There is something endlessly exhilarating about a dance floor, and it seems like more people are becoming interested in ballroom dancing these days. Maybe it’s the debut of reality TV shows displaying various Hollywood stars in sparkly costumes doing the jitterbug, or perhaps you are just looking for something to do in Centralia. Whatever your reason, dance instructor Marie Kiser is here to remind you that it is never too late to boogie on the ballroom dance floor.

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Whether you want to make an impression at your next social gathering, get exercise, or are looking for a way to connect with your partner, there is nothing quite as impressive as displaying unexpected dance moves with your lady or gent.

Rock ‘N’ Roll and Sibling Fun Turns Into a Lifelong Love for Dancing

Dana Marie Kiser Ballroom Dance
Kiser and her partner compete in Vegas at the Fred Astaire ballroom dance Nationals in 1978. Photo courtesy: Fred Astaire Studios

Kiser was born and raised on her Lewis County farm with her loving parents, brother, and three sisters, where music and dance became just as common as academics and chores.

“My first memory, I recall dancing on top of my dad’s feet in our living room to his old records,” says Kiser.I knew right away I liked dancing. I just didn’t know how.”  As she grew, so did her inspiration. Kiser was often introduced to new dancing styles by her mother at an early age. “She taught me the Foxtrot at first,” says Kiser. “Then she taught me the Charleston, so my sister Phyllis and I would practice those at first.”

Kiser quickly became interested in the new toe-tapping beats of blues and rock ‘n’ roll and spent the afternoons dancing to the sounds of Elvis or Jerry Lee Lewis. Joyful, upbeat music could be heard coming from their family home on any weekday afternoon when Kiser would get home from Boistfort High School just in time to catch the newest episode of American Bandstand and imitate the dance routines with her siblings and friends.

Dana Marie Kiser Ballroom Dance
Nothing kept Kiser off the ballroom dance floor, even when she had to use a bandana to cover up her fresh head injury. Photo courtesy: Dana Marie Kiser

Decades of Dancing Experience

Little did Kiser know at the time that she would grow to become a professional dance instructor and inspire hundreds of novice and professional dancers to pursue their dreams in competitive ballroom dancing.

“I remember the day I was walking past a building, and I saw a sign in a window that said, ‘5 lessons for $35,’ and I thought, that sounds fun,” explained Kiser. “So, every day, I got off work and headed over to the studio for my classes. That was when I started practicing everywhere. In the storeroom at work and late at night in my YWCA dorm when everyone else was asleep.”

Later, when the studio hit hard times, the manager surprised her by offering a part-time job teaching beginners. She eagerly accepted. Kiser and her fellow teachers quickly rallied together to keep the studio functioning, and she went as far as her dancing shoes would take her.

Kiser eventually became a trainer of beginning and advanced dance teachers, with an associate standing in the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance, a ballroom dance choreographer, and an Advanced Instructor for the world-famous Arthur Murray Studios and Fred Astaire Studios in Seattle. As a Gold Level Teacher, Kiser has taught and coached students to national-level awards. She has also been honored as a Regional Top Teacher for her dedication.

Dana Marie Kiser Ballroom Dance
“Not only is dancing a fantastic way to stay mentally and physically fit,” says Kiser, “but it is also a great way to gain a lot of confidence on and off the dance floor.” Photo courtesy: Dana Marie Kiser

Sign Up for Ballroom Dance Classes at Centralia College

“Not only is dancing a fantastic way to stay mentally and physically fit,” says Kiser. “It is also a great way to gain a lot of confidence on and off the dance floor.”

Today, Kiser teaches in her spare time at the Aerie Ballroom or the Centralia Grand Ball Room through Centralia College.

The six to eight-week classes contain two different ballroom dance styles similar in beat or choreography. By the end of the quarter, you will know how to do two distinct types of dances ranging from the cha-cha, East Coast and West Coast swing, foxtrot, rumba, samba, mambo/salsa and waltz to the Argentine tango.

It is hard to know where to start, but because Kiser understands the challenges one might face initially, she provides a fun-loving and inclusive atmosphere for dancers to feel comfortable. She will stay with you and gently guide you through each routine, step-by-step, to show you how to put your best and most confident foot forward.

Don’t be a wallflower! Call or go online to sign up for classes and make your next birthday or anniversary memorable with Ballroom Dance Classes from outstanding dance instructor Dana Marie Kiser.  

Dana Marie Kiser Ballroom Dance
Dana “Marie” Kiser, a Boistfort High School graduate, strikes a final pose with her partner. Photo courtesy: Dore Studios Photography

The Centralia Grand Ballroom is located at 202 Centralia College Blvd. in Centralia. For more information on signing up for classes, visit the Centralia College website or call 360.623.8940.

The Aerie Ballroom is at 219 S. Tower Avenue in Centralia. For more information on signing up for private or group classes, visit their website or call 360.807.1212.

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