DanceWorks will mark its 11th year with a party on Saturday
By SAMANTHA PAK
Redmond Reporter Reporter
September 20, 2012 · Updated 4:08 PM
DanceWorks Studio in Redmond opened its doors on Sept. 10, 2001.
In the wake of the terrorist attacks that took place the following day, cofounders Scott Franklin and Suzana Persa debated whether to hold the Friday night dance party they had planned for later that week. In the end, they decided to continue with their plans and included a moment of silence during the party to remember and honor those who had died earlier in the week. The night was a huge success.
“And we’ve been dancing ever since,” said Franklin who is also co-owner and manager of DanceWorks.
From basic hip-hop and beginners’ foxtrot to the Argentine tango and all levels of the West Coast Swing, the studio has been getting people moving for more than a decade. To celebrate its 11th year in business, DanceWorks will host a special anniversary showcase performance and party beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday at its downtown studio, located at 16641 Redmond Way.
Franklin said the evening will open with a one-hour rumba dance lesson, followed by performances by students and instructors, as well as professional dancers. The evening will end with a dance party. Franklin added that fine hors d’oeuvres will be served throughout the evening.
The event is open to the public and tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. For more information, visit www.danceworksstudio.com.
Franklin said DanceWorks has actually been in business for about 12 and a half years, but for the first year and a half or so, the dance lessons took place on racquetball courts in athletic clubs, in students’ homes or wherever they could find space.
“It’s been a great ride,” he said about the past dozen or so years.
“I’m very grateful to the students.”
While Franklin gave the lessons, Persa oversaw the design and construction of the studio. Persa has now retired from the business, but Franklin said her input and role early on has been a critical component in creating a welcoming environment they strive to maintain at the studio.
“It’s a very inviting place,” he said.
DanceWorks focuses mostly on social dancing and very little on competitive dancing. Peggy Hail, who has been taking lessons for about a year, said she appreciates this more low-key approach to dancing and finds it more fun. She mostly dances West Coast Swing and a little bit of salsa, but she also likes to try different styles when she has the time to attend a class.
Hail began taking dance lessons as a way to get out of her comfort zone and said the most challenging part of learning to dance has been learning the different steps. Although she may find dancing difficult, it hasn’t stopped Hail.
“I’ve always wanted to dance,” she said.
Hail will be one of the students performing on Saturday. She will be dancing cha-cha, waltz and West Coast Swing to a medley of country music.
“It’ll get me out of my comfort zone for sure,” she said.
Franklin said people take dance lessons with them for a variety of reasons including date night for couples, creative outlet, stress reliever and socializing. DanceWorks students’ ages range from 12-85 and represent all demographics.
“We have a real broad range,” Franklin said.
He added that he really enjoys seeing some of the transformations in his students during the course of their lessons. For example, Franklin said one individual who came to the studio had a real desire to dance, but they were very quiet and shy. Eventually the student broke out of their shell and performed during one of DanceWorks’ showcases.
“To see that transformation is really rewarding for me,” Franklin said.Contact Redmond Reporter Reporter Samantha Pak at email@example.com or 425-867-0353, ext. 5052.