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Articles of Interest » How we got started: USABDA That's a Funny Name

How we got started: USABDA That's a Funny Name

Sally Moorhead

What's in a name and how did we get to become the Southern Minnesota USABDA organization anyway?

A little over ten years ago, I took a BIG chance and walked into the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Rochester. The studio hadn't been open but a few months and I was one of its first Rochester students. My, oh my.

I had the time of my life learning all the different dance steps and testing them out at the Friday night (now Thursday, I believe) parties. Having the opportunity to meet new people, who were absolutely wonderful, was also a joy. From my instructor, Patrick Ellner, to the latest person who had the courage to walk in the door and attempt the latest dance step, I loved them all. Well, most of them I loved.

One night, while musing over the newest step Patrick wanted me to learn, it dawned on me, "Where, except for here in this studio, will I ever use this stuff? There is no place to go to dance ballroom, except maybe for the swing, which you could maybe pull off in a nightclub, if you took someone with you that knew the steps."

Patrick said to me "I've heard of an organization called USABDA." I laughed. "Use what!?" Well he went on to explain a little about what it was and, if he would find out who that was, suggested I contact the President of USABDA (now USA Dance).

To make a long story short, I contacted Archie Hazelwood. Yes, he was National USABDA President even then. We had a great long conversation and he sent me all the materials necessary to start up an organization in Southern Minnesota. I put a notice in the "Post Bulletin" stating that we were looking for people interested in ballroom dancing. I received 100 calls in a few weeks. The response was phenomenal.

We had an organizational meeting () to discuss briefly what our goals would be. We had to see if we could get enough people to sign up. It was about three months between the time I called Archie and this meeting You see, we needed at least 25 charter members. Well, we got our 25 charter members at that meeting and things have been growing ever since.

This doesn't come without a personal price though. If it hadn't been for all the wonderful volunteers that, throughout the years, have taken the time and effort necessary to keep this organization growing, we would not have USABDA here in Southern Minnesota. You wouldn't have a place to go and meet new people, try out that newest dance step and maybe even find the love of your life. I understand that has happened to about ten couples on our dance floor. Now, that certainly isn't the intent of the organization, but if you can have your music and dance it, too, then why not! (A little play on words).

I am so proud of all the people involved in bringing dance to you, month after month, over the years.