could meet just by learning how to dance and getting out on the dance floor,” Peters said.
Carl Formichelli of Sharon is still dancing at 72 after learning 19 years ago when he was a divorcee looking to mingle. Today he studies with Dubovsky and teaches ballroom dance in an adult education program in Sharon.
Sara Norman, head instructor at ClubWest Dance Studio in Norton, recalls two of her most memorable students, a couple who had been married for 43 years and had never danced.
They were embarrassed, she said, that they did not know how to dance and felt like they had no rhythm. After 40 minutes of instruction, they were doing the waltz perfectly.
“I love the look on people’s faces when they get it,” she said. For anyone who claims to have two left feet, she has a reassuring one-liner at the ready: “I have a closet full of right feet.”
Jennette Barnes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.