On Friday, April 5 from 7:30 to 10 p.m., the First Friday Dance was held at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. Every first Friday of the month people gather there to enjoy dancing. Various dances are taught including salsa, cha-cha, waltz and mamba. All the proceeds go to the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
The dance program is meant to be a way to reach out to the Macon area.
From 7:30 to 8:15 p.m., a session on swing and jive dance was taught by a guest teacher, Julie Mulvihill, who has helped with the program before and soon will be moving to France. This time, she taught some East Coast Swing, which originated in the 1920s and involves some bounce and momentum. The dance was taught step by step and was easy for everyone to learn.
Each dancer practiced the dances as they learned them. The couples and people who attended thoroughly enjoy themselves. Some people danced, and some watched others dance. Some people were dressed in casual clothes, while others dressed in formal attire for the dance.
Paula East, cofounder of the First Friday Dance event, is an ambassador for the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame under the dance department. She is a professional dance consultant who teaches dance in the Macon area. She was 16 when she went into show business. She worked as a professional dancer and singer before she started to teach. She has been a professional dancer all her life and has traveled abroad to Europe. This is her third time coming back to Macon to teach, and she thoroughly enjoys it. East founded this event along with Ms. Dianne Kent.
The idea of the First Friday Dance is to promote dancing in the Macon area. Even dancers who compete in competitions come to the dance.
The event is open and catered to everyone from college students to senior citizens. East notes that the seniors usually out-dance the young people.
The dance draws a crowd of about 35 people each time. The group likes to introduce ballroom dancing to new people. Therefore, a wide variety of dancers attend, including the young and old, and beginners and professionals.
First Friday Dances have been going on for six years with an admission of $5. The 7:30 to 8:15 p.m. time slot is the complementary lesson. The 8:15 to 10 p.m. time slot is open to a variety of styles of dancing.
Kent, the other cofounder of the event, said they host other dances, as well. Greater Macon Dance Chapter of USA Dance and the Medical Center of Central Georgia sponsored a hospice group dance called “Stars Over Macon” in 2012. It was a benefit dance to help build Pine Points, a new hospice on Peak Road.
The First Friday Dance was created to help the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame stay open, according to Kent. With the proceeds going to the Sports Hall of Fame, the dance not only promotes dancing but the building it is located in.