Mattapoisett Couple Could Have Danced and Danced All Night
If you think ballroom dancing has gone the way of the horse and buggy, you'd better hang on.
Look at the phenomenal success ABC has had with Dancing with the Stars, now in its 10th season. It continues to grow in popularity, and on occasion posts higher ratings than American Idol.
Nancy and Jim Barrett of Mattapoisett know a thing or two about the love of ballroom dancing. My in-laws have been cutting up rugs together since they first met.
"When Jim and I started dating, we decided to try ballroom dancing, and eventually, we became competitive ballroom dancers. Years later, Jim built a dance studio in our home," Nancy Barrett said.
Many people got their start at Barrett Dance Studio in Mattapoisett, and it is still quite busy.
"Now, many of my students are people getting married. The men, who all say they have two left feet, learn mother-son, father-daughter and the bride and groom's first dance," said Barrett, a lifetime public school educator.
The most fulfilling feeling for both is seeing someone come in timid and sheepish, and leave six lessons later with the joy that comes with confidence and self-assurance.
Jim Barrett, a well known custom cabinet maker, remembers when all this was fresh and new.
"We'd love going to all the couples' club dances, at the different parishes. Funny thing is, before I met Nancy, I wasn't a big fan of ballroom dancing," he said.
What's the hottest dance trend nowadays?
"The latest is a new 'night club' dance that can be used with fast or slow contemporary music," Nancy Barrett said. "Regardless of the type of music, Jim is one of the smoothest dancers I've ever seen.
Her favorites are Latin ballroom, rhumba, cha cha and salsa.
"I teach dance at local nursing homes, where I use expressive hand movements to instruct people in wheel chairs," she said. "They don't have to use their feet. They get so into the rhythm and the beat, I don't think they know they're not using their feet."
Barrett said she gets requests quite often to create something appropriate, if the parent is wheelchair-bound.
"Recently, I choreographed a father-daughter dance for the father in a wheel chair. The dance was simple and yet so beautiful to see the father gently moving his hands, turning her slowly, as his daughter gracefully danced around him, and ending with his daughter gracefully turning and gently sitting on her dad's lap," she said. "There wasn't one dry eye at the reception."
Barrett said passion is a key component.
"Dancing gives me the greatest enjoyment because of its physical movements, the sensation of the dance itself and the enjoyment my partner gives me," she said. "Without passion, dancing is just steps."