Dance Fever!

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Sedona Ballroom Dance Studio

Ladies, wouldn’t you agree that there’s something undeniably sexy about locking arms – and eyes – with a man as he leads you through the tango or the merengue or the waltz? Men, pay attention here. If you want to make a big impression on your spouse or your date, take her ballroom dancing. Lucky for Sedonans, you can learn all the right moves at the Sedona Ballroom Dance Studio, which operates out of The S.T.A.R.R. Club and is owned by one of Sedona’s youngest entrepreneurs, Mingus Union High School graduate Jenny Barton, 21.

Jenny started taking ballet lessons when she was 2 and living in California. When Fred Astaire Dance Studios decided to open a franchise in Sedona in 2009, Jenny, then 17, fell in love with ballroom dancing. “She saw a lifelong opportunity in ballroom dance rather than ballet,” says Jenny’s mom and Sedona Ballroom’s spokesperson, Pam Barton. Jenny was offered a Fred Astaire internship, and she became certified through the studio. When Fred Astaire decided to pull out of Sedona, Jenny purchased the business and Sedona Ballroom was born. The studio relocated from its original West Sedona location to The S.T.A.R.R. Club in June 2011.

Jenny, the studio’s sole instructor, teaches private and group lessons, and the dance styles range from the fox trot to the rumba to East and West Coast swing as well as the aforementioned tango, waltz and merengue. On Wednesday evenings, she teaches Sugar and Spice, a class for women that she describes as “energetic, sexy and sassy – Pussycat Dolls style.” Jenny also teaches junior ballroom classes to elementary and high school students. Four days a week she can be found at the Camp Verde and Cottonwood campuses of American Heritage Academy. She also works with local gymnasts and cheerleading squads, choreographing their routines and teaching them dance techniques.

“I’ve changed my life goals,” Jenny says. “At first, I wanted to compete and be a world-renowned ballroom dancer, but now it’s about my students. When I see them dance on their own, it feels great. I get nervous before they compete. These days, I’m a teacher rather than a dancer.”

So what does she say to Sedona couples who think ballroom dancing is a waste of time in a town that rolls up the streets at sunset? “We have people who learn to dance because they go on cruises often, and there’s always dancing on cruise ships,” Jenny says. “Others learn to dance for weddings. It’s something you’ll use forever.”

Beginning classes start at $40 per couple for two private lessons and one group session. From there, the studio builds packages based on a couple’s strengths and areas of interest. Most couples take lessons once a week – some dress up and turn it into their date night. Pam says the biggest challenge faced by most beginners is teaching the man to lead. “Couples really learn to communicate – it’s the only sport where you engage and learn together,” says Pam. “But this isn’t about the man; this is about the woman. If your wife wants to dance, then get off your butt and dance.”

Sedona Ballroom Dance Studio, 100 Racquet Road at The S.T.A.R.R. Club in Foothills South. 928-282-1678;

So You Think You Can Dance…

Looking for a venue to try out your new moves? Check out these hot spots.

Canyon Club
Live music and DJs Friday and Saturday nights, 8 p.m. until midnight. Canyon Breeze Restaurant, 300 N. SR 89A at Sinagua Plaza in Uptown Sedona.
No cover

Relics Restaurant & Lounge
Call for a schedule of live music and dancing.
3235 W. SR 89A in West Sedona.
Cover charge varies

Dragonfly Lounge
Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, times vary. Cliff Castle Casino Hotel, 555 Middle Verde Road in Camp Verde.
No cover

Olde Sedona Family Restaurant Bar and Grill
Live music and DJs nightly, 9 p.m. (karaoke Sundays and Tuesdays).
1405 W. SR 89A in West Sedona.
No cover

Players Sports Bar & Grill
Live music and DJs Friday and Saturday nights, see website for times
1100 S. Hwy 260 in the Fry’s shopping center in Cottonwood.
No cover

MORE THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN SEDONA: Sedona festivals, secret Sedona, Sedona Bluegrass Festival, four-wheeling, kayaking, hang gliding and skydiving, wine tasting rooms, best pizza in Sedona, Sedona calendar of events, cool summer fun, Sedona skygazing

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