The Story of a CCDC Newcomer
September 28, 2014
Many of our new students soon find that they want more out of ballroom dancing than just a hobby. They begin to really challenge themselves as they work more consistently and passionately on their lessons. Some of them, like Wendy Walcott (FADS Milwaukee, Wisconsin) will even aim for “the stars”, discovering that a sparkling path to ballroom success is very much within their reach!
In August of 2013, George and Wendy Walcott were looking for something new to do together — something to add some excitement to their lives — something other than the old ‘dinner-and-a-movie’. They had enjoyed dancing at social occasions together for years, and they felt ready to learn the correct footwork and techniques for ballroom dancing as taught by Fred Astaire Dance Studios. They began taking lessons on a regular basis, attending studio social dance parties and other functions. And as the 2014 Cross Country Dance Championships in Atlanta approached, Wendy’s instructor, Mr. Ilya Velednitsky, saw that she was ready for that competition (she’d won Top Female Newcomer at Oktoberfest 2013, FADS Wisconsin’s regional competition). However, getting George up on the CCDC floor was going to be another matter!
Recalling her departure to Atlanta the week of April 22nd, 2014, Wendy laughs: “I didn’t know what I was doing as this was the first competition I had ever competed in,” but she now knows that “you can never feel completely ready.” She put all of her trust in the hands of her dance instructor, Ilya Velednitsky, drew a breath, and hit the CCDC floor “with a bang.” Within seconds, she was completely focused on her dancing and the jitters fell away. “I didn’t see much of what else was going on, then suddenly, our dance was over,” she said.
Wendy sums up that first competition experience in one word: “Great.” Although she won no trophies her first time out, Mrs. Walcott still considers it a first-place experience. “It is a great way to see the ‘dancing world,’ to see all the people involved, and to understand more of the big picture, of how it works.” She loved every minute of the 5-day event, including the fabulous entertainment offered by Fred Astaire Dance Studios, of which her favorite part “would have to be the professional show and dinner dance.” Since Brookfield and Milwaukee had traveled together for the event, she enjoyed getting to know lots of new students with similar interests, as well as more of Fred Astaire’s talented and dedicated dance instructors. “I would experience it all again —I just wish we could convince George to join us, though it’s also great to be a part of the crowd from our studios.”
What advice would she give students who might be considering competition? “First, be sure to have a couple of open dances prepared. Second, consider becoming a sponsor for a competition division— it’s an extra touch and the prizes are wonderful. Finally, make sure to rely on your pro, and pepper them with questions! Then, when you’re done, get a big flower arrangement for Ms. Albina Habrle (owner of Brookfield and Milwaukee)!”
Husband George has yet to be bitten by the competition bug, so he and Wendy continue to partner on Milwaukee’s parquet floor. And that’s perfectly okay with them both. Ballroom dancing continues to impact their lives in positive ways, Wendy declares, one benefit after another, one dance lesson at a time. When asked to explain the ways that ballroom dancing lessons have changed their lives, Mrs. Walcott was ready with her answer: “Ballroom dancing has so many benefits it’s impossible to list them all. From losing weight, to improving posture, it’s a low-impact way to improve your health with the safety of proper instruction.” The Walcotts are truly an ‘in-step’ pair, and they are valued for all they contribute beyond this sincere testimonial. Most importantly, their wonderful attitudes and happy hearts bring joy to all their family members at the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Fred Astaire Dance Studio.
This story was reprinted from the Summer 2014 issue of inSTEP Magazine, Fred Astaire Dance Studios’ quarterly student publication. To find the Fred Astaire Dance Studio near you, click here. For more info on FADS’ inSTEP Magazine, look for the current issue at your local FADS studio, or visit our Facebook page.