Local dancer wins big on national stage, teaches locals how to dance

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By HEATHER WALTERS

heatheriwalters02@gmail.com

An ACE Basin resident and professional dancer is rocking the competitive dance floor, bringing home several dance awards.

AnnMarie Kirby, 29, currently lives in rural Colleton County, along the ACE Basin in Green Pond. She is a professional dance instructor at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Charleston. But, Kirby takes her love of dancing beyond being a teacher. She is also a competitive dancer, taking to the floor in multiple types of dance competitions.

“I did not grow up dancing, but playing LaCrosse,” she said. “I played into college, but eventually quit due to numerous injuries.”

In 2011, Kirby was a full-time college student living in Maryland. Like most students, she began seeking a part-time job. She stumbled upon an ad from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in her town: the ad was seeking a dance instructor. “Arthur Murray invited me to interview at one of their Maryland locations,” she said. “Despite my lack of experience, they trained me and I quickly found success and a love for teaching and dancing.”

In 2016, Kirby was asked to relocate to Charleston to help open the dance school’s newest location in West Ashley near the Avondale shopping district along U.S. Highway 17. She moved to Charleston, and has been teaching there ever since.

Once she learned the area, Kirby quickly fell in love with the natural surroundings of the ACE Basin. She now lives in Colleton, and commutes to Charleston to teach, train and compete.

“I had the opportunity to help open a new studio in Charleston, and that is what brought me to the South,” she said, smiling.

Putting her dance skills to the test, Kirby recently competed in the “Superama,” the largest international dance competition in the Arthur Murray Dance Studio company. The Arthur Murray Dance Studio is an international business, making the “Superama” dance competition a highly-competitive battle.

The “Superama” competition is usually in Las Vegas; however, Covid caused the dance competition to be held virtually this year.

“My partner, James, and I placed fifth in the waltz, tango, foxtrot and Viennese waltz,” she said. “We also placed fourth in country two step.”

When she is not competing or training, Kirby is teaching. She said she often gets dancers from Colleton County, since the Charleston location is the closest dance school to the Walterboro area.

“My favorite thing about teaching is proving to new dancers that they are capable of learning and that it’s never too late to start,” she said. “So many people feel awkward on the dance floor, or just avoid it all together. I love helping them overcome that obstacle in their lives. And my personal favorite thing about dancing is competing and winning.”

Kirby is currently preparing for more dance competitions, including the Arthur Murray Country Western Championship.

To register for classes, or for more information on getting lessons from Kirby at Arthur Murray Dance Studios, contact the Charleston location at 843-789-3646.

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