Louise Bretz
Co-owner, Poinsettia Swing Dance Club

Q&A copyHow would you describe dance to someone who cannot see?
I don’t think I’d need to. Dancing is something you do with your body, not just something to watch. A blind person would feel their own dancing any time they moved to music.

When did you first know you were a dancer?
I loved my cotillion class in third grade. But I only came to define myself as “a dancer” in my 30s when I fell down practicing for the first time. You don’t fall down if you are not risking enough. That’s when I really knew.

Why is dance important to you?
Dancing is in my bones, not so much a choice. If music is on, I want to move. It brings me joy. It is an inseparable part of me.

Ahjalia Hall
Co-owner/Director, Thrive Dance Center

Q&A copyHow would you describe dance?
Dance, in its truest form, is a person allowing their body to move to music.“Music” can be in the traditional meaning or it can be silence, the sounds around you or even the sounds in your mind that no one else can hear.

Why is dance important to you?
Two reasons: First, because it’s a beautiful form of expressing yourself. And second, dance gives people confidence in themselves that they didn’t otherwise know they had.

If you could dance with any one person, from the past to the present, real or make-believe, who would it be?
I have always wanted to dance with the one and only Janet Jackson. Her style, dynamics and electricity on stage . . . and she is a true entertainer.

Dance is like . . . a beautiful poem written with your body and soul connected.


Jennifer Maples
Co-owner/Director, Thrive Dance Center

Q&A copyHow would you describe dance?
Dance is a feeling of freedom and departure. Your emotions combined with the music inspire your body to move. Dancing feels wonderful physically and it fills your soul with joy. It can be therapeutic and even a source of meditation. All of the beauty of human emotion moves through you and there is no wrong way to dance, there is only your way.
Why is dance important to you?
Dancing is one of my favorite things in life. It feels great to dance and, just like all art, it is a universal language. My favorite part of weddings or big parties is that everyone dances. No matter your age, where you are from, or what your beliefs are, dance, music, visual arts, all of it . . . has the power to bring all people together in joy.

Can everyone dance?
Absolutely. Everyone can also learn to dance at any age. Dancing is great for your body, your mind and for your spirit. It feels good and it’s good for the world.

Dance is like . . . magic.

Marianne Van Etten
Owner/Director, The Ballroom World of Dance

Q&A copyWhat song makes you jump up and dance?
I love Samba! I have to say that it is a strong tie between “Jump in the Line” by Harry Belafonte and “Bailamos” by the Ray Hamilton Orchestra. They both get me up dancing every time. . .

If you could dance with any one person, from the past to the present, real or make-believe, who would it be?
Fred Astaire, because of his gentle dance demeanor, animation and interpretation of music. I believe he would bring out the best in anyone he danced with.

Why is dance important to you?
Through dance, I am able to bring joy into the lives of others, from children to seniors. If I am ever feeling down or under the weather, my instant cure is my dance studio. Being around music and dance is the best natural mood elevator!

Christy Melgoza
Co-owner, Arthur Murray Dance Centers
Thousand Oaks and Woodland Hills

Q&A copyWhen did you first know you were a dancer?
I was raised in the ballroom dance environment, also known as a “studio brat.” However, I distinctly remember after my first Cha Cha dance performance at the age of the 13, no one could drag me off the floor again.

Why is dance important to you?
Dance has not only given me pleasure my whole life, it has allowed me to help others enhance their lives. I have seen marriages rekindled, singles get married, students grow amazing friendships, and I have seen people become healthier and happier. The connection ballroom dancing brings to people is unparalleled, and that’s never more important than in today’s computer, tablet, smartphone world.
It forces people to be reminded of how joyful true interaction with others is.

Can everyone dance?
Oh ya! . . . People naturally do things in rhythm. The truth is, if you can walk or talk, you can dance. It is teaching people what to listen for in the music and to step properly. I have never met a person who can’t learn.

Woody Bretz
Co-owner, Poinsettia Swing Dance Club

Q&A copyHow would you describe dance to someone who cannot see?
I would think people who cannot see would be very much in tune with both music and the sense of kinesthesia. I think they could feel dance.

Why is dance important to you?
Dancing has provided me with a great deal of joy over the years and it was through dancing that I met my wife (Louise Bretz).

Dance is like . . . a short, lovely, intimate conversation without words.

Dance Lessons and ClassesA few local spots where adults can move to the music.

Dance Schools

Agoura Hills Dance
5015 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills
(818) 991-8883
Ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop

Arthur Murray Dance Centers
3065 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., #4
Thousand Oaks
(805) 495-1445
5725 Ralston St. #210, Ventura
(805) 644-5999
Various social ballroom dance styles as well as rhythm and Latin dance, country and specialty

Ballroom World of Dance
30686 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Agoura Hills
(818) 889-5400
All social ballroom dances, Latin and rhythm

Bobbie’s School of Performing Arts
2320 Teller Road, Newbury Park
(805) 498-7747
Ballet, tap, jazz/contemporary and hip hop

Caliente Dance Studio
2550 E. Vineyard Ave., Oxnard
(805) 754-6081
Salsa and bachata

Ciara Dance
21250 Califa St. Ste. 105A, Woodland Hills
(818) 888-7744
Tap and ballet


House of Dance
3007 Bunsen Ave., Ste. E, Ventura
(805) 650-2719
Social ballroom, swing and salsa

Karina Smirnoff Dance Studio
6344 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Ste. 2020 Woodland Hills
(818) 232-7224
Ballroom and Latin dances

MacKinnon Dance Academy
2200 Outlet Center Drive #420, Oxnard
(805) 485-0115
Ballet, tap, Polynesian, Scottish Highland, jazz and salsa

Thrive Dance Center
3623 Old Conejo Road, Ste. 100
Newbury Park
(805) 375-9988
Tap, ballet, jazz and hip hop

Clubs and Groups

Bogies at Westlake Village Inn
www.bogies-bar.com; salseros-la.com
(818) 889-2394
Latin Night Wednesdays: salsa and bachata lessons

Boots and Slippers Square Dance Club
Classes and dances held at the Simi Valley Senior Center

Borderline Bar and Grill
(805) 446-4435
Line dancing, two step, West Coast swing and salsa lessons in Thousand Oaks

Buckles and Bows Square Dance Club
Classes and dances held at the Goebel Adult Center

Conejo Valley Folk Dancers
(206) 849-1190
International line and circle dancing in Thousand Oaks

Happy Squares Square Dance Club
Classes and dances held at the Simi Valley Senior Center

Poinsettia Dance Club
(805) 290-5414
Ballroom dancing to live music in Ventura

Poinsettia Swing Dance Club
(805) 223-0635
West Coast Swing classes on Thursdays in Ventura

Scottish Country Dancing
Group social dancing in Thousand Oaks and Ventura

West Coast Swing
(805) 405-2946
Tuesday nights at Sportsman restaurant

Also check with your senior center, parks and rec, adult schools, community colleges and meetup.com for dance opportunities.