Community arts center offers course in urban contemporary ballroom dancing

Photo by Mitch Robinson.

Photo by Mitch Robinson.

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The Mill Hill Community Arts Center is offering classes in urban contemporary ballroom dancing. The classes are taught by Rudy and Carolyn Mendes on Mondays from 7 – 9 p.m.

The two instructors, both Macon locals, started taking classes in urban contemporary ballroom about seven years ago. They attended classes in Warner Robins until their instructor stopped teaching classes. However, these two eager students were not ready for the classes to end, and they decided to teach their own.

“We wanted to have practice time, and we wanted to also have something going on here in Macon instead of going all the way to Warner Robins,” Mr. Mendes said.

Mr. Mendes said that urban contemporary ballroom dancing originated in Detroit, Michigan in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Young people took inspiration from more traditional ballroom styles and reinvented the moves into a more hip type of dance.

“They saw something that they were interested in, and they improvised on it,” Mr. Mendes said. “They kind of taught themselves some techniques, and contemporary urban ballroom grew out of that.”

The Mill Hill Arts Center, located on Clinton Street near the Macon Coliseum, offers many different experiences, such as yoga class- es and art galleries. One of Mill Hill’s resident artists, Forrest Gard, said that the community center has seen attendance numbers double in the last few months.

These classes are available to anyone who wishes to participate, regardless of their age or gender. Additionally, attendees are not required to have any previous dance experience, and they don’t have to bring a partner. Anyone who shows up for the class can learn how to do urban contemporary ballroom.

Attendees shouldn’t worry about being behind the class, either, because if they haven’t been to one of the classes, the teachers are more than willing to help catch up anyone who is a little behind.

Mr. Mendes said that some of the reasons people should attend these classes include exercise and socializing, as well as the fact that learning the patterns and rhythms for the dance can help people’s memories.

“And to spend time with your loved one,” Mrs. Mendes added.

Two more class sessions are currently scheduled. Classes cost $10 each. For more information, check out their event listing on macon365.com or call 478-955-8914.

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