Marcus and Angela Miller did not know much about dancing when they joined the Rose City Steppers in one of the group's line dancing classes.
Mr. Miller said initially some of the dances were tough on his calf muscles and practices could sometimes last hours. But after two years of participating in the classes, the couple is happy they didn't quit.
"To me the dancing and all is a lot of fun," Mr. Miller said. "It's good cardio. It's great."
Tricia Watkins came to the group with experience in line dancing, but said she enjoys that the instructor and founder of the group, Bobby Mobley, frequently mixes things up.
"I enjoy it because he does a variety (of dances) and he's always changing it up so that's challenging," Ms. Watkins said. "It is good exercise, and it not only works the body (but) it works the mind because you have to remember the steps."
The Rose City Steppers, a line dance group, and the Rose City Swingerz, a swing dance group, are dance groups that primarily dance to R&B music, perform throughout the community and hold weekly classes that are open to the public.
Mobley said he started the groups because he and a few friends wanted to be able to participate in the dances they saw taking place at many of the events they attend.
"We got into this thing just for the fun of it," he said. "We wanted to learn to dance just so we could get out (and) go to an event and dance, instead of sitting at the table just looking, you know?"
Mobley instructs each class and said they all start out slow and the pace gradually picks up during each session. He said understanding the beat of each song and each dance count is key to becoming a great dancer.
One feature of Mobley's dancing classes he feels is unique from other line dancing classes in East Texas is they are performed to R&B music. Music performed by artists such as Fantasia, R. Kelly, The O' Jays and many others are regularly danced to during each class.
Mobley said the group enjoys the songs and the vibe of class is easy going and supportive.
"We like more of the smoother dances," Mobley said. "Nobody laughs at each other when they don't know a step."
He also explains each step in a way that would translate if a participant took a class somewhere else.
"I teach them what the steps are called because most of those steps repeat in different dances," Mobley said. "So, if you go to somebody else's classes and you hear them call out a lockstep, you already know what a lockstep is."
While the classes are intended to teach participants a variety of dances, many said they continue to participate because of the great people they've met.
"It's not just about the dancing, it's about the camaraderie of just the social part of it," Mr. Miller said. "The dance itself is what brings us together to have fun."
Mrs. Miller agrees and looks forward to spending time with others in the classes.
"It's just like a big family," Mrs. Miller said. "We have a good time."
If you go:
WHERE: The Meeting Place, 1301 West Erwin St.
WHEN: Rose City Steppers, 7 p.m. Thursdays; Rose City Swingerz, 7 p.m. Tuesdays. Classes last about an hour.
COST: $5 per person
INFO: Visit the Rose City Steppers on Facebook.