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Loni Lewellyn

Steve Gabino

I have been dancing at SSQQ since 1999 when I decided I would like to have a bit of social knowledge of partner dancing. I enrolled in a slow dance class and enjoyed it so much I took a second month in ballroom. One night that month I saw two people swing dancing. I was so taken by their moves and I asked them how long they had been dancing. They replied that it was just their first night. They were only doing basics, boy turns and girl turns but I was blown away. I signed up for swing that third month - with Maureen - and the rest is history. I started assisting around 2001 and then began teaching in 2003. Swing dancing is full of fun and energy and as an instructor I strive to bring those qualities into each and every class.

I am a native Texan having been born here in Houston and currently living in Sugar Land. I work as a medical technologist in a hospital laboratory.

I very much enjoy photography and the creative spirit that taking pictures bring. I took my two self-portraits included here. The headshot is me on my 40th birthday and the black-and-white one is a jumping shot taken from the ground looking up. I took the picture Maureen Brunetti used for her bio and have also been the photographer for the studio's Halloween party.

Other interests include playing guitar and singing and birdwatching. Before dancing, I used to work part-time as a registered massage therapist. In 1996, I ran and finished the Houston Marathon.

Rick Archer's Note: Steve is available as a freelance photographer.  Here is a story I wrote about his photography background)


Cher Longoria

I started taking dance classes at SSQQ sometime in the late 90s, and by around the year 2000 I was assisting Linda Cook. I have assisted M.G., Anita, Jack, & Dakota at one time or another. Now I exclusively help Rick and Scotty, usually with any of the country dances or west coast swing. 

In 2003 I started competitive dance. I qualified and worked up enough nerve to compete in the 2005 World Championships.  In my category I placed 1st in Two-step, 3rd in Nightclub and West Coast with a 7th over all. Not bad for my first attempt. I felt like I was way out of my league. Right after Worlds I started dancing with Scotty where  I have been fortunate enough to place in the top five just about every time we hit the floor.

About 2006 I started trying my luck with the West Coast Swing circuit.

I have participated in many Jack & Jills in Swing and two-step.

Jamie Mabry

I was born & raised here in Houston. I graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Animal Science  (Production & Industry). My hobbies or interests include: dancing, reading, & what my friends refer to as "anything craft-y".

My SSQQ career started with lessons at SSQQ in, I think, about the middle of 1997 because of my parents. They were really enjoying taking classes, so as all parents do, they thought I would too. They claim they had to drag me kicking & screaming, but I do not recall any of this. Much to my surprise I did enjoy the classes & even more surprising was that I was actually kind of good at it. I took classes 3 nights a week & good or bad practiced after class each night. Because all the other students here were so friendly, I actually went out to "the real world" with them a few times too. 

After a few months Linda asked me to help her out in a ghost town class that was in desperate need of ladies. I remember her telling the whole class to be nice to me because I was a beginner (this was not embarrassing at all!). I can't really say why but after that, I guess you could say Linda C. took me under her wing and I have been helping in her classes, at least one night a week since. I have also had the enjoyment of assisting several other instructors as they began teaching at SSQQ.

Of all the classes I have taken, and it is a large variety, the Two-Step has always been my favorite. One of my "best" memories at SSQQ is from the 2nd night of my beg western swing class. At practice, I went up to Linda with tears in my eyes and when she asked what the problem was I told her "I broke my spin." I am not sure how she kept from laughing... Oh wait, I think she did laugh! Well, after she stopped laughing she spent some time helping me "fix" it. And since that repair job, that I am very grateful for, I think it has survived quite well. I hope everyone has as much fun meeting new people & learning dance here as I do.

Marla Archer

I was born in Long Beach, California and spent the first 35 years of my life in the Southern part of the state.  Many of those years I lived just a block away from the ocean in Huntington Beach.  I went to California State University at where else, but Long Beach and I wonít tell you what year I graduated, but I will tell you that my major was Sociology.

How does someone with a degree in a Social Science and a background in Business end up in my current position as Wedding Dance Instructor Extraordinaire?  Itís a long story, but I will give you the short version.  See Rick Archerís Bio.  Only kidding.

Iíve lived in Houston since April Foolís Day in 1991.  At that time, I was the Menís Sportswear Buyer for Oshmanís Sporting Goods.  My company had a corporate consolidation and it was either face unemployment or move to Houston where the main headquarters were located. 

Having divorced less than a year prior, I was ready for a change.  So I packed up my 8 year old daughter, Marissa, and we headed to Houston.

I have loved to dance my entire life.  I participated in Jazz Dance Teams while in High School.  I always envied couples that could partner dance, so I began taking Swing dance lessons at SSQQ in November of 2000.  I met my future husband in March of 2001.  He was my Advanced Swing Instructor.  Little did I know at the time, he would become my life partner.  My favorite type of music is R & B, so as a natural progression I moved on to West Coast Swing/Whip.  Once Rick and I connected on the Studioís August Cruise in 2001, the heat was on.  Every instructor gave me their full attention and more tips than anyone could possibly handle.  My head was spinning and so was the rest of me.

I have always loved to travel, and had already transitioned into Sales several years earlier, so it was natural for me take on the Travel Agent role for the studio cruises in 2003.  Rick and I married in September of 2004.  One month later, his ex decided there were too many Archers now at the studio and quit without warning.  Rick was in a real jam.  I immediately offered to help and picked up the administration end of the business, in addition to the registration responsibilities I was doing.  The following month he lost his head Registrar.  Guess who got that job?  It was pretty difficult as I was holding down a full time job outside the studio, but Marissa was now in college, so I grinned and bared it.

Now it was time to get serious about participating in a full time manner at SSQQ.  At the same time ballroom dancing was blossoming due to the success of Dancing with the Stars.  SSQQ desperately needed a trained instructor, so I went through a yearlong teacherís training program and learned both lead and follow in nine different ballroom dances. 

I taught my first Ballroom class for SSQQ in September of 2005.  In addition to my Ballroom and Swing classes, I work with couples on their First Dances.  Since then, I have had the pleasure of working with close to 500 couples including some of their families and friends.  It is a privilege to be able to contribute to the success of such an important event.

Steve Gekas

Joel McCleskey

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