Brian LeVay – whose love of Latin-African dance styles helped establish the Kizomba and Bachata development in Maine.
While dancing is in Brian’s DNA --his grandparents danced ballroom and an uncle competed in it for many years - it still did not come easy to him.
“I took a group dance class with a friend after college and quite frankly, struggled with it. With no musical background, I had trouble picking up the counts.”
A few years later, he once again stepped on the dance floor – with a renewed determination to learn. Dance instruction at Aquarius, Brian says, worked better for him and he found himself progressing and enjoying it. “Sergei brings a fun, laidback approach to learning – yet has the technical knowledge to keeps it challenging and professional.”
Following his ballroom dancing, Brian was drawn into Bachata and Kizomba. The passion discovered for these dances lead him around the country to various conferences and dance events.
His travels through work allow him to dance in clubs all over the country and allow him the opportunity to pick up training with dance specialists. He then brings these new moves and teaching techniques to his own students here in Portland. Yet no matter how advanced his own training becomes, Brian never forgets the frustration he first felt and works hard to make his students feel good about the process.
It’s really more than just learning to dance, he believes.
“For me, the lessons I’ve learned on the dance floor have helped in other parts of my life. Learning ways to lead a dance partner or to teach a student transferred over to helping me better lead and communicate with clients and colleagues at work. I feel more self-actualized and more confident.
His favorite dance? “Bachata! The music has depths that just resonate with me, and I love how it can be fun and playful, and also sexy and romantic.” While the dance is now popular throughout the world, that wasn’t always the case. Even in its home country of the Dominican Republic, the dance lacked common acceptance for many years.
His advice to newcomers to dance: don’t be afraid to make mistakes, go out and social dance to practice what you have learned, take private as well as group lessons so you can learn at your own pace in your own way, and just keep dancing. Perseverance pays off. I’m living proof!”
In his spare time, Brian enjoys yoga, physical fitness, cooking, reading and travel.
NOTE: Dancing in now so engrained in him that you might just see Brian break out in a dance at an unusual time/place – such as in an airport terminal, in the subway, or at a flash mob here in Maine sometime soon!