Hitting the dance floor with Kat and Varyn

An instructor and two class participants practice ballroom dancing on a shiny wooden floor in front of a mirrored wall
Kat, at left, gives pointers to two ballroom dance class participants.

By Kat Graves

Three years ago I attended my first ballroom dance lesson at UAB at the invitation of my fiancé, Varyn. Even though I didn’t exactly enjoy the first couple of lessons, I stuck with them for Varyn.  But eventually the music, rhythms, and patterns began to resonate with me as I gained confidence, and I came to realize that there are few better ways to spend time with your partner. We joined the UAB Ballroom Dance Society, and dancing has since grown into an activity that we enjoy together regularly — even though my dancing can’t hold a candle to Varyn’s. 

Fast forward to last fall, when I was hired to assist with programming at The J. After getting to know something about the facility (that parquet floor in Pizitz Auditorium!) and our members, I just knew that a ballroom dance class would fly. 

I’m excited that we got a green light — especially now that I see everyone enjoying them as much as I do. This Tuesday was our second class already.

Keeping it light

Varyn, center, steps in with some advice.

The lessons have been fantastic, with more than a dozen people showing up for each class. The atmosphere is light and fun, even as people are making mistakes while they learn. 

In fact, people did so well in the first class that we ended up teaching something we hadn’t originally planned. Then we taught a more intermediate set in the second class, and everyone picked up on it. Between dances it’s a joy to see everyone laughing together. 

Before the lessons started, I was worried about the dancers not wanting to foster a fun and open environment. My fears that our dancers might be hesitant to relax and have a good time on the dance floor — as I was three years ago — were clearly unfounded.

We have plenty of room for more students. Cost per class is $0 for members and just $5 for non-members. Varyn and I would love to see you!

Kat Graves is assistant program director here at The J, and a third-year psychology major who is minoring in theatre at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She hails from Talladega.

Read about more programs and classes currently being offered at The J.

Instructors Kat and Varyn (center) were thrilled to see so many participants show up for the duo’s first ballroom dance class. “The atmosphere is light and fun, even as people are making mistakes while they learn,” says Kat.