E. Laura Hausmann began dancing at eight years old in her teacher’s kitchen in Boston.
“Every Saturday morning my teacher taught four little girls including me, in her kitchen, and we would be holding onto her linoleum kitchen table doing barre work,” Hausmann said.
Now, Hausmann teaches dance classes for students and members of the Bethlehem community to bond through fitness.
The classes, which are offered every Tuesday from 5-10 p.m. in Taylor Gym, attract people of all ages and skills sets, even those who have never danced before.
Hausmann began teaching at Lehigh when the dance studio was built in 1995. She teaches four classes — Beginning Ballet, Beginning Jazz Dance, Ballet II and Jazz Dance Open Level. Students receive a discount and pay $88 per session.
The dance classes have gained attention from students, as Hausmann said over 70 percent of attendees are Lehigh students.
She understands that each student learns differently and isn’t afraid to correct her students’ mistakes through individualized interactions. She said she must cater to a wide range of abilities, as skill levels of participants range anywhere from beginner to advanced, so every student can dance with confidence.
Hausmann said dance is such a fulfilling experience because of the connections it can create.
“I love that there are students in these dance classes from all majors and from seven countries that would never have a connection without these classes,” Hausmann said. “It’s an opportunity to create a community linking and a connection between people who would otherwise never know each other.”
Shiran Wang, ’14, who began dancing during her graduate studies at Lehigh, now works in Bedminster, New Jersey at a software company and commutes to Lehigh every Tuesday to dance.
Wang has been able to keep her campus connection through Hausmann’s classes. She uses dance as an outlet from her busy work days.
“Dancing is a relief of all the pressure and frustration,” Wang said. “It gives your mind a break from all of the work.”
Wang likes that Hausmann is welcoming to everyone who steps foot into the dance studio.
“She is open to everyone,” Wang said. “Many dance instructors aren’t as open to adults as she is.”
Talia Vinson, a senior at Saucon Valley High School, is also enrolled in the fall session with her sister, Gaby Vinson, ’19, a fifth year.
Talia said Hausmann is accommodating to each student’s learning style and skill level, and she enjoys the welcoming atmosphere of the classes.
“The classes allow people from all experiences to come and practice,” Talia said. “They’re acceptable for people of all abilities.”