By Erin Pittman
Sponsored by Modern Ballroom Dance Studio
What do you picture when you think of ballroom dancing? Aristocracy? Sixteenth century ball gowns? Dances that fit into a society years ago?
Take one step into Modern Ballroom Dance Studio, and all of those visions will change. Owner Landra Vallejos has been in the dance business for 20 years. She worked for Arthur Murray for years, but she longed for something less cookie-cutterish.
“I wanted to create something more modern. People think of ballroom dancing as just for older people, and that’s not true,” she said.
So, she decided to put her own modern twist on the ballroom dancing scene.
What Sets Modern Ballroom Dance Studio Apart
Students at Modern Ballroom Dance Studio participate in a lot of fusion dancing, which sets the studio apart.
“That’s a little bit different than you will find at any other studio in the area,” said Vallejos. “We play any kind of music, and you can dance anything to that kind of music. Even students working on choreography won’t just be doing one dance; they may be doing three to four dances in that piece of choreography.”
Vallejos feels that the quality of social dancers they create also makes her studio stand out.
“When you learn here, you’re going to fit in with the crowd. What we teach is very authentic,” she said.
Students at Modern Ballroom Dance Studio learn good technique and learn how to “REALLY” dance.
“Some studios teach moves, but they don’t teach leading and following. Unless someone knows the exact steps, you’re not going to be able to lead them or follow. This way, you can dance anywhere,” said Vallejos.
“My instructors are probably some of the best teachers I’ve ever met in my 20 years of teaching,” said Vallejos. “They break things down. People say they can break down any kind of step or body movement and make it so they can do it.”
The third thing that makes Vallejos’ studio unique is the music. She shared that instructors focus on the students’ movements and also how to do them to the music, allowing them to be connected to the music.
In addition to all of these factors, Modern Ballroom is a community.
“Everyone knows everyone. We are really big on knowing names and introducing people,” Vallejos said.
Students can attend events inside and outside the studio where they get to know other students and instructors. Vallejos is proud of the environment they’ve created.
“I’ve been to a lot of independent studios with great instructors, but everyone’s doing their own thing. There’s no sense of community — just one-on-one instruction — so it’s a bit disconnected. We really go out of our way to include everyone.”
Getting Started As a Student
Instructors teach a variety of social dances at Modern Ballroom including waltz, Latin dancing, fox trot and more.
“We teach more than 15 dances at the studio,” Vallejos said.
The studio offers a variety of group classes, with Mondays typically being ballroom classes, Tuesday and Thursday are salsa and bachata, and Wednesdays feature variety dances like west coast swing and hustle.
“Our classes change about every six to eight weeks, but Tuesday and Thursday typically stay the same, because those classes are so popular,” said Vallejos.
Most students prefer to start out with private lessons. Sometimes group classes can feel hit or miss, as participants either pick up the moves at the pace they are taught, or they don’t.
“In private lessons, students can work on whatever social dances they want at their own pace,” Vallejos said.
For more information or to attend an event or class at Modern Ballroom Dance Studio, visit their website or call them at 703-495-2667. Be on the lookout for their spring showcase on May 16 to get a full taste of all they have to offer.