Meet Rachel Pelfry

By Leslie Moore

Meet Rachel Pelfry

Rachel Pelfry is passionate about dancing. Listening to her talk about why she loves to dance, I realized that this 19-year-old dance teacher at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Myrtle Beach has a wealth of knowledge that belies her years.

Rachel, when did you start teaching dance?

I came to Fred Astaire Dance Studio as a student – I love Dancing with the Stars and wanted to dance like they do. My mother dragged me in here, and I was blown away. I looked around and saw that everyone here was a dancer! I’d never seen people so passionate about anything, and I wanted to be a part of it. After a few months I learned of an opening for a teacher and started bugging the owner, Juan Gonzalez, about hiring me. Thank goodness he took a chance on me! I love it and can’t think of anything else I would rather do.

Do you get a lot of engaged couples coming in to learn to dance at their wedding?

Yes, we do. I always ask them to bring in the song they want to dance to, and we can decide the right dance to fit the music. If they don’t dance at all, I concentrate on teaching them the basic steps and being able to move around on the dance floor. It’s also important to be able to talk to each other while they’re dancing – at first, most beginners want to concentrate on the steps.

The more a couple practices, of course, the better they’ll be. You develop muscle memory with practice and don’t have to think about the dance steps. I would advise a couple to come in a few months before the wedding to give themselves plenty of time. But, if your wedding is very close, don’t worry, we can work with you and make your wedding dance a success.

One couple recently learned the Argentine Tango. It’s a lovely dance and a little different from the American Tango. One story says that the gauchos or Argentinean cowboys would come into town and go to the local saloons. These were tiny places, with tables throughout, so they would dance with the saloon girls in small steps, in and around the tables. The girls would lean back away from the gauchos because they smelled bad, and they would keep their hands near his pockets to remind him that this was not a free dance.

What about single people who want to learn to dance?

You don’t need a partner to take lessons. We have male and female teachers who can teach anyone to dance. It’s fun! We have social dances on Friday nights and group dance nights during the week. You can also take private lessons anytime.

Some of our students decide to compete in national competitions. Fred Astaire sponsors dance competitions around the country.

Rachel, what do you do when you’re not working?

I usually work from around 10 in the morning until 10 or 11 at night. By that time, I just go home, eat and sleep. On the weekends, we go out and dance. So, when I’m not dancing at work, I’m dancing – somewhere. I have the best job in the world. I get to dress in beautiful clothes every day and dance!

For more information about Fred Astaire Dance Studio, call 843-916-2202.

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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