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Tricia and James Wood own and operate Tropical Ballroom, a dance studio in Woodbury's Valley Creek Mall. Staff photo by Stephanie Bennett

It takes two to teach

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James and Tricia Wood want to get people moving; and they are succeeding six days a week at Tropical Ballroom dance studio.

The husband and wife team opened Tropical Ballroom in July, teaching both group and private lessons for ages eight and up.

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Tropical Ballroom, located off Weir Drive in the Valley Creek Mall, offers traditional lessons in Tango and Waltz, but incorporates less common classes in everything from West Coast Swing to Polka.

"Ballroom [dancing] is more than just the Waltz, it's a very broad style," said Tricia Wood. A Bloomington native, she has been dancing her whole life, learning from her mother who also taught dance.

James Wood, who grew up in Anoka, literally stumbled in to teaching dance as a profession. While working as a security guard at the Rosedale Mall, Wood walked by a dance studio and stopped in.

"He saw a pretty girl," said Tricia Wood with a grin.

According to Wood, the studio staff mistook him for an dance instructor applicant. Since no experience was required, Wood took the job.

After two years of instructor training, Wood decided he wanted to learn to perform as well and spent the next five years honing his skill, Wood said.

"For some reason, dancing just made sense to me," he said.

The pair, who have lived in Woodbury for three years, plan to get the community involved with Tropical Ballroom.

"We really like Woodbury's potential," said James Wood. "We want to be a community center for dancing."

A new addition to the studio is on they way, Wood said, as the couple recently found out they are expecting.

"The doctor said dancing is one of the healthiest sports for me," laughed Wood, who said she plans on bringing the baby to the studio as much as possible.

Getting kids involved in dancing at school is a goal both Woods share, with possible future plans including a class on dance before prom or hosting a field trip at the studio, Tricia Wood said.

"Dancing is one of the only sports that doesn't require a full time commitment," Wood said. Tropical Ballroom encourages walk-ins and only requires students to pay for the classes they attend.

"Whether it's hockey, football, or yoga; dancing can help you be more aware of how to move your body," James Wood said.

Wood also feels the social aspect of dance is just as important.

Tropical Ballroom focuses on social dance, teaching students how to lead and follow a partner, Wood said.

"We teach with fun and you need to learn with fun or you will never have fun doing it in life."

More confidence with the opposite sex and a greater sense of coordination are not the only thing Wood hopes students get out of the class.

"I would like [my students] to leave feeling like this is something they have accomplished, something they can feel good about."

For more information call (651) 414-0644 or visit www.tropicalballroom.com.

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