"Ballroom dancing is an art form," says Charlotte Giardina, of St. Rose. And anyone can do it, she insists - even you.
And she should know. Giardina, 42, has been teaching beginning and advanced ballroom dancing since 1992 at Destrehan High School through the St. Charles Parish school systemí continuing education program.
Giardina's love for dancing is witnessed in her voice.
"It's exercise, it's sharing something with a partner, and it's beautiful," she told the Herald-Guide.
Giardina has advice for some of the men who are intimidated by ballroom dancing.
"I tell the guys not to be afraid,Ē she says. ďI tell them how easy it is to learn.
"After the classes, the guys like it more than the ladies.Ē
She describes ballroom dancing as "having another type of intimate relationship."
"It's moving in time together and sharing something with somebody," Giardina says.
"It's a very personal thing."
In the past, Giardina competed and danced professionally. She has been a certified ballroom dance instructor since 1983. Giardina also was an instructor for seven years at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Metairie.
"I teach because I love it," she explains.
This fall, her beginner's ballroom class at Destrehan High was a full class of 30 students. "The whole cafeteria - thatís our ballroom! - was full.
"Since the TV show ĎDancing with the Starsí started, ballroom dancing has become more popular," says Giardina.
In her advanced class students learn the waltz, fox trot, rumba, cha-cha, and swing dances.
"We always have a big turnout for the class. We have a lot of fun and we laugh a lot," Giardina says.
For more information on the ballroom classes being offered in the spring, contact St. Charles Parish Schools at 985-785-7268.