Correction to This Article
· A May 4 KidsPost article incorrectly said that Terry Chasteen is the owner of the Chevy Chase Ballroom & DanceSport Center. Ron Bennett is the owner.

Latin Dancing: Step-by-Step Guide

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Looking for a good way to stay in shape? Try Latin dancing.

There are some really exciting moves, say 9-year-old twins Arizona and Hanan Guzmán of Silver Spring. They have added cha-cha, salsa and rumba lessons to their busy schedule of school, soccer and homework.

"Latin dances are flaring. There is a lot of spinning," says Arizona.

The twins belong to the Dancing Kids Network at the Chevy Chase Ballroom & DanceSport Center. The studio hosts dance-and-learn parties where kids take lessons with adults and then perform for a small audience.

Danny Catacora and Gillan Johnson showed their stuff at one recent party. While some of the adults stumbled with the salsa steps, Danny, who is 15 and lives in Kensington, and 12-year-old Gillan, of Silver Spring, didn't miss a beat in their cha-cha and disco-salsa routines.

"There is something really amazing about kids," says instructor Danielle Areco. "They learn so much faster."

That much was clear as Hanan spun his partner, Arizona twirled Gillan, and Danny triple-dipped Areco as the audience nodded its approval.

"It is always good to perform in front of people," says Gillan, who has studied Latin dancing for more than a year. "It helps for the next performance to see what we can do better."

A recent show featured more than a dozen kids and three routines. For one number, a Latin swing dance performed to Avril Lavigne's song "Girlfriend," the dancers dressed in cheerleader outfits and geek clothes.

"The kids really steal the show," says Terry Chasteen, who owns the center and has been teaching dance for more than 45 years.

In creating the routines, Chasteen matches Latin dance moves with popular music. "The main thing it helps with is getting kids to appreciate the [Latin] culture and keeping them active," he says.

How do the kids prepare? "I do the steps in my head," says Danny, who also listens to the music on his iPod.


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