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Published September 18, 2013, 11:00 PM

VIDEO: The Great Indoors: A few tips on how to dance

World War II veteran Victor Gelking says in his 86 years, five words have proved more helpful than any other.

By: Tracy Briggs, INFORUM

World War II veteran Victor Gelking says in his 86 years, five words have proved more helpful than any other.

“May I have this dance?”

Gelking might be best known for teaching countless people how to fly at his Fargo-based business, Vic’s Aircraft Sales. But his pursuits are also decidedly grounded. This one-time Marine is also an experienced ballroom dancer who is teaching dancing to students young enough to be his great-grandchildren.

“I’ve found knowing those five words, ‘May I have this dance?’ has helped me a lot. I tell my male students, it’s one of the best ways to meet a young lady.”

I first worked with Gelking a few years back on the WDAY-TV WWII Honor Flight project, but with the season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday, I found myself thinking about Vic. He was always confident and smooth.

Vic and the pros on “Dancing with the Stars” make dancing look so easy. But when many of us take to the dance floor, we feel awkward and self-conscious. So what’s their secret?

This week on “The Great Indoors” Vic shares his secret with me.

“It’s pretty simple. Nobody knows how to lead,” he says.

Of course, we all know from high school gym class that it’s the male who’s supposed to lead, but Gelking says men don’t often have the confidence to provide their female partner with a strong lead. And women, who oftentimes enjoy dancing more and are better at it, take control. That’s fine in almost every other facet of life (Thank you, women’s movement!), but on the dance floor, it makes for a sloppy presentation.

Gelking says men can take the lead by having a firm hold of the woman’s hand and back. The hand on her back should exert enough pressure and guidance to almost steer her to where you want to go. He says not to lead with the foot when taking a step forward, which amounts to a lot of stepped-on toes. Instead lean slightly into the woman and move both of your bodies forward. The feet will follow. His lead will be confident but not pushy.

Vic and one of his instructors demonstrate it best in this week’s “Great Indoors” online episode. It’s obvious why those five little words have worked so well for him all these years.

Watch ‘The Great Indoors’ with Tracy Briggs every Thursday on www.InforumTV.com

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