Norwich Dance Club: Dance for all ages

NORWICH – Over the course of seven years as a Ballroom Dance Instructor and co-founder of the Norwich Dance Club, Martha Ryan has seen many students and dancers of all levels and degrees of talent waltz through the doors of her studio.

There are the men who have been dragged into dance lessons against their will in the effort to maintain peaceful relationships with their wives.  There is the occasional wife who dislikes dance but is married to a man with happy feet.  There are couples attempting to rekindle the flame.  There are lonely hearts seeking kindred spirits.  There are soon to be brides and grooms who want lessons and choreography for their wedding dance.

Said Ryan, “During my years involved with dance, I have encountered people from all walks of life.  The one thing most of us have in common is the love of dance.”  Recently, Ryan encountered a special man with an unexpected love of Ballroom Dance.

On his 81st birthday, Alynn Proskine may have expected the usual gifts but to his surprise, his daughter Martha gave him dance lessons with his 25-year-old granddaughter Hannah as his partner. 

For four weeks, the two learned the basics of the Waltz, Rumba, Tango and Swing.  Proskine probably does not expect to appear on Dancing With the Stars anytime soon, but his new found love of dance and the quality time spent with his granddaughter is a reward that he will cherish for years to come.   According to Ryan, Proskine quickly became a special student.  “There was something magical about watching Proskine dance with his granddaughter.  We have been teaching for seven years, and this experience is something I will treasure.” 

The Norwich Dance Club was founded in 2005 by the late Bob Arnell and Martha Ryan.  The venture was intended to preserve and promote the art of Ballroom Dance and Big Band music.  Arnell, a graduate of Julliard, gifted the use of his beautiful ballroom to the Norwich Dance Club.  His gracious gift continues to be honored by his wife, Teddy Arnell.  As a result of the contribution by these patrons of the arts, the Norwich Dance Club has a permanent home at 15 South Broad Street in Norwich, NY.

“We count our success in hours of laughter.  Our best rewards come from the many smiles we see when we perform at nursing homes,” said Ryan.  The Norwich Dance Club is a volunteer program devoted to the art of ballroom dancing.  The next community social dance will be held on May 15th at 7:30 p.m.  For more information visit or call 334-7526.

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