Enhancing the "3- or 4-minute" relationship (on the dance floor)

Longtime North Sonoma dance teacher and top competitor Denny Freeman teaches students to go "From Chaos to Clarity" in his West Coast Swing dance class series in Windsor.

Here's our next installment in a series of profiles of workout options and personal fitness routines in the Healdsburg-Windsor area.

TODAY: "Like Dancing from Chaos to Clarity"

WHAT:  West Coast Swing dance classes taught in a small "focus-group" format, for people who already know the dance but who want to refine their technique and form. Level I class, which goes in depth on several basic moves and concepts, runs for four Tuesdays, starting June 7.

WHO: Denny Freeman is a Windsor chiropractor who has been a swing dance leader in Northern Sonoma County for more than 20 years.

A former competitive dancer who won numerous regional swing dance tournaments, Freeman also founded and operated the former Dance Central studio in Santa Rosa, now under new owners as Ellington Hall.

In addition to West Coast Swing, Freeman also teaches other dances, such as salsa and Nightclub Two-step. He also offers private lessons and "Wedding First Dance" lessons for couples.

He explains that each partner dance with someone is like a "three- or four-minute relationship" between leader and follower -- and each dance is different based on the interactions between the two people.

WHERE: Classes are held at Freeman's chiropractic office, 8741 Old Redwood Hwy., Windsor. Partner is not necessary, class will be gender-balanced; advance signup required (no walk-ins).

WHEN:  6:30 to 8:15 p.m. Tuesdays in June.

COST: $75 per person for four weeks; $130 per couple registering together.

CONTACT:  For information or registration, call Freeman at 707-837-1819. 

WHY:  "I analyze your individual dancing and teach amazing and illuminating principles of leading and following," Freeman saild. "It is intense and rewarding."

Ultimately, the goal is to build a solid foundation in the basics, which allows the whole dance experience to become more enjoyable, he said.

REVIEW:  "When I began studying with Denny, my dancing was very chaotic -- I just didn't know it," said Annie Darrimon of Santa Rosa, a student in Freeman's West Coast Swing classes.

"After only three months of focused, in-depth instruction, I can honestly say I have develped a solid foundation which gives me the freedom and joy of dancing with clarity and creativity," Darrimon added.  "It has been a wonderful, never-ending journey."

Vera Harvey of Cotati, a strong intermediate West Coast Swing dancer of more than 15 years and a former beginning West Coast Swing dance teacher, said she still finds new things to learn in Freeman's classes.

"It doesn't matter what level of dancer you are," Harvey said. "It always improves your dancing to go back to the basics and pay attention to the details."

Harvey added that West Coast Swing was one of the few dances where being strong in the basics was essential to enjoying the dance.

"That when the fun starts," Harvey said. "After the basics."




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