Why is it important for students to know social dance?

A: That’s a great question. When I became a social dancer in my 30s, I realized a lot of the dance I was playing was very different than what people were dancing to ten years ago. I was playing a type of entertainment. And I knew I shouldn’t play an entertainment for myself. So I started to write out the choreographies that I was playing. I knew it wouldn’t be interesting if everybody dancing to these dances was the same age, the same weight, and the same height. They all had different skills and personalities. I didn’t know at the time that people had such different personalities. All my partners ended up marrying each other.

When I started to write out these choreography pieces, I thought that they would be interesting to teach the students. Then I realized that in many of them, the teachers, the instructors, and the dancers were all different. They were all so different. It was like a big party in Vegas, and all these people were partying it up. I didn’t want to do that. I decided to go to the next level and write out the choreography that I was playing. People say, “How do you know where to read, how do you know where to dance in my dance?” The reason is very simple—the music is the same, the dancers are all the same, and you’re the only one who can tell the difference. When you go to the dance department, they’ll give you a score and tell you why you’re not doing your own assignment. That’s it.

Why are teachers still teaching class when they are so much less experienced?

A: They teach it because they can teach the lesson. They want to teach it. But I think the most important reason teachers are still teaching classes is because they want to make money. Teachers do it because they make a living and because they like teaching. It’s never been a decision they’re making “I want to teach”; it became a decision they’re making, “I’m going to teach because I have the money to do it.” I think that’s a good reason to still teach.

What is one of your favorite dance styles?

A: I’m a huge fan of everything. A lot of the things I just mentioned, like the dance I was playing, I love the whole thing, and I’m a huge fan of all the other dances that I didn’t mention. I like the things that I already played, the things I didn