is plenty of room left on the trip, but most of the
space is in Oceanview. The Balconies and the Inside
Cabins are gone! Only the middle-priced cabins are
left and fortunately there is lots of them left to
For you bargain
hunters, Marla has 8 spots left at the $638 Group
Rate in Oceanview. Marla has till Friday, April 28,
to sell these spots.
Next week Marla can still get cabins for you, but
the price will be what is called the “Prevailing
Rate”. This rate, also known as “Market Rate” and
“Daily Rate” is likely to rise significantly. For
example, Marla’s Inside Cabins were selling at $498.
The Prevailing Rate is now $618. That is a pretty
stiff rise! In other words, Oceanview could be
selling at $700 next week for all we know.
If you want to go, you should call now.
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Marla during the day at
THE SSQQ NEW ENGLAND CRUISE – Stands
Marla says there is space available
for our New England Trip. This “Autumn Leaves are
Falling” trip leaves out of Boston on September 30.
This is your opportunity to take a marvelous trip
with the SSQQ Group to an area steeped in history
and painted with beauty. The ship’s route hugs the
rugged New England coastline, which gives everyone a
spectacular daily look at some of the prettiest
scenery in America.
Obviously this trip is more expensive than Rhapsody
Reloaded, but it is well worth it for you Texans who
have never visited this beautiful part of the
This is an especially active trip with six ports in
six days. According to Cher Longoria who just
signed up yesterday, there are many excursions to
choose from, plenty of places to visits and lots of
things to see.
email@example.com or phone Marla during the day at
THE UPCOMING MAY
DANCE SEMESTER – CLASSES BEGIN APRIL 30
for May include:
Western Cha Cha with Rick on Sundays at
4:30 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.
Linda’s GHOST TOWN 12 starts Sunday, April 30,
at 4:30 pm. GT 12 features some pretty complex
patterns such as “Romance Novel”, “Sizzling
Samba”, “Roll Out the Red Carpet”, and “Sassy
Dakota start our Ballroom Sunday program with a
two-month RUMBA RHAPSODY class at 7 pm. Rumba
is one of the great undiscovered joys in the
dance world. Rumba is an incredibly sensual
dance used to slow Latin and smooth Jazz
rhythms. Visualize Diana Krall singing “The
Look of Love”, then consider how you would dance
to such a song. Rumba is your answer – slow,
slinky, and provocative. Rumba is easy to learn
and terrific fun to dance.
- Linda’s BEGINNING BALLROOM
I on Sundays at 7 will cover Foxtrot, Waltz, and
Swing this month.
- Marla teaches BEGINNING
TANGO Sundays at 7 pm. Stylish and very
dramatic, Tango combines sleek, hip-locked,
gliding steps with abrupt stops into fans,
flