Let's Dance

Courtesy of Fred Astaire Russia
If you're interested in honing your dancing skills, or just becoming comfortable enough to get over the two-left-feet blues, there are an array of options to suit your needs. You can to learn to move with relative ease any time the music starts to play by learning social dance.

Such a style of dance was once only popular as a sport and among professionals, but it has now turned into a fun, relaxing alternative to working out at the gym.

Fred Astaire Dance International is among the dance schools in Moscow that teach social dance, a term that indicates a style of dancing that is more for the dancer than the spectator. It consists of couples dancing the tango, the hustle and swing.

The school, known internationally, employs a method developed by Fred Astaire in 1940 and has been improved every six years by teachers trained by the Hollywood star. The system of instruction is based on the idea of teaching the principles of dance movements instead of specific dance steps. Instructors utilize the World Dance Council method and undergo training and written, oral and practical examinations.

"They teach according to your ability," said Marcel de Rijk, chairman of the World Social Dance Committee.

Some people seek assistance because of a looming wedding and the importance given to the first dance. Classes can even be held for an entire wedding party. Others are planning to go on a cruise and want some degree of comfort on the dance floor.

Courtesy of Fred Astaire Russia
Fred Astaire classes aim to teach people how to dance in couples -- and enjoy it.
Another dancing studio, GallaDance Lifestyle Dance Club, has a great variety of dances -- here you can find ballroom, Latin, Argentinean tango, club Latino, jazz modern, and belly dancing.

GallaDance has been teaching dance for six years in Moscow. The studio's membership system gives people not only an opportunity to form their own schedule of lessons, but also try different dances.

"Often people come with a strong desire to learn to dance without knowing what they want specifically -- but once they become a member, they get a chance to try everything. In the process, they find what suits them best. Membership affords them more selection," said manager Anna Vasilyeva.

The studio has a wedding program -- individual lessons at which you practice wedding dances. In the end, the couple gets a gift from the club -- a discount for the membership. "Often people come here only to prepare for their wedding, but in the process they like it so much they become members," Vasilyeva said.

"Every month we organize big parties, dancing evenings, competitions and performances, our members can invite their friends and relatives. In our studio everyone gets a chance to show what he or she's learned."

Memberships are from three months to a year, which allows you to attend any class in the studio. For those who continue, there are a variety of discounts. You can attend group classes or individual lessons. The average cost is 3,000 rubles a month. Membership is cheaper for pairs, but if you have no partner, you can get a professional one.

Courtesy of Fred Astaire Russia
Social dance is not sport; it is ballroom and club dance skills for real-life situations.
"For all newcomers we offer the first lesson for free -- so the person could try and afterwards, if he likes it, our manager will explain the prices and discounts and help to customize a suitable program. We plan out the programs individually," Vasilyeva said.


Fred Astaire Dance International holds classes at many locations around Moscow. Fees vary depending on the membership type but are typically $150-$350 per person per month. FADI is organizing an introduction to social dance evening on Nov. 25, 6 p.m.-10 p.m., at the Marriott Royal Aurora Hotel, 11/20 Ul. Petrovka. Cost is 5,000 rubles per person, or 7,000 rubles per couple. They promise that you will master at least three popular dances in this time. Details: 229-1199, www.fredastaire.ru.

GallaDance holds classes at Luzhniki stadium, the Olimpiisky sports complex and Dream House, Barvikha. Three, six, and 12-month memberships; average monthly price 3,500 rubles. Details: 786-7636, www.galladance.ru.