SteppingOutStudios - About UsAs one of the largest, most diverse, and friendly Latin and Ballroom dance schools in New York (NYC), Stepping Out Studios offers a unique fusion of excellence, quality, and cutting edge instruction within a creative and fun environment. Cool vibes, hot moves, affordable rates! All styles…. All levels…. All week long! Join us and make your move!



Current Owner and President

George Ciao, the CEO and President at Stepping Out Studios, originally came from China, attended an MBA program at University of Hawaii from 1986- 1989. After he arrived in NYC in 1994, George started his journey, taking ballroom dance lessons and classes. Through pro-am dance competitions and dance show performances, dancing has become George’s favorite hobby of all his good habits, like eating healthy, going to the gym, stay fit and always keeping in a happy spirit.

After many years of owning and operating successful businesses, George obtained Stepping Out Studios in 2005 when he heard the previous owner Diane Lachtrupp wanted to sell the studio, since he was a student at Stepping Out Studios anyway. Not only George has kept the studio's original visions and traditions, but he is also constantly accepting and adapting the changes in the dancing world. Through more diversifications, he has the studio, allowing it to stand on it's own solid ground. 

George is very happy to share his favorite hobby with co-students and instructors on the beautiful dance floor at Stepping Out Studios. He is also very graceful to other fitness classes and events hosted at the space. Together, Stepping Out Studios is a big family for all dance lovers as well as fitness lovers. It is a place helping creating healthier and happier human beings! That is George’s ultimate life mission…helping human race live happier and longer one person of a time!

Our History and Founder

In 1985, Diane Lachtrupp started Stepping Out Dance Studios at 1845 Broadway in New York City.  Diane had been a scholarship student at Bill Davies’ dance studio in Manhattan, and when he closed his doors, he gave his mailing list to teacher Stephen Stroud and Diane to help them start a studio.  Bill Davies had been the United States Standard champion for a number of years, some of them with Sandra Cameron, and his help in starting a studio was a great honor and boost for a new business.

Stephen and Diane started out modestly, by having weekly Wednesday night parties.  They rented space from exercise maverick Jon Devlin, who was also a ballroom dancer, and they ran their Wednesday night parties at his studio, Dancercise, located between 60th and 61st Street on Broadway. Stephen and Diane came up with the name Stepping Out, and it has not changed for the 27 years of the studio’s existence.


Diane still feels a strong tie to Stepping Out:

“Although I am no longer at Stepping Out, it is in my heart and thoughts often.  I think of all the dedicated staff and students who helped it to become an entity larger than any of us; a dance energy that brought happiness to many and changed lives.  It has been my life’s work thus far and shall be always something I am forever proud of and connected to.”


Diane continues her life as a dancer, instructor, choreographer and has added writing to her artistic endeavors.  Check out her life and thoughts in her blog, No Compromises: Gluten Free and Tango Savvy, located on her website,