Dance skills need work? Call the dentist

Posted10/30/2016 1:00 AM

Uncomfortable when everyone else at the wedding heads to the dance floor while you sit at the table and try to avoid your spouse's c'mon-let's-dance stare? Do you avoid restaurants and similar places that have a dance floor?

You might want to talk to the dentist, if the dentist is Dean Francis.


Owner of Park East Dental, Wheaton, Francis and his wife Laurie teach beginning and intermediate ballroom dancing. "It's a hobby," Francis says. "It's fun."

For the Francis couple, fun and hobby may be the key words. For the rest of us, the pair's dance lessons prompt an interesting question: What do you do for a change of pace?

There was no indication in my conversation with Dean that stress is an issue for the Francis team, but it's not much of a stretch to create a scenario where stress becomes a problem for entrepreneurs who spend nearly every waking hour either working at or thinking about their businesses.

Those who study work and life patterns will tell you that a break from routine can be important.

Some dance. Others teach dancing. The Francises do both.

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"Get up and dance," Dean Francis says. "It's not that difficult. It's not about dance competitions. It's a way to enjoy an activity."

The duo have been teaching dance for eight years. "I play golf and tennis," Francis explains. "My wife runs. (She also is office manager at Park East and a licensed massage therapist with her own practice, Essential Muscle Therapy.) Dancing is something we can do together as a couple, and it's a nice way to meet people."

There are people to meet. An American Bandstand event in mid-October drew 75 people to the Wheaton Park District's Community Center to listen as singer Sandi Haynes and her band turned out the traditional oldies but goodies and to join the Francises on the dance floor.

In fact, lists a perhaps surprising number of places to dance -- everything from restaurants and bars with dance floors to Durty Nellie's in Palatine; summer concerts at Wheaton's Cantigny Park; various library and town band concerts in the summer; and even a few American Legion posts.


Of course, it's more fun if you know how to dance.

The Francis' dance sessions stick pretty much to the basics: Waltz, fox trot, swing and cha-cha. "I'm about 60 years old," Francis says. "I'm not going to throw my wife up in the air."

If a break from the entrepreneurial routine might be nice, and if you're willing to dance at a less frenetic pace than those on television's Dancing with the Stars, the Francises teach three six-week sessions of ballroom dancing. Classes, Francis says, are held Thursday evenings, with sessions for both beginning and intermediate dancers.

Offered through the Wheaton Park District but open to both residents and nonresidents, lessons are scheduled in January, March and October.

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