For Vic Daumit, on the brink of senior citizenship at age 64, these should be quiet, restful times. But the dance teacher is busier than ever.

Dancing "together" is back.

"You get kids along with college professors, because everyone is dancing together again," Daumit said with a smile. "A lot of today's kids never danced together. Now, it's big again. I'm thinking about expanding."

He has been in business for himself here since 1948, but his business has fluctuated with the times. Once he had three studios in town, then scaled back to his present one when dancing apart became the rage. With big bands and ballroom dancing back in vogue, Vic Daumit is once again in demand.

So he is packing them in at his second-story studio on upper Connecticut Avenue NW, above a dry cleaner and between a tailor shop and a bookstore.

One recent weeknight, 50 men and women, mostly in their twenties and thirties, crowded onto the hardwood floor of his main ballroom, surrounded by mirrors and photographs, to learn the waltz, fox trot, tango and rhumba.

"Okay, people, let's see you put everything together," he said. "Let's see what kind of a pretty waltz you can do. Keep turning all the time . . . . "

Later, lawyer Sarah Rosenson, 26, who was there with her boyfriend Stephen Foye, 29, a graduate student, said, "I wanted to take swing. He wanted ballroom. So we took both." She liked the idea of dancing together, "instead of the personal trances as in rock 'n' roll dancing."

Likewise, Lisa Tinius, 29, a graphic designer, and her art director husband Greg, 30, have added the old dances to their previously preferred punk.

"We've had a blast," she said. "Vic has a way of expressing to the guys that they're doing really well. Greg thought he was really hot stuff after the first class. {Daumit's} a real smooth dancer, and the music's so good."

One of seven children in a family of dancers, Daumit started hoofing it at an early age. Traveling with relatives who taught dancing in the steel and coal towns of western Pennsylvania, "I would dance in the doorways of restaurants."

During the Depression, he competed in local theater amateur nights, "a cute little bow-legged boy in a sailor suit," winning boxes of candy, trophies, cash. He saw "all the movies" of Fred Astaire. "I had the aspiration of being a theatrical famous tap dancer," he said.

"My brothers had drifted to D.C. I came here to see what I could do," he said. He graduated from Washington's Eastern High School in 1939 and started dancing for money. Then, his incipient career was interrupted by World War II. "I danced my way across Europe with a rifle," he said.

After the war, he studied ballroom dancing here and in New York under the GI Bill, working also for the Arthur Murray Dance Studios.

He liked ballroom so much, he gave up tap dancing. And ballroom was where the money was. He opened his first studio here in 1948 at 17th Street and Columbia Road NW. After a while, he added another at 14th and I streets NW.

He also has worked the Catskills, cruise ships and country clubs. He worked the nightclubs that once thrived all over Washington.

Downtown, he worked at the Lotus, where his cousin Jack Corry was orchestra leader. "Everywhere you went, people expected entertainment," he said. "Every dancer, singer and entertainer could work before and after the war."

Things changed in the 1950s when the nightclub era largely ended, he said.

Daumit recalls the twist, the dance popularized in the early 1960s by Chubby Checker, as "the beginning of people dancing apart. It murdered the ballroom." So it went through the 1960s and most of the '70s.

Daumit was forced to teach disco dancing. "What are you gonna do?" he asked with a shrug. "That's how I was able to hold out. I taught all of those dances."

The revival now in full swing began to flicker, Daumit said, with the 1976 movie "That's Entertainment." A nostalgic look at Hollywood musicals narrated by dancers Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, it played at the Art Deco Uptown Theatre, diagonally across Connecticut Avenue from Daumit's studio.

"People were coming down the street and asking, 'Do you teach tap?' "

Those who climb the 28 steps to his second-floor studio today find a bulletin board crammed with notices trumpeting the big band dance revival, from Glen Echo to the Kennedy-Warren Hotel.

Adorning the walls are photographs of show business luminaries. One shows Daumit with the late band leader Sammy Kaye at the Shoreham Hotel. Another shows him at the White House with Betty Ford, whom he coached for her role in a 1976 Gridiron Club dinner.

Over the years, Daumit has had a few special partners, with whom he performs at clubs and events. His current partner is Mavi dela Pena, who has been with him for 21 years and is also a portrait artist.

A former flamenco dancer from Madrid, she began as a student of his and now also teaches classes for Daumit.

The walls of a rear studio are covered with the pictures of other Daumit teachers "who've come and gone," he said. "Every once in a while, they'll come in with their children. One even came in with a grandchild . . . .

"Many of them went into other fields. Now, there's a shortage of ballroom teachers," he said.

"There aren't many of us left in the commercial end," he said. "In the District, there's hardly anybody left. In the suburbs, there are some Murray studios and a few independents. It keeps us so busy . . . .

"I'd like some time to myself, but I don't know what I'd do. All my acquaintances say, 'Come on, Daumit, you'll die on that dance floor.' "