Gaining confidence through dance

Marie Kiser
Marie Kiser

“I love moving to music,” says Marie Kiser, who teaches ballroom dancing classes through Centralia College’s Continuing and Community Education Program. Teaching in the Flying Tiger Studio in downtown Centralia, Kiser shares her joy for dancing with students of all ages.

Kiser’s passion for dance began many years ago in her family home near Boisfort, where, as a young child, she loved watching American Bandstand and dancing swing to her mom and dad’s vinyl records. While she always enjoyed dancing, it wasn’t until she took her first lesson at age 20 that her love for the art turned serious. At the time, Kiser was working as a terminal secretary for the commercial trucking industry in Seattle. She took a ballroom dance class at the Arthur Murray Studio and was immediately hooked, beginning a lifelong passion for ballroom dancing that would eventually lead her to teaching dance for more than 45 years.

After taking private lessons for about a year, she was offered a part-time teaching position at the Arthur Murray Studio. Self-motivated and determined, she sought help from other instructors, and, in the evenings after a full day of work, went home and studied dance manuals, diligently memorizing patterns to dances such as the East and West Coast Swing, Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Rhumba, Bolero, Mambo, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep and many others. After years of hard work and determination, she passed the tests for the bronze, silver and gold skill levels in dancing and teaching. She also studied International Style/Ballroom and attained associate status with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.

As her proficiency increased, Kiser taught more advanced students. Many of these entered regional ballroom dance competitions, where Kiser would dance as the partner for her male students. One of her students went on to win first place in the Astaire’s National Competition/Las Vegas in the men’s gold level and had the highest score of all the gold level dancers.

After returning to her family home in 2001, Kiser connected with the owner of Flying Tiger Studio in downtown Centralia. She stepped back onto the dance floor again and has been teaching local students ever since.

Dancing is a skill anyone can learn. Ballroom dancing provides great aerobic exercise, can be an excellent stress reliever, and definitely builds self-confidence.

“I overcame my shyness through dancing,” said Kiser, who believes that using expression in dancing can actually help people become more confident and comfortable in life.

For more information on dance classes at Centralia College, see Continuing and Community Education.

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