Knowledgeable Instruction in Social Partner Dancing
Ballroom ... Latin ... Swing -- For fun, for weddings, for exercise, for competition.

Photos by Debra Aulisio Mahar - Aulisio Studio of Photography

You will not find B-list actors or retired football players studying dance at Ralph Kenyon's Williamstown studio (at least not yet) -- just local people who share Kenyon's love of dance and desire to hone their skills.

"We focus on techniques that can be used for social dancing and competition," Kenyon said recently. "I've been enjoying ballroom dancing since 1994, and I've thoroughly enjoyed helping others learn new dance moves."

Kenyon has studied -- and continues to study -- dance with some of the leading instructors in the region, including Montreal's Pierrette Chartier and Latham's Dan DeBenedetto.

Kenyon currently offers instruction in dances ranging from bolero to tango in style and technique for individuals, couples and groups at the beginner and intermediate levels, with advanced technique.

He said the popularity of shows like Dancing with the Stars has raised the profile of ballroom dance, but the trend has an unfortunate side effect: "Some amateurs have jumped in to teach this stuff, too," he said. "They do not have the training to provide the detailed technique that makes everything work well together."

Kenyon's own love affair with dance began in elementary school in 1955. He danced right up through his days as a career sailor in the U.S. Navy but renewed his passion in earnest in '94 when, he says, he was "captured by the muse of dance."

These days, his partner is his wife, Yelena Levina, who teaches piano in addition to joining Kenyon on the dance competition circuit. Although Levina had no dance training when the two met, Kenyon's love for dance was contagious. "Dancing has become her passion as well now," he said. "We continue to dance at dances and lessons from two to four times per week."

"Most movements used in dance come from our normal experience. Walking - running - hopping - turning - etc. I show you how to use what you already know how to do to dance well." My "shtick" is to find experiences you already have, and I show you how to use them for dancing."

What you can learn:

American: Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Bolero, Cha Cha, Rumba, Merengue, Mambo, Salsa, Swing (East Coast), West Coast Swing, Hustle, and even a little country two step.

International: Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep, Samba.

We also choreograph wedding dances.

Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr.
Ballroom Essentials