Monday, September 20, 2010

Dancing with the Stars

Every year I tell myself I'm not going to watch Dancing with the Stars, and every year I end up watching it, due in most part to having been a ballroom dance instructor myself.

I taught ballroom dancing at the old Dance City, USA in Houston, Texas for quite a few years.  Dance City was the largest dance studio in the world with 64,000 square feet of studio space and other amenities.  There were over 125 teachers and there has never been a studio as large since 1964.

Corky and Cloris Leachma

The studio was owned by George Ballas whose son, Corky, has been on Dancing with the Stars for one or two seasons.  I think they dragged him on to dance with Cloris Leachman (what a nightmare for Corky.)   Mark Ballas, a regular on the show,  is Corky's son. 
Corky was just a little guy running around the studio when I was teaching there but was already dancing. 

George Ballas
Mark Ballas
We rarely saw George as he was always busy inventing things in his offices next door to the studio.   One day he called all of us in for a meeting because he had something to show us.  It was the prototype for the first Weed Eater that he had built.  He had just gotten a contract from the city of Houston for a bunch of these newfangled string trimmers. He asked us if we wanted to buy stock in his newest company.  Well sure, George.  So all the teachers at Dance City became the first stock holders of his new Weed Eater company. 

Another reason for watching this season is Jennifer Grey will be dancing .  Jennifer starred with the late Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing.  Patrick's mom, Patsy had a large dance studio in Houston at the same time I was dancing. She also was the founder and director of the highly acclaimed Houston Jazz-Ballet Company. Patrick was already a well known dancer and Patsy was revered by all of us dancers.  She was, and still is, a great lady.  We all mourned the death of Patrick, a great dancer and a lovely man.

While I am not a big fan of the skimpy outfits on Dancing with the Stars that detract from the dancing, I do admire the fine professional dancers on the show (many of whom were trained by Corky)

Beautiful form

Waltz postures
This is the only picture I have of myself dancing.  It's rather lousy because it's a picture of a picture.   The young man was my first dance partner, Larry.  Larry and I won the US competition dancing waltz and samba.

Dancing an exhibition quickstep at Dance City, USA to Deep in the Heart of Texas (hence the rhinestone cowboy hat)

It's a fairly small world sometimes...


Glenda/MidSouth said...

I rarely ever watch the show, but then I don't what a lot of TV anyway. Thanks for sharing the info. Great picture of you dancing, and congratulations on winning the US competition.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

That is suppose to be "watch" not what. :-D

Admin said...

I really admire Jennifer Grey's tribute to Patrick Swayze. She's doing Dancing with the Stars for him, class.

Susan said...

Now Adrienne...That is certainly one thing I did NOT know about you----being a ballroom dancer! Good for you! Susan

Adrienne said...

You are a gorgeous woman, Adrienne. Those cheekbones, rich brown hair, perfect nose and eyebrows I truly envy. A real Italian beauty - and she can dance!

I love that little tidbit about the weed whacker. I'll never look at ours now without thinking of ballroom dancing.

Interesting post.....thank you!

Lola said...

Love that photo! You can tell everyone in the background is having a wonderful time watching you dance!

Do you still have the hat?

I tell my darlings all the time that dancers age the best. We know a former Rockett. After losing her dh to cancer a few years ago, has taken up teaching older students. It's put a spring back into her step and she looks 15 years younger than when I first met her 5 years ago.

BTW, I can't let my darlings watch even the recent PBS Ballroom Dance Competitions. They can barely watch without being mortified by how many outfits are 'inappropriate'! (Not like the big puffy tulle confections of the 80s.)

Amusing Bunni said...

Who knew? I'm very impressed! I have a dancing and figure skating background too, and as you know A, it is MUCH harder than it looks!

The DWTS dancers are excellent, they could wear more clothes, but it's for the ratings, don't you know. I sure hope Bristol wins ;-)

Maggie@MaggiesNotebook said...

Adrienne, now I understand that adorable Kitten and why you knew you could dance much better I:-) I also didn't know you had this blog. Your pic is beautiful and what a wonderful career. What can be better than being a beautiful and fabulous dancer? The only thing that might tie with it is having a beautiful and fabulous voice - only maybe that.

I also watched the first time or two because of Jennifer Gray. I was always so puzzled that her career didn't go anywhere, but after DWTS, I noticed a lot of hateful comments about her that didn't start with DWTS. Don't know what that is about. I too adored Patrick Swayze and loved Dirty Dancing.

I just love your story - fascinating about the Ballas'. How often do you dance now?