For centuries, dance-rs have lauded the health benefits of dancing, which can be magical and transforming. Dancing is known to channel positive energy, and get you smiling and socializing all at the same time.
More recently, researchers have learned that regular dancing integrates several brain functions at once, encouraging nerve cells to grow. Therefore, dancing that requires you to remember steps and sequences also boosts brainpower and memory skills.
So, if you're thinking about giving it a whirl, you can sharpen your moves and your brain with Maui's professional dance instructors and owners of Advance Your Dance, Sandy and Frank Hook.
Dancing can be magical and transforming with Maui’s professional dance instructors and owners of Advance Your Dance, Sandy and Frank Hook. “Visitors are welcome,” they said.
Photo: Cindy Schumacher
With over 30 years of dance experience, the Hooks have grown to be the largest dance 'ohana on Maui.
"It is our joy to teach dance creatively and playfully, so our students come to know the sheer joy, laughter and fun of dancing together," said the Hooks.
Originally from Connecticut, where they both taught elementary school, the Hooks retired on Maui after falling in love with the island while on vacation. They have taught dance here for nearly eight years and have watched their business skyrocket.
"From about 20 dancers and teaching one night a week, we now have an average of 250 students between our large and small groups, and our private lessons," they said. "Many dancers participate in several classes per week."
The Hooks, who met in college, began dancing in the mid 1970s when "Saturday Night Fever" and disco dancing were king.
"Hustle was the first dance we learned, and we were hooked," they said. (No pun intended!)
"Besides teaching, we also deejay dance events around the island with complete sound system and lighting," said Sandy.
They originally began teaching on Maui in the Omori Dance Studio at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (The MACC) as a way to earn money for a neighbor who had cancer.
"We donated every penny to him for his medical bills," Sandy said. Currently, the Hooks teach seven days a week and continue to contribute to charitable causes.
"In the past five years, with the help of our dancers, we have donated over six tons of food to the Maui Food Bank and continue to do so regularly," said the Hooks.
"We happily volunteer to teach and deejay on behalf of the Central Maui Chapter of the Hawai'i Ballroom Dance Association Monday nights in Wailuku," they said. Presently, they have nine couples learning a Cuban rumba routine for a Sept. 21 fall performance.
"We also choreograph solo and group dance performances for the Hawai'i Ballroom Association at no cost to the dancers."
It doesn't stop there. The Hooks also deejay at the Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Balls and teach dance at private parties at The MACC. For Maui's Cinderellas and their princes, the Hooks host at least four ballroom events a year in the Elleair Ballroom at the Maui Beach Hotel, including New Year's Eve.
The mission of Advance Your Dance is to provide reasonably priced, top-notch professional dance instruction to dancers of all skill levels.
"There is emphasis put on proper lead and follow techniques and on bringing back the fun in social dancing and performances," said the Hooks, who teach 17 different ballroom, Latin and club style dances.
"Our most popular are West Coast Swing, Night Club Two Step, the Hustle and Country Two Step," they said, noting that these dances were basically nonexistent on Maui when they arrived.
"Night Club Two Step is the number one wedding dance in the country right now," said Frank.
The Hooks also teach line dances, country couple and partner dances, besides choreographing solo and group dance routines and wedding dances. They have the best mix of dance music on Maui with over 4,000 dance songs total.
"We travel to O'ahu and the Mainland yearly to take classes from several top professionals so we can constantly grow as dancers and teachers," the Hooks said. "It is important to us to bring the latest moves to our dancers."
When off-island, the Hooks invite top professional teachers to instruct their classes. Well known dancers have included Tristan MacManus of TV's "Dancing with the Stars," and Doug Sitton and his partner Nicki.
Substituting for the Hooks on Friday through Sunday, July 26, 27 and 28, at The MACC are talented dancers Michael Kiehm and Sue Fries from San Diego. "We hope everyone in the community will welcome them with aloha and dancing," they said.
Advance Your Dance offers group lessons and open dancing Tuesday and Saturday evenings in the Omori Dance Studios at The MACC. The Hooks also teach in their Kihei dance studio.
"We have the largest dance 'ohana on Maui, the best dancers and the best music," they said. "Most importantly, we make dancing fun!"