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March Ballroom Madness breaks out at BHS

March 22, 2012
Town Crier correspondent

It's that same old school day prospectus: math, history, science, language arts, and on Saturday East Coast Swing, Hustle, and Tango.

Courtesy of March Ballroom Madness and under the direction of USA Dance, students from the Mahoning, Columbiana, and Trumbull counties have had available to them during the month of March, free ballroom dance lessons.

Steve Barba, youth director for USA Dance, Youngstown-Warren Chapter 2015, organizes the event with assistance from USA Dance volunteers.

Article Photos

Boardman High School senior Allie Baklarz, pictured with Bob Zampagne of USA Dance, spent a recent Saturday at the school, where she and other high school students from the tri-county area are learning ballroom dances.

Hosted at Boardman High School for the past few years, the lessons are being held four consecutive Saturday mornings in March through a partnership between BHS and USA Dance as volunteers assist the students in learning to cha-cha, salsa, rumba, East Coast swing, waltz, foxtrot, tango and hustle.

Initiated several years ago as part of USA Dance's outreach program to expose area high school students to ballroom dance, Boardman High School foreign language teacher Erica Shonn, who has been instrumental in promoting the program said, "We're trying to build their interest in high school," adding that the hope is that the students will choose to continue with the activity as adult.

"We thought it would be a good idea to reach out to the students expose them to the love of dance," said Shonn, who added that not only have many of her students participated over the years, but many return year after year for the lessons.

A national organization with individual chapters, according to JoAnne Pacurar, current vice president of the Youngstown-Warren division of USA Dance, said the chapter's approximately 150 members hold a monthly dance at the Ukranian Orthodox Center on Belle Vista in Youngstown, at which a beginner and an intermediate lesson are followed by a general dance.

Open to visitors, Pacurar said the next dance, which will be held March 18, will feature the waltz, courtesy of Jim Ferrris of Always Dancin' Dance Studio, and added that the first visit is free.

Annual membership is $25, according to Pacurar, who explained that members attend dances with an admission of $5, while non-members pay $10 admission.

Because the dancers are mixers with members ranging in age from 16 to 85, Pacurar said partners are not required, and added, "Everyone gets a chance to dance."

Additional information on the local chapter of USA Dance can be found at

Calling ballroom dancing "good, effortless, exercise," Pacurar said opportunities are endless, adding that if you want to, "You can dance every single night of the week in Youngstown."



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