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Look outside the heart-shaped box this year for your Valentine’s gift

Posted on Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Local couple Rachel and Landon Spangler brush up on their dance moves under the instruction of lo-cal dance teacher Danelle Afflerbaugh during the Duck River Dance studio’s open house (staff photo by John Coffelt).

John Coffelt

If the extent of your idea of a romantic Valentine’s Day gift is flowers or chocolate, get a little extreme this year and offer your beloved something they would never expect.

Give your relationship a twist with a joint ballroom dancing class

Forget dinner and a movie. If you really want to spend some quality time with your significant other, meet her on the dancefloor.

“Dancing with a partner is a very intimate thing, much like any other aspect of a relationship.  In order to move together as one across the floor a couple must learn to trust each other, to read non-verbal cues and to work together to achieve a common goal,” said local dance instructor Danelle Afflerbaugh.

“It can be quite the romantic endeavor.   The dancefloor is one of the few places where old fashioned chivalry still exists, where a man leads his lady with strength and grace.”

Choices for ballroom lessons are in Tullahoma. Ann Baldwin will teach a series of classes as part of the Motlow State Community College continuing education program.

Students will be taught basic locomotor movements for dance steps. Dance skills including leading, following, positions, counter balance, timing, patterns and style will be experienced. Specific dances will include the foxtrot, swing, waltz, cha-cha, tango and country line.

Classes are Mondays, March 20 – May 8 at the Motlow Moore County Main Campus. The fee is $155 per couple.

In Manchester, Duck River Dance will begin a four-part series called Bottles and Ballroom.

It will be a series of Saturday nights where couples can bring a bottle of wine to the studio, mingle with other couples, then learn a ballroom dance.

“We’ll have four in the series, two ballroom styles and two Latin styles.  The cost is $40 per evening or $150 for all four sessions,” Afflerbaugh said.

Classes, each at 7 p.m., will include the waltz on March 4, Cha-cha-cha on March 11, the Foxtrot on March 18 and the mambo on March 25.

Duck River Dance recently relocated to a new, larger studio at 121 E. Main St., across from the Manchester Arts Center.

Turn up the heat with a saucy boudoir photospread

What man wouldn’t love steamy pictures of his lady for Valentine’s Day? But Normandy photographer Kerry Kimmel says its best to skip the bathroom selfie and get quality help when looking for that special shot to light his fire.

That’s where boudoir photography comes in. Kimmel calls it sexy pictures without being sex pictures. ‘Boudoir’ photograph comes from the French word for a lady’s private bedroom, sitting room or dressing room.

Kimmel has expanded her line to include boudoir photography.

“Women want to give to their husband, boyfriend, whatever, something different from the box of candy or shorts with hearts on them,” Kimmel said.

Kimmel’s studio is in her home. Access is limited to who the model wants with her and Kimmel.

“It takes about an hour and a half. People come in, they’re very nervous. They don’t know if they want to do it or not.”

Kimmel encourages people not to let self-doubt prevent them from posing.

“To me, you do it now rather than waiting until you’re 70 and say, I wish I’d done it,” she said.

“They all think they’re overweight, even the young ones. Most women are beautiful. They only look bad to themselves.

“This makes them feel young, beautiful and sexy. That’s the whole point of this.”

Photos are shot in a glamor sort of way, but with the clients in lingerie or anything that they feel comfortable in.

Kimmel’s professional demeanor quickly puts her models at ease. She relates to them and finds common grounds.

“You start out, introduce yourself and talk. They have boyfriends, kids, husbands and all of that, the same sort of things that I do. That instantly starts to put them at ease.”

Only then does she move to discussing what the model wants from the session. Most often people bring ideas they’ve found on the internet as a starting point for the shoot.

“They know nobody’s going to walk in on us, there are no windows.”

While interpretations of how risqué boudoir photography should be, Kimmel notes that her work is sexy, not sex.

“I don’t do soft porn or porn. There is no being naked when doing this,” she said. “[We are trying to capture] the sexiness reserved for the bedroom.”

For Kimmel the allure is often what you don’t see. It’s not so much being naked, but rather the hint of what you might see.

“It’s a beautiful woman being herself and make images that please.”

And, Kimmel added, it’s better to have a print rather than just a digital file. She offers a bound photobook, bound in classic black that can become a keepsake.

“These are images that they will have forever. You’re not going to keep the images on your phone like you will a printed image,” Kimmel said.

“There is nothing embarrassing about it. I don’t do anything that is embarrassing to them or with them that would make them embarrassed.”