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11Apr 2016
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Student of the Week – Marty Riley

Fulchinos croppedName: Marty Riley

Town you Live In: Litchfield

How long have you been dancing? 4 years

How did you get into ballroom?  My husband and I are always looking for activities that we can share.  We both enjoy dancing and so ballroom sounded like a good option.  One year Rick bought me a gift certificate to Papermoon for my birthday and we were hooked.   Not only do we love the dancing but the friendships we have developed make it so much fun!

Which dance do you enjoy the most?  Hustle! And then VWaltz and ChaCha.

What is your favorite dance memory? I have so many good memories! One strong memory was at the waltz-tango formation team performance in Boston. There was this moment when the music changed from waltz to tango and the audience started to clap to the beat – everyone was caught up in our dance performance and it was exciting to feel the energy.

My most special memory was recently when I danced with the youth team as a leader.  It was so much fun sharing that with our granddaughter, Lilianna and the other girls.MDC15_22092145-(ZF-4930-38126-1-001)

What dance goal would you like to conquer next?  I want to continue my competition and performance growth in the smooth dances and branch out at some point with hustle (maybe even the Latin dances).  I would love to do a performance routine with my husband at some point as well.

What are your other hobbies?  Travel, outdoors activities, cooking & entertaining, and interior decorating.

Tell us something you think most people don’t know about you.  I was a Girl Scout leader for nine years for my niece’s troop.  It was an incredibly rewarding journey with them from 3rd grade thru high school graduation and a privilege to participate in their growth and development.  We are all still in contact today even after most have graduated college.


7Mar 2016
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Student of the week – Juliet Coffler

Name: Juliet Coffler 

Town you Live In: Litchfield, NH20160305_140422

How long have you been dancing? 1 year
How did you get into ballroom? My G-pa introduced me to ballroom dancing last year. He signed me up and at first I didn’t want to because I was scared. Now I’m so happy he did because I love to dance! I told my Mom & Dad I am never leaving!

Which dance do you enjoy the most? Samba! Samba! Samba! This was such a fun dance to perform! I am looking forward to all the new dances I will learn this year as well!

What is your favorite dance memory? Coming to dance class and being with my friends! I have made so many new friends over the past year!

What dance goal would you like to conquer next? My goal is to learn new dance steps for the upcoming Salsa formation and to focus on my foot placement and posture. DWTS is my ultimate goal! 


What are your other hobbies? Gymnastics, singing, and acting. 

Tell us something you think most people don’t know about you.  I do cartwheels when my Mom isn’t looking in every store we go in and at school.

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25Jan 2016
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Student of the week – Elizabeth Lidman

Name: Elizabeth Lidman

Town you Live In: Nashua

Elizabeth and Ray
How long have you been dancing? 4 years

How did you get into ballroom? I was looking for a hobby that would fit my schedule since I worked odd hours. I had danced ballet previously and was interested in learning a new style of dance.

Which dance do you enjoy the most? West Coast Swing. It’s very different from the other dances. There’s a lot of room for improvising and styling.

What is your favorite dance memory? It’s too hard to choose! I enjoyed some of the more comedic formations like the goofy samba (flash mob!!) and the zombie cha cha. But probably the most wonderful dance memory would be the kindness, camaraderie and friendships I’ve enjoyed through dance. Whether it’s someone asking me to dance at a social or the cheering on of your peers at a competition or surprising Ray and Maria with our secret formation or in my case even meeting my future husband!

What dance goal would you like to conquer next? I would like to work on my styling in West Coast Swing and become a better follower in Argentine Tango.

What are your other hobbies? I enjoy playing the piano, reading, drawing and watching sci-fi shows.

Tell us something you think most people don’t know about you. I’m an extreme Doctor Who fan and have been all over Wales and England to see filming locations. I’ve even waited in line on a sidewalk in NYC for 14 hours for a season premiere.


