dance instructor aims high for West Valley dancers by
Kara Horowitz, special to the View - Nov. 18, 2008, The
West Valley View
Bonnie Matheson of Goodyear is a
paralegal in the Verrado community in Buckeye. But on
some weeknights, she is Bonnie the ballroom dancer, a
cha-cha and rumba dancer who will be performing in the
upcoming Matt Karr dance show.
Twelve routines will be performed by Matt Karr and his
students from his Avondale-based dance studio on Nov. 28
at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 2532 W. Peoria Ave. in
Matheson has been dancing for two years and with Karr
for almost a year.
originally danced with Fred Astaire Arizona, a dance
studio in Goodyear.
"I found the greatest mix and best flexibility with
Matt," Matheson said. "I dance at my own pace and do a
Matheson began dancing later in life as a way to
exercise. But she has since seen that dancing helps her
relieve stress and is therapeutic.
"When I walk through this door, I become a different
person," Matheson said. "I would give up lots of other
things, but I would never give up my dancing."
Karr began teaching ballroom in Arizona in 1973. He now
bases his instruction in the West Valley and hopes to
expand dance to more of its residents.
"One of my goals for the West Valley is to have social
dances every weekend," Karr said. "Dancing helps with
exercise and meeting people. Plus it's fun, it's
entertainment and it's inexpensive."
To reach this goal, Matt and two other instructors put
on a social dance night from 7 to 10 p.m. every Friday
at Litchfield Elementary School on Wigwam Boulevard,
just east of Litchfield Road. The night consists of two
dance lessons, ranging from tango and country western to
swing and cha-cha.
Mary Kanitz, a student of Karr's for four years, is an
advocate of the transformative power of dance.
"A community that dances has fun," Kanitz said. "You
meet really fun people, and every time I learn something
new. Plus, Matt can teach anybody!"
"My favorite part of teaching is to see how happy
students are when they leave," Karr said. "It goes much
deeper than just learning how to dance."
Karr wasn't always a dancer. In fact, his college dance
instructor told him he didn't have a chance. A few
semesters later, that same teacher offered Karr a
position at the Milwaukee Ballet Co.
After a one-and-a-half-year stint in the ballet, Karr
moved to Phoenix and began teaching ballroom.
"Dancing builds confidence, makes people feels good,
gives them worth," Karr said. "Those things are more
important to me than whether somebody gets the single
twinkle in one of the steps."
Karr gives private and group lessons every day of the
week. For information on the upcoming show and dance
lessons, call Karr at 602-694-4088 or visit the Web site
Kara Horowitz can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.