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John Cassese The Dance Doctor ~ Making Dance Fun…and Easy!

John Cassese: The Dance DoctorLooking for something fun to do? Want it to be healthful and burn some calories at the same time? John Cassese, the Dance Doctor has been prescribing fancy footwork for more than 25 years at his Santa Monica dance studio offering a cure for the lackluster workout routine.

Cassese—a most gregarious individual—turned professional ballroom dancer when he was 18 years old—performing and competing in prestigious competitions. Inspired by both singers and dancers such as Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Elvis Presley, Cassese it seemed was destined to dance—hoofing it at the tender age of 10 at Lake Mahopac Elementary School in New York.

He credits his success in California to his cousin Maria Lamagra a former publicist who urged Cassese to “Do what you do best, go door to door and teach people howA couple learns to dance the easy way. to dance.†Cassese put together a flyer but didn’t have a name. Lamagra gave him his famous moniker saying, “Call yourself the Dance Doctor who makes house calls!â€

His next big break came from a couple of writers that had taken private dance lessons. They referred Cassese to a friend in their writing class who wanted to interview and write a “little story†on him. The “little story†turned up on the front-page of the View health issue in the LA Times. It put Cassese on the map and allowed him to open his first studio.

Today his centrally located Santa Monica studio is located on the corner of Fourth and Broadway and Cassese offers both group and private classes that are fun and interactive, giving students an opportunity to learn at their own pace. Whether your goal is to get fit, refine your skills or just have fun, these classes provide the ideal environment.

When I requested to learn “Dirty Dancing†steps—I had no idea I would be learning salsa. My class is a private lesson with Jake Weimer, an incredible instructor who quickly fixes my two left feet and has me twirling around like Jennifer Grey in no time. After the hour is up I feel great and am eager to come back for more.

“What other type of exercise do you do at the gym that you can take to a party or a nightclub or a wedding? Dance is great exercise and you can take it wherever you go and use it for the rest of your life. What other exercise combines social grace and poise simultaneously? It’s an investment into yourself, a self-improvement program and I think the best thing anyone can do for themselves,†says Cassese.

The full service dance studio teaches classes on salsa, tango, merengue, waltz, fox trot, swing, hustle, rumba, bolero, lindy hop, jazz, country, hip hop, belly dancing, and ballet—which is one of their most popular classes.

Weddings continue to be a big draw because as Cassese explains, “People want to have a great first dance as husband and wife. There’s no such thing as just swaying back and forth. Guests want to be entertained.†Cassese believes the most important part of the whole event is the first dance because it sets the tone for the entire reception.

And now couples are adding on. Whereas in the past, they may have learned one dance, now they are learning two or three. “They start off with something very sedate and sophisticated traditional like a fox trot or a waltz and then they’re breaking into salsa, or cha cha or swing or hip hop.â€

Learning a first dance is a great opportunity for a couple to reduce their stress while they are going through the planning stages of a wedding, which in itself can be very stressful. “You have no idea how many people have said to me, ‘[This] is the one time we come here, that we have fun during this whole process. We forget about all the other stressful things because we have to focus on our dance, and we’re loving it.’â€

It’s Cassese’s theory that if you can walk, you can dance. “No matter what the motivation for coming in the door, when our students leave they are always energized, confident and wanting more. It helps that dance is trendy at the moment, but the feeling that comes with dance is timeless.†Cassese is constantly rewarded by his student’s transformative process. In fact, his office is littered with thank-you notes. He has taught everyone from Adam Sandler to U2’s Edge. And now, I too am thanking the multi-talented Cassese.

The Dance Doctor
1440 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA
(310) 459-2264
www.dancedoctor.com

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