Pinellas News

PH dance studio helping visually impared learn some steps

— Jumping out on the dance floor can be a nerve-wracking experience for people in full possession of all their faculties.

Take away one’s ability to see and that anxiety can dial up quite a bit higher.

Five years ago Lania Berger heard about the nervousness visually impaired students with Lighthouse of Pinellas were experiencing prior to a Valentine’s Day dance and wanted to lend a hand. Berger owns the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Palm Harbor and offered to provide the children with free lessons.

“Lots of people get nervous about a dance party, especially for Valentine’s Day, but now make it pre-teens who can’t see,” Berger said. “The kids were terrified.”

That 2009 collaboration went so well that Arthur Murray continued working with Lighthouse students ever since.

This Thursday will be the studio’s annual Lighthouse for the Blind Dance Workshop, which also comes two days before National Dance Day on Saturday.

National Dance Day was created in 2010 by Nigel Lythgoe, of “So You Think You Can Dance?” fame and is celebrated on the last Saturday in July.

“The idea behind National Dance Day is to get everybody up and moving and having fun,” Berger said. “They put these routines on YouTube for everybody to learn. With the blind students, of course they can’t just flip on the computer and learn the routine.

“We take this as a nice opportunity to bring a little more attention to an organization I so strongly believe in and have a great relationship with.”

In addition to its work with Lighthouse, Arthur Murray is also offering a number of opportunities for the public to get in on National Dance Day.

Its featured event, to take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, will include live entertainment, food and plenty of dancing.

Those interested in participating and learning the “So You Think You Can Dance?” steps or any other dances can get free lessons throughout this week.

To register for free classes or find more information, call (727) 786-2224. Arthur Murray Dance Studio is at 34930 U.S. 19. Palm Harbor.

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