Dancing full time

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on January 19, 2019

LAWYER-turned-dance teacher Antonia Grasso has accomplished her dream of having a bricks and mortar dance studio to call her own in Albany.

Entering the realm of ballroom dance at a later stage in her life, Grasso said dance provided a much-needed outlet from her strict work regime in family and general law.

She decided after nearly a decade as a full-time lawyer that she wanted to embrace her dancing hobby permanently.

“I always wanted to dance but I never had the guts to go on my own,” Grasso said.

“One day I just decided to go…but I had no partner.

“So, I got partnered with the teacher and they asked me how long I’d been dancing for, and they didn’t believe me when I said I’d just started.”

Two years later in 1995, Grasso trained as a dance teacher and worked at the Perth studio where she had commenced dancing.

She moved to Albany in 1999 and dabbled in other creative pursuits.

“I always wanted to do theatre so I joined the Albany Light Opera and Theatre Company and I did some chorus work and choreography,” Grasso said.

“I was in Les Miserables, 70, Girls, and The Gypsy Baron.

“But I missed dancing, so I started my own studio in 2016.”

Grasso said her weekly classes consisted of private and group lessons, and involved about 30 people.

However, having no permanent studio to herself, she regularly battled against clashing schedules and hall restrictions in venues across the city.

Last year she decided enough was enough and in December took a lease on her own building on Lockyer Avenue.

She and her husband, woodcarver Len Radcliffe, have been at the new studio “all day, every day” for the past month getting it up to scratch before the official opening in February.

“Len’s made the stage,” Grasso said.

“We’ve got two tonnes of fl or to put in a sprung floor – a sprung floor is important in dancing.

“We’re installing fans and benches and curtains and two chandeliers…it’s so exciting.”

Grasso said she wanted her studio to be a place for ballroom lessons, and a “hub” for other types of dance and fitness and social events.

She said yoga instructors keen on hiring the hall have already come forward, and that interest has grown over her “musical soiree” idea.

“It will be a chance for people to come together on a Saturday night and listen to some singers, bring their own nibbles and sit and relax, and if they want to dance, there’s a 130sqm dance floor,” Grasso explained.

“I’m aiming to hold them once a month…I already have one act booked and that’s Big Ted and The Humbuckers.”

Grasso will add a four-week beginner’s ballroom course to her list of regular classes, commencing February 12.

Her new studio at 129 Lockyer Avenue, behind Lovett Muay Thai, will be unveiled on February 8 at 7pm.

She said Evan Ayres and The Swing Kings would perform and there will be champagne and light refreshments.

The $25 entry tickets can be bought by calling Grasso on 0417 948 155, messaging the studio’s Facebook page or at the door on the night.