Gliding across the dance floor, sliding in time to the music, spinning into a private fantasy, couples appear to meld into a single form, each lost in the arms of the other. Outsiders can watch the rhythm of the dance, but dancers live within it. Dance is a common expression of romance between two people. It is also good exercise, providing a great cardiopulmonary workout, while having fun.

Doug Henry

There is a dance instructor on the Key Peninsula who can teach even the left-footed student to move to the music. Doug Henry, owner of Key Pen-based InStep Dance, has been teaching ballroom dance for 11 years, currently teaching classes six days each week in Tacoma, and previously teaching at the KP Civic Center. He also provides private lessons for couples, individuals, or groups to learn ballroom or swing dancing.

Henry has demonstrated his dance techniques for wedding magazines and wedding shows, including the annual Tacoma Dome wedding show. He offers basic dance steps, to full choreography wedding classes for the bride and groom, or even the full wedding party. He can teach the groom to dance with the mother-in-law, and the father to dance with the bride. These lessons will come in handy for one Lacey couple whose relationship has bloomed in Henry’s classes, and who plan to marry this spring.

He also choreographs dance showcases at least once each year, and is negotiating the details of a stage show, tentatively titled “A Tribute to Dance,” a project that will take two years to develop.

Even reluctant students find themselves laughing along with Henry, who can readily step into the female partner’s role, and dance backward to better demonstrate the dance steps. Henry’s secret to appearing light on his feet is to keep his weight on the balls of his feet, with shoulders level. Well-fit shoes with smooth soles ensure solid footing. A sense of rhythm, good balance and unlocked knees allow the dancer to stay relaxed and ready to transition from one dance position to another — face to face, side-by-side, or passing around the back. Each move adds interest to the dance and challenges to the dancers. Spins and twirls are accomplished with the lightest fingertip touch, pivoting over open palms, with never a grip, grasp, or strong-arm maneuver. Like playing an instrument, practicing dance improves the performance, and enhances the enjoyment of the activity.

Henry says, “Whether you just want to learn social dancing or have a special occasion, classes are provided in a non-threatening, fun environment.”