When Sarah Eells and her husband, Jon, first started taking ballroom dancing classes eight years ago, Jon wasn't sure how successful they'd be.
Now they're enrolled in the highest level of classes offered by local instructor Bill Held, and they even assist him in teaching beginner level classes.
"It's not as complicated as it looks," said Sarah Eells, 61, of Marietta. "I think that it's easier than most people think it is, but it does take practice, like everything else."
Photo by New Creations Studio, submitted by Sue Montera
Local ballroom dancing instructors Sue Montera and Bill Held are pictured dancing at the Lafayette Hotel in 2009. Held offers ballroom classes in Marietta nd Parkersburg.
Held, 53, of Marietta, teaches ballroom dancing classes in Marietta and Parkersburg with the assistance of his wife, Sue Montera. Montera, 55, started taking ballroom dancing lessons under Held in 1999 and the two married in 2007.
One might think ballroom dancing is a thing of the past, but Montera said there are more than 20 couples signed up for beginner classes that are held Friday evenings at the Betsey Mills Club in Marietta. There are between 10 and 15 signed up for intermediate level classes.
Eells said it's something anyone can enjoy, regardless of age.
Monday evenings at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 219 Eleventh St., Parkersburg and Friday evenings at the Betsey Mills Club, 300 Fourth St., Marietta.
Classes usually run 10 weeks and cost $100 per couple.
Contact Sue Montera at (740) 706-6725 for more information about Marietta classes or Sue St. Jean at (304) 428-3897 for more information about Parkersburg classes.
"We have all ages that do it, from age 16 to over 90," she said.
Some of the class members are in either the Marietta-based River Cities Dance Club or the Parkersburg-based Tempo Dance Club, Montera said.
Held also teaches ballroom dancing classes at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Parkersburg on Monday evenings. The Eellses are in Held's workshop level class there, which allows them to work on technique issues.
"There are different levels - it depends on how many years you've been dancing," Montera explained.
Both Eells and Montera believe television shows such as ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" have sparked interest in ballroom dancing.
"The thing about it for most people is that it is a pleasant activity that two people can do together and the companionship is very nice," Montera said.
Jerry King and his wife, Sheila, of Marietta, have been taking classes from Held for three years and they're now in an intermediate level class. Jerry King said he likes that ballroom dancing incorporates several different styles, including swing, fox trot, waltz and Latin dances.
"You're not just doing one little dance," he said. "The variation of that many dances - you can't get bored."
Parkersburg resident Manda Scheub, 24, and her boyfriend, Evan Sutton, 27, also of Parkersburg, are currently in their second set of 10 weeks taking lessons. Scheub said they signed up simply because they wanted to improve their dancing skills.
"It's a lot of fun," she said. "It's something different to do."