Dance pros center stage at Nation Ford

August 26, 2013 

— Special to the Fort Mill Times

Dance Center USA presented its third ballroom dance showcase, “Dancing on Air,” Saturday at Nation Ford High School.

The evening featured student performances to popular radio songs and exhibitions by Dance Center USA instructors and dance pros Dmitriy Solomakha and Gabriela Sevillano, who are ranked in third place this year in the Ten Dance division of the United States National competition.

Caroline Schaaf, 6, of Fort Mill was recently promoted to the Children’s Intermediate class after taking lessons with Sevillano for about a year. Caroline said she was a little apprehensive about being the smallest one in her class, but after the showcase she quickly offered to demonstrate a full split and a few poses she learned with “Ms. Gabby.” Caroline’s little sister Velta seemed to think the spotlight should be shared, and she scooted herself into Caroline’s lap, ending the impromptu performance in a fit of giggles.

“I love to learn the dances. My favorite dance is the jive, and I can do the split all the way and I can do it with no hands,” Caroline said proudly.

Near the end of Saturday night’s show, Dance Center USA students Cynthia and Wayne Vinson danced together to a medley featuring five different styles. Wayne lost his sight following a 2012 work accident. After his recovery, the couple started searching for an “alternative activity” they could do together, Wayne said.

One Monday morning at 4 a.m. he woke his wife and suggested they take dance lessons.

“So his wife didn’t push him into it,” Cynthia said with a laugh.

Sevillano said anyone with the desire can learn to dance.

“Some people say, ‘I have two left feet.’ That’s perfect. Otherwise you wouldn’t need dance classes,” she said. “Nobody pushes you here. You grow into the dancer that you’re going to become. The hardest step sometimes is walking in the door.”

The studio is a participant in Fort Mill’s annual “Dancing With The Stars” fundraiser for local middle school sports, which were not funded by the school board as a cost-cutting measure to balance a reduction in state revenue. Each student ticket sold at the showcase donated $5 to middle school athletics.

Dance Center USA, located at 855 Gold Hill Road in Fort Mill, offers group dance classes and private lessons for children and adults, as well as fitness classes including Zumba. The studio is located at 855 Gold Hill Road in Fort Mill. For more information, go to

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