Susan was recently interviewed for TWO podcasts about BB4B. Check out our Media/Press page to go to the links and listen, or bring them up on your favorite podcast source.

  • Balance Matters – Episode: “Ballroom Basics for Balance with Susan Frikken”
  • Second Act Fit Pros – Episode: “Susan Frikken: Ballroom Basics for Balance”

Erica Demarch‘s “Balance Matters: A neuro physical therapist’s journey to make ‘sense’ of balance.”

Erica is a physical therapist specializing in neurological issues, including balance. She is also the creator of the Balance Matters(R) system, an innovative device using tactile, auditory, and visual feedback intended to improve balance and gait!


Erin Eleurtario‘s “Second Act Fit Pros“.

Erin is a functional aging specialist, experienced in training older adults to improve balance, strength, and functional abilities. Second Act Fit Pros is her podcast and also a community, designed to bring together individuals pursuing a second-act career in health and fitness with those currently working in health and fitness.

Please enjoy hearing about BB4B, and please explore and follow their other podcasts!

Pilot Effectiveness Study of BB4B Underlines Satisfaction and Confidence

In 2021, dancers from one of our BB4B classes were invited to participate in a study with Dr. Kristen Pickett and her lab at the UW-Madison Kinesiology department examining the effectiveness of our class on many measures, including balance and self-reported confidence in various daily activities.

The results are in!  UW-Madison Doctor of Occupational Therapy students presented the findings at the recent American Occupational Therapy Association conference.

Using highly-regarded, valid, commonly-used tools, the researchers found improvement in occupational performance according to the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure, which identifies and measures the issues important to each person in their daily life.

Improvement was also seen in balance confidence using the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale screening tool.

While this is only a pilot study, it reflects what we have seen over our nine years offering these classes:  People regularly report an increase in confidence and enjoyment, and a decrease in fear. That’s HUGE!


Increasingly research shows that fear and low confidence in one’s abilities are the factors that can MOST predict a fall.

Strength, coordination, healthy vision, and overall good health DO MATTER. AND…if we can help ourselves feel more confident even while we are working to maximize our potential, our risk of falls can decrease!

So let’s keep dancing, playing pickleball or ping pong, doing tai chi, and all the movement that makes us happy! 

BB4B & PK Silver

The Friday in-person class at the library in Madison, WI was featured in the PK Move community, which has created PK Silver, another super-fun falls-prevention curriculum using Parkour to improve mobility and balance in older adults. Here is the class, practicing a parkour exercise in warming up before dancing!


Black Power Dance!

We enjoyed Guest Instructor Francis Medrano, who taught his Black Power Dance curriculum to the Madison Senior Center-sponsored Friday morning class at the Madison Central Library.

“Francis Medrano is an internationally-toured professional dancer, choreographer, entertainer, and creator & founder of Black Power Dance and Lundu Afrofit. His unique methods combine his afro-peruvian ancestral rhythms and his passion for fitness. Black Power Dance combines Latin rhythms such as salsa, bachata, cumbia, reggaeton and Peruvian folk rhythms. These are easy to learn sequences that work core muscles on the body. Lundú Afrofit is an aerobic dance system to exercise the soul, the body and the heart. It is inspired by Afro-Peruvian dance styles and music and other Afro Latin musical genres. Francis teaches classes bi-lingually in Spanish/English, and of course the universal language of dance!”

Looking Forward!

This was the last dance we did in-person inside.  Susan’s class at the Madison Central Library was a line dance created by young people in Vietnam in reaction to the Ghen Cô Vy Challenge from the Vietnamese Government. It was a way to spread the message about washing hands and staying safe from the coronavirus.

We are looking VERY much FORWARD to getting back to in-person dancing! Remember to check our Classes page regularly, or sign up for our email list to stay in the know.

Whether you join us or not – KEEP MOVING! 

New Classes – Spring & Summer 2021!

There are SO MANY WAYS to keep dancing! Remember, just three hours a week of challenging your balance (dancing being a FUN way) is shown by research to reduce falls risk! Start today!

Ballroom Basics for Balance has been growing and changing with this past year. We are ready to offer you some new classes!
See our Classes webpage for ALL the details.

Spring 2021 – sponsored by Madison Senior Center

  • Krista and Atala continue their amazing class with a new series on Fridays from 10a – 11a, starting 09 April.
  • NEW! “Next Steps” BB4B is an intermediate offering for those who have taken the class in the past and those looking for more of a challenge! Starting 07 April, Wednesdays for six (6) weeks – to get us to the warmer weather for more in-person offerings!

Summer 2021 – Get ready for OPEN AIR CLASSES! Stay tuned to this list and our Classes webpage for new offerings as soon as they are here.

