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A Dance Hour Is A Happy Hour

Catherine Politis sweeps Hicksville

off its feet one waltz at a time

If you are a “Dancing with the Stars” fan, you may secretly envision yourself gliding across the dance floor in perfect synchronicity with your favorite dance professional, the crowds cheering you on, as the judges reveal your scores.

At the Hicksville Public Library you don’t have to be on the hit show to have your dancing dreams realized. At the library, everyone is a star while taking the ballroom dance classes of seasoned instructor, Catherine Politis.

“Ballroom dancing is one of the most beautiful gifts a person can give themselves,” proclaims Politis.

Politis treated me to a one on one lesson, teaching the classic waltz. Our heads turned, frames held tight, the enthusiastic instructor lead me across the dance floor in the traditional box step waltz. While I was worried about stepping on her feet, Politis was continually cheering on my efforts with a nod of approval, encouragingly stating “good job” or “great footing.”

Feeling like a “star” my first time out as a ballroom dancer, it is easy to see why her class at the library is filled with dozens of dance hopefuls. Politis clearly loves what she does, and it shows. As she led her class in a swing dance lesson, music could be heard in the background, but it was the sound of laughter that was filling up the room. “I love people and I love making them smile,” Politis happily states.

Living by her motto “A dance hour is a happy hour” Politis has seen her share of bright smiles over the course of her 20-year dance career.  She first started out working off of the dance floor as a licensed optician. However her dreams of teaching dance were always calling to her.  In her early twenties she responded to an advertisement for a ballroom dance instructor at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Manhattan. It wasn’t just her skills on the dance floor, but her personality that quickly caught the attention of studio heads. “You really need to be able to relate to people,” Politis noted.

After 10 years with Arthur Murray Studios and achieving an award as top instructor multiple times, Politis decided she was ready to go out on her own. There has been no stopping her ever since.

Hired as an instructor by local libraries, the Department of Education and enlisted for private lessons, Politis instructs dancers for a variety of venues including Sweet 16’s, proms, bat and bar mitzvahs, and weddings.

During these lessons Politis teaches ballroom dance techniques, but it is really what her students take away off of the dance floor that she emphasizes at all of her lessons.

“Dance is really about making people feel at ease with themselves, and building self-esteem,” Politis said. Her focus on self-esteem boosting is perhaps most evident in the lessons she teaches at local high schools. There, instead of a competitive dance environment, Politis brings out the very best in her students and rewards them for areas of achievement, such as “most charismatic” or “best showmanship”.

The way Politis tells it, anyone can be a so-called showman. “You just have to have the guts to show up,” she said.

This includes students of all ages because according to Politis, dance is timeless as well as ageless. “Ballroom dance makes the younger students feel more mature and the seniors feel young again,” she said.

One of her long time students at the Hicksville library is Toby Kramer, an “ageless” senior citizen who couldn’t agree more. “There is no age limit. I have been dancing forever and I never want to stop,” says Kramer. In the Hicksville classroom Kramer is on hand whenever Politis needs a spry footed partner to help her demonstrate the newest steps she is introducing to the class.

Politis’ longtime dream is to one day open up her own ballroom dance Studio where she will teach not only ballroom dance classes, but also charm and etiquette.

Her ballroom dance classes are offered at the Hicksville Public Library Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. This class session is currently full, but they are offered several times throughout the year.

Politis says students need only bring proper fitting shoes, their smiles, and leave the rest up to her, because as she explains it, “a moment dancing beautifully can be one of the most beautiful moments in a person’s life.” 

News

Dance has a variety of benefits for children. Just like other sports like soccer, tennis or basketball, it promotes good health, emotional and mental stability.

The Dance Place in Hicksville is the brainchild of former dancer, Miana DeLucia. As a child, DeLucia found relief in her local dance studio. She says, “When I was young, my brother was very sick. I used to go to the studio just to get away. There, I found my passion and it became like a second home to me. It was my safe place.”

The community is invited to show off their Comets pride at Hicksville’s Homecoming Fair, which takes place Saturday, Sept. 13, starting at 10 a.m.

The festivities start at 10 a.m. at Hicksville High School’s John A. Walker Soccer Field. A number of fun activities will be featured, including attractions like a giant slide and an obstacle course, plus many game booths courtesy of the individual PTA units and school clubs. Lunch and snack items will be available for purchase.


Sports

At 6 a.m. on a blustery Saturday morning 1,600 people arrived at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park to participate in the 27th annual Runner’s Edge Tobay triathlon and tri- relay race. The participants were from all over Long Island, some from upstate NY, a few from out of state and were all ages and some even with disabilities but all came with one goal in mind, to finish.

The course starts out as a half mile swim in Oyster Bay Harbor, then a 9.3 mile bike ride through Oyster Bay, Laurel Hollow, and Cove neck which is very hilly but finishes with a 2.9 mile downhill to the finish. Then the riders have one more leg of the race which is 3.2 mile run through Mill Neck and Brookville, up to Planting Fields Arboretum and back down to Roosevelt Park to the finish line.

Second year head coach Rob Carroll is encouraged by what he has seen from the Hicksville Comets in the preseason. For this reason, he feels the team is better than their preseason ranking of No. 13.

“Last year was a tough year for us,” he said in regards to their 1-7 season. “But we improved as it went on and played in some very competitive games.”

The team ended a 15-game losing streak last season with a 26-19 victory over Uniondale.  They also were barely edged 20-14 by Hempstead on a last minute score. The rest of the games featured several lopsided scores, which is why Carroll believes the team is being overlooked.


Calendar

BOE Meeting

September 10

HHS Class of 1954 Reunion

September 12, 13

Cruizin’ For A Cure Car Show

September 14



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com