MT. VERNON – Dan and Neth Huebel of Mt. Vernon have been dance instructors for about six years now and their teaching philosophy can be summed up in two words – nurturing confidence.
“Our goal is to get people interested in dancing, not necessarily to teach them to dance like us, but just to get them exposed to it and get their confidence up so they can go out on the dance floor,” Dan Huebel said. “Because that's where you really learn to dance is on the dance floor.”
The Huebels showed off their dancing skills Thursday by leading a swing dancing class at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts. Their class was one of several activities held that evening at Cedarhurst for the Thursday Night Live celebration.
While there are many styles of swing dancing, the Huebels chose one of the slower, “smoother” styles for Thursday's lesson, a style known as “Single Time Swing” or the “Jitterbug.”
“It's not as energetic as some of the other styles,” Dan said. “You do it to real fast music. It seems like you're moving fast, but you're really moving slow.”
First, the Huebels demonstrated the dance, then they broke it down step-by-step before the students tried it themselves.
Dan and Neth Huebel have been married for seven years. They teach dancing through Rend Lake College at their dance studio in Whittington, and also offer private lessons. The couple also donates their time, teaching dance at area rest homes where their lessons are quite popular, Neth said.
“They call us a lot,” Neth said of the rest homes.
Both Dan and Neth have been interested in dance for many years. For Neth, dance has been a lifelong passion since it is what brought her parents together in the Philippines.
“My mother and my father, they were Latin dancers. They met in the dancing hall,” Neth said.
The couple started teaching dance after they purchased their dance hall seven years ago. The urge to teach came from a desire to broaden people's horizons, Dan said.
“It was pretty much everyone did country-style dancing and there was not very much ballroom dancing in the area,” Dan said. “So we just started teaching at our facility, not through Rend Lake at first, and we had a real good response. And we really just wanted people to see all different styles of dance and learn to enjoy it.”
The Huebels say Cedarhurst has been an ideal venue for their dance lessons. This is the third time this month they have taught dance at Thursday Night Live. On July 11, the couple taught ballroom dancing and on July 18, they demonstrated line dancing.
Sarah Sledge, director of communications for Cedarhurst, said the dance activities have been a good fit for Thursday Night Live.
“It's brought a lot of people out for Thursday Night Live that haven't come before,” Sledge said. “That's our goal – to get people here and bring them back.”
Thursday Night Live will continue this season until Aug. 29. For more information, call 242-1236 or visit www.cedarhurst.org.