years of non-stop lessons, to my surprise, in 1977 I was handed
three opportunities to teach line dances in the space of
four months. Although I did not ask for these
opportunities, at least I had the sense to take advantage of
what was given to me. I still wasn't much of a
dancer, but I at least knew enough to explain how a line dance works
to another person. That's not saying much. After
all, teaching a line dance is about as humble as it gets in
the World of Dance.
In December 1977 I caught a huge break.
Saturday Night Fever appeared in the theaters and
created an instant demand for dance lessons. This may
be hard to believe, but for a variety of odd reasons I was
the only person teaching an advertised Disco class at the
time. When the demand for Disco classes came knocking,
I was the only one there to answer the door. Despite
the fact that I barely knew what I was doing, I instantly
became the best-known dance teacher in Houston thanks to a
bizarre, one in a million fluke. Good grief, I had
just gone from Zero
to Hero in ten seconds. That was the moment my 'Magic
Carpet Ride' took off, a ride that would soar
well beyond my wildest imagination.
With each succeeding
lucky break acting as my next stepping
stone, I embarked on a career as a dance teacher
despite no apparent gift for dancing whatsoever.
I was fully
aware how unusually fortunate I was to be in the forefront
of this Disco phenomenon. However, my life was so busy
with a frenzied, rollercoaster existence, I did not have the
time or perspective to fully comprehend what was happening
to me. Given that I was basically incompetent at what
I was doing, it took all my strength and cunning just to
cope with the myriad of obstacles laid in my path.
One day I
finally reached a resting point. It had taken seven
long, difficult years for the dust to clear, but when 1983
rolled around, I realized I no longer had to struggle. After
surviving challenge after challenge by the skin of my teeth,
lo and behold, I had created the largest dance studio in
Houston. Nor would it stop there. The day would
come when I would own the largest independent dance studio
in the country.
I knew this had
to be a mistake. I could not have done this on my own.
I was some sort of
I looked back and
carefully chronicled every event,
every lucky break, every coincidence, every unusual
situation, every special person who had opened doors for me
at just the right time. The total was staggering.
I came up with a list of 90 events and unusual situations.
Many of these events were so
far out of the ordinary that I had no choice but wonder if a
Hidden Hand had been involved.
lucky break side by side, these events diagrammed a series of
stepping stones which suggested
a clear-cut path had seemingly
been laid out for me well in advance. All I had to do
was follow the bread crumbs. The moment I had that
realization, something very peculiar happened... the lucky breaks stopped. Not that I needed
any more lucky breaks. My dance studio was so well
established that luck was no longer required. My
conclusion was someone
had decided I had the ability to take it from here without
further supernatural intervention.
From this point on, I led a hectic,
but normal life. Twenty-seven years passed with no
more weird coincidences, nothing out of the ordinary.
During this time, I discovered I had a special flair for running
dance studio. It was pretty odd that a guy who had so
much difficulty learning to dance would be so successful,
but I did have some talent. I was a good teacher and I
had a knack for promoting dance as an excellent way to make
friends. As my program grew by leaps and bounds,
I received many compliments. Maybe too many
compliments. Although I would never forget the lucky
breaks that had given me my head start, those twenty-seven
years had dulled my memory a bit. I started to get the big
head. Surely it was my talent that explained my
success. I began to believe with my kind of ability, I
would have eventually made it this far even without
all those lucky breaks back at the start. I was quite
proud of myself.
In 2010 the
lease on my dance studio was about to expire. In order
to continue, I would have to move. The thought of
transferring all these mirrors and 7,000 feet of wood
flooring to a new spot was daunting. After
running the dance studio for 32 years, I was tired, worn
out. Financially secure for life, this would be a good
time to stop. Unwilling to sign a long-term
lease at age 60, I sold my beloved dance studio.
However, once I saw how inept the new owner was, I
regretted my decision. Bitterly unhappy with the way
the new owner handled the studio, the moment my non-compete
clause expired in 2012, I was aching to get back in the game
and open a new studio.
Out of nowhere,
a person approached me with a golden opportunity. I
could rent his existing dance studio for pennies compared to
what I used to pay. No lease was necessary.
Since the financial risk was negligible, this looked like
the real thing. In fact, this was such a lucky break,
I was convinced I had received a signal from Beyond to
resume my dance career. I had everything going for
me... a good reputation, a great location, a huge email list
of former students, two excellent business partners, and
thirty-plus years of experience. But something went
No matter how hard I tried, over a six-month period, nothing clicked. How could
this be? I knew every trick in the book. After
all, I was the one who once created the largest dance studio
in America. Not this time. I was a complete
It is one thing
to fail due to inexperience, lack of talent, a poor
attitude, or the unwillingness to put in the hard work.
