So You Think You Want to Dance? Come to Dance Tonight and Find Out
The Main Street school teaches all the aspects of ballroom dancing to veterans and novices alike.
It’s no secret that dancing is experiencing a huge boom in this country, thanks to the success of shows like Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance?
But for Alex Pena, owner of Dance Tonight Ballroom Dance Studio in downtown Safety Harbor, that kind of craze can be more of a hindrance to his business than help.
Pena, an experienced professional with over a dozen years of dancing under his belt, isn’t complaining, though. He says anyone can dance; it just depends on their expectations and commitment as to how successful they can be.
“Ever since Dancing With the Stars, we’ve seen a much younger crowd coming in,” Pena, a Cuban native who moved here from New York five years ago, admits.
“They’ll say, ‘I want to do the tango like on Dancing With the Stars!’ And I’ll say sure, let’s give it a try.”
While Pena isn’t lamenting the new found popularity of his profession, he cautions people to keep their expectations in line with the time they plan on putting into honing their dance skills.
“I tell them to dance like Dancing With the Stars, you have to give me 40 hours a week. They don’t see the work that goes into it behind the scenes.”
Dance Tonight is one of six such studios that are aiming to take the impersonality out of large dance corporations. It opened a year and a half ago in what used to be a Fred Astaire Dance Studio at 801 Main Street.
The studio offers a beginner package of two 30-minute lessons for $49 that allows people to decide whether they want to go further with it. Other packages are available based on talent level and coordination.
But whether you want to go on to the competitive circuit, get in shape, or just go out and have a good time with your significant other, Dance Tonight can provide a great escape.
“We go from beginners learning basic steps to high level competitors,” Pena says. Some couples make it like a night out.”
“With dinner and a movie, there’s no reward from it," he adds. "They’re not talking to each other or getting any face-to-face contact. This helps bring back some of the passion that might have gone away.”
Even if you aren't going to be the next great ballroom dancer, Pena stresses it doesn’t take any special talent to come in and have a good time.
“We have a saying in the dance profession: If you can walk, you can dance. And it’s true.”
Address: 801 Main Street
Hours: Mon - Fri, noon - 10pm; Sat, appointment only; Sun, closed