This is the April 2006 issue of the SSQQ Newsletter written by
The complete version of the SSQQ Newsletter can read at:
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SHARON CRAWFORD SHAW ANNOUNCES HER DECISION TO RETIRE
My long-time friend Sharon has decided to make 2006 her final year
at the studio.
Hopefully she will return for a Crash Course or a guest-teaching
opportunity now and then, but it is for certain that her status as a
regular SSQQ instructor has officially begun its countdown.
As you may remember, about this time last year Sharon married a
terrific guy named Bill Shaw. I suspect a vision of the good life is
calling to both of them.
By coincidence, last month I wrote at great length in my Matchmaker
story how Sharon literally put the studio on her shoulders and
carried it for about three years back in 1988 through 1990. I told
everyone that Sharon was my final link to the Glory Years of the
Eighties. My how time flies.
For you post-Millennium dance students, Sharon is most famous for
her annual five-month WESTERN WALTZ cycle. Starting with BEGINNING
WESTERN WALTZ in April, Sharon and her friend John Jones will take
this class thru Intermediate, Advanced, Super-Advanced, and
Super-Duper Advanced each following month ending in August.
There are three features that make this class so special.
First and foremost, the class is taught by Sharon. She is the
Second, these classes attract a lot of students. This year will be
no exception. For example, the class is half full as we speak.
Third, there is a strong tradition of students who stay for Practice
after class. They go down to Room 4 and Waltz the evening away.
Rumor has it that the girls develop serious crushes on all the boys
who learn to Waltz with style.
If the experience of the previous years is repeated, students who
stick with the entire 5-month program and stay to practice
invariably join the ranks of the finest Western Waltz dancers in the
entire city. For each of the last five years, the first level has
seen attendance bordering on 100 students.
This Wednesday, April 5, Sharon will be starting her wonderful
5-month Western Waltz cycle for the final time.
Next year at this time it will probably be some dork like me
teaching, so if you want to learn from the Legend, I suggest you
saddle up Old Paint and get your butt into Wednesdays Beginning
Western Waltz class.
RHAPSODY RELOADED CRUISE UPDATE
There has been a fascinating development with our September
Rhapsody Cruise Trip - on March 29th, the prices suddenly dropped to
the lowest levels that Marla has ever seen for this trip.
The individual rate for Oceanview Cabins dropped $50, Inside Cabins
dropped $100, and Balconies dropped $200.
Out of curiosity, Marla poked her nose into the Internet and
discovered that Carnival has put a new ship into Galveston to give
the Rhapsody a run for its money. Suddenly Rhapsody's prices have
matched Carnival's prices for a similar ship. You don't suppose this
is an old-fashioned bidding war, do you?
Royal Caribbean has dominated the Gulf of Mexico for years with its
beautiful Rhapsody ship while Carnival has been trotting out
inferior ships for some time. In case you have forgotten, the SSQQ
2003 Jubilee Trip was taken aboard a Carnival ship that was one step
from being sent to the scrap yard. We haven't been back to Carnival
since. However that doesn't keep us from enjoying the fruits of
bidding war, now does it?
Please note there is NO GUARANTEE how long these prices will stay at
this level. What goes down will definitely go back up. The prices
are being lowered to stimulate business, so we suggest you take
By the way, if you signed up using the original pricing, you will
AUTOMATICALLY receive the new lower rate. Don't worry. Our group
pricing now reflects these new rates.
We currently have 42 passengers onboard. We have group space for
another 58 passengers. You have until April 21st to secure your
space. Once we reach the 100 mark, availability will be at
Lois Izquierdo, one of our passengers from last year's Rita Rhapsody
Trip, just happened to click into the SSQQ website this morning. She
took one look and decided to jump on the new prices. Lois signed up
on the spot. My guess is Lois will have plenty of company in the
next couple of weeks. April 21st.
or phone Marla during the day at 713-862-4428.
One more thing - Marla says there is still space available for our
New England Trip as well.
THE UPCOMING APRIL DANCE SEMESTER - CLASSES BEGIN APRIL 2
Special classes for April include:
1. Linda's BEG BALLROOM on Sundays at 430 will cover Cha Cha, Rumba,
2. Dakota's Sunday 430 pm SUPER ADVANCED LATIN CHA CHA. By the way,
my buddy OJ is making her comeback in that class, so I want everyone
to be forewarned of the danger!
3. Marla teaches Sunday's 430 DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT. This neat
class shows how the same patterns can be used to Foxtrot, Waltz, and
Rumba. In other words, it is a "Three in One" Ballroom dance class.
