Kick Studio: Dancing From Chaos to Clarity

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Kick Studio: Dancing From Chaos to Clarity

Instructors Annie and Denny lead their students during a swing dance class.

Instructors Annie and Denny lead their students during a swing dance class.

Tara Kaveh / Oak Leaf

Instructors Annie and Denny lead their students during a swing dance class.

Tara Kaveh / Oak Leaf

Tara Kaveh / Oak Leaf

Instructors Annie and Denny lead their students during a swing dance class.

Tara Kaveh, Staff Writer

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Annie Darrimon and Denny Freeman met at a dance hall one night and haven’t stopped dancing together since.

It is no wonder because when Freeman elegantly leads and Darrimon’s skirt twirls, you can’t take your eyes off of this dancing duo. Their technique is clean and their style captivating, showing that dance is truly an art form—or as Freeman puts it, “Dance is the physical expression of music.”

Right across the street from Santa Rosa Junior College, Darrimon and Freeman teach dance classes at Kicks Studio at 1426 Mendocino Ave. Tuesday and Thursday nights. The classes offer a warm and fun environment where students don’t just learn the jitterbug, West Coast swing and nightclub two-step, but they learn to love them.

“One day I walked into a dance studio, took off my shoes and said, ‘Can I do this?’ I’ve been hooked ever since,” Annie said of her first experience of swing dance.

Swing dance is a form of exercise and art that anyone can learn.

The sub-theme of Darrimon and Freeman’s class is “dancing from chaos to clarity.”

Freeman is a master dance teacher who has been dancing for more than 22 years. As a teacher, he emphasizes technique and true “lead and follow,” cleaning up any sloppy dance habits and transforming them into sharp and suave moves.

Darrimon, who learned much of her technique from Freeman, likes to work one on one with dance partners to help them bring their own creativity and style into the dance.

Both are highly attentive to each individual in the class and are able to correct and perfect each and every move, all the while keeping the class light hearted and cheerful.

The dance classes are not only great physical exercise but excellent mental exercise as well. Freeman is a chiropractor and understands the benefits of dance from a scientific point of view. He emphasizes that dance strengthens your neuromuscular and central nervous system, coordination and balance. “Studies show that dance, pretty much more than any other type of exercise, helps prevent dementia, Alzheimer’s and similar diseases because it is the second-by-second decision making that is stimulating for your central nervous system,” Freeman said.

Darrimon, a former elementary school teacher, noticed that her students truly enjoyed learning when she incorporated dance and music into her teaching. Her previous experience with teaching makes students in her dance classes feel comfortable.

“I’m compulsive about helping people,” Darrimon said. Darrimon and Freeman’s warm and friendly attitudes make the class a welcoming environment.

Neither teacher will deny that learning the basics of dance is a difficult task. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but the key is to keep going back. Practice makes perfect, and Darrimon and Freeman make practice enjoyable. Their classes are a place where students learn technique and skill, and where dancing as a hobby transforms into dancing as a passion. When a student has a love for dancing and a little dedication, “all of a sudden you see the dancer inside emerge,” Freeman said.

Drop by Kicks Studio from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday nights at 1426 Mendocino Ave. and find Freeman and Darrimon’s smiling faces. These month-long classes cost $35, making it clear that Darrimon and Freeman teach dance because they love it and want to share the joy it brings to the community. “It’s a meditation, a moving meditation,” Freeman said.

Visit justdanceswing-ballroom.webs.com to learn more.

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