“Just keep smiling and maybe they’ll stop staring.”
Her and Me
My wife Susannah and I opened up Ballroom Blitz back in June of 2004. I had a feeling that Eagle Rock was secretly pining for a ballroom dance studio. When I brought it up to Susannah, she said, “Do you have any idea how much work it is to run a studio?”
Since that day, hundreds of people have taken lessons at our little mom and pop establishment – some having taken a lesson or two, others having made us a regular part of their week. I’ll be tooling around town and in the distance lock onto a seemingly familiar face also staring at me. There’s that brief moment of “I know you,” and then “Hey, you taught us the Foxtrot!” There’s like this Six Degrees of Separation to Ballroom Blitz going on, which is pretty cool.
Susannah has taught Ballroom and Latin for 25 years. She swears she’s 29, so that means she started when she was 4. She has competed professionally in International Standard, American Smooth, American Rhythm, Theatre Arts, and in the Show Dance. She is certified with both the United States Terpsichore Society and with the Imperial Society of the Teachers of Dance. Teaching beginners and working with students competing at the Pro-Am level is her specialty. What I’ve always been impressed by is her library of knowledge, understanding of biomechanics, and her knack of relating dance technique through everyday examples.
But enough about her, let’s talk about me. Aside from pronoun trouble, I’ve ridden racehorses, been a private investigator, done some “Straight to DVD” acting (Hillside Strangler & Splinter), done some writing, and taught in the public school system (until they caught me). Jaded, yeah, but I say in a healthy way, which is why I teach beginners and wedding couples.
Incidentally, my wife was right about running a studio. It is a lot of work. The studio has become our second home. We get home late, watch everything on Tivo, and struggle to find alone time. Despite this, ballroom dancing has proven to be one of the most positive adventures I’ve undertaken. We’ve met a lot of really cool people from the neighborhood, and it feels good that they keep coming back to dance. So if it means happiness for this little spit of an island in the middle of nowhere, sign me up.