4. BEGINNING WESTERN CHA CHA with Rick on Sundays at 7 pm. Cha Cha
is a marvelous dance which just happens to work perfectly to many
Western Polkas. The women get to flirt and move their hips while the
men get to chase the women
everyone is happy.
5. Gloria teaches INTERMEDIATE LINDY HOP on Monday at 7 pm
6. Dakota teaches a special Monday West Coast Swing class on "WCS
7. Steve & Danielle have their elite Advanced Salsa class each
8. Sharon Crawford-Shaw begins her final series of Western Waltz on
9. Bryan & Lisa's Thursday Martian Whip
10. Scott Ladell teaches Night Club on Friday. Danced to slow,
romantic songs, Night Club is an unusual dance perhaps best
described as an "active" form of Slow Dancing. Combining a special
blend of Latin footwork plus Ballroom patterns from Rumba, Foxtrot,
and Waltz, Night club is a pretty dance to watch and fun to use. Nor
is it difficult to learn.
11. Willie Bushnell has Zydeco starting on Saturday at 430!
FEATURED COURSE FOR APRIL - DAKOTA'S HIJACKS ON MONDAY EVENING.
Dakota's Monday Night WCS "Hijacks" is a new course. "Hijacking" is
a sophisticated, deeply clever advanced West Coast Swing technique
where the woman periodically takes control of the dance and "does
her own thing". Or the man can signal to the woman that this would
be a good time to show her stuff.
Obviously this marvelous technique opens the doors for both
Cleverness and Chaos. Dakota will go over the ground rules - when to
Hijack, when NOT to Hijack, how to signal a Hijack, how to get out
of a Hijack, and so on. He will also teach the man and the woman how
to hit the breaks using clever Hijack patterns plus advanced
patterns where the man and the woman completely change the dance
pattern. Don't miss this unique course. He will show you how to add
dance movements that express or mimic what your hear in the music.
This class will include work on what to do during "Breaks" in the
BALLROOM AND WESTERN SUNDAY FLIP-FLOP IS SCHEDULED FOR MAY
Starting in May, the Sunday Western classes will start at 4:30 and
the Ballroom classes will start at 7 pm. We are doing this because
Ballroom Dancing has currently has no opportunities for Practice
Western dancers who finish on Sunday at 6:30 will have a short
30-minute dance practice after class or they can always organize a
group trip over to Wild West just down the street.
PARTIES IN APRIL - MUY CALIENTE SALSA PARTY
Saturday, April 8
9:15 pm - 11:30 pm
Cover charge $7
BEG SALSA!! - Kelly
BACHATA - Linda
MERENGUE - Luis
LATIN CHA CHA - Jill
SALSA RUEDA - Martin
SALSA DIPS & LUNGES I Steve/Daniele (cpl)
PARTIES IN APRIL THE SSQQ SLEAZY BAR WHIP PARTY (AND WESTERN PARTY
Saturday, April 22
9:15 pm - 11:30 pm
Cover charge $7
CRASH COURSES 7-9 pm
BEG C&W: TEXAS TWOSTEP - Cindy
INT TWOSTEP: CIRCLE TURNS - Susan
BEG WESTERN WALTZ - Marla
NEW GHOST TOWN PATTERNS - Scott
EAZY SLEAZY WHIP - Rick
BEG WEST COAST SWING - Dakota
DISGUSTING SLEAZY BAR MOVES- Bryan cpls only
This year's Sleazy Bar Party will feature an exhibition by State
Champions Bryan Spivey and his beautiful fiancιe Lisa Palmer.
FOOTNOTE: TALES OF THE SLEAZY BAR PARTY!!
Have you ever heard the story about the origin of the Sleazy Bar
Whip Party? You would be fascinated to discover in the second year
of our party we were nearly busted by the Bellaire Police who
entered the building under the impression gunshots had been fired at
Suddenly they thought they had stumbled on the biggest Biker Gang in
Bellaire history. One policeman even had his hand on his holster as
he grimly surveyed the scene. Do you think I am kidding? I am not
kidding. It is a bizarre and very interesting true story!!
Read the History of the SSQQ Sleazy Bar Whip Party.
THE SSQQ MATCHMAKER STORY
Last month I announced I had completed work on the most important
story I have ever written in my time at SSQQ.
Known as the "Matchmaker Story", I carefully explained the reasons
why SSQQ has averaged 25 marriages and engagements a year for the
past 7 years.
