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Ballroom Stories First Chandelier Event Chapelwood August SSQQ Ballroom Class
August Ballroom Classes at SSQQ

Story written by Rick Archer
August 2011

On Sunday, July 31, Marla and I began our new Ballroom Program at SSQQ.  I would have to say we had a terrific start. 

We had an Intermediate class from 3-5 pm followed by a Beginning class from 6-8 pm.  Both classes were attended by over 30 people, a very impressive number indeed. 

I would have to say that of all the classes I have taught over the years, none are as difficult to teach as a Ballroom class.  When I teach Swing, I teach one dance.  When I teach Salsa, same thing.  When I teach Western, it's Twostep and Polka.  However there are ten major Ballroom Dances.

 01. East Coast Swing
 02. Foxtrot
 03. Waltz
 04. Rumba
 05. Cha Cha
 06. Tango
 07. Nightclub
 08. Bolero
 09. Samba
 10. Quickstep

East Coast Swing was probably the most important dance on the list, but since it had its own class, I decided to leave it off.  I trimmed the list to six - Foxtrot, Waltz, Rumba, Cha Cha, Nightclub and Tango.  

Starting any new class is tricky, but starting an "Intermediate level" was a real problem because I knew there would be a wide range of experience.  To my surprise, the skill level among the men was a lot more homogenous than I had expected.

I had two problems.  Several men were used to starting Foxtrot on the Slow and several others had been taught to start on the Quick.  So I addressed that issue and got that straightened out.

My second problem was teaching the leads that allowed the men to transition from one move to another.   Marla was invaluable in telling me the areas I needed to spend more time on.  By the second hour of class, everyone seemed to be on the same foot so to speak.  We were finally in a groove.

My biggest problem with my Beginner class was talking too much.  Nothing irritates me more than to show up for a dance class and listen to someone talk all the time.  I hated being guilty of the same thing.  I probably spent too much time explaining the differences between the six dances.  However the people seem to forgive me.  Soon enough they were enthusiastically embracing the challenge of turning the Box.

It was fun to have Sharon and Bill Shaw in my class along with their close friends Karen and Dennis Clausen, also instructors at SSQQ.  I am fairly certain that Sharon, easily the most experienced female teacher in studio history, could have handled the Intermediate level in her sleep as could Karen, but husbands Dennis and Bill preferred to start over with the Basics.  I completely understood.  Men always prefer to start at Square One.  All I cared about was how fun it was to have these four friends in class.  That was a treat for me.

One of the interesting things about our Intermediate class was the number of SSQQ Cruise veterans taking the class.  20 of our 30 students had taken a cruise with Marla and I.  I can only assume that anyone who has been on a cruise has learned first-hand that Ballroom music is played all the time.  One of the reasons people put off learning Ballroom is they don't see much of a reason or need to learn it.  Going on a cruise changes that attitude quickly.

In fact, Barbara, a Beginner student, said she had just gotten off an 11-day cross-Atlantic trip on the Queen Mary.  She said practically everyone on the ship knew how to dance Ballroom.  I explained that Ballroom Dancing is huge in Great Britain.  Barbara smiled and said that it looked like so much fun that she promised herself she would learn how when she got back to Houston. 

Quick reminder that our Ballroom Club is going dancing at the Chandelier Ballroom this coming Saturday, August 6.  The Moonglow Orchestra is playing.  Cover Charge is $11.  8:30- Midnight. Dress Code includes dresses for ladies, coat & tie for men.  Click here for Map to the Chandelier Ballroom

Another reminder is that people are welcome to join either my Intermediate or my Beginning Ballroom class this coming Sunday, August 7.  The first hour will be a complete review of what we did the first week.

For questions, email Rick Archer,


When will he ever stop talking?

Sharon and Bill.  By the way, Sharon starts her Beginning Western Cha Cha class on Wednesday, August 3, at SSQQ

Jennifer and Curtis are preparing to dance at their wedding.

Marla and I enjoyed our two classes.

I am not sure of their names, but I will have them soon.

Pam and Chris

Gus and Lolita.  That girl could dance!

Judy in the foreground, Harriett and Alan in the background.

Velma and Mark are card-carrying members of the 'What the Hell' gang.  Mark is known as 'James Bond'.  If so, then Velma is 'Smooth Operator'.
Neither spy could allow their faces to be seen.

Phyllis was nice enough to dance lead in class.  Lynn was just the right height.  Velma cleverly ducked at the last second to disguise her identity.

MJ has a great smile. 

Alan and Sue.  I think Sue has had extensive Ballroom training, but enjoyed the camaraderie of the group nonetheless.

Margaux and Carl were a second set of parents to my daughter Sam as she grew up.  They have been wonderful friends over the years.

John and Edith

Jeri and Tipton.  This was the first time Marla and I have seen them since our 2006 New England Cruise.  Great to have you back!

Joanne and Ken are experienced Western dancers.  Right now they are getting ready for their daughter Rachel's wedding in September.

Here I am dancing with Lynne as Lolita practices turning her toes in.

Thank you Marla for taking these great pictures!  I had to leave a couple pictures out because they were blurry, but the majority were excellent.

Marla got to know Joyce and Mike in class last summer, but I got to know them when they joined us for our day walking around Atlantis in the Bahamas.  Great pictures of this fascinating place if you are curious. 

Map of Chandelier Ballroom plus Story

Chandelier Ballroom

Ballroom Stories First Chandelier Event Chapelwood August SSQQ Ballroom Class
SSQQ Front Page Parties/Calendar Jokes
SSQQ Information Schedule of Classes Writeups
SSQQ Archive Newsletter History of SSQQ