COUNTRY LINE DANCE LESSONS WEEKLY
DANCES - WORKSHOPS - REVIEW CLASSES
By Kimberley Haas
NEWMARKET — The Rockingham Ballroom is not a good place for a wallflower. With friendly students and a selection of music that makes people naturally tap their toes, it is impossible to resist the dance floor.
“I love it. It's an addiction mentally and physically,” Jane Boulanger of Newton said as she walked into a line dancing class on Wednesday.
Boulanger joined approximately 50 people who were led by instructor Gail Eaton as they danced to popular country songs such as Dierks Bentley's “I Hold On.”
Diane Roma and her husband Alan own the ballroom, which was established in 1939. She said Alan dreamed of such an opportunity since he was a child watching “The Lawrence Welk Show.”
“We started ballroom dancing probably five or seven years ago,” Roma said. “We came here one night to dance and we were hooked after that. We told Bob, the previous owner, if he ever decided to sell to give us a call.”
Eventually, Bob Yergeau did sell the ballroom to the Romas in 2009. During a yearlong transition, Roma and her husband learned the ropes of the business.
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“It is a ton of work,” Roma said. She works full-time at Edward Jones Investments in Elliot, Maine. Alan is in the Air National Guard and is gone for extended periods of time. He is the primary person who deals with the facility.
Roma said every Saturday night there is a ballroom dance with a live band. The first and third Fridays of the month are country line dancing nights. On Wednesdays, line dancing classes run from 6 to 8:30 p.m. There is couples dancing after that until 10 p.m.
On top of that, the facility is rented out for weddings, dinners, comedy hours and other functions.
Roma said all the work is worth it when she sees local couples, who attend the Saturday night dances, interact with their significant others.
“When you come in on a Saturday night it is like stepping back in time. The guys escort the women to the bathroom and onto the dance floor,” Roma said. “The younger guys watch and they say, 'Oh, that's how it's done.'”
Roma said the first year they owned the ballroom, they almost had to shut the doors of the historic building where Glenn Miller and Guy Lombardo once performed. The sprinkler system needed work and the first quote the Romas received was for $100,000.
“At that point, we had no idea what we were going to do,” Roma said.
A non-profit organization called The Friends of the Rockingham Ballroom was formed and money was raised to fix the sprinklers. Roma said that organization is still in existence and credits them with keeping the ballroom's doors open.
Longtime student Gary Milliard of Lyman, Maine, is grateful for that. He started dancing at the Rockingham Ballroom 16 years ago. He even met his wife, Diane, while line dancing.
Milliard encourages people who haven't to give line dancing a try.
“My philosophy is it doesn't matter what your feet are doing as long as you're smiling and having fun,” Milliard said.
The Rockingham Ballroom has the largest dance floor north of Boston and is the oldest ballroom in New Hampshire.
Saturday, May 3
Mill-A-Round Country Line and Partner Dance
7:00 - 11:00 $10 BYOB
on the dance floor
Country Line Dance Lessons
Learn to Line and Partner Dance to your favorite country songs.
Take monthly request workshops to review dances or learn ones you missed.
Dance what you've learned in class at the monthly Country Line and Partner Dances.
Classes are ongoing -
reviews done weekly
Join the fun
on the dance floor
Line and Partner
$8.00 for the night
Beginners 7:00 - 8:00
Intermediate 8:00 - 9:30
includes open dancing
Partners 9:30 - 10:30
8.00 for the night
Beginner/Int 7:00 - 8:15
Partners 8:15 - 9:30
$8.00 for 1 Class
$10.00 for the night
Beginner 6:30 - 7:30
Intermediate 7:30 - 8:30
Partners 8:30 - 9:30
Windham Senior Ctr
Beginner Senior Line Dance Class 9:45-10:45
Contact Cheryl Haas at 603-965-1208 for more information