None of that was true for me. I had definitely rolled
up my sleeves for my comeback. As it turned out, a strange series of bad
breaks is what had ruined my comeback. I was fit to be
tied. I could have sworn I had received a signal from
Beyond that I was supposed to resume what I considered a
divine mission. So why would God help me the first
time, but not the second time?
Here is an example
of one of several bad breaks. After a slow start, my fledgling dance program was
turn the corner. We had 30 students taking a Rumba-Cha
Cha class in August 2012. This was a very large number
and the enthusiasm was high. I fully expected this
group would continue to take a follow-up class next month.
However, I was scheduled to take a
cruise trip to Russia and needed a substitute for one class
Fortunately I had recently met a woman named Angel who was a
talented Ballroom instructor. Angel had already agreed
to begin teaching for me in September. Seeking a
substitute, I made a bargain with
her. Angel wanted to visit her husband in Peru, so I
taught a Ballroom class for her in July. In return, Angel
promised to teach
my Rumba class in August while I visited to Russia.
Angel never showed
up for her class. 30 students were left standing in
front of a
locked door on a hot Sunday afternoon. They were
furious at being stood up. When I returned the
following week, attendance was down to 5. The momentum
I received this
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2012 7:32 PM
To: Rick Archer
The class I missed
apologize that I did not make the
Ballroom class last week. I was in urgent care
and then the hospital on that Sunday.
started on Thursday with a migraine. I went to my
chiropractor on Friday, as this usually does the trick
to get rid of them. It did the job.
When I awoke on
Saturday morning, I was fine the entire day.
I went to
bed Saturday night and awoke on Sunday morning with
the worst migraine I have ever had. I
have never felt such pain in my life. I
can't even begin to describe it since I was having
problems concentrating and thinking. Nothing
I took for medicine was even touching the pain so we
went to the urgent care and they sent me to the
was there they did some tests to make sure it wasn't
something more serious than a migraine and then drugged
me up real good. Luckily
they could find nothing wrong. They
think that it may have been a side effect of a
medication I was on. So they told me not to take it
anymore and my Dr has put me on a new medication.
Unfortunately I missed the class and didn't even realize
it until Monday night when I was beginning to feel
point the damage was done and
I didn't know who I should call since you were away.
I waited till you were back in the country and I heard
apologize again to you. I
have NEVER missed someone's class I was supposed to help
out with and if there is some way that you can think of
that I can make it up to you, I will be more than happy
to do it.
I apologize and please let me know if there is some way
I can make it up to you. Under ANY other circumstance if
I was unable to teach the class I would have at least
found a replacement. So
I also apologize for not finding someone to take my
To be honest, I
believed Angel. The tone was very sincere plus she
apologized again in person. However, the damage was
profound. This was not an
ordinary bad break. As bad breaks go, this was a real
doozy because it completely shut down my program. I found Angel's admission to be quite curious - "I
have NEVER missed someone's class I was supposed to help out
Angel was the
one who used the capital letters, not me. What Angel
was trying to say was that this mistake was highly out of
the ordinary. I believed her. I did not know
Angel very well, but my initial impression had been very
favorable. However, maybe I was wrong, so I checked
around. I was not at all surprised to learn Angel had an excellent reputation.
When something happens that is 'out of the ordinary',
I automatically become suspicious. I have learned when
someone behaves in a highly uncharacteristic manner, this is
a sign that Fate might be the best explanation. So of
course I went on 'Supernatural Alert'. Was it
possible that Angel's headache was created by an unseen
hand? No one can possibly prove that. However,
when things like that happen enough times, it is difficult
not to wonder.
There was no way to repair the damage
caused by Angel's mistake.
Although it was not the final blow, the loss weakened my
program so badly that yet another strange incident would finish the
job two months later.
To be honest, as the bad breaks mounted, I began to feel 'jinxed'.
I felt betrayed. Thirty years earlier during my climb
to the top of my profession, whatever could go right did go
right. One lucky break after another. Now here
in 2012 I had been offered an opportunity so promising that
I predicted a 99.9% chance of success.
As I said, the initial omens were
so positive that I assumed the Universe wanted me
to resume my previous path. Well, obviously I had
guessed wrong. This series
of bad breaks forced me to raise an eyebrow. I did not
fail for lack of trying. Nor did I fail due to stupid mistakes. I failed specifically because every
possible thing that could go wrong did go wrong. I
cannot begin to explain how bewildered I felt.
Whatever happened to that Hidden Hand which had once come to
my rescue time and again? Now it was just the
opposite. I actually felt set up, just like Charlie
Brown must have felt after Lucy ripped the football away as he tried to