What does Fall bring? Hopefully even more in-person classes. Virtual, too? We hope so! It has been wonderful to have you here from across the state and the country this year!

Non-BB4B offerings –

  • We highly recommend the Dance for PD classes! Take advantage of these joyful, artful offerings by company members of the famed Mark Morris Dance Company from NYC! Appropriate for ALL people, and created with those who have Parkinsons.
  • Check out YouTube! Really!
    • So many people have bumped up their virtual offerings…there are riches!
    • Simply type in the dance style you would like. Or search for “beginner [dance style]” or “simple [dance style]”.
    • For example, I found this WONDERFUL line dance (Jerusalema) and the channel it came from – “Beginner Dance Tutorials” – I love that the teacher says “it’s all about moving and having fun…if you are moving, you are doing it right!” 

I am going to steal this dance and use it in my next in-person offering!

We’d love to see you, or at least hear from you, soon!

Train with us this April!

Train with BB4B – Use our curriculum to Enrich your work or become an Instructor! 

We have redesigned the training process for BB4B!

We now have two tracks: Enrichment and Instructor.

Join us. Here’s the way.

  1. Try it out: Register for our 2-hour (2 CEUs/contact hours) Introduction to Ballroom Basics for Balance™ course. Virtual or (eventually, again) in-person. Enrichment or Instructor Track. Begin using the principles right away!
  2. Take our 7-hour (and CEU) Ballroom Basics for Balance™ Core Curriculum Training. Enrichment or Instructor Track. Integrate the curriculum into your practice or community! Virtual or (eventually, again) in-person.
  3. Instructor Track: Continue to Certification by completing a Practicum.
  4. We invite ALL to continue in community – sharing ideas, resources, and asking questions!

Next Ballroom Basics for Balance™ Core Curriculum Training is at the APTA – WI spring conference! It is all virtual. Professionals and students may register. Contact us for more information!

Stoughton Area Senior Center and BB4B

We were invited to present a Badger Talks Live about Ballroom Basics for Balance™ to the Stoughton Area Senior Center and community. We highlight what makes this class so fun and effective!

Thanks to Stoughton and to UW Connects for the opportunity to share our love with our community!

Keep dancing…

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Badger Talks Live & BB4B -Watch Now!

Susan was featured on Badger Talks Live recently. Listen, watch, and participate!

Enjoy an overview of the history & curriculum, test your balance and falls risk and try two dances!

Simply click HERE to see the talk and join in!

Susan has been invited to the Badger Talks community through her role as a guest lecturer at UW-Madison. Graduate students in the physical therapy and occupational therapy programs have always been an important – vital! –  part of BB4B.

Some private practitioners face difficult decision amidst pandemic

From NBC 15, April 2, 2020

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) — Some private practitioners who are not on the front lines of the pandemic are facing a difficult decision amidst the outbreak, with many wondering if they should continue serving clients, or close shop.

According to Governor Tony Evers’ Safer At Home order, “individuals may leave their residence to work for or obtain services at any Healthcare and Public Health Operations.” Included in those categories in the order are allied health providers, massage therapists, and chiropractors, among others.

Now, some of those private practitioners and other wellness providers deemed essential but not on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus are left juggling whether they owe it to their clients to be available for appointments, or whether they would rather close doors to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus.

“Is it moral to not help their patients, or should they not see people because they might transmit the virus, even unknowingly” said Susan Frikken, a physical therapist and massage therapist.

Frikken said that dilemma is being discussed among fellow private practitioners as they work through the ramifications of the coronavirus. While some are closing doors, others have found ways to continue to serve their clients in a way that is safe.

“I think there’s that struggle of these are peoples’ livelihoods, and if there’s a way that they feel they can do it safely, then they might explore that,” said Jamie Pekarek Krohn with Be Well Madison, a community of wellness providers. “And other people might be like no I just have to really step back and close my practice for now, and find new creative ideas to do, there’s still that ambiguity that’s out there.”

While those providers legally can stay open, Frikken said in following social distancing, it can be difficult for those whose fields require close proximity, if not physical touch, in treatments.

“I do a lot of what’s called manual therapy, so it’s a lot of hands on work with people,” said Frikken.

Now, Frikken said her business has largely come to a standstill.

“Unlike many of my colleagues in mainstream healthcare systems who are being repurposed now and moved away from their work to hospitals to help with the treatment and the screening, my business pretty much just stopped,” she said.

Before coronavirus caused her to suspend classes, Frikken was leading her program called Ballroom Basics for Balance, a course aimed at helping improve balance and prevent falls through dance.

While fields like Frikken’s may not be battling the pandemic, programs like her Ballroom Basics for Balance can prevent further injuries or falls from happening.

“Many of these people providing services that are so necessary right now and have clients that rely on these services for their wellness, whether it’s management or healing,” said Pekarek Krohn.