Samba Team 1

Waltz Tango Formation Final Pose

20Jan 2016
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Technique of the Week: January 20, 2016

Technique of the Week: January 20, 2016

4 Ways to Make the Most of Practice Time

Not sure of the best way to practice, how much to do or when to do it?  Here are 4 easy ways to make every minute count!

  1. One Thing at a Time.  We like to think of ourselves as Multitaskers; but in truth, we can do 1 thing well, or many things at once with only mediocre quality.  Do you feel like there are a lot of things about your dancing that you’d like to improve?  Make a list and bring it to your next practice session.  For example, if I’m practicing Rumba, maybe I want to:
    • Keep my toes turned out.
    • Brush my feet through closed in between each step.
    • Make sure I have the correct knee, hip and rib forward with each step.
    • Keep my head up.
    • Squeeze my lats alternately.

I would never be able to do all 5 of these things at once if I was just learning them!  Go through a simple pattern, like basic to open break and underarm turn, and see if you can keep your toes turned out the whole time.  When you can go through that exercise successfully three times in a row, then try to do the same pattern while brushing your feet through closed in between each step.  Keep trying until you do THAT successfully three times in a row.  If you never get to items C, D and E, it was still a successful practice!  Go for quality, not quantity.  Tomorrow you’ll be able to get through A & B again in 5-10 minutes, and then have time to move on to C and D, then maybe the next day you’ll do E (as well as F, G, and H which suddenly popped up as wellJ).

  1. Slow and Steady Wins the Race.  A lot of people move quickly through the parts of a figure that they know, and then slow down in order to think of what they have to do next.  The problem with this method is that your body learns through muscle memory, and every time you do that figure in the future, you’ll slow down when you get to the part that you once thought difficult.  Practice a new figure S-L-O-W-L-Y enough that you don’t have to slow down when it gets hard.  This may feel painfully boring while you’re doing the “easy part,” but you’ll reap the benefits in the future.  Once you can go through the whole figure at the same speed, speed it up in small increments (always dancing the whole thing at the same speed) until you are able to dance it to music.
  2. Yin and yang.  Find balance in working on the fine details and the “bigger picture.”  Spend some time picking apart movement on a microscopic level (i.e. 1-3 steps at a time) until you are happy with that tiny piece.  Then let that go and practice putting amalgamations together.  Technique is wonderful and critical but if you can’t dance through a whole song then you’ll never be able to use it!
  3. Less is More.  Practice is most beneficial if you do it more frequently in shorter sessions, rather than for marathon-length sessions less frequently.  [Except posture.  Practice your posture during every waking moment.  Make it your goal for someone who doesn’t know you to accuse you of being a dancer!  Great posture will also make you appear more confident and approachable; and everyone looks better when they’re standing tall.  What could be better?]  I digress…  If there are 1 or 2 things you are really focusing on, try to do them for 10-15 minutes every day, particularly immediately after you learn them (or review them with a coach), because that’s when the correct movement is freshest in your mind.  It is tempting to wait until the day before (or the day of!) a lesson before practicing; but you will have forgotten a lot in the 6 or so days since your last lesson.  Right after a lesson or class, when you get home, spend a few minutes and see if you can re-create what you were just working on.  Then spend a few minutes the next day and see if you can do it again; and so on, each day until your next lesson.  A little mindfulness each day will take you a long way.
18Jan 2016
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Student of the Week – Samantha McGrath

Name: Samantha McGrath

Town you Live In: Nashua

How long have you been dancing?  A year next month! Time flies! 

How did you get into ballroom?  While I’ve always been interested in ballroom dancing, I figured my admiration would be limited to that of a spectator rather than a participant – particularly because I have been notoriously clumsy and laughably graceless my whole life. Despite that, I had a friend when I was in High School that danced at PaperMoon (at it’s previous location) and she somehow convinced me to come to a social one Saturday night – I still remember the lesson was Beginner Rumba and I had a blast! Unfortunately, that friend moved and it apparently took me nearly ten years to get up the courage to go back by myself, but I am so glad I did!

