The rhythm of life

Ballroom dancing classes in Camas are designed for all ages and skill levels

Previous Next

Ballroom dancing is offered Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8 p.m. at Lacamas Lake Lodge, 227 N.E. Lake Road. The class is $60 for six weeks or $12 to drop in. East Coast swing, for those who know the basics, is also offered from 8 to 9 p.m. Class begins Wednesday, Jan. 7. To register, visit https://register.cityofcamas.us or stop by Lacamas Lake Lodge. Call 607-1620 for more information.

Ballroom dancing is offered Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8 p.m. at Lacamas Lake Lodge, 227 N.E. Lake Road. The class is $60 for six weeks or $12 to drop in. East Coast swing, for those who know the basics, is also offered from 8 to 9 p.m. Class begins Wednesday, Jan. 7. To register, visit https://register.cityofcamas.us or stop by Lacamas Lake Lodge. Call 607-1620 for more information.

When Joseph Platt saw Julieann Smith tapping her feet to a Kenny Rogers song, he knew what needed to happen.

“If I see a woman who can’t sit still while music is playing, I know she wants to dance,” he said.

Platt, a professional dance instructor, asked Smith if she wanted to dance.

“I was happily surprised and ready to go,” she recalled with a smile. “And at the time, I followed beautifully. That kicked it off.”

A long-distance relationship and cross-country move ensued. Julieann Smith became Julieann Platt in 2008.

Although the two shared a love of dance, Julieann hadn’t had any formal training. Joseph, on the other hand, had taught dance classes for several years.

The couple decided to take ballroom dancing classes at the Firstenburg Community Center in Vancouver. They were so good at it, by the time the class ended the instructor asked if they’d be interested in substitute teaching. Soon after, the Platts branched out on their own and began offering ballroom dancing lessons. Since then, they have taught thousands of students the foxtrot, waltz, swing, rumba, cha cha, tango and salsa.

Recently, they began offering classes through Camas Parks and Recreation at Lacamas Lake Lodge.

“The facility here is gorgeous,” Joseph said. “It is one of the nicest dance floors in the area.”

Julieann, who runs their business, Ballroom Dance With Us, noted that dancing builds community among participants.

“People can come as a couple or alone and they will have someone to dance with,” she said. “They can get to know others and invite them to dance. It is an acceptable form of physical contact.”

Joseph remarked that ballroom dancing is a “whole body” activity.

“It helps people build confidence and brings them closer together,” he said. “It is great exercise for the body, sharpening of the mind and fun for the spirit.”

Recent participants in the Camas classes offer high praise.

“(It was) an excellent, rapid introduction to Latin dances,” noted Paul Menten. “Thank you Joseph and Julieann.”

“It was very nice,” said Monica Costan. “It had a romantic feeling when rumba songs were played. I enjoyed learning new steps for the different dances from our great teachers.”

The couple’s love of dance goes beyond teaching.

“We dance in Burgerville, Starbucks and Walmart,” Julieann said.

“Burgerville is a great place to dance,” added Joseph. “Most people get smiles on their faces when they see us.”

They teach ballroom dancing classes three days in week, in locations from Camas to Longview, and offer dance field trips. Julieann manages the business and Joseph works full-time at Security Signs in Portland.

“Dancing is my recreation time,” he said. “It doesn’t feel overwhelming to me. This is something we enjoy offering as our gift to the community.”

The couple plays the “old standards” during lessons, as well as contemporary music that lends itself well to ballroom dance style.

“The music of today is very danceable from a ballroom perspective,” Joseph said.

When asked why people should take their classes, Joseph described it as “one of the most joyful ways to connect to a human being.”

“Moving together to music is innate in our beings,” he said. “It is profound. There is a powerful energy with dancing and each dance brings a different gift.”

Added Julieann, “People have fun, learn new skills and get exercise. They know they can come to our class and other people will dance with them.”

Please review our community guidelines