Meet SEZ’s 2019 class of ICP Graduates


On February 23, 2019, the 21st class of Smooth & EZ’s Instructor Certification Program will graduate. ICP is a two-year program for dancers interested in learning dance fundamentals and techniques, as well as the skills and terminology to become a hand dance instructor. The 2019 graduates are (from left the photo): Lola Johnson, Loretta (Shakey) Williams, Kim GIbson, Lucius Robinson, Gwen Miller, Amy Scroggins and Paige Ogle. Recently, as they prepared for their graduation program, they shared some thoughts on the last two years.


Why did you decide to join ICP?:

Lucius Robinson: I’m an ex-athlete and I needed something to do of a physical nature.  I needed something I could practice so that I’m continually getting better.  Now I dance and I practice and strive to get better.

Shakey Williams: I enjoy hand dancing. I always wanted to dance, always wanted to learn. I started at The Eclipse, but I couldn’t continue the class.  So once I retired, I decided to come back and join ICP. I’m enjoying it and know I will continue after the ICP program. It’s a wonderful experience.


What have you gotten out of the program?:

Paige Ogle: In assisting the instruction, I’ve realized the technical aspect of the dance is so critical. From the ICP program, I have better understanding of how to discern what it is that the students need. I can tell when someone is dancing offbeat, when someone is not transferring their weight correctly or not stepping on the beat. So it’s really giving me the tools to try to work with those types of students.

Lola Johnson: I have learned about the science of dance. How to recognize the technique that may be present in any form of dance and identify the differences that define the particular style, like DC hand dance.

Gwen Miller:  It’s helped a whole lot. Before, I was doing the moves, but not understanding the elements behind them. Now I understand why I do what I do when I do what I do on the downbeat and upbeat. That has taken my dance to a whole other level.

Amy Scroggins: I’m understanding why you should do certain things. A lot of things I did, I wasn’t doing it properly. So once I learned how to do it properly, it was a lot easier and, more importantly, it looked a whole lot better. I’m a much better dancer.


What has the experience been like?:

Paige Ogle: We decided from the beginning that we would operate as a team, not leave anyone behind. So if one person is having difficulty, those who are doing a little better, we’ll reach out and give guidance if needed.  I really enjoy the fellowship, the team atmosphere. We really feel we belong together.

Amy Scroggins: It’s nice being with a group that has the same goals.  I developed a lot of good friendships.


Why would you suggest that others join ICP?

Paige Ogle: If you want to be a better dancer, it gives you the tools to develop your foundation. I’m still learning. I want to be a better dancer myself. You’re learning new moves each class. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know until it is presented to you. You definitely get the tools to become a better dancer.

Lola Johnson: The ICP program is part of a larger community of dancers. It’s a means of connecting to that community. You start where you are.  Everyone was a beginner at one point in time. It’s a great opportunity to learn the dance form and to meet new people who like to dance.

Shakey Williams: I enjoy music, dancing, meeting people. Don’t just watch other people dance.  Get into it.

Amy Scroggins: I would ask them to come out to some of the classes, especially the Saturday classes. If they could see what’s going on, they would want to do it. I took hand dance classes before, but I didn’t know about this program. If I had known about it, I would have joined a long time ago.  It’s just so much fun.


What will you remember most?:

Kim GIbson: The bonding with the group, other ICP members, lots of laughter, practicing together, and the lessons with Brad (Lawrence Bradford).

Lola Johnson: The Saturday (advance) classes, hands down. That’s where you are really challenged to push yourself, to learn the technique that is used professionally.  It takes you to another level.

Shakey Williams: It made me know that I could finish something that I began. I wanted to prove to myself I could do it.  I enjoyed it and completed it.

Gwen Miller: “And a one, and a two, and a three…” “Walk, walk, triple step.” It’s all about rhythm.  Once you get that rhythm in your head, it’s nonstop.