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Siblings learn by dancing together

By Elliot Mann

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Call it "Dancing with the Siblings."

A trio of Rochester siblings are taking a different approach to the usual brother-sister rivalry. They are partners in ballroom dancing, hitting the dance floor, rather than each other.

"I think we have a lot better of a relationship than other brothers and sisters," said Rachel Geroux, 12, who dances at Dahl Dance Center in Rochester. She often pairs with her younger brother, Nicholas, 10.

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"Sometimes it’s nicer or better with my brother because I’ve gotten used to how he dances and used to how he processes things," Rachel said.

April Dahl, owner of Dahl Dance Center, said siblings commonly dance together in Russia and Europe, with it becoming more familiar in the states. The dance center has been in operation since 2005 and currently has more than 80 students.

Dahl said siblings are often more honest with each other than random partners — her children, Danika and Noah, are another dancing duo. The brothers and sisters are usually able to separate their differences from the dance floor.

"They know they might have had a fight with that person that morning but they are going to have to dance with them," Dahl said.

But the usual brother and sister disagreements still seep through.

Shannon Beauchene, 9, said her 11-year-old brother, Andrew, is quick to correct her posture with a slight smack on her arm.

"Sometimes he’s kind of mean!" Shannon said, before the both of them broke out in laughs.

And other quarrels about sitting in the front seat of the family car or picking out certain toys can sometimes get in the way of the siblings.

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Partners and siblings Danika and Noah Dahl, for instance, prefer different dances — 12-year-old Danika favors the faster samba, salsa and cha-cha dances while 10-year-old Noah likes the slower rumba.

Arguments are unavoidable, Danika said, but not overwhelming.

"First of all, you’re relatives so it’s natural for you to get in a fight," Danika said. "But when you’re on the dance floor, you forget about everything else."

Nicholas agreed.

"You have to put your differences aside," he said.

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