I got into this purely by accident. I'd been in the service, and me and my buddy were looking for something to get into. We wanted to be mechanics, and were looking for somewhere to open a body shop. We were new to the area, looking for where the chicks were, where we could be part of something, you know. It was 1969.
My buddy saw an ad for some space but didn't really tell me what it was for. We're walking up these steps and I'm thinking, No one puts a body shop on the second floor. So, we walk into this dance studio and I remember kind of snickering 'cause there was this girl shaking her hips in the corner. But then the owner saw us and just started teaching us how to dance. Right there, that day. She was very persistent. After a few months, we were teaching.
It didn't come easy to me, the dancing part. That's why, when I see a student finally get the steps now, I still ooh and ahh for them. I remember how tough it was and what it felt like to finally get the steps. Everyone says they can't dance, that they've got no rhythm. I'd rather teach that person than the student who thinks they've got it, who wants to run the lesson, who wants to conduct.
I met my wife here, taking lessons. I didn't hit on her in class. I just saw how she helped out other students, how she wanted everyone to get a chance on the floor. I'm like that. I don't let anyone stand up against the wall for too long.
This is hard on marriages. It's a nighttime job. If this is your job, you want your weekends to just kick back and enjoy the quiet. Don't get me wrong, we still go out dancing, but when you dance all week, there's so much other stuff you gotta take care of.
-- Interview by Amanda Temple