Business: Studio 18

Location: Greate Bay Racquet & Fitness, Somers Point, on second floor

Owner: Alex Kazmarck, 66, of Linwood

Employees: 20 eventually

Phone: 609-788-4021

Studio 18 has been a dream of mine since I started ballroom dancing 18 years ago. I’ve been looking for sites for the last seven years, until I finally picked this one.

Studio 18 embodies what I think a dance studio should be — very elegant, very student-friendly, with the accent on the social quality of dance. That’s how we designed it. We created a very elegant ballroom with cove ceilings and chandeliers.

As part of the social element, we created a raised lounge area that we call the Dancing Frog Lounge. That overlooks the dance floor and gives the students a place to congregate and socialize, before and after lessons, and during parties.

To go with a beautiful studio, we’ve interviewed more than 250 people, narrowing them down to 10 to 20 employees.

The benefits of dancing are second to none. It’s exercise, a skill you can use the rest of your life, and it has the social, redeeming quality you can apply to a company party, the club scene, or a wedding.

About 60 percent of our offerings are ballroom and Latin, so that means fox trot, waltz, tango, salsa and cha-cha, to name a few.

We also offer other disciplines, including hip-hop, ballet, jazz, country-western, belly dancing and the ever popular pole dancing — which they call vertical fitness now. We’ll also offer Zumba, a hot exercise form of dance.

We try to appeal to every age group, from 9 to 90, in every genre of dance. We’re offering a $25 introductory ballroom lesson.

Starting Oct. 18, Thursdays will be our big party night, starting at 8:15 p.m. with a complimentary group lesson. That’s open to the public and $20 at the door, $15 in advance.

We’ll also have a big Halloween party with prizes the following Thursday.

Entry: I’ve owned the Surf Mall on the Ocean City Boardwalk all my life, and now that the children are handling that, I’m throwing all my passion and efforts into my dream of building and running a dance studio.

I was a dancer on the Queen Mary II and I won an intermission swing contest during the tour of “Dancing With the Stars” four years ago. Marie Osmond and Wayne Newton gave me a trophy.