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Dance With Alison Blends Passion and Excitement

By Elisha Neubauer

Alison Hurwitz, owner and dance instructor at Dance With Alison in San Jose, never imagined she would follow dance as a career path. Born into a family of musicians, Hurwitz always believed her calling to be the music industry.

But, as fate often does, Hurwitz's path drastically changed when she developed severe tendinitis in college, a disorder which prevent her from following music as her life's work. Feeling so connected to music, Hurwitz sought a path which would allow her to blend music with her work. Having taken ballet classes as a youth, dance seemed the obvious choice.

"I started to dance again, taking Ballet and Jazz, and started exploring Ballroom Dancing at a local studio in my college town," Hurwitz said. "I fell in love with the diversity of music, the differences in technique, the diversity of body types (after Ballet, it felt liberating!), the musical conversation and connection I felt when dancing with a partner."

In 1997, Hurwitz began teaching. She learned to take notes from her own home life, allowing her relationships outside of the studio to inspire her methods inside of the studio. Being a creative extrovert married to an analytical scientific introvert, Hurwitz realized early on that it was important to blend joy and exuberance with clear technical instruction and detail.

"My students learn the how and why of each figure and can share it with others," Hurwitz said. "I always say that the mark of good instruction is your student's ability to demonstrate it correctly and teach someone else the movement."

Although having studied ballet extensively in her youth, Hurwitz began to identify as a ballroom generalist. Of course, as most dancers do, she still finds enjoyment in the freer dances, such as Salsa, West Coast Swing, and Argentine Tango, which contain a connection with street dancing and improvisation.

"It's such fun to be creative within a partnership," Hurwitz said. "I liken the experience to writing a sonnet: there is a form to follow, but within that form you have absolute freedom to write what you want!"

Since finding her new path in the dance world, Hurwitz has performed with several local groups, including the Decobelles, Mambo Romero, The Harmony Project Dance Company, DancEvents, and Tango Con Fusión. She competed in American Rhythm with her partner Jesús Ortiz and has been featured in several media outlets, such as Evening Magazine and Channel 5 news, as well as being featured in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Hurwitz has taught on cruise ships, hosted dance camps, and coached performance teams. She has created several instructional DVDs, including Dance Vision's professional accreditation DVD, as well as Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Waltz, Foxtrot, Rumba and Swing, available from DanceCrazy.com.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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