Presenting another amazing student’s dance journey! Gladys Dormire has been taking lessons with Arthur Murray Fort Wayne for 25 years. During that time she has acquired some amazing stories, insights, and personal experiences in which all students, new and current, can relate. Gladys has many reasons why dance has remained in her life for 25 years and she shows no signs of stopping anytime soon! If you have been thinking about dancing for some time but are filled with questions, or perhaps feel stuck in your own dance journey, take a look at Gladys Dormire’s story.
When and how did you get started dancing at Arthur Murray’s?
My husband and I started dancing in 1994 as a result of being invited by one of our former pastors to an Arthur Murray Guest Party. I had wanted to learn to dance for a long time, but could not convince my husband that it would be fun. After the initial guest party and free lesson, my husband decided that if the pastor could do it, he probably could, too.
Do you have vivid memories from when you were a new student?
The first Dance Party that my husband and I attended was monumental in that we danced in one corner of the entire dance floor the whole evening. All we knew was the box steep so we couldn’t travel much anyway. The corner was safe. Now, I try to welcome the new students as they begin dancing because I remember what it was like to be new, nervous, and not knowing anything.
Along with enjoying social dancing, you’ve also participated in several dancing events, like showcases, competitions, & spotlight dances. Tell us about your experience with those. Why would you recommend other students participate in bigger events like those?
I feel that participating in competition forced me to become a better dancer. Nerves are always a factor, but somewhere along the way I learned to make friends with them. For me they never go away but they become less disturbing and dancing becomes more important, more comfortable, and more enjoyable; the more you do it the better it gets. Competition allowed me to travel to some of the bigger venues such as the “Superamas” and the Ohio Star Ball. I have met some very interesting people; many of whom have become lifetime friends. It also allowed me to see many world champion dancers perform not two feet in front of me, and I have also been able to have coaching lessons with some of these professionals. Competition certainly broadened my horizons and gave me a much larger perspective of the dance world.
What has learning ballroom dancing taught you about yourself or about life in general?
Dancing allows me to enjoy life. Like Cinderella; most days I clean the “potties”, do the dishes and sweep the floors. Then sometimes I get to go to the Ball. Dancing also keeps me humble. There is always something new to learn or learn better. You really can teach an old dog new tricks if the old dog wants to learn them, but it takes a lot of teaching…and a lot of practice. Music and dancing feed all parts of my body mind and soul.
What has it been like having different instructors over the years?
I have had several excellent instructors over the years. I started with a young Mr. Lee Daily. In a few years the studio sold. I then danced and competed with Troy Baeten for a number of years. (He has gone on to judging and coaching.) The studio sold again and now I dance with another excellent instructor, Quinton MacAdam. Switching from one instructor to another with success depends so much on a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. A good teacher will take the time to get to know the student; their personality and their ability. I consider both of these gentlemen to be my good friend as well as my teacher. I hope I never get too old to learn.
What was it like watching your granddaughters learn & compete in ballroom dancing alongside yourself?
I was fortunate to have two of my granddaughters join me in ballroom dancing for about ten years. They started dancing at the same time. Kacy was twelve years old and Jordan was nine. Children pick up things so quickly. They are both better dancers than I am. They have both gone on to other things now. I cherish the time I was able to spend with them dancing, and I will have those memories for the rest of my life. Watching them dance made me want to be a better dancer.
Why have you chosen to continue your dancing with Arthur Murray? What keeps you coming back for more?
Arthur Murray sets a high standard in training their teachers and teaching their students. I come back because I like consistent quality and excellence. I just want to continue to improve. I never want to stop learning. I also enjoy people. The city of Fort Wayne has a great dance community from various good dance studios. I have made many friends from many different walks of life who come together to dance collectively at the Fort Wayne Dancesport which is held once a month. Dancing is a great social outlet.
Rapid Fire Questions:
What is your favorite dance?
I have several favorites. Among them are the Waltz, Bolero, Argentine Tango, and West Coast Swing. However I would say that my “favorite” dance is the one I dance really well at the time.
What is your favorite personal dance moment?
I think my favorite dance moment is at the very beginning of a smooth dance when Mr. Mac holds out his hand for me to come into dance position and here it comes; that moment of “breathing” as we swell into full dance position. Nothing has happened yet. It just looks and feels beautiful and for a moment my soul sings. The perfect moment.
Who are your favorite Arthur Murray coaches?
Several stand out in my mind; Bill Jacobson, Ingvar Geirsson, Ron Christy, and Anna Borshch.
What's your favorite candy to have in the studio?
I have a real sweet tooth. I bring candy into the studio from time to time; always chocolate. My all-time favorite is DE Brand chocolate rosettes filled with soft Carmel. I have not brought those into the studio just yet…because when I do buy them, I eat them!
In closing I want to say that dancing is a big part of my life. As long as God gives me breath in my lungs, and the good health to move my body, let me die with my “heels” on the dance floor, dancing in thanksgiving for His many gifts.