Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bringing Brighter, Better Days: Westwood's Autism Workshop Spotlights the Incredible Benefits of Dance

by Nancy LaPierre

Author-therapist Victoria Marin, who features her autistic son in her popular children’s book, Aiden’s Waltz, brought her Waltz For Wellness workshop to the Westwood Fred Astaire Dance Studio on Saturday, October 13, to shed light on the benefits of ballroom dance for those on the autism spectrum.

Ms. Marin’s presentation teaches teachers, participants, and their caregivers about the healing powers of ballroom dance to relieve autistic symptoms, transform related behaviors, and bring about improved physical condition, better social skills and a much brighter outlook on life.

Jaclyn Laurino, a Westwood FADS professional dance teacher,  teaches Bryan to dance
‘Timothy,’ a 20-year old workshop participant, had never tried ballroom dancing before. He seemed nervous at first, telling his mother he wanted to go back home. But after the presentation, he asked to join the dance teacher on the dance floor. Immediately, his demeanor and postured changed. His rounded-shoulder stance changed. He stood upright. He was smiling even giddy at times. With tactile prompting from his instructor, he learned the basic steps of the waltz within minutes. 

Ballroom dance helps strengthen the core, leading to better posture. This reduces pressure on the lungs and improves breathing and oxygen levels for people who spend time in wheelchairs. A strong core and strong shoulder girdle make fine motor movements easier so eating and handwriting skills improve. Muscle conditioning develops coordination and balance for walking, running, dressing, and enjoying leisure and sports activities.

And there’s more:

  • communication partners engage in eye contact, invite their partners to the dance floor and discuss the dance process
  • friendships dancers develop and nurture a trusting relationship with their partners
  • self-confidence we teach dance steps in the method that is best suited to autistic learners. Mastering steps and movements leads dancers to feelings of success and accomplishment
  • mental processing ballroom dancing to classical music opens brain pathways and improves mental organization and learning

Ms. Marin’s informative one-hour workshop includes a PowerPoint presentation and a 15-minute dance lesson for participants. To schedule a workshop, please contact her at (845)200-4101, or via email at

Thursday, October 04, 2012

FADS West Hartford part of Pink Party to support Breast Cancer Awareness

~by Carmen Champagne

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and FADS West Hartford is more than aware … they’re taking part in a local fundraiser, in conjunction with Hartford Magazine and other area business, to help support the cause.  "Pink Party", an outdoor street fair, which includes a fashion show, fabulous food, live music and a dance exhibition by FADS instructors, will be held at Blue Back Square in West Hartford Center tomorrow, October 5th.

Jessica Lengenfelder, owner of FADS West Hartford, had the opportunity to speak about why the cause was so important to her on Fox News this morning.  View her interview below.

The party runs from 5-8 p.m. and will be emceed by a Fox on-air talent.  Swag bags and raffle tickets will be available to purchase with a portion of the event proceeds going towards breast cancer research and local breast cancer programs through Komen Connecticut.  For a full schedule of events, visit Hartford Magazine.

Houston FADS Showcased by ABC News

~ by Suzanne Carter & Nancy LaPierre

The gazillions of Dancing with the Stars viewers in the Houston, Texas, area recently received an extra-special dancing treat on Tuesday, September 25, 2012! The BEST Ballroom Dance Studios -- Fred Astaire Dance Studios, of course! -- were proudly represented by the Houston Memorial studio on the local ABC newscast following the premiere episode of the Dancing with the Stars results show.

Mr. Pahjmon Lipsey, Texas Area Developer, welcomed ABC News anchor, Sharron Melton, and a host of cameras to the beautiful Houston Memorial Fred Astaire Dance Studio.  There, Ms. Melton experienced for herself the reason why ballroom dancing at Fred Astaire Dance Studios is so hip and popular with Houstonians of all ages.

FADS Houston Franchisee, Mr. Philip Gutierrez, also interviewed in the show, is shown twirling the anchor around the ballroom floor packed with fabulous dancers from all 9 Houston Fred Astaire Dance Studios.

Though the piece highlights the trendiness and mass appeal of ballroom dance, it (thankfully) also addresses what we in the dance business have been saying all along:  ballroom offers opportunities for people to connect at meaningful levels, for couples to rekindle the spark in their marriages, for learning something new and fun, for improving posture, balance and poise, and for experiencing higher levels of confidence than ever before.

Beyond the exposure afforded by popular TV shows, the ‘celebrity service’ everyone receives, as well as the many incredible health and social benefits dancing offers, are why people are flocking to Fred Astaire Dance Studios.  Not only in Houston, but also all over the country and even overseas, the "Dance Revolution" that Fred Astaire himself brought to the world continues at each studio bearing his name and it’s definitely here to stay!

Click here to enjoy the ABC news clip.

Many thanks to Suzanne Carter, the Texas Regional Manager, for providing the information in this article!