I am very lucky to have grown up in the very first dance studio in Ocoee, Florida. My grandmother belong to Dance Masters of America and was the first to open her business in Ocoee. Ruth Wood School of the Dance opened it's doors the same year Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom. My grandmother was very well known and loved in her city. She could not go to the store, dinner or even the post office without a little girl yelling "Mrs Wood...Mrs Wood". Her sister Eli-may was doing the same thing in St. Pete, Fl. Their mother was one of the showboat entertainers on the Mississippi Showboats. Even my mother, Vivian was raised in the dance studio and worked at the America on Parade at Walt Disney World. Each female in my family has had some dance, show, entertainment back ground in her life. So I to carry on.
I first dance class, I was 2.5 years old. Most do not start until 4years due to attention span...not me. I wiggled from the womb. I was lucky that my grandmother have converted her two car carport area into a very nice large dance space. White tile on the floor with very carefully space one grey tile every 6-8 tiles apart so the students can stand grey tile to line up and have room around them and see themselves in the mirror. Their where mirrors on all 3 side of the wall floor to ceiling. The fourth wall had glass windows that lead to family room. A space where watch they child in a comforts living room style waiting area.
I spent most of my childhood at my grandmothers dance studio. I did not realize there was a life outside of the dance studio. I loved it all. Where kids where playing kickball and Barbies, I was practicing the last routine my grandmother just shows us. Playing "I'm the Dance Teacher" and practicing how to teach other what I know. While kids got there first Atari's and spent hours getting the next high score. I was helping grandmother balance her dance cards and pick out costumes for each class. Planning a dance recitals and helping with music, programs and running a business. I guess you can say, grandma though me how to run a dance studio business the fun way and it came second nature to do it. I am very grateful to her for all she shared.
When my father passed away when I was 7yrs. My mother wanted something special for us to do together so she found clogging....Yes, clogging! Believe it or not, this was would be the reason my mother meets my step-father....All thing have a reason. Mom and I would go weekly to class and we both quickly move though the levels. Like all the woman in my family, once we learn and master something, we teach it too. Along with the ballet, tap, jazz, ballroom, and other styles at Ruth Woods School of the Dance. We bough clogging to Ocoee. This was a fun and fast progressing time for us. We soon had preforming troupes and where doing shows all over Florida including the Church Street Stations Cheyenne Saloon & Opera House. Here is where I learned how to manage a group of all ages and make sure you show case each dancer. We spent 10yrs of my life each Friday and Saturday at Cheyenne Saloon due to the wonderful family venue with great live entertainment. While dancing there with mom, we met Rich. Mom watch him two-step, and swing with me while sharing time with her. She says Rich fallen in love with us as a family. He soon shared our lives, home, and they got married to complete the path.