Ahwatukee instructor makes his way to the dance floor | Community orientation
For couples who’ve always wanted to dance but felt too inexperienced to step out on the floor, Ahwatukee resident Carrie McNeish came to the rescue.
Although she’s earned a reputation as one of the area’s top line dancing instructors — as well as a fitness instructor — McNeish has started a series of classes that teach Arizona Two Step.
“The Arizona Two Step, also known as ‘Rhythm Two Step,’ is the most common dance you’ll see danced in Arizona bars or country halls,” she explained. “It’s the easiest couple dance to learn because the basic pattern is only six beats.”
It also doesn’t require a 360-degree sweep across the dance floor, she said, noting that “it’s not a ‘travelling’ dance, so it’s perfect for a crowded dance floor. “
For years, McNeish taught line dancing, primarily at Cactus Jack’s Bar and Grill near 48th Street and Elliot Road, as well as fitness classes around the city of Phoenix at the Pecos Community Center.
But she said: “Many of my line dancers have told me they would like to learn to dance as a couple and have asked me if I would ever consider teaching it in the classroom.”
Unsurprisingly, she confessed, she “taught Arizona Two Step and other ‘couple’ dances privately and semi-privately.” Surprisingly, she never taught group dancing.
“I loved the idea of trying something new, but also, truth be told, I was also a little nervous,” she said. “Two of my line dancer guys – Larry Harrison and Bill Gosiak – were very willing to help me teach these classes because they knew it would be helpful to have a ‘guy’s perspective’ because the guy is the leader of the dance.”
Despite his initial nervousness, McNeish said the classes were a resounding success.
“The course started in April and it was awesome,” she said. “A lot of class members already knew each other from line dancing with me, but we also had some new people join in. I added the evening course in May due to the many people who could not participate in the afternoon course. Since I have just started, I am very happy with the result.
As with her other classes, McNeish explained that her goal is “to take ‘normal’ people who may not have any dance experience and help them feel comfortable enough to ask or be invited. to dance and go out on this dance floor.
“I wanted to make it fun, comfortable, interactive and I think we’re doing a great job. The music is mostly country but I mix the songs I play between older classics and newer music. You’re not Had to have or bring a partner to this class but that’s fine because we’re paired up to learn the combinations.
Naturally, “We can always use more guys. Turns out women love to dance.
Classes involve rotating partners “so everyone gets to know each other and that helps with learning. I keep reminding guys – you have to be in charge!
She added that coming to class with a partner is helpful “because it’s a couple dance with the guys in the lead.”
But at the end of the day, she added, “We really want everyone to have fun and be comfortable asking or being asked to dance.”
McNeish also customizes each class based on the experience of those who show up.
“We have dancers who already know the basic pattern and are looking for more combinations and we have a lot of people who are completely new to this,” she said.
McNeish said, “It’s so different from the kind of classes I’ve taken in the past.” But, she quickly added, “I love it.”
And she added a ‘bonus’ to the class: ‘I’m planning a ‘class trip’ to a country bar to practice our moves. If it’s fun, I’ll make it a regular part of the class.
Classes are at 1:15 p.m. Thursdays and 5:45 p.m. Mondays and are held at the NRG Ballroom at the southeast corner of Elliot and Rural Roads, Tempe. The cost is $10 per class for people signing up for a month and $15 for “dorp ins”.
Cost: The cost is $10/class when you sign up for the month. If you choose to “skip” per week, it’s $15/class
Students are advised to dress comfortably and casually and wear dance or show shoes or boots with leather soles.
Information: [email protected] To see the dance in action: youtube.com/watch?v=ZbkDMdkeD8Q