Instructor finds new space for ballroom dancers

Music echoes throughout the spacious room as a voice calls out instructions.

“Left, two, three. Left hand up; right hand up and over.” 

The voice belongs to Judy Schneider, adjunct Kinesiology instructor, as she teaches ballroom dancing in Health Sciences room 151. 

Soon though, Schneider will have to move her classes and students out of her ideal dancing facility.

A hospital administration degree coming with help from donations made by Gipsons, as well as offices and a student lounge will soon replace the current studio. 

Schneider said originally she was not offered a new space to teach classes, and she had begun to search for an affordable local facility to use. 

She and other instructors who use the studio were later told by University administration they could use one of the ballrooms in Billingsly Student Center. 

The current dance studio, built 10 years ago, includes sprung maple wood flooring. This means there are vertical boards underneath that add extra give to the floor, Schneider said.

“This is a very expensive and beautifully built dance studio with an explicit purpose,” she said. “The maple is the gold standard for dance floors.

“It’s hard, but you can really dance beautifully on it.”

The studio also includes natural light, which Schneider said adds extra life to the space. 

A variety of courses are taught in the space beyond the dance course, including karate, Tai Chi, yoga, Zumba, and the women’s self-defense course, taught by University Police Chief Ken Kennedy. 

Schneider also teaches an evening class for community members with Judy’s Ballroom Dance Lessons. Members come from throughout the region, including those from Joplin, Seneca, Nevada and Springfield, as well as Galena, Kansas.   

“This has just been a marvelous place to build a dance community for the students and for the area,” she said. “The worth of the studio has drawn people [in].”

Many students in her current class find it to be a stress reliver and an outlet to express themselves. 

Freshman pre-vet major Eden Laws said it helps her to feel more confident.  

Junior Valerie Boswell said she likes taking the dance course because it’s something new and different to learn. 

As an accounting major, it’s nontraditional to Boswell’s studies. She likes that she has the opportunity to dance. 

While Schneider will leave the studio she’s taught in for several years, she is glad to hear of the new major that will be added. 

She hopes the move to Billingsly will increase student traffic, thus increasing the size of classes. 

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