By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Alegria Ballroom Dance Academy swings into full force
dance pic
Gabrielle Forrest leads a rhythm course at Alegria Ballroom Dance Academy. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

Name of Business: Alegria Ballroom Dance Academy

Type of Business: Dance studio

Location: 323 West Canal Drive

Hours: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays by appointment

Contact Information: or (925) 980-5683

History of Business: As a young girl Gabrielle Forrest would often accompany her parents to their ballroom dancing lesson. At first dismissive of the course, as Forrest grew older she realized “how versatile and social” ballroom dancing is and her interest in the classic dancing styles began to grow.

Fast forward several years and Forrest is now a certified dance instructor through the international Arthur Murray franchise and currently offers locals access to her diverse wealth of ballroom dancing knowledge at her first studio, Alegria Ballroom Dance Academy.

“I underwent very intense training for about three years and outside of work ballroom really consumed my life, but I learned more than just dance. I learned how to teach as well as customer service tools. I got the business and the dancing side as well,” explained Forrest.

Forrest is now putting her training to use at Alegria which means “happiness” in Portuguese, where classes have been in full swing since July. Forrest offers partnered and un-partnered courses that include salsa, country two-step, swing, Latin rhythms, and Smooth Ballroom 101, which covers styles such as the foxtrot, waltz, and tango that rotate each month. However, for those looking to turn their dance course into a workout Forrest’s Rhythm Bootcamp has proved a popular option that covers various styles including the cha-cha, rumba, swing, and meringue all compiled into one 60-minute course designed to make its participants sweat.

“It is a great way to try out several different styles before choosing one class to take,” explained Forrest.

With each style of dance free for first time participants as well as private lessons available by appointments, those looking to try their hand at a new hobby or practice a dance performance have ample opportunities to hone their moves at Alegria. The last Saturday of each month Forrest also offers a two hour intensive course that is technique focused but also covers several dance patterns.

Forrest has also opened up her studio to the local participants of the upcoming Dancing with the Turlock Stars competition that will benefit the Salvation Army. Paired with mayoral candidate Gary Soiseth, the competition has allowed Forrest to showcase her studio while simultaneously supporting a good cause. Once the fundraiser is over, however, Forrest can still be found dancing with clients and teaching others her craft at Alegria. True to its name, Forrest says the studio “truly is my happy place”.

Business Specialty: Ballroom dance instruction and dance fitness.