A Publication of WTVP

Get into the Latin groove…

Grab a partner and shine up your dancing shoes! This spring, Galaxy Dance Studio will offer two new sizzling dance classes perfect for experienced dancers and beginners alike. Get ready to Rueda and Bachata!

Led by instructor Apollo Shaw, the five-week Rueda and Bachata classes will help students master the basics before turning them into virtuosos of the dance floor… or at least get them a step—and a spin—closer. Anything is possible, and Shaw is living proof.

A few years ago, Shaw decided to surprise his girlfriend with a Salsa lesson one day, but surprisingly, he was the one who ended up getting hooked. And while the relationship ultimately didn’t last, his passion for dance has continued burning ever since. “To me, there is no greater feeling in the world than moving freely to a piece a music and letting the rest of the world disappear,” he proclaims. “I dance because it allows me to be myself, and it’s something I can’t live without.”

Having mastered the art in just three years, Shaw has spent the last several months introducing central Illinoisans to the lively world of Latin dance. Whether you want to show off your new moves at a wedding or just want to try something new, Shaw believes everyone can benefit by adding some Latin spice to their lives.

Rueda Rhythm
Both thrilling and entertaining, Rueda is all about teamwork. Originating in Cuba during the 1950s and 1960s, Rueda—meaning “round” in Spanish—is a group Salsa dance that includes several spins and turns and the constant changing of partners. “There’s a lot of different motion involved in Rueda,” Shaw notes. “It’s extremely fun!”

As the líder, or circle leader, calls out commands like dame! (switch!) and enchufla! (a special type of turn), students must swap partners whilst twirling and following signature steps that evolved from dances like the Mambo. Participants should prepare to work together as they learn the styling and history of this revolving dance.

Blazing Bachata
While Rueda is about friendly camaraderie, Bachata embodies passionate affection. This steamy style has grown from its Dominican roots to become one of the most popular dances around the world. “It’s extremely fun, like Rueda, but it’s more of a sexy dance,” Shaw explains. “To keep it nice and clean, it’s a dance of love.”

This four-beat dance emphasizes the body language of each partner and features fancy footwork, several partnering techniques, and trademark moves like the 360 spin. In addition to learning new, spicy steps and the music theory behind the Bachata, Shaw says male students will walk away from the class as better leaders, and female students better followers… but of course, those rules only apply on the dance floor, though!

Growing Through Art
Not only do the Rueda and Bachata offer opportunities to challenge yourself and learn about a different culture, dance is an excellent way to expand your horizons and communicate through art, Shaw says. “It’s something we were made to do as humans… to express our feelings and our emotions to the world.”

Regardless of ability, Shaw says there’s one thing every student is sure to leave with after a lesson: a sense of accomplishment. “They’ll take away pride and the ability to take their talent and improve it in other instructions,” he asserts. “Prove to yourself that you can do it! Open yourself up to something new!” a&s

Galaxy Dance Studio is located at 8900 North Industrial Road in Peoria. Visit or call (309) 670-0326 for class dates, times and more information.