Sari Gold and her daughter Emily walked into the Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Manhasset, NY at different times, and for different reasons. But there’s one aspect of dance they agree on – that it’s enhancing their relationship, by giving them something to share, together. At Bellagio Las Vegas during FAWC 2017, Sari and Emily Gold, joined by their FADS Instructor, Eugene Yeremenko, sat down with us and shared some laughs as well as insights on how dancing has changed their lives.
Why did you start dance lessons? (SARI) I’d always wanted to dance but had never taken lessons. I read about FADS opening in Manhasset, and think I called five minutes later! (EMILY) I’d danced jazz, tap and lyrical competitively when was young. I stopped in 8th grade but I missed it, so my mom suggested FADS. She started in August 2013, and I joined her six months later.
What’s been most challenging about dance lessons? (SARI) To perform in front of others made me very nervous, but now it’s become FUN. Another challenge was dancing with just a partner, not in a group. (EMILY): For me, it was body confidence – and confidence dancing with a partner because I’d never done that in my previous training.
How did Eugene help you get through that? (SARI) He forced me, which was good! I challenge myself too, taking it like a new experience, a new step to build confidence. (EMILY): Me too, I feel like there’s always things I am getting better at.
What’s most enjoyable about dancing? (SARI) The practice time. It’s the technique during my lessons that I love. It’s exciting to master it, I really surprise myself. I also love the community at the studio. And we do fun things on the side when we travel. (EMILY): I love feeling like I’m never good enough (weirdly), that there’s more to improve on. I’m doing my internship at the studio and the incredible community at Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Manhasset NY is why I continue to do it. I’m in college and considering a career in dance, we’ll see.
Eugene, how do Sari & Emily challenge you as an Instructor? Every student is different. Sari challenges me mentally, she’s a doctor and she’s diagnosing me now after four years! With Emily, my challenge is to show her all that this profession has to offer.
Has dance helped in other areas of your lives? (SARI) My work is demanding, and dance provides such stress relief. If I come in not in the proper mindset, I feel completely differently after my lesson. (EMILY): It’s given me greater confidence, made me feel like I stand with more of a presence. (SARI) As a mom, I’ve watched her blossom and I give full credit to her dance teachers.
Have you seen any physical benefits? (SARI) Yes, weight loss and it has helped with a chronic hip issue I’ve had for 17 years. Between PT, acupuncture and dance, I am pain-free so it would be very hard to walk away from something like that. (EMILY) For me – posture, and it’s also helped with core strength.
How has dancing together enhanced your relationship? (SARI) We love sharing this time together. In the studio, we learn the same dances so we can talk about them, and we dance as a couple at studio socials – and Emily leads. (EMILY) I love being on the sidelines here to cheer mom on, and I know she’s cheering for me. I’m not home very much so it’s wonderful we can share this hobby together. It’s very cool to be in this space with my mom. (EUGENE) Emily said the sweetest thing on day one, here at FAWC. We were sitting here, talking about Sari who was supposed to be here already but her flight was canceled. Emily sighed, “I really wish my mom was here.” (EMILY) I did! Yes, I know that’s a disturbing thought. I think I’d had a little too much time alone with Eugene!
What would you say to encourage someone who’s never taken ballroom dance lessons? (SARI) Any kind of dancing is good for the soul. Take whatever you get from it, you’ll get whatever you give. It enhances life, and it doesn’t matter if you learn the steps or have rhythm. It’s an amazing thing to do.
PICTURED: FADS Student, Emily Gold; FADS Instructor, Eugene Yeremenko; FADS Student, Sari Gold