How Dance Changed Everything, A Love Story

Geoff Newell discovered dance at a point in his life when many people find their passion. He found dance in college. Much like NYC swing dance teacher Stina Dallons, Geoff’s goal had been to become a working actor. Instead, he found a love that grew into a successful career as a professional ballroom dance instructor. 

“I had never really danced before. A ballroom club at the university does a showcase every year. I saw the showcase and thought: I want to learn how to do that. So I talked to a couple friends who were in the group and they helped me get started. Then I auditioned to be a part of the group and got in. It’s where everything started for me.”

That was eight years ago. Now Geoff is a professional instructor in Greenville, SC at a place he considers to be one of the best ballroom studios in the country. Through dance Geoff also found another kind of love.

“Dance brought me my career, and dance also brought me my girlfriend. It basically changed the entire course of my life. I love being able to do what I do every day. I wouldn’t have this opportunity if I hadn’t found dancing. And my girlfriend teaches with me. It’s awesome.”

Geoff recommends everyone gives dance a chance. 

“Give it one shot because you’re not going to know until you’ve done it. A lot of people think they’re no good at dancing. A lot of people don’t realize what they’re capable of and they sell themselves short. It’s not as hard as they think it is to move. We as human beings are made to move. It’s easy to teach people how to do what they already know how to do. They just don’t realize they know how to do it.”

He also believes that everybody deep down knows how important dance is. 

“Music is something that is so universally embedded into our lives that moving to it is also embedded in there somewhere. I think everybody would love to be able to express themselves fully when they hear music. Learning how to dance is a part of that. It brings joy to be able to be like: oh, I feel the music and I’m moving to it and it feels good. Then if you get a little bit more background knowledge of what you’re doing and a little bit of the history and a little bit of technique you can appreciate it that much more. It feels better within you. It’s kind of just a positive cycle upwards.” 

When life is normal Geoff instructs regular ballroom dance classes, but Lindy Hop is his personal favorite style of dance. Due to current pandemic regulations, Geoff is stuck at home, so he’s decided to teach a Virtual Lindy Hop Musicality Workshop

This online Lindy Hop Workshop is a crash course intended to help you understand a little more about the music of Lindy Hop, and about how this understanding can open up new avenues in your social dancing. 

The workshop is divided into four one-hour parts. The first session will start on Friday, April 3rd at 8:00 PM EST. The workshop will be a pay-what-you-can-afford sliding scale ranging from $5 to $30. The majority of the funds will be donated to The Frankie Manning Foundation, Lindyfest, Midwest Lindyfest, and the Orlando Lindy Exchange. These organizations help support artists and professionals during this stressful time. Interested in participating? Register here

Geoff’s Must-Have Dance Tool:
Resistance bands: Resistance bands are a great friend. They help develop flexibility. It’s easy on your muscles and it’s a great way to tone. You don’t want to become this inflexible bodybuilder of a person if you’re learning how to dance. Resistance training keeps your muscles flexible. It helps train you to move fluidly and that’s something that helps you as a dancer regardless of what style you’re doing. If you can flow from one shape to the other and it feels good then you can communicate that with your partner more easily. Resistance bands are fantastic.