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  • Patti Jo Brooks

Fred Astaire Dance Studio

Cover Feature

A group of dancer from Fread Astaire Dance Studio pose for the camera

Eager to share their passion for dance with larger segments of the community, Alex and Jessi Aillon, owners of Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Lake Oswego, invite you to slip on your dancing shoes and come in for a few introductory lessons. The Aillons’ goal is to help members of the community understand that dancing can truly be enjoyed by everyone; it shouldn’t be intimidating or scary. In fact, most new students agree that the Studio has a welcoming and comfortable environment, and they are glad to know that such a place exists. Ballroom dancing at Fred Astaire Dance Studio offers a fun atmosphere for connecting with others and provides social, emotional, and physical rewards. The primary sentiment students express is that while at the dance studio they “can’t think about anything else.” Jessi adds, “It’s kind of like a retreat from real life because dancing requires every ounce of your brain, but in a way that allows you to connect with another person, whether that’s a partner you come in with or your dance instructor.” New students can sign up for an Introductory Program which Jessi compares to a wine tasting. Basic moves of the six most popular social dances are taught, giving students an idea of which ones they’d most enjoy. After completing the introductory course, a customized program can be formulated to meet an individual’s particular goals, whether that’s to go out Salsa dancing on a Saturday night or just feel comfortable moving about the dance floor at your best friend’s wedding. (To receive 50% savings on a New Student Introductory Program, mention this article and pay only $25.)

On October 7th and 8th, Fred Astaire Dance Studio will host a showcase event in the gorgeous ballroom of The Nines Hotel in downtown Portland. The Studio will present its own dance competition paired with a special charity event, “Dancing with Our Heroes.” The evening of October 8th, Fred Astaire Dance Studio professionals will partner with veterans to perform a “Dancing with the Stars” style competition, to help support military families through donations to the Fisher House Foundation. Jessi Aillon relates that the purpose and goal of this event “is truly to honor veterans and service members within the communities,” and she openly invites all veterans and service members to attend. In addition, the Studio is working with Forward March Inc., an organization run by a veteran with contacts in the American Legion and Officers Association. Through these efforts the Studio hopes to have a large community of veterans and military personnel present in the audience to be honored and recognized. Come and watch the “Dancing with Our Heroes” competition, meet Celebrity Judge Tony Dovolani, and enjoy a Patriotic Tribute Show by Fred Astaire Dance Studio professionals. General Admission tickets for Saturday evening’s program are available for $25. (Veterans and service members can receive a complimentary ticket by calling the Studio and mentioning this article.)

On another front, the Aillons are preparing to open a second Fred Astaire Dance Studio within the next few months at Progress Ridge in Beaverton. “What we’re finding coming out of the pandemic,” Jessi explains, “is that there is even more demand than ever for people to get connected in a healthy way, and that is primarily what learning to dance offers.” She adds lightheartedly, “It’s so much more than just learning what to do with your feet.” Recognizing the demand, Alex and Jessi are branching out to offer other communities more convenient access to lessons, classes, and social events, allowing for an easier integration into day-to-day lifestyles. “We are coming to you,” Jessi says, “because we know that you want to be able to come to us, and walking through the door for the first time is the hardest part!”

So if you’re looking for a comfortable venue to practice your skills and gain confidence on the dance floor, “We are that place,” Jessi says. And for those who dismiss the thought with, “Oh I don’t dance.” Take heed, most new students leave the Fred Astaire Dance Studio saying, “Wow. That was so much more fun and simple than I thought it would be. When can I come back?”

Fred Astaire Dance Studio is located at 6520 SW Rosewood St. in Lake Oswego. To schedule lessons, inquire about group classes or social dances and events, call (971)255-1918 or visit their website at

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