Looking for a fun, safe place to ring in the New Year?
Head to Dancin' Motion School of the Arts, 127 W. Bloomingdale Ave., for a night of food and dancing.
The evening will include music with a live disc jockey, dancing, games, prizes and a debut performance by Dancin' Motion's Bachata Team, directed and choreographed by Dancin' Motion owner Maria Espinoza.
Attendees are encouraged to bring an appetizer to share.
The cost is $10 per person or $8 after midnight.
The 3,000-square-foot school opened in November 2010 and specializes in teaching Latin dances like the Merengue, the Cha Cha Cha and the Bachata, a dance from the Dominican Republic.
The studio also offers daily Zumba classes as well as more exotic offerings such as belly dancing and yogalates. In February, it will begin offering ballet and jazz dance as well.
"We wanted this to be more than a dance studio," said Espinoza. "We wanted it to be a place where people could learn a variety of performing arts. The arts do something to people nothing else can do."
In addition to dancing, the school offers guitar lessons and a Latin percussions class where students learn to play the bongos, timbales and congas.
Also, starting in 2012, the school will offer an after-school program for youngsters in kindergarten through fifth grade. For $55 a week, the school provides free transportation from local elementary schools. The program is open Mondays from 1:30-6 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday from 2:30-6 p.m., and includes dance, arts and crafts and homework help.
The school also hosts socials in which dance enthusiasts are invited to come and practice the moves they've learned to music spun by a disc jockey.
"Unlike at the clubs, which can be very crowded, people can dance freely here and have a chance to dance with others without worrying about getting picked up. It's not intimidating. Everyone here is friendly," said Espinoza.
Residents can also rent the facility for corporate events, weddings and Sweet 16 parties where everyone can learn new dance steps.
Private lessons are available for those who don't feel comfortable learning in a group setting. And workshops are offered to groups who want to learn some dance steps in a few hours.
"We welcome all walks of life to come in and join us, people of all ages, abilities and cultures," said Espinoza, noting that their oldest student is almost 70 years old. "We want all people to feel comfortable walking through the doors here."