As tango music erupts from the speakers, Gullett Elementary School student Phoebe Abraham’s face assumes a solemn, yet joyful expression as she and her partner, Logan Sork, clasp hands and step in rhythm.
Although the children were quite serious about performing well for the one-year anniversary of the Lakewood Ranch Arthur Murray Dance Studio, where they take classes, they also were eager to have fun each step of the way.
“It’s awesome,” Phoebe says of the tango, after she and Logan finish practicing their routine.
Phoebe and Logan spent four weeks leading up to their Sept. 17 performance at Arthur Murray’s Anniversary Party Night practicing their routine, a tango they have been learning in their Saturday morning children’s class.
“The steps are hard, and dancing with a guy is hard, too,” Phoebe says of ballroom dancing. “Sometimes, when one of us gets the steps wrong, it messes the other one up. Remembering all the steps is hard, too.”
But Phoebe hasn’t shied away from the challenge. Instead, the weekly lessons have boosted her passion for dancing and given her more confidence.
Although Phoebe didn’t show much interest in dancing when her family lived in England, she started dancing here in Lakewood Ranch after her father, Dean Abraham, opened the studio in 2010. Now, she is taking private dance lessons to further improve her abilities.
“It’s really, really fun, and my dad’s the best dancer in the world,” Phoebe says, grinning. “It was kind of hard, but (I learned).
“The dresses are really pretty, too,” she says, adding she’ll become a veterinarian if dancing doesn’t pan out.
Dean Abraham says he’s enjoyed watching his daughter’s passion for the sport develop over the last year.
“It’s a wonderful thing to be able to do,” he says of dancing. “I was very lucky to be able to do it as a child, and to see your own children take that interest is a lovely thing.
“It’s just a really great thing for kids to be able to do, regardless of whether it’s very seriously or as a hobby.”
Abraham says he’s ready to help his daughter — or other students — get to the competitive level, if they so desire.
“They really need to be wanting to do it themselves to be good at it, because it takes an awful lot of time and effort,” he says.
But Abraham says he also is prepared to teach the basics of ballroom dancing to children, who, like Logan, simply come for the fun.
Abraham says business has been going well and he is enjoying bringing ballroom dancing to the East County area.
“I can’t believe how quickly (a year) has gone by,” Abraham says. “It’s been pretty successful.”
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
Arthur Murray Dance Studio offers Saturday morning dance classes for children. A ballroom and Latin dance class starts at 10:15 a.m., while a children’s hip-hop class is available at 9:30 a.m.