Tammy’s Dance Studio offers tap, jazz classes for adults



In her 33 years of teaching dance, Tammy Lewis has worked with girls and boys ages 3 to 18.

She never taught adults and said she never thought she would.

In December 2019, however, she tapped into that age group after encouragement from some former students.

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Having coached the drill team at her alma mater, Brownstown Central High School, for 14 years, she was asked to join former team members for a reunion performance.

“All of these people were like, ‘Tammy, you’ve got to do it with us. You’ve got to do it,’ and I’m like, ‘I’m not doing it,'” she said.

A girl who had graduated in recent years told her the same thing, and she talked Lewis into it.

“Then come to find out, several of my dance moms, they were going to do it with the drill team because I had coached them, which I’m on the second generation big time on teaching,” Lewis said. “I had taught them, and they were like, ‘We’re going to do it. Come do it with us.'”

Since they were all adults, Lewis said they didn’t have a whole lot of confidence in getting back into doing a drill team routine, so they received videos to learn it. The dance moms asked if they could meet at Lewis’ studio at 114 E. Cross St., Brownstown, to practice.

“I’m like, ‘Sure, that’ll be great,’ so we came in here, laughed so much and worked,” Lewis said.

A couple of those women told Lewis if she would do similar meetings once a week, they would come to the studio to dance for exercise and fun.

“That’s how the adult classes got started,” she said.

Lewis then posted information about the tap and jazz classes on her Facebook page to determine people’s interest, and she received positive feedback.

“A lot of my students that have been coming are former students,” she said.

Classes started in December 2019 on Tuesdays (tap at 6:30 p.m. and jazz at 7:15 p.m.) and continued until the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

Those didn’t restart until February 2021. Lewis has space for 10 to 12 adults for each class, and everyone must wear a face mask due to the ongoing pandemic. The cost is $10 per session.

Lewis said there are several benefits of the classes for adults.

“Definitely just getting together and having a good time is a big part of it. We just have a blast,” she said. “But definitely the exercise, just getting together exercising. It’s something fun to do. It’s something maybe a little different than just going to the gym.

No previous dance experience is required.

“We don’t care if you’re new or if you have experience or you don’t have experience,” Lewis said.

Lewis has been dancing since she was 4. She said she was watching kids dancing at the grandstand during the Jackson County Fair when her mother, Jane Gardner, asked, “Do you think you could do that?”

“I don’t remember if I had a choice or not, but I was enrolled in the fall,” Lewis said, smiling.

She took lessons from Sally Miles, who operated Dixon Dance Studio franchise locations in Seymour and Brownstown.

When she was 13, Lewis started assisting Miles in teaching classes.

Later on, in the spring of 1988, Miles died from meningitis.

“We lost her right at recital time,” Lewis said. “It was devastating because you don’t really realize how close you are to someone that’s just a dance teacher until you lose them. It was like losing a family member because I had traveled with her. We went everywhere and danced.”

In the fall of 1988, Lewis bought Miles’ studios at 425 W. Second St., Seymour, and 1029 W. Commerce St., Brownstown. She went by the name of Tammy’s Dixon Dance Studio for around five years until changing it to Tammy’s Dance Studio.

Several years ago, Lewis wanted to semi-retire, so she sold the Seymour building to a former dancer, Jessica Gross, and has since only operated the Brownstown studio.

Another former student, Macy Rotert, is helping Lewis teach the adult dance classes. Rotert, who lives in Seymour, has danced for 18 years.

“I didn’t expect to teach adults, we’ll put it that way, because I was always helping Tammy,” she said, smiling.

She, however, has enjoyed the opportunity.

“It’s nice to see some of Tammy’s old students because I’ve never met them,” Rotert said. “I’ve seen the pictures in the studio before, and she has talked about some, but I’ve never actually gotten to meet them and talk to them. We’re just having fun. It’s nice to come out here, and it’s a very open space to dance and not feel judged.”

Sisters Bridget Disque and Karmen Blevins are among those taking the adult classes. Both are former students of Lewis and had her as a drill team coach.

They were the ones who suggested Lewis start the adult classes.

“It’s just a different type of activity, not your traditional volleyball, basketball. It’s just a different outlet,” said Blevins, whose daughters now take dance classes with Lewis.

“I enjoyed it so much growing up, and I missed this part of it,” Disque said. “You got out of drill team, you graduate high school and you’re done meeting, exercising and dancing.”

Now, Disque is able to dance again.

“I especially like tap,” she said. “You get different movements and work your body differently than traditional exercising, and you get to come out with adults and enjoy time together.”

Getting together with former students, having fun and reminiscing is special for Lewis.

“I kind of semi-retired, but it almost made me fall back in love with dance again because of not being at it four or five nights a week. It has been a blast,” she said. “I came in here all stressed out thinking, ‘Oh my gosh! I’ve got all of this pressure on me. What am I going to do? I’ve got to be prepared.’ I do have to be prepared, but we just come in and really have fun, so it’s just all about having a good time and exercising.”

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Dance classes for adults are available Tuesday nights at Tammy’s Dance Studio, 114 E. Cross St., Brownstown.

Tap is at 6:30 p.m., and jazz is at 7:15 p.m. The cost is $10 per session.

For information, reach out to Tammy Lewis on Facebook.


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