Now due to the virus, Frikken is providing online sessions when she can. However, in a field like physical therapy, virtual and verbal, rather than physical guidance, can be challenging.

“The weakest spot is probably the fact that a lot of people don’t have appropriate technology on their end, especially the older adults that I work with,” she said.

For other wellness providers, such as occupational therapists, telehealth can be a helpful substitute.

The choice to close doors, or a drop off in clients and loss of business, has led many to look for options to stay fiscally afloat.

“They’re connecting with the small business bureau and trying to get updated on loans that can happen, they’re talking with landlords how they can negotiate some rent, they’re stepping back and looking at their budgets in a whole different way,” said Pekarek Krohn.

In the meantime, Frikken said she will continue to do what she can to help clients virtually.

“I just want to keep people as well as possible until we can see each other again,” she said.

Library Provides Practice Music!

Madison Central Library partners, again, with BB4B! Guy Hankel, reference librarian and music selector*, will be providing music and books for participants in our downtown class (sponsored by the Madison Senior Center) each week, starting in 2020!  On Friday 13 December we ended class with a celebration, including a selection curated just for us.

Pairing the right music with dance movements will help us PRACTICE, which is crucial to improving balance.

Research shows that at least two hours per week of balance-specific activity is required to improve balance over six months and ongoing. Yes, forever! (Think of it like brushing your teeth – a good preventive health plan!)

Mr. Hankel will also provide books about the dances, their history, and more, to help enrich our learning.

Participants can check these out each week to make it easier to have fun preventing falls.

THANK YOU to the Madison Library system for its ongoing commitment to community programs like ours, and making access to the arts easy. Collaborative partnerships make this a rich, rewarding experience.

Here’s to 2020!

*Read more about the Yahara Music Library collection and how you can access music with local connections, HERE

Partnership with UW Legal Clinic

We would like to thank the University of Wisconsin Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic, and especially law student Kaitlyn Wolfinger, for partnering with BB4B in 2019!

Community partnerships are the bedrock of BB4B, and we are deeply grateful for this one. 

The L&E Clinic provided expert legal advice to help us review and fine-tune our important documents and to advise us in best practices in order to provide excellent service to our participants, volunteers and new instructors.  

We are now able to train new instructors and license our curriculum to be used to spread this fun class to more locations! 

In addition, the UW L&E Clinic assisted us in organizing under the Madison-based 501(c)(3) Center for Community Stewardship, so that we may now enjoy the benefits of non-profit status! We have also applied to officially trademark our program.

More details to come! 

In Memory of Micah Wong

21 December 1994 - 22 March 2019

If you would like to share a memory or image of Micah, please leave a comment below, or send it to us and we will add it to this post. 

Micah Wong was part of our BB4B community, an Instructor who volunteered his time generously for three seasons. 

I had the joy of being in his orbit – what a sparkling one! I was anticipating seeing him and other BB4B volunteers (I think of them as my “kids”) as physical therapy students and partnering with him as one of his instructors in his PT program. 

We shared the sadness of not getting into school on our first try, and so I was especially excited and so proud when he — trying to contain his bursting joy and doing a terrible job of it! –announced that he had finally been accepted to the program. 

At his funeral on March 30th of this year, people of all kinds, all ages, from all aspects of his life were there by the hundreds to honor him. He has had an enormous impact on the world, already. 

We are creating this space to honor him. We knew him as JOY, EXUBERANCE, MISCHIEF, EXACTING and EXCELLENT, HELPFUL, KIND, THOUGHTFUL and more. Here are our thoughts and images.  

Here is my promise to live fully, with joy and kindness, with excellence and respect, in his honor. 

-Susan Frikken


Although I only knew Micah for under a year, it felt like we knew each other forever. He had such a special talent in making everybody around him feel loved, cared about, and always made the effort to cherish his friendships. He was so passionate about BB4B and the physical therapy profession, and his bubbly personality and positive attitude were always such a fun addition to BB4B classes. His positivity, goofiness, compassion, dedication, and outgoing nature is greatly missed at not only BB4B, but in my everyday life. Although he left too soon, I feel very lucky to have known him. I miss you, Micah.


This is the letter that Susan wrote in support of Micah’s application to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at UW-Madison. 

Micah Letter of Recommendation 

“I do recall…a beautiful face and smile and I’m sure he was just as beautiful, if not more so, on the inside.” – BB4B participant

“…just seeing him with the students, he had such a pure, calming presence – a smile that put people’s heart at ease and a gentle touch on the back of a participant that conveyed such care.  In the way he moved with people, there was an unhurried attitude, a look in the eye to the person he was with, and a laugh.  He had such an evident gift of presence and attunement to others, he showed humility and kindness, simply by being it.”

– BB4B Instructor