Island Ballroom, Sanibel Dance, Pilates and Yoga form partnership to offer clients more
Dance instructor and business owner David Flory of Island Ballroom wants to give back to the community by giving students a stress-free environment to practice ballroom dancing as a form of relief.
Island Ballroom offers a humbling atmosphere. Minus the dance floor, the ballroom looks like a living room with couches and a kitchen. The dim lighting also gives Flory’s students a sense of ease.
“We wanted it to be a comfortable environment,” Flory said. “We want you to feel like you’re in your living room, dancing, turning on your music, or you’re at a restaurant and the lights are dimmed and you’re dancing to the band.”
Flory started Island Ballroom three years ago with that in mind. After teaching dance for seven years at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Fort Myers, he wanted to branch out and start up his own dance studio. Sanibel was the perfect place for him.
“It is always been very peaceful, very serene,” Flory said. “I love the island. It’s a special little island and there really aren’t any other studios out here, so I thought ‘Well hey. I want to bring my passion of dance and the art to Sanibel and share my experience with the people on the island.'”
Ballroom dancing has been his passion since college because he enjoys the shared experience between partners.
“Your traditional forms of ballet, jazz, modern, those types of dances. Your only responsibility is your own dancing,” Flory said. “Where, as you’re partnership dancing, you get the opportunity to share your dancing with another person whether it be friends, someone you just met, significant other.”
Ballroom dancing also helps people relieve stress, pain in the body, gives people a workout and saves marriages. Doctors, physical therapists and marriage counselors have referred patients to Flory.
“The nice thing about ballroom dancing, it’s a low impact sport so it is not really hard on the body, it is not really hard on the joints,” Flory said.
Students also visit Island Ballroom before their weddings to practice for their first dance, sometimes resulting in wedding invitations.
Flory partnered with Sanibel Dance, Pilates and Yoga owner Debbie Sheme as a way to give students what they wanted. Sheme traveled with Flory to Europe where he was certified in yoga training after accomplishing 200 hours. He helps Sheme by referring her to students and she does the same.
“Yoga helps your dance,” Flory said. “Dance helps your yoga. Pilates helps your yoga that helps your dance.”
Their partnership has turned into a lifelong friendship.
“We became personal friends,” Sheme said. “Now he has joined my team of faculty and teaches several days a week doing yoga. David is a great dancer and a wonderful teacher.”
Flory also participates in many charitable events on the island. He has provided a helping hand for such events as CROW’s Southern Comfort charity event, Let’s Pink out on the Island, Robert V. and Benjamin G. Miller Fund, and cancer awareness charities.
“It’s an opportunity to make people smile,” Flory said. “To make people laugh whether it is bringing music to them. Whether it’s bringing dance to them. Just to see the joy that they get from music and from dance, it makes it worth my time.”
There are a variety of classes Island Ballroom offers – Latin, social mixers, dance parties, swing and line dancing. Every year different classes are added.
Clients have also requested youth dance classes.
They want students to get a feel of what Island Ballroom has to offer, so the first lesson is free of charge.
“If you know how to count to four, you know how to dance,” Flory concluded.
Island Ballroom and Sanibel Dance, Yoga and Pilates are located at 975 Rabbit Road.
For more information about island Ballroom call (239) 425-7389. For more information about Sanibel Dance, Yoga and Pilates call (239) 459- 3971.