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Ballroom Dancing with Friends

Ballroom Dancing at Dance Spot of DuPage is a labor of love for owner and instructor Vanda Varnai-Garcia and her students are loyal because of it.

The Instructor; Vanda Varnai-Garcia

Marie: It’s her heart… it’s her heart, her professionalism and her empathy

Marie Bartolotta is talking about her Ballroom Dance instructor, Vanda Varnai Garcia.

We’ve met Vanda before – her daughter, Natalia Garcia, is a sensational dancer who, since we last saw her, has won a national event in July and joined a professional dance company.

But this story is about Vanda, and her Dance Studio – Dance Spot of DuPage

Vanda: I’m doing this for the love of dance. In my eyes, it’s not a business. It’s just a blessing that money comes with it. But I’m doing it because I believe in it fully and I love building relationship with the students.

Ballroom Classes

And that sentiment goes both ways. Vanda took over Dance Spot of DuPage a year and a half ago. And her dancers have nothing but glowing things to say.

John: Vanda is just the sweetest woman and she never takes a day off. We come every week, once or twice a week and she puts all her heart into it.

John Neher has learned much in his five years taking lessons from Vanda. The goal? Showing off, of course.

John: To learn, to learn. I dance socially so, when we go out we like to show off a little bit. Some people go out and freestyle it and we get on the floor and we kind of know what we’re doing and it looks pretty cool.

The Friendships in Ballroom Dance Class

And while that certainly has its perks, the class goes deeper than simply learning styles of ballroom dance.

Vanda: So it becomes not only like a social activity but they start to bond and going dancing together and have parties together or we have parties here.

In fact, those parties in the studio are hosted by Vanda once a month and consist of a single dance, a free style dance and a potluck.

Vanda: The people that stay; the people the people that love ballroom dancing do it as a sport. They have passion for dancing, they believe in dancing.

Her students certainly get that sense as well. Once on the floor, life’s worries soon melt away. Only the music and your partner in focus.

Marie: When you’re here, you’re totally focused on the dance. And one of my friends mentioned that too that when you’re here, you think only about the dance and everything else melts away.

The Students

While the typical student is over the age of 50, Vanda does teaching in local high schools, which is how Wheaton Academy’s Fiona From found the studio.

Fiona: We’ve been coming recently on Monday nights, they have teen dance night. So some of my friends from my old school and a few new ones have been showing up for this.

So how does she sell ballroom dancing to high school students?

Fiona: Depends on whether its boys or girls. For the boys, I usually defer to my brother. But I tell them how much fun it is and the fact that we can pick some of the styles.

And once they come, they typically come back. Which can be said for dancers of all ages

Vanda: My students are loyal to me, which I’m very lucky. They enjoy it so they share it with some people so they come and they stay. Some come from the social media but… I’m not very good at social media.

But who needs social media when your dancers never leave, and even bring the occasional friend to do the jitterbug.

Reporting for Sports Story Sunday, I’m Kevin Jackman

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