March 2006
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Did you know that SSQQ Dance Studio has averaged one marriage per month over the past seven years?

It is the truth. Not only that, the actual number is likely to be much higher. In 2005 alone we had 15 marriages (and those are just the ones we know about).

2006 has started off so fast with engagements that maybe we can challenge our 2000 record of 20 marriages in one year!

Based on these credentials, the Houston Chronicle recently ran a Valentines Day story about SSQQ's legendary ability to create Romances.

This was not the first time our success at creating romances has been written about. For example, in 1998 the Houston Press cited SSQQ as one of the ten easiest places in Houston to meet women. I wonder if the same holds true for men?

Since then the Chronicle has run numerous stories about the studio, but certainly my favorite was the Valentine Day article.

Tara Dooley, the Chronicle reporter for the article, was kind enough to name me as one of Houston's top "Matchmakers".

While I was very flattered to receive this recognition, in my heart I felt like my dance studio deserved the credit a lot more than I did. The studio's Matchmaking ability is of course the collective effort of many fine people over the past thirty years.

On the other hand, since I created the studio, I suppose that if the Captain gets the blame when the ship sinks, I guess the owner of Cupid's Playground deserves a little credit. So I gratefully accept the honor of 'Matchmaker'. Thank you.

Oddly enough, I found myself disappointed after I finished reading the Chronicle article. No disrespect meant to Ms. Dooley because I think she did a fine job. It was just that there were so many stories and lessons that I shared with her that did not make it to print because she had to keep things brief. It crushed me not to share all these great stories with the world!

It was Shakespeare who wrote, "Since brevity is the soul of wit, I will be brief."

That said, let me share my favorite quote on brevity: "Brevity is the soul of lingerie."

Brevity might work for Shakespeare and Victoria's Secret, but not for me. Those who have read the SSQQ Newsletter over the years know I have a lot of things to say. Yes, you know me so well.

I decided to handle my disappointment by writing a simple follow-up to Ms. Dooley's article. However every time I finished one story to add, another one popped into mind. The story began to grow and grow and grow. I could not stop writing. It got so long, one day it magically sub-divided and turned into Chapters.

Although I didn't realize it at the start, this project turned out to be a story I have wanted to write for a long time. Now that I had the opportunity, I decided to go all the way. Strike while the anvil is hot.

As a result, I think this document is the most important article I have ever written about the studio because it explains the spirit of what this place is about. It is a 'Romantic Manifesto'.

Let me add it took me an entire month to write to it. So much for brevity!

I wrote an Introduction and Eight Chapters on the subject of SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance. Over these Chapters, I explained in great detail how the studio became so adept at creating relationships and marriages.

The story really is amazing when you stop and think about it. After all, SSQQ doesn't make one penny off the marriages. Nor do we want to. It would destroy the Magic if people thought we were doing it for profit.

Obviously it is good for business to be so popular, but deep down our motives are pure: we get a lot of satisfaction from running a great dance studio. Matchmaking is good for the soul.


In the "Matchmaker" story, I explained the recipe for how Dance leads to Romance.

For those of you who are too busy to read the entire article, I will give you a brief synopsis.

Dancing turns out to be a simple, graceful way to get to know people with their guard down in a relaxed setting. For a variety of reasons, SSQQ has always seemed to attract a high number of intelligent, educated, down-to-earth people. With such a large group of talented people, it is easy to find any number of people who have a lot of things in common with you besides dancing.

At SSQQ, you can take a class with someone, dance with him or her at Practice Night, and strike up a conversation at Break or after class. Talking to strangers is always difficult, but it is much easier when you have a common reference point like dancing and the studio to start with.

It is important to note that if you were to meet the same person in a club, it would be much more difficult to start a conversation. As I said, SSQQ has a way of putting people at ease. It is a natural setting as opposed to an artificial, forced environment like a club where the pressure is on to 'make a move' or 'come up with a good line'.

The next step is the art of dance itself. After a simple invitation to dance is accepted, once you put a man and woman in each other's arms, you allow chemistry to begin. You have eye contact. You have a smile. You have touch. Your senses and instincts go to work immediately.

Who you see is who you get. You have a person right in front of you who will not airbrush their picture, doctor their profile or lie about their age and weight. You don't have to respond to 15 Internet ads. Nor do you have to e-mail back and forth to negotiate the complicated first meeting.

This is a living, thinking human being who has signaled interest in you by agreeing to share a dance.

Cupid's magic starts to work immediately.

Not my magic, but Cupid's magic.


More about the Matchmaker Article:

In Chapter One titled "Discovery", I talk about how absolutely stunned I was the day before the start of the new Millennium. This was the moment when I first grasped how effective the dance studio was at creating marriages and engagements. Up till now I had a hunch the studio was good at connecting people, but I had never looked at the complete picture before. This moment literally took my breath away.