Which dance do you enjoy the most? It’s probably a tie between Cha Cha and Bolero.

What is your favorite dance memory? Your reaction to my decision to do the Cha Cha formation! I was on the fence because I wasn’t sure I was ready and your enthusiasm was just the confidence boost I needed to sign on. No regrets! It’s been an incredible experience so far and I’m really looking forward to the performances.

What dance goal would you like to conquer next? I’d like to get good enough to try Viennese Waltz again. I attended a Bronze 1 class taught by Ray once a few months back and loved it, but I only know the basic and how to get into the natural (unnatural) turn, but not how to get out of it again (ha!). 

What are your other hobbies? I try to limit myself to two hobbies at a time! I do strength and conditioning weight training that I started a few months after starting at PaperMoon and it’s really helped improve my balance and frame (and overall ability to get my limbs to go where I’m telling them to!). 

Tell us something you think most people don’t know about you. I used to sing in a alternative rock cover band that played out in Nashua called The Clones.

papermoon photo

13Jan 2016
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Technique of the Week: January 13, 2016

Technique of the Week: January 13, 2016

The Battle of the Centers

One of the most challenging aspects of Smooth dancing (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot & Viennese Waltz) is maintaining a balance between the jobs that need to be done by each of your “centers.”

The Low Center – this is your Center of Gravity, the area right below your belly button.  It keeps you weighted and connected to the floor, so that your balance is strong and you can respond quickly with great agility to signals from your partner.  It allows your feet to use the floor to power your motion.

The High Center – this is your Center of Levitation, the area right around your sternum.  It keeps your frame lifted, your chest high and your head up.  This also helps your balance, makes you feel “light” to your partner, and gives you a look of confidence and beauty.

The challenge?  Keep your knees, ankles and hip joints soft and low while you keep your head, chest and arms lifted!  For your leg action, picture a baby hanging in a “Jolly Jumper” suspended from the ceiling.  His knees never lock to support his weight, they just allow him to compress into and push away from the floor to lift and lower himself alternately, with a feeling of semi-weightlessness.  For your upper body action, picture that you are swinging a heavy sack onto a truck bed.  It takes a back-to-front swinging action from your whole body to heave the sack upwards, then freeze frame at the top and you’ve got an idea of the lift you’ll need.  It can be difficult to focus on both at once, so try alternating what you think about during classes or socials.

Giving individual attention to each of your centers will give you Roots and Wings for superb dancing!

Scott Bergendahl Smooth


12Jan 2016
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Student of the Week – Susan Simpson

Name: Susan Simpson

Town you live in:  Nashua

How long have you been dancing?  I have been dancing a little over 1 1/2 years.

How did you get into ballroom?  I love to dance but I wanted to do something different.  I started out by going to dances that teach West Coast Swing.  After doing that for a little while, someone mentioned PaperMoon.  At the time I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get into ballroom dancing but I eventually decided to try it and I love it.

Which dance do you enjoy the most?  The Waltz and the Cha Cha

What is your favorite dance memory?  So far it has been dancing in the formations and the competitions with Ray.

What dance goal would you like to conquer next?  I want to work on dancing better at the dance competitions.

What are your other hobbies?  I enjoy the summer, going to the beach and the lake with my kids and grandkids. 

Tell us something you think most people don’t know about you.  I have 5 grandchildren 3-21 years old that I spend a lot of time with. My oldest granddaughter is living with me.  I love sci fi and fantasy movies like the Hobbit, Star Wars, and Star Trek and go to the movies to see them whenever a new one comes out.


6Jan 2016
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Technique of the Week: 3 Steps to Great Feet!