When you add in the two marriages and two engagements for 2006, you
realize SSQQ is knocking on the door for 200 marriages and
engagements. I imagine we will hit this number sometime this Fall.
Maybe someone will make an announcement on our Rhapsody Reloaded
Cruise or the New England Cruise the following month. Goodness
Here is one of the responses I received:
"Rick, I have always thought you are an exceptional writer and this
piece did not disappoint. It is great!
BUT I sat down just for just a few moments this morning to check my
email before starting my household chores and here I am 1 hour later
and I am having to make myself stop reading.
I'm saving the rest for tomorrow morning when I will be sitting in a
clean house with no guilt and enjoying a cup of Joe while I read. I
should have known better because this has happened to me before when
I start reading your stories/articles.
Even before you had a web site I would pickup copies of your stories
at the studio, always on the lookout for new ones.
Yours truly, PDJ
PS I think it's my turn to show up on the matches made at
SSQQ...that would be nice."
SSQQ HALL MONITORS NEEDED
Due to two recent resignations, we could use some new Hall Monitors.
Both ladies resigned for the simple reason that they are getting
'serious' with their boyfriends.
In addition to your salary, all classes are free and you get to
flirt with 100 men a night.
If you are interested, contact Marla at
People want to know how to get 'deleted' from the SSQQ email list.
It is very easy. Type "D" in the subject space and hit reply.
We take people off the email list the moment it is requested.
However you may get one or two more issues sent because your email
is in two places - in our database and in an excel file. We don't
always get a chance to update the Excel files immediately. Please
COMPLAINT OF THE MONTH - SALSA CLASSES ARE TOO CROWDED
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 11:57 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Salsa Overcrowding
I am currently a student at SSQQ for Intermediate Salsa 2. Given the
enormous attendance of students for salsa, I felt compelled to write
you this letter of mild annoyance. I'll quote a statement from the
February 2006 Newsletter:
Salsa is ridiculous. I have never seen so many students in all my
That's the understatement of the year. To put it simply, there are
too many students enrolled in the Salsa Intermediate classes. The
individual classrooms are filled to capacity and the exceedingly
loud noise level from the next door classrooms (also full of people)
is making hearing the instructor and our music extremely difficult.
I had hoped that going to all three classes on Tueday, Thursday and
Saturday would help, but those classes are just as full and noisy.
But, not all of us have the luxury of being able to attend multiple
classes throughout the week as our schedules may conflict. I
understand from a business standpoint that it's great having so many
students as they are your source of revenue, but having that many
people crowded together in small spaces where there the noice is
amplified exponentially is distracting. Sadly, it's keeping the
learning process from being the fun and enjoyable process it should
be. I sincerely hope that you folks at SSQQ take this into
consideration. Registration and class enrollment should be offered
on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once your studio reaches
capacity, you should not continue letting people come in. Isn't that
also a fire hazard?
Again, I hope that something can be done about this in the very near
future. I'm assure you that I'm not an angry jerk who wants to
complain about every little thing. But I am a student who, like many
others, is paying you all for a service, one of which is to provide
us with an environment conducive to learning.
I thank you for your time."
RICK'S RESPONSE - I was well aware of the crowding problems from
January and February.
I took two actions:
First, I canceled one of the Tuesday classes and reduced Tuesday to
Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Salsa.
Then, at a cost of over $2,000, I had a new moveable wall built for
I was told these two moves made a big difference in March. I did not
receive any further complaints.
However I have to say the next step will be much tougher. If there
are more complaints about over-crowding, we will have no choice but
to take away the "Parallel Classes" and enforce class size limits.
Hopefully the remodel job will continue to do the job, but I just
need to let you all know there are no other simple solutions out
AND WHERE'S THE OLD SSQQ NEWSLETTER?
Guys, I am going to tell you the truth. More issues of the "Old"
SSQQ Newsletter complete with jokes, complaints, and logic puzzles
are out there. I've got a ton of stuff to tell you all about.
But the problem is I just can't always get to it ratatat like I used
to. The Matchmaker Story I just finished was the size of a small
book. It took me a month to write it. Now I need to catch up on a
few other things. But I promise you I will start cranking out the
SSQQ Newsletter you are used to just as soon as I can.
Trust me. I have tons of stuff to write about.
And that's a wrap for April.
Thanks for reading this month's issue of the SSQQ Newsletter!
www.ssqq.com (the SSQQ Web Site)
http://www.ssqq.com/newsletter/currentissue.htm (SSQQ Newsletter)