Marino and Sage Adams of Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo by Ralph Stewart
Father and daughter team, Marino and Sage Adams of Brooklyn, N.Y., are having fun learning to dance. Photos by Ralph Stewart

May I have this dance?

By Anna Marie D'Addarie - August 17, 2006

"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, stop," called the instructor, but many in the large circle kept marching in place long after the number eight had passed. We all laughed. Quietly our instructor said, "Let's try that again." The second time we remembered to stop after eight beats. Success! Who could imagine that one hour later we would be dancing the Lindy Hop, with a multi-turn combination that included changing partners? If walking in place for eight beats was success, this was a miracle.

Yvonne Marceau is indeed a miracle worker. On August 8, at the Yard in Chilmark, she taught a large group of people who ranged in age from six to sixty, ballroom dancing. The evening was part of Family Dance series at the Yard.

Vinny Chippari of Chilmark and Hingham, accompanied his wife and three daughters to Family Dance night, which began with a potluck dinner. As the Chippari family finished their meal, they talked with excited anticipation about their first ballroom dance lesson. All, that is, except Mr. Chippari who prefaced each remark with a disclaimer about his lack of dancing skills.

Dance instructor Yvonne Marceau. Photo by Ralph Stewart
Dance instructor Yvonne Marceau teaches a ballroom dance class at the Yard in Chilmark.

Soon everyone was on the dance floor, counting out loud, looking at their feet, laughing, and somehow learning to dance.

Maybe it was because we didn't want to disappoint our teacher, Ms. Marceau, Broadway star and co-artistic director of American Ballroom Theatre. Her easy manner and calm nature put everyone at ease, while at the same time she reminded us about the importance of courtesy to one's partner - for example, by introducing yourself and keeping your feet together as you face each other. Part of Ms. Marceau's teaching technique is to have people switch partners constantly.

The time flew by and before we knew it Ms. Marceau was congratulating us on our hard work and saying good-bye to the class. Most were tired and had worked up a sweat, but everyone wanted to keep dancing. Most people agreed they would like to continue taking ballroom lessons.

As for Mr. Chippari, he was last seen in the lobby of the Yard dancing a very nice merengue with his daughter Isabella. They made a beautiful couple.

The Family Dance series continues each Tuesday in August, the Yard, Middle Road, Chilmark. Potluck supper begins at 5:30 pm, dance lessons begin a 6:30 pm. $10 suggested donation. For more information, call 508-645-9662.