Whirling and twirling around the dance floor will leave you breathless at this fun class.
WHEN I THINK of the polka, I think of jolly brass bands playing cheerful music. For Viennese waltzing, my mind moves to a smooth three-count Strauss piece, this time with strings.
I know you can dance to both, but I had never thought of doing so.
When I heard about Broadway Waltz, sold to me as “music, romance, cardio,” I wanted to know more. Once I was spiraling with a partner at a breathless pace around the dance studio at Seattle Central College, I realized I had underestimated these ballroom dances.
“I do kickboxing to stay in shape for polka,” Broadway Waltz co-founder Chloe Lewis said. She was serious.
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Lewis and her husband, Myles Conley, fell in love with traveling social dance in San Francisco, which has a vibrant scene for social dances from the 19th century. While social dancing is popular in Seattle, with Lindy hop and salsa among many styles available, the ballroom social dances require, well, space. Think giant ballrooms with people sweeping and spinning across the floor in ballgowns and tails. (Formal attire not required at Broadway Waltz.)
Lewis teaches a beginner class before the monthly dance, and I showed up to learn how to polka and waltz. She started with the polka, giving us a primer on how to move with a partner, and also on the flow of the floor — the fast dancers travel on the outside. You always can walk in a stately fashion with a partner inside, moving at your own pace. But soon enough, she showed us how to spin 180 degrees with a partner, traveling across the floor.
It was fast. I got warm right away as I spun, and I was dizzy, too. It also was silly and fun to spin. When we stopped, I had to take a moment so I didn’t fall over.
We moved on to waltz, which in my head is a stately, slow dance. I was…