“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” Friedrich Nietzsche is remembered as a philosopher, but he loved to dance. Those who share his love, or just want to learn why so many people enjoy tripping the light fantastic, have a new place to go in the Midlands.
Elite Ballroom Dance Academy officially opened its doors with a Christmas Showcase Saturday night at its new home at 3512 Bush River Rd., putting on a show for experienced dancers and newcomers alike.
Elite Ballroom Academy was formerly known as The Dam Ballroom. Jamie Barrett opened the studio at its former location near Lake Murray in February, and soon found her business thriving and in need of room to expand.
“I started at the dam location just to get my feet under me,” she said. “We just outgrew it.” Her company’s new home includes Columbia’s largest floating dance floor and enough space to host events like parties and wedding receptions as well as the lessons she offers and the twice-monthly parties she hosts for her students and their guests to show off their skills.
“I couldn’t have gotten here without all my students,” she said. “It’s a really tight-knit community.” Barrett said many students from the dam location helped her get the new studio in shape and ready for the grand opening.
Barrett began dancing in 2007 and become a teacher in 2009. She and partner Stefano Placidi will be the instructors at Elite Ballroom Dance Academy. Placidi is a Latin, Standard, and 10-dance Italian National Champion who also teaches in Charlotte.
Commitment to the community is an important part of running the business for Barrett. The grand opening included a raffle fundraiser for Epworth Children’s Home, and students brought needed items to donate along with the cash. Barrett and Placidi hope to offer dance lessons for the children’s home, and have a partnership with the USO and American Legion planned as well.
Barrett offers lessons for all skill levels, and a partner is not required. Saturday’s grand opening included not only performances by experienced dancers (including Barrett and Placidi), but also a chance for the guests, novices and old hands alike, to take a whirl around the dance floor.
“It’s a very eclectic group,” Barrett said of her students. Ballroom dancing, she said, is especially popular in Europe, which leads to people of many different heritages showing interest. Saturday’s crowd also displayed that dancing appeals to all ages, as teens and young adults shared the floor with seniors and many ages in between.
Barrett offers private and group lessons, and teaches the American Smooth and Rhythm dances (Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Vienese Waltz, Cha Cha, East Coast Swing, Rumba, Mambo, and Bolero), as well as Hustle, Salsa, West Coast Swing, and Samba. Lessons specifically designed for children will also be available beginning in January.
More information on the new studio is available online.