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Dance teacher looks to start tap classes in NFM

March 29, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Lee County Parks & Rec Department has been trying for months to get a tap-dancing program started at the North Fort Myers Recreation Center.

Hopefully, with the help of a renowned dance instructor, it may now step off in time for summer.

That's what tap-dance instructor Penny Lynn Berton is hoping for. She wants to start these classes this summer for youth, adults and seniors in time for the summer camp season.

"We want to try to get classes going for senior adults and children. The hour-long adult classes would be strictly tap, while the children's classes would be ballet and tap," Berton said.

The rec center had hoped to start classes in February, but the lack of students forced the date to be pushed further back, then effectively scrubbed as the delay couldn't bring more people to the classes.

Another problem is that the dance year is usually between September and June. But when the rec center hoped to do the classes in the middle of the year, Berton didn't think it was the right time to get people interested.

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The idea is to start an eight-week session of summer classes in June, with the adult classes on Monday and Friday, and the children's classes on Saturday, as well as offer private instruction for $38 an hour. Berton said she only needs four students to get it going.

A 10-week session originally planned would have cost $95, plus the $10 one-time lifetime membership fee. An eight-week session is expected to cost a little less.

Berton said she wants to do full classes in September, when students tend to start dance. People have shown the interest in registering, but that's basically been it.

"People come in and say they're interested, but then they don't register and we need to get the ball rolling, even if it's two people," Berton said. "Word will travel once we get it going."

Berton brings some impressive credentials to the table. She was a child performer who did summer stock theater and learned dance through some of the best teachers as a child in Manhattan.

Berton is a National Dance Council of America award winner in competitive tap dance, and won awards for choreography. She owned a dance studio in New York for 22 years.

Berton currently teaches at the Del Tura community, which she said has been very successful.

"They have learned so much. It's so much fun, even if they just come and watch," Berton said. "I love teaching. It's so much fun to get a student who has no training, but has the desire to dance. Six months later, they're doing it and having fun and it's a good feeling to see how good they get."

The North Fort Myers Rec Center is at 2000 N Recreation Park Way.

Contact Berton about the class at 362-6403.



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