Not too long ago, local philanthropist and businesswoman Suzanne Saperstein had an idea. With the wild popularity of the TV show Dancing With the Stars and, as a result, a resurgent interest in more formal dancing, Saperstein thought it would be the perfect time to open a dance studio. But she wanted to put a twist on the new venture, so she decided to offer lessons in “versatile” dancing, which teaches same-sex partners to do the Charleston, for example. Saperstein named this different kind of studio Balliamos, a part-Spanish, part Italian word that translates into “we dance.” She also hired world-champion same-sex dancers Jacob Jason and Willem deVries to be instructors, who then organized a couple of weekly events to attract business from a mostly gay, somewhat straight clientele. One of them, which regularly takes place on Monday night at 8 p.m., is “interactive,” where people watch Dancing With the Stars at the studio and, of course, dance with them. The other, every Tuesday night at 8 p.m., is a “dance party.” While Tuesday night attracts a predominantly gay crowd, anyone can join the fun, hit the spring-loaded dance floor and learn a few moves from Jacob and Willem. As people soon find out, the evenings are a nice change of pace from another night of bar hopping.

Tue., May 19, 2009

LA Weekly