In Chapter Two titled "Turf", I explain the connection between dance and romance in greater detail. I begin to explain in general why dancing is so effective at creating romances. Then I go into specific stories about several former students and the lessons they taught me along the way.

For example, I talk about the concept of how "Marriage is the Death of Dance".

I explain how people grow more confident through dancing and actually make themselves more attractive to the opposite sex in the process.

I explain how the dance studio can actually help people recover from a broken heart through dancing.

And I discuss the issue of whether SSQQ is a dance studio or a singles group.

In Chapter Three titled "The Eighties, I start telling the background of the SSQQ Social Program. I talk about how the movie "Urban Cowboy" got the ball rolling even more effectively than "Saturday Night Fever".

Then I talk about how my bizarre 1986 Streak where I went Whip Dancing 201 nights in a row. This strange time in my life actually created so much energy that several marriages and several Texas State Dance Championships were the end result. You will just have to read it to believe it.

My story on the Eighties at SSQQ includes the tale about the wackiest character in the studio's long history, how the loss of two key leaders nearly crippled the studio, about the woman who saved the studio, about the time I lost an entire dance class to another dance studio, and how a computer chess game saved me from a descent into madness.

In Chapter Four titled "The Nineties", I talk about the Studebaker Days, how the instructors replaced the students as the new studio "In Crowd", about a long list of dance instructors who parlayed their dance skills into marriages, and about the studio's slow but steady erosion into a mere shell of its former self.

In Chapter Five titled "The Comeback Kids", I write about a man with amazing charisma and the people around him who spun the studio inside out, upside down, and turned the whole place around. I talk about how three leaders put the studio on their backs and turned the studio absolutely on fire as the Millennium approached. And I mentioned a small contribution that I made that would pay off in a big way further down the road.

In Chapter Six titled "Millennium Madness", I talk about the fever pitch at which people started to get married at SSQQ. I write about an amazing moment in studio history when three female instructors all got married on the same day. Then I discuss the problem known as "Flying under the Radar" which prevents me from knowing the true number of SSQQ marriages.

In Chapter Seven titled "Love Boat", I talk about two important individuals who made contributions that transformed the studio and how the eight SSQQ cruises have resulted in a phenomenal number of marriages and relationships. I talk about why SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance Magic becomes even more effective out on the high seas. I conclude the chapter with advice on three very important subjects: Participation, Community, and Contribution. You will enjoy this chapter.

In Chapter Eight titled "Bon Voyage" I discuss my theory that one reason Ballroom may be making a comeback is due a growing desire to see more "Glamour" in our lives. Nothing wrong with tee-shirts and blue jeans of course, but once in a while wouldn't it be nice to dress up and go to a beautiful dinner club and dance the night away to an orchestra?

In this chapter, I discuss the amazing effect that SSQQ cruises have had on our studio and how the new studio "In Crowd" has grown to include not only the instructors, but a long list of "Usual Suspects" and other celebrities from our cruises.

I conclude the chapter with speculation about where the studio is headed plus a fetching vision of what might lie ahead for the cruise program.

I hope you all will take the time to learn about the history of how SSQQ became the Romance Center of Houston, Texas. It is a pretty neat story.


By the way, attendance at SSQQ right now is phenomenal. February was our biggest month on record and March far exceeded last year. And we intend to build on that record to become even better in the days to come.

There's a lot that been going on around here, but I haven't put out any Newsletters because I was so busy writing the Matchmaker story.

I should have a regular Newsletter out two weeks from now.

There is still space available for this year's New England cruise, but we no longer have any reserved space. Please call or email for current pricing.

After last's years Rita Rhapsody debacle left everyone feeling more than slightly 'robbed', I expect this year Rhapsody Reloaded to be our biggest cruise in history with people partying twice as hard to make up for lost time.

This week we began to see strong movement. Over the past six days 11 people have signed up. That puts us at 35 so far. I am pretty sure when the dust settles we will shoot well past 100 passengers.

We have reserved space at current pricing available till April 21. After that the price will likely rise.

Let's get the party started now! If you sign on and a friend sees your name, they sign on. Then the stampede to join begins and you can smile with satisfaction because you helped get it going.

If you plan to go, it's time to show. A $250 deposit guarantees your space and your rate.


One more quick note - the first ever "Advanced Synchronized Polka" Crash Course will be offered at our Red and Black Western Party on Saturday, March 25. This is a pretty neat set of patterns!

In the meantime, drop by and see us some time!! You never know whom you might meet!

Rick Archer
SSQQ Dance Studio
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