by James Howey
After moving from Warrensburg, Mo., last semester to attend the college, Kendra Michaels, student, felt that something was missing.
“I was a music major, so I had a lot of opportunity for expression and when I moved home, I lost that,” Michaels said. “The only time I was able to express anything artistic was in the shower when I was singing.”
Michaels then started taking ballroom dance lessons at the Overland Park Ballroom and Social Club in June, and things took off from there.
“It was more entertainment at first, but then it became something that I wanted to be good at,” Michaels said. “I want to dance as long as my legs will work.”
For Michaels, dancing is a newfound passion that gives her freedom to express herself and get away from the stresses of the day.
“When I put on my dance shoes and I’m in a lesson, dancing is the only thing on my mind,” Michaels said. “I don’t have to worry about when my bills are due, studying for that test I have, or work.”
When the lessons first began, Michaels was doing great. When the time came for the next challenge, she found herself with some nerves.
“When I first started I was doing very well, but when it really started getting more involved in timing I still grasp it quickly,” Michaels said. “The first time I danced with someone that wasn’t my teacher, I was terrified.”
Of course, Michaels has received a lot of help from her dance partner, Johnny Francoviglia, with learning and perfecting the steps. Francoviglia’s professional partner, Kayla Sloan, helps her with what to wear, her hair, makeup and her overall look. Michaels has a clinic Sunday with Mazen Hamza and Izabella Jundzill, who are one of the top-ranked couple in the world in the style in which she competes.
“I would definitely say that I look up to them, and I can’t wait to see them dance in person,” Michaels said.
Michaels said much of her love and passion for dance comes from her parents, Karen and Francis Michaels.
“My parents are older and I was raised believing in an older time, when going out dancing and having a legitimate dance card was a thing,” Michaels said.
Michaels plans on staying with ballroom dancing and not making the jump to classical dance.
“I’m going to stick to ballroom dancing,” Michaels said. “I love watching classical dance where you can have solo numbers, but they are not for me.”
Despite many opinions of the demise of ballroom dancing, Michaels said she believes ballroom dancing still has a bright future.
“There are so many things about it that people don’t think of that are just reasons why it shouldn’t be dying,” Michaels said. ““Ballroom is not dead. It’s a respectable thing to do.”