"I never danced. My wife did. When we went to weddings it was the same thing every time. She would be out on the dance floor, I'd be with the guys somewhere else. One-by-one, our ladies would drag us out to the dance floor for one dance. You could see on our faces just how much torture we were going through. It was the worst three and a half minutes of our lives."
"Fast forward 25 years. I had been listening to Fred Astaire commercials on the radio for almost a year. That dancing issue was still on my "bucket list. Christmas was coming and I needed a gift so I called Fred Astaire in Milwaukee and spoke with a young man. He listened patiently and explained how Fred Astaire not only shows you how to dance but explains the science behind it. Finally, someone explaining dancing in language even a guy like me could understand. So I signed up-seven lessons and four parties."
"Our first lesson went well. We learned some steps and were having fun. The parties were even more fun. We learned more steps and made new friends."
"Learning how to dance has long term benefits. [It is] a lifetime skill you can take with you; a skill that everyone admires and respects; a skill that offers challenging exercise and rewarding achievement; a skill that helps you make new friends and have fun; a skill that gives you more confidence in social settings; a skill that makes you look better, feel better, and think more clearly."
"I don't know how long we will be able to do this, but I don't plan to retire anytime soon!"
Mr. Wayne Keller (Student)
Fred and Me-
One phone call-one lesson-and I was hooked. What an invigorating and pleasant experience to dance with some of the best artists in the area!
A new self-confidence, loads of fun, unexpected weight loss, are only some of the benefits reaped from the Fred Astaire experience.
I must also applaud the other students in the Milwaukee studio who truly emit a family atmosphere. So comforting and inviting.
If you can move, you can dance. My suggestion is-try it! I guarantee you will love it!
Ms. Pat Hotton (Student)
Ballroom dancing is something we always talked about trying at some point in our lives. We were offered the opportunity of a free dance lesson and that changed everything.
Coming to Fred Astaire for the first time was a little nerve wracking but the amazing team of instructors and staff put us at ease almost immediately. It was as if we were long-time friends from the start.
Our instructor is so engaging and warm that we look forward to our lessons no matter what kind of day we have had.
In joining the Fred Astaire family we quickly realized that the entire crew- staff and fellow students- are the most warm and encouraging group of people you could ever want to meet.
When you combine lessons , Friday night dance parties, and competitions, your skills improve way beyond what you ever thought possible. Not only are the instructors good at dancing, they are amazing at getting you out of your comfort zone.
We understand that Fred Astaire is a business but you quickly find yourself caring about these people. They are pretty incredible.
The best part for us is the time we get to spend together doing something we love and getting some good exercise in the process.
We would not hesitate to recommend ballroom dancing, especially at Fred Astaire to anyone
Billy and Christie Franks (Student)
Invigorating--physically, mentally and emotionally--encouraging me to step outside my comfort zone, opening up new experiences, meeting positive people who are truly a joy to be with--these are just some of the wonderful benefits that ballroom dancing at the downtown Fred Astaire studio has provided for me. Outstanding teachers and staff round out the package. I highly recommend taking some lessons and adding a new hobby/pursuit to your list.
Kathy Neumeier (Student)
Our journey with dancing at Milwaukee FADS started in March of 2010. My wife Dana and I decided that for our 25 year vow renewal ceremony we would learn a dance to perform together during the reception of the ceremony. Our instructors at the time gave us such a warm welcome and so much sincere support that the learning process was not very difficult. As a person who has never been able to dance this was important to me. I didn't feel any embarrassment or pressure. In addition, our confidence began to grow as we started to learn more about dancing.
We went on a second honeymoon to Hawaii and upon returning decided that we would continue dancing, as we were having so much fun and we finally found something we could enjoy doing together as a couple. Our own thing together so to speak. I would like to point out that it wasn't just because we wanted to dance that made us stay, a big part of it was also the people we became associated with, our instructors and the new friendships that started to develop. Also we were at a very difficult time in our lives and needed an outlet. I felt I had finally found something that made my Wife show her beautiful smile again. Dancing is not only our hobby, it is our therapy.
The studio is not only where we socialize and learn to dance, it is where we have met some of our closest friends. People I would have otherwise never met. We all consider ourselves to be family at the studio. Everyone supports one another. Life can offer challenges that can make one want to give up. I have learned that dancing make one never want to quit but inspires one to greatness. The atmosphere at the studio is a loving one, full of energy and excitement. The owner, staff and fellow students have created this setting.
I have always said that I do not want to do anything or be associated with something that does not allow me to glorify God when I do it. We have been able to accomplish that through our dancing, working with the children & putting on performances ourselves at our church. It has allowed my wife and I to become even closer to one another as we take on new challenges in life. The art of dance has also allowed us to establish new relationships with people outside of our studio. Not to mention, I personally was never able to dance and was never complimented as being a good dancer until recently. Dancing is something we intend to together do for rest of our lives. It has been one of the most positive life changing experiences we have encountered together. So, we shall continue with this journey together, as we continue to grow professionally and spiritually.
Mark L. Phillips and Dana D. Phillips (Student)
It has been almost three years since the day my husband Paul and I redeemed a Groupon and took our first Fred Astaire dance lesson. Little did I know at the time what a fabulous journey we'd embarked upon, but ballroom dance is now a valued part of our lifestyle. I was never particularly athletic before, but I've learned it's never too late to start: I am more flexible, stronger, and healthier (not to mention considerably lighter) than when I walked in that door. Paul and I attend not only the Fred Astaire events, which we enjoy immensely, but we have also taken our new dance skills to other events and venues. Recently, on a trip to Mackinac Island in Upper Michigan, we enjoyed nightly ballroom dancing at the Grand Hotel, feeling comfortable among the skilled people who were there for no other reason than to dance to live music. We have attended several Viennese Balls at UW-Eau Claire, where we've swirled around the floor to a live orchestra playing Strauss waltzes in their entirety. It's fun to listen to a jazz group and hear a rumba, a cha cha, a push pull, or a salsa—and then to get up and dance. I've also found a real joy in doing choreographed performance dances and look forward to my chance to perform at occasional studio parties and annual events like Dance Fantasy. The Fred Astaire instructors and warm and welcoming, and most of all, encouraging. We've also made wonderful friends among the other Fred Astaire students. The studio is a lovely place to be, and we're so happy to be continuing our love for this sport.
Last year, in July, I started something completely new and outside my box – ballroom dancing at Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Milwaukee. I walked into the downtown studio with my Dad. My mom had passed away with two classes left, so my Dad gave them to me. One of the dance instructors, Kimberly Parker, sat down with me and asked what I knew about ballroom dancing, and if I had any dance background. My answer was "yes, I took some dance classes at Danceworks in hip hop and beginning contemporary dance, and one or two beginning foxtrot classes, but nothing more."
After Kimberly showed me some very basic dance steps, I signed up for a set of ten lessons to see what I would get out of it. I enjoyed the dance lessons immediately, and found them very interesting and completely new to anything I had ever done. In a short while I was having so much fun I signed up for more lessons. My instructors began by teaching me the smooth dances, waltz and foxtrot, plus the rhythm dances, Cha Cha, Rumba, and the Hustle – often called the push pull. As a beginning dancer, I started out in the Fred Astaire Social Foundation program, designed to improve my skills to be able to dance in most social dance opportunities. It focuses on the basic dance patterns of smooth and rhythm dances.
Not long after, I graduated to the Fred Astaire Bronze level to learn even more. The program focuses on all of the popular dances with expanded and improved dance patterns and presentation. I am now able to dance with any partner in any social situation to almost any dance.
Throughout the last year I have participated in dance competitions in front of judges as a member of the Fred Astaire Milwaukee Team. When I first danced in front of judges, I was a little nervous due to competing against many other dancers from other studios. I was just a beginning dancer and had no idea what to expect. In my first few competitions, I just danced a few times while the judges scored my performances. While I was dancing in front of everyone, I focused on my dance partners, not on all of the cheering spectators. Their tips and encouragement were a great help. And yes, everyone does a lot of cheering for the dancers while they are on the floor. When I finished with my first dances, I was very happy and relieved. What I didn’t expect was the number of Fred Astaire dancers from other studios in addition to Milwaukee who came up to me and told me I had done a great job. They told me that I looked like a natural dancer; and I started making new friends.
The instructors and students together are all incredibly supportive and make up on big family at the studio.
Before, I had only thought of myself as an athlete who liked to run road races, marathons, and triathlons but never as a dancer. The instructors I have worked with have endless energy, patience, sense of humor, make wonderful friends, and are always so proud of me. My instructors have opened many new doors for me.
The entire Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Milwaukee, instructors and students alike, is an extremely happy group of people to be with. It is always fun to watch and learn; but most of all it is great to be a part of Fred Astaire Milwaukee!
Chris Brust (Student)