Tonawanda News

Features

October 21, 2013

Ballroom dancing TV shows increase attendance at local dance studios

Tonawanda News — If people aren’t yet convinced that truly anybody can dance, they likely didn’t see actress Valerie Harper on the television show “Dancing with the Stars.”

Harper, once a star on the beloved 1970s sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” gamely competed in ABC’s ballroom dance competition despite struggling with terminal lung cancer.

Her persistance to carry on despite physical challenges and her ever-smiling optimistic spirit probably did as much for the dance industry as it did for the story lines on the show. But, on a show that pairs dance professionals with compelling non-professionals, it fits the premise that those who take the time to put in the hard work of learning to dance seem to thoroughly enjoy their newfound abilities to move out on the floor.

And while nearly every wedding proves that non-dancers are still the silent, seated majority, owners of local dance studios report a growing number of couples are stepping up to learn to dance at studios in the Niagara region.

“That’s the main reason people come into the studio. They like that show,” said Serge Komar, who recently opened a ballroom dance studio called Dance Like a Star with Serge in Lewiston. “Everybody wants to be like them,” said Komar, who actually is just like the professionals on the show.  Raised in the Ukraine, he’s been dancing professionally around the world since he was 21, and still competes today with his partner and studio owner, Gail Halim, owner of Gail’s Tobacco and Gas in Sanborn.

He says that once students try his $25 introductory package, most don’t have to be sold to sign up for more classes. 

“They’re normal people who have a job, do their stuff at home and they also want to try new skills for themselves,” he said.

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