HANAPEPE — When Glenda and Roy Tamashiro took up ballroom dancing several years ago, they didn’t realize it would become a major part of their lives.
“We started when our kids went off to college,” Glenda said. “We met other couples who were going through the same thing, so it was a nice social outlet we could enjoy.”
Roy added: “Before that, you would never catch me on the dance floor.”
Now, 20 years later, the couple teaches ballroom dance to members of the Hanapepe Charter Kauai Ballroom Dance Club, taking them through the steps of dances like the waltz and foxtrot.
The dance club meets every Tuesday at the Hanapepe Recreation Center. For 10 weeks, members take a crash course in a mix of Latin and ballroom dance styles, including the cha-cha, samba, bolero, waltz and tango.
Every quarter, two new dances are introduced, and an intermediate class builds on a dance that was taught in the previous quarter.
A new quarter begins this week with registration and classes Tuesday at the Hanapepe Recreation Center.
The Lihue Chapter will begin registration and classes Wednesday, at the Lihue Neighborhood Center.
Classes at both locations are 7-9 p.m. Registration is $18.
This quarter, Hanapepe instructors will be teaching the East Coast swing and cha-cha. An intermediate waltz class will also be offered.
“We want to be able to step up and challenge people a little bit, so there’s something for everyone,” said Glenda.
Everyone is invited to join, no matter their skill level. The key is to have fun, she said.
“We can all do a little something,” Glenda said. “People just have to come with the idea that they are going to enjoy it. Plus, they’ll learn skills can use at parties. That’s what we want — everyone on the dance floor.”
Veteran dancers are also willing to help newbies learn the steps, she said.
“Our people are very good to work with. They’re very encouraging and supportive,” Glenda said. “We all began somewhere, so we know what’s it like to be in that position.”
Tomas Chavez and his wife, Adela, have been a member of the Hanapepe Charter Kauai Ballroom Dance Club for 10 years.
“When we moved here, my wife started getting involved in the community. One night, she came home and said we had a meeting to go to. It turned out we were going dancing,” he said.
His favorite dances are the cha-cha and rumba.
When he first started taking the class, Chavez assumed he’d be dancing to songs from the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers era.
He was surprised to learn that wasn’t the case.
“The music takes me back to college and high school. I love Santana, and now I know it’s cha-cha music,” he said.
Roy is in charge of picking the music, and he does a lot of research to make sure it’s current, his wife said.
Throughout the quarter, there are four social dinners hosted by the Hanapepe and Lihue chapters, which allow members to get together and show off their moves.
The events also give people motivation to dance in public, even if they aren’t getting the steps down or are feeling shy, Glenda said.
Roy reminds people with stage fright that no one is watching them.
“No one cares — they’re all paying attention to what they’re doing,” he said.
Chavez added: “Everyone has their own embellishments.”
On the dance floor, men are in charge — for once, Chavez said.
“Ballroom dancing is the best thing for men. When they’re on the dance floor, they’re the boss,” he said. “They may not be the boss anywhere else, but on the floor, they are.”