Decades of dancing

HANAPEPE — Lucy Ceballos might be 90 years old, but she can still Mambo.

Every week, Ceballos and her daughter, Rose Warken Ceballos, join between 10 and 15 other couples in Hanaepepe for two hours of dance classes.

Those classes are taught by the Kauai Ballroom Dance Club, which just celebrated its 11th anniversary on the island.

“The anniversary ball was a big success,” said Glenda Tamashiro, secretary for the Kauai Ballroom Dance Club. “We had lots of attendees and everyone had a great time.”

Ceballos and her daughter said they loved going to the anniversary ball, but they also enjoy the weekly classes at the Hanapepe Neighborhood Center.

“I am always her partner and she loves to dance,” Rose Ceballos said. “We come here every Tuesday night and she just has the best time.”

Ceballos said she loves to learn different kinds of ballroom dance styles, but her favorite is the waltz.

“It’s so graceful, especially with a good partner,” Ceballos said. “I just love everything about dancing, though.”

Though the waltz wasn’t on the menu in Tuesday night’s class, students learned basic steps from the Mambo and Cha Cha, as well as intermediate level fox trot.

“We teach all kinds of American-style dancing,” said Alton Miyamoto, president of the Kauai Ballroom Dance Club. “So we do things like West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, Tango, and Samba, but we’re always listening to what the members want to learn.”

Sessions are held quarterly and run for three months at a time. Each session teaches three styles of dance.

“With each dance, you learn seven steps throughout the entire session,” Miyamoto said. “So at the end of three months, you’ll have learned 21 dance steps total, if you take all three classes.”

Though the club is in its 11th year, Miyamoto said the group has been dancing for much longer.

“We used to be part of the Hawaii Ballroom Dance Association and we decided to organize as a county 11 years ago,” Miyamoto said. “They’ve been (dancing) here, every Tuesday night, since I can remember.”

Miyamoto said he and his wife, Lynette, started lessons with the club 20 years ago, and now they are one of five volunteer instructor pairs that rotate through classes.

“I used to work for the electric company and was in meetings all the time,” Miyamoto said. “I had to find one time a week to get away and do something with my wife without being bothered.”

Miyamoto said he and Lynette chose ballroom dancing because it’s a great way to release stress, exercise and have fun.

“There’s the health benefits of less stress and all of that — it’s good for the heart, good for joint health, and it’s great for the memory,” Miyamoto said. “You have to remember all those steps, and how to do them properly.”

Two hours of dancing also works out your calves, Miyamoto said, because most ballroom dancing is done on the balls of your feet.

“It’s not like walking,” Miyamoto said. “It takes lots of coordination and you’re using muscles that you normally don’t use, so you’re going to get sore.”

Students pay $3 per class for the entire session, plus parking, so the most a student will pay for three months of dance classes is $18.

Because every week’s class builds upon the last, students only have the first two weeks of class to sign up before they have to wait until the next quarter to join.

“It’s an inexpensive, easy way to get out and have some fun, dance and talk story with your friends,” Miyamoto said, “but you do need to make the commitment to be here every week or you’ll get behind and it won’t make sense.”

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