Dance instructor wants to get feet moving

Published 9:09 am Friday, December 23, 2011

With 25 years of dance instruction experience under his belt, a Coal Grove native is back and hoping to get you on the dance floor.

Having spent the last decade in Springfield, Mo., Raymond Morton said he is ready to teach the Tri-State how to move, whether it be swing, country western, ballroom or Latin dances.

For the shy and rhythmically challenged, Morton said anyone can learn to dance and have fun doing it.

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“I’ve always told all my students, if I can learn to do this, then anyone can,” Morton said.

Morton learned dance instruction from Fred Astaire’s Dance Studios and taught with the company from 1986-1998. From there, he moved to Springfield, Mo., and taught on his own. He was also a dance professor at Missouri State University for 11 years.

Morton also spent time competing professionally for about three years, taking third place at an East Coast regional competition in Asheville, N.C. In 1994, he competed in a pro-am competition with one of his students in Las Vegas and took first place.

Morton is bronze- and silver-level certified to teach.

With such an impressive resume, it’s hard to believe dancing wasn’t always second nature to him.

Having grown up in Coal Grove and graduated from Dawson-Bryant High School in 1980, the only dancing Morton ever did was at his high school prom.

So when he decided to learn to teach dance to others after he left the Army in 1986, his family was, needless to say, skeptical.

“They didn’t know what to think,” Morton said.

Even his dance instructors at Fred Astaire’s Dance Studios were not convinced, telling Morton he was too slow, too quiet and that he would never make the cut.

Within a year he had gained his instructors’, and his own, confidence.

“It was a little harder than I thought,” Morton said. “I fell in love with it and I’ve been teaching people to dance for the past 25 years.”

Since returning to Lawrence County to take care of his father, Morton said he will rent studio space at Cyndi’s Dance Studio on Third Street in downtown Ironton.

Classes will be for beginners as a group or in private lessons. Morton also said more advanced dancers are welcome to take lessons or form a group.

“Throughout the years I’ve also helped a lot of wedding couples with their first dance, doing their choreography,” Morton said.

Morton can also teach the casual dancer or someone who is looking to compete.

“I find that if you keep things simple, where people are having fun, they are going to learn,” he said.

Rates are $42 per person for a six-week block of lessons, or $8 per class.

To contact Morton, call or email at (740) 547-9736 and

“Come and try it out,” Morton said. “I think you’ll be amazed at how much fun and excitement dancing had to offer, both personally and in general.”