Magdalena Piekarz said closing down her ballroom dance studio Elite Dance last November was the beginning of a new chapter in her life.
Piekarz — a professional dancer for over 30 years and the former number four in the world for ballroom dancing in 2008 — is still teaching dance, but has moved online to video tutorials at 2LeftFeetCure.com. She said her videos first focus on teaching the two most important, basic dances: a slow dance and a fast dance.
People often tell her they have two left feet, Piekarz said.
“It takes me about 15 minutes to prove to you, you don't,” she said. “It's really a limited concept that people have that preve nts them from trying, believing that it's very hard or they are afraid to look foolish.”
In reality, she said, the only creature she’s ever met with two left feet is her dog, Chupa — everyone else can learn. Her goal is to reach all those people who believe they are incapable of learning to dance.
There’s a gap of people, Piekarz said, that want to dance but are too scared to take that first step. Her classes on 2LeftFeetCure.com allow people to practice in their own home without feeling embarrassed, on their own time.
Piekarz said she wants to show everyone who is too shy to dance that they can do it, too, and overcome their fears.
“I think that's a very beautiful mission and my new passion,” she said.
At her old studio, because of restrictions to hours, class sizes and staffing, she could only reach about 50 people at a time, she said.
“Where here easily I could have 5, 000 a week,” Piekarz said. “And that kind of excited me but also showed me ... that I can impact so many more lives.”
Piekarz said she designed her lessons so that anyone who takes them can begin the first lesson on a Monday, finish the fifth on a Friday, and go out dancing on Saturday.
Ron and Lanel Silvers have been learning from Piekarz for over a year and have followed her from Elite Dance to 2LeftFeetCure.com. Lanel Silvers said her family was always dancing at family reunions and parties, but it was not often her husband would join her on the dance floor.
They’d tried three other studios before finding Piekarz, Ron Silvers said.
“It's her way of teaching. She makes you comfortable,” he said.
Her methods put everyone at ease, he said, and break down the intimidating aspects of learning to dance. He said he doesn’t hide from dancing anymore — instead, they look for opportunities to dance.
“There's still dances I'm not real comfortable with, and there's other ones that I've learned that I'm comfortable with and I enjoy doing now,” Ron Silvers said. “It’s an ongoing process.”
Lanel Silvers said everyone should try Piekarz’s lessons. The online classes make it more feasible with their flexibility and Piekarz’s videos make learning easy.
“It's like you have Magdalena at your back,” she said. “You can hear her voice and the way she did it with us [in person] is the same thing you hear when you're doing the class online.”