Instruction and More for the Young and the Young at Heart!

Dance DIVAS:  A  Time  to  Dance,  Audio in Motion,  Health  in  Motion

A Sampling of Comments from our Satisfied Clients:

(Guests onboard Dawn Princess)  Written at Sea 18th May 2010     ATTENTION:  Mr. Alan B. Buckelew, President & CEO Princess Cruises.     Dear Mr Buckelew...My wife and I jointly completed this feedback form, and wanted to pay special commendations to ... team members and  Ballroom Dance Instructors Diane Ellis - McRoberts and Paul McRoberts...  Word limits were exceeded, but these...people deserve more.  We're sure you'll agree that the staff members we highlight below deserve your very special commendations...      

The Dawn Princess Itinerary offers Ballroom Dancing!  Yes!  Let's book this cruise!  So we did, and were fortunate indeed to meet your Dance Instructors Diane and Paul.  Some years ago my wife and I had paid for personal dance instruction, one hour per week for over a year, with a very professional instructor in Australia.  We enjoyed these personalized lessons immensely, but we had never been to GROUP dance lessons before.  As our dancing was very rusty when we joined the Cruise, we were a little apprehensive that the group context wouldn't give us the personalized experience we had been accustomed to.  How wrong we were!  In fact, the way Diane and Paul adapted the sea-going dance experience of guiding a large group around a small dance floor that rolled with the waves was nothing short of brilliant.  After modeling each dance step with real panache and humour, Diane and Paul would lead our large group off the floor and up and around the aisles in a large circle back to the dance floor again.  This innovation ensured that each pair of dancers had a small, defined, protected and personalized space in which to practice our steps.  And these were progressive dance steps.  The effectiveness of this process is a bit hard to communicate in writing.  Imagine a disciplined Congo line of dance pairs moving gracefully up and around the carpeted aisles.  We attended every lesson offered on board, along with some 30 to 50 fellow passengers in each lesson.  Our groups were a broad cross-section of passengers, and we can report that the many we spoke with socially were as appreciative of Diane and Paul's skill as Latin and Ballroom instructors as we were. 

A second innovation introduced by Diane and Paul and much appreciated by group members was a class on how to quickly recognise which dance you can do when you hear the music start up.  This is a very difficult skill to impart to relatively inexperienced dancers.  Diane and Paul proved themselves, yet again, consummate teachers.  As a former football player, I used to describe myself as a 'Neanderthal Dancer,' knuckles dragging on the ground, (talking in) grunts!Diane and Paul changed all that.  One simple sentence from this class that resonated with utmost clarity to me regarding the Waltz was:  You can immediately pick Waltz music, because the waltz is the ONLY dance in the ballroom genre that has 3 beats (per measure) (1-2-3; 1-2-3), so just listen for the three beats.  After many years, I finally 'got' when I could do the Waltz.  One sentence was all it took. 

Simple, you say.  The point is that this simple point had never occurred to me before it was explicitly pointed out in the context where I was being challenged to 'Name this Dance'from amongst a number of pieces of dance music.  My wife expresses it better:

     Greg and I spent a year trying to learn a particular Waltz for our daughter's wedding, and were amazed at how many dances Diane and Paul were able to teach our group within the space of a 2 week cruise.  My husband got over his fear factor!  Finally, he feels relaxed and comfortable on the dance floor.     Diane and Paul were the first to teach Greg 'Dance Math.'  They intuitively sensed that he had a particular learning style, and modified their language to suit his style whenever they explained a routine.      We asked Diane and Paul if they would consider giving us some personal lessons after the group class, and they happily obliged.  When we offered to pay them, they politely and firmly refused to accept any payment for their time.  We even had trouble getting them to let us shout them a couple of Martinis!   

     In Diane and Paul, the Princess organization has yet again shown their commitment to employing only the most consummate professionals on their cruises.  The whole Princess team deserves to be congratulated on this.  We saw evidence of this team commitment many times a day across the entire crew.

We wish Diane and Paul every success in furthering their dance careers, and look forward to dancing with them on many future Princess cruises.     Yours Sincerely,  Greg and Niki F.,  Queensland, Australia

(Chaplain) My wife and I have taken 15 cruises and have over 300 sailing days. As a result we have had the privilege of having numerous dance instructors on those cruises. There is no doubt about it--without question Diane Ellis was the best one of all. She loves what she does and it shows. Her technical proficiency and versatility are flawless. She is outstanding in dealing with people, and able to instill confidence in couples regardless of their experience or level of expertise. Diane is a master teacher who excels in meeting people wherever they are, and taking them to new levels. Her genius is in helping people to learn new things before they can think or say they can't do it. Her ability to convey content and methodology in dance is exemplary. But perhaps more remarkable is her uncanny knack to convey the subtleties and intangibles of dance that bring enjoyment and poise and confidence on the dance floor. She makes dance what it should be--graceful and fun.  D. B.  (Holland America Lines, South America/Antarctica Grand Voyage)   

(Guest, Prinsendam, Holland America Lines)  What wonderful memories we have of you and all you taught us. You really took (my husband) from constant thinker about every step, to doing it all by instinct and feeling.. WE talked about this last Monday night at a Shag lesson we are taking for 6 weeks.  Do keep in touch. Hope we are blessed with your presence again either on the high seas or here in SC. WE welcome you and Paul to visit if it fits into your schedule. That was just a magical convening of special people on that cruise, you being one of the most charming.!!
Pat B., South Carolina    

(Vision Specialist) Thank you for your part in helping the students with visual impairments at Camp to “see” the beauty of nature and dance, through your eyes. We loved having you there!  Nancy P. (Prince Georges County Public Schools, Special Education, Maryland)

(Father of the Bride)  Diane, Thank you so much for your detailed instructions and assurance.  You make it look and sound so easy.  My confidence increased with every minute spent with you.  The manner in which you stress the fundamentals is likewise encouraging.  (My daughter, future son-in-law,) and I really lucked out finding you.  We are all touched by your concern and how you put your heart and soul in helping us all learn.  You two make a wonderful team.  And that smile of yours is priceless!!!  Joey R. (Rockville, Maryland)

(CEO)  Thank you very much.  All the dancers were so GREAT!!!  It really made the event.  Once again, you were so smashing!!!!  Thanks, Theresa C. (Arts and Humanities Council, Montgomery County Maryland)

(Cruise Program Administrator) Dear Diane and Paul, On behalf of our cruise director and activities manager, I would like to thank you for your WONDERFUL work during the past voyage.  It was a pleasure to have you onboard, and we thank you for sailing with us and providing our guests with wonderful dance classes.  You certainly helped us to improve our program, and we sincerely thank you for being so accommodating.  We hope you have had a pleasant voyage onboard the Radiance of the Seas and hope to see you cruising with us again in the near future.  Have a safe journey home. Sincerely, Leo R. (Royal Caribbean Lines)

(Secretary, Adult Programs Committee) Thank you for teaching the Ballroom Dance classes at our church this fall. The responses from the students were all very positive – we especially appreciated your clear explanations and individual attention.  Thank you for sharing your time and expertise!  Sincerely, Betsy.W. (Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, Bethesda, Maryland)

(Student, Faith-based Community Classes)  I have really enjoyed the classes. They provide a very relaxing break from two accounting jobs and babysitting three young grand kids. Your lessons are interesting, and the ladies are wonderful. We are all students again, learning together...a very lovely experience. Thank you until next week. Bill S. (Baltimore, Maryland)

(Orchestra Manager)  Thank you for recommending our band for the Habitat for Humanity fundraiser. I look forward to working with you...See you at dance class!  Warm Regards, Jackie C., Maryland

(Activities Manager)  Hi guys!  As promised we have got the comments in and you got quite a few fantastic recommendations from the guests.  I have attached them below.  Thanks once again for all your hard work and effort.  I have passed these comments on to Miami as well!!  Belle O., Grandeur of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

(Guests, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Grandeur of the Seas): 










(Event Manager, Holland America Lines)  We would love to work with you again!  Debbie P., Prinsendam, Holland America Lines 

(Guests, Galaxy, Celebrity Cruise Lines)  Thank you for the information. We have settled back into the work routine and miss the life of leisure that cruising allows.  It was really nice to meet you and watch you dance.  As you suggested, we have discovered there is a brand new chapter of amateur dancers in Greenville.  Hopefully we will find a dance instructor like you and continue to learn. Thank you for your patience and instruction.  We wish you the best and trust that all is well.  Maggi and Don B., South Carolina

(Community Health Education Students)  Great instructors who make it an enjoyable class that went by too fast!  Mary Lou and Ralph P., Rockville, Maryland