AFTER 24 YEARS OF MARRIAGE, Josh and Eileen Antell of Bath finally did something they always wanted and signed up for dance lessons at Maine Dance and Fitness. They look forward to the next event where they can use their new skills and show their stuff on the dance floor as a couple.

AFTER 24 YEARS OF MARRIAGE, Josh and Eileen Antell of Bath finally did something they always wanted and signed up for dance lessons at Maine Dance and Fitness. They look forward to the next event where they can use their new skills and show their stuff on the dance floor as a couple.


If the staples of flowers and chocolates don’t carry the romantic gesture you’re seeking, or you are looking for a way to spice up your relationship, maybe it’s time to think about dancing.

There are a number of dance studios and instructors who offer classes, even on a drop-in basis, for couples in the Mid-coast looking to try their feet at dancing.

“Lessons bring couples together on and off the dance floor,” said Betsy Haskell of Maine Dance and Fitness, located at its new location at 19 Main St. in Topsham. “It helps with communication. Dance is all about communicating non verbally. Leaders learn how to give cues to their partner, and followers learn to trust their partner.”

Haskell suggests the gift of dance to your partner as a romantic gesture and hopes to bring couples together as they learn something new. Ballroom, just one of the styles of dance she teaches, “is low-impact, and a fun challenge for men and women. No previous dance experience is necessary.”

Patience is a big component for couples as well, Haskell said, since as one will usually catch on faster than the other.

“Any physical activity is a great stress reliever and, with ballroom, couples exert energy and release endorphins,” she said. “These are just a few of the benefits of dancing as a couple. Couples learn how to be a better dance partner, and in turn become better in the role of romantic partner.”

She teaches 90-minutes ballroom lessons Friday nights for six-week sessions and is currently teaching Swing. At the end of the session Feb. 20, her students will be at the intermediate dance level. Next up is Salsa, which starts Feb. 27; one doesn’t have to have a dance partner to take part.

“We just wanted something to do as a couple on a Friday night,” said Josh Antell of Bath about why he and his wife decided to take the lessons.

Eileen Antell, his wife for 24 years, said when Haskell said those Friday nights would be date night, “that was awesome… We’ve always wanted to try but…”

“The stars never aligned,” Josh finished.

They’ve had a lot of opportunities to dance at parties without really knowing how to dance as a couple.

Not sure how they would dance as a couple, it’s been a good experience, Eileen said. Sometimes, “We’re scared to,” and Josh said it can be awkward. But then you get something right and those moments are so full of accomplishment.

“We’re battling to see who’s going to lead and who’s going to follow,” Josh said. “It’s supposed to me (who leads).”

Eileen laughed and said it’s getting easier to follow “until the music comes on and I get excited.”

It took them 24 years to finally take the step and dance.

“Try it,” Eileen said to those who might be hesitating.

And, Josh added, “Don’t take yourself seriously.”

It’s good exercise, Josh said, and Eileen noted you can practice at home, which again gives you something to do.

After swinging around the dance floor at Haskell’s studio, Anita and Carter Ruff of Bath said they have danced before, but this is their first dance class together as a couple. Anita said their children are taking ski lessons and she saw the ad on Facebook, “so for the first time in 10 years we have Friday nights free.”

She said it’s been fun learning a new dance, learning to follow, “and just laughing. I mean just laugh at yourself. Don’t take it too seriously.”

Ballet may not seem like a couples dance, but at Elizabeth Drucker’s Ballet School on Middlesex Road in Topsham, her evening adult ballet classes have become increasingly popular social events with a range of ages and levels of dancers. She tells of one middle-aged couple — the man with a background in modern dance and the woman new to dancing — who came to the class as friends but have become much closer, going out to dinner after.

Tony Garreton said his Tony Dance Studio in Bath also offers classes for couples. The next session is Salsa dance which begins March 9 and classes start at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesdays.

You don’t have to have a dance partner, but there are many couples in the class, Garreton said, who use dance night as date night and they dine at a downtown Bath restaurant before or after dance.

“So it’s a nice little social thing for couples,” he said.

Bath Dance Works also offers dance including community or family dances. There are also several contradances held around the Mid-coast.

Dance lessons are also offered through the Merrymeeting Adult Education, including ballroom for the beginner and intermediate. A six week session begins in March 11 and students will learn the Waltz, Rhumba, Cha Cha and Tango. A class in East Coast Swing Dance starts in March, the Hustle in May and the Bachata in June, at the ABSolutely Fit Center at 9 Cumberland St., in Brunswick.

Dancing usually strengthens a couple and gives them something else to do together and to bond over, said Serjei Slussky, owner of Aquarius Ballroom Dance Studios, which is based in Portland but offers lessons at the ABSolutely Fit Center in Brunswick, including several starting in March. Additionally, he said, “a lot of people find their significant other through dancing.”

“Everybody should try it at least once,” Slussky said. It was a life changing experience for him at one point, he said.

“I feel that it could be for everyone,” said Slussky.

FROM 7- 10 P. M. FRIDAY, FEB. 13, in celebration of Valentines Day, Tony Dance Studio is hosting a dance par ty at its location at 26 Centre St. in Bath. The event is open to all, couples or singles; a box for donations will be at the door as the only admission cost. There will be a variety of music and a short, 30-minute per formance at 8 p.m.

FROM 8- 11 P. M. SATURDAY, FEB. 14, Aquarius Ballroom Dance Studios (based in Portland, but offers dance lessons in Brunswick), will host a dance party at its Portland studio, located at 62B Forest Ave. The event is open to everyone; the cost is $7 per person.

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