Technique of the Week: January 6, 2016

3 Steps to Great Feet!


This week in your Rhythm classes (Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing, Bolero, Mambo, Samba, Hustle, West Coast, etc.), think about foot articulation.  Instead of placing a foot flat on the floor with each step, show power and purpose each time you take weight on or off of a foot.  Here are 3 things to think about (one at a time!):


  1. Lift your knees.  With each step, lift your knee as high as you can, until only the inside corner of your big toenail stays in contact with the floor.  Think of a pair of pants hanging over a hangar at the knee crease, and lift the hangar as high as you can get it without letting the big toe detach from the floor.  Don’t forget – a “replace” is a step too!
  2. Push and pull the floor.  Be careful that lifting your heel from the floor as mentioned in Tip #1 doesn’t result in feet that slide messily across the floor.  Use your big toe to “push” the floor away from you when stepping out in any direction, or “pull” the floor towards you as you collect your feet.
  3. Brush your ankles.  Brush your moving ankle past your standing ankle with each step (other than a “replace,” before which the feet do not move or brush one another).   The moving ankle should literally touch the inside of the standing leg, slightly above the ankle of the standing leg.

Follow these three tips to engage your foot, leg and core muscles while you dance.  This will give you greater control and precision, help with your balance, and prepare you for each new step instead of having you get thrown by the whirlwind of residual energy from your last step.  This will make your dancing stronger and more beautiful.  Happy Practicing!


4Jan 2016
General 1 comment

Student of the week – Barbara Schechinger

Name: Barbara Schechinger

Town you Live In: Londonderry

How long have you been dancing? About 5 yearsimage2

How did you get into ballroom? I’ve always loved to dance and asked Paul to take ballroom lessons with me as a birthday gift quite a few years ago. It took seeing our daughter Lauren dancing with her college ballroom club at competitions to spur me on to find a studio.

Which dance do you enjoy the most? That’s hard to pick because I connect to the music as well as the movement. I guess I’d have to say Cha Cha for its sass and Viennese Waltz for its beauty.

What is your favorite dance memory? Also a hard question, there are so many. One that stands out though is from the first Rumba formation team some friends talked me into joining. Maria was so supportive while I tried to do her choreography justice but I was still unsure of myself and nervous about dancing in front of an audience. Then, on the last performance night, I was able to set all that aside and just immerse myself in the dance. It was an exhilarating experience that totally hooked me in for more. I’ve been happily joining formation teams and competing with Ray ( which has the same blend of feeling of terrifying exciting accomplishment ) ever since.

What dance goal would you like to conquer next? I actually have two. I would like to be better at following in all styles and in dancing Viennese Waltz.

What are your other hobbies? Cooking/baking, reading, going to the movies, boating and traveling with my wonderful husband Paul.

Tell us something you think most people don’t know about you. I’ve been told my eye color changes with my mood. They are either hazel, blue, or occasionally a mischievous green.


29Dec 2015
General 1 comment

Student of the Week – Bob Shapiro

Name: Bob Shapirobob3

Town you Live In: Andover, MA

How long have you been dancing? About 12 years, on and off.

How did you get into ballroom? My daughter is my instructor and inspiration.

Which dance do you enjoy the most? I enjoy both V-Waltz and Quickstep.

What is your favorite dance memory? I have two: Dancing a Waltz with my wife, Maria, at our 40th Anniversary, and dancing a V-Waltz with my daughter, Maria, at her wedding.

What dance goal would you like to conquer next? I’ve thought about doing a showcase or a comp with my daughter (V-Waltz or Quickstep).

What are your other hobbies? I sing, I have a blog (, and I like expanding what I’ve done. So far, I am, or have been: a singer, a dancer, a vocal coach, a choral director, a composer, a skier, a pharmacist, a software engineer, a math teacher, a consulting economist, a shop steward, a small business owner, a hospital worker, a production line worker, a front line corporate manager (175 direct reports at one point), a dance teacher, a food caterer, a blogger, a candidate for public office (most recently for Congress in 2012), and I taught both my son and daughter to read.

Tell us something you think most people don’t know about you. I currently am  doing preliminary work toward launching another business, which would “Facilitate the use of Liberty Silver Eagle Dollars in everday commerce.”

bob1 bob2