Learning to Dance
“I love what I do because I love bringing people together,” says Olandra Lickter, dance instructor and co-owner of From This Dance Forward.
She and her business partner, Lindsey Zan, opened their business nine months ago, offering a variety of packages that prepare a couple for their first dance, a father-daughter dance and anything else the couple might desire.
“We tailor each dance to the individuals,” she says. “Basing the dance on such things as wedding style, venue, dance floor, wedding day attire and cultural traditions.”
Lickter took a wide array of theater and dance classes throughout her childhood and high school. At age 19, at a Spanish language school in Honduras, she was introduced to partner dancing. She immediately fell in love with the art form.
“It’s rare to find places you can physically connect to people who you’re not in a relationship with,” she says. “Dancing provides that needed human connection in a way that people really need and enjoy.”
In 2015, she moved to New Orleans and blended her passion for all dance forms with her love of live music. In her first year here, she also began working with Upturn Arts, a nonprofit arts organization for children.
“If you can teach 6-year-olds how to dance, you can teach anybody,” she says.
In 2016, Lickter began teaching blues dance classes to adults at Dance Quarter. Blues dancing is an umbrella term that includes such dances as the Funky Butt, Fish Tail and Snake Hips, and it’s the dance that accordingly fits perfectly with blues music.
Lickter enjoys blending her different training techniques to make the learning process fun and accessible.
“I practice a growth mindset with all my students that rewards practice and growth rather than innate ‘talent,’” she says. “Applying this mindset to rhythm, movement and partnership, I find that anyone can develop their dancing and have a great time along the way.”
Every other Wednesday at Allways Lounge is blues night. Lickter offers drop-in lessons from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and then has live music and dancing from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.. There’s no cover and everyone is welcome! The next blues night at Allways is this Wednesday, August 21st.
“Teaching people how to use and communicate with their bodies in a way that feels good to them and their partner is really rewarding to me,” she says. “Everyone lights up when they’re having an enjoyable dance. It’s beautiful to experience that and to share it with others.”