Education Week: Youth dance

More than 180 youth gathered Friday evening, Aug. 19, to enjoy foxtrot dance lessons taught by Betsy and Karson Denny as part of a youth activity during BYU education week. There were more than 80 young men, and more then 100 young women learned the technique and steps needed to foxtrot.

The youth paired up and circled around the room to listen and practice the steps as their instructors taught from inside the circle of youth. Every so often they would stop dancing around the room to receive instruction and to rotate partners. This allowed them to mingle and meet other youth their age, as well as learn a valuable skill they could use at stake dances and other events.

Many of the youth said this class was their first time dancing and listened eagerly as Brother Denny opened the class with a brief history of the foxtrot. Sister Denny grabbed the attention of the young men by using comparisons they would understand. She likened the way they lead and held the girl to the popular D.C. comic character from “X Men,” Wolverine. She called all the young men “Wolverines” and they quickly became more interested in perfecting the style of the dance.

Popular up-beat music the youth would recognize was intertwined with classic jazz music during the lesson to introduce all the different music styles the youth could foxtrot to.

Brother Denny has been ballroom dancing for 20 years and teaching for eight years. He said he loved teaching new things to everyone and seeing how they pick it up. He said the reason he loves teaching the youth is because the youth are extremely energetic and have an “eagerness” about them to learn. He also loves to see the final product of how much the students have learned, and how far they’ve come.

Steven Henky from Lehi, Utah, said the reason he came to the lesson was because he loved to ballroom dance and his favorite that he’d learned so far was the foxtrot. He’s been dancing for three years and thought it would be fun to attend this class during Campus Education Week at BYU to learn more.

Eliza Morgan from Taylorsville, Utah, agreed and said she’d had previous hip hop experience, but hadn’t done this sort of dancing before. She said there was no comparison between the two dances but she loved it anyway. She said her favorite dance to learn was the Cha-cha class she took from Brother and Sister Denny earlier that week.

As the final dance class of the week came to an end for the youth, there were many cheers, much phone number exchanging, and lots of hugging as the youth said goodbye to their new-found friends they had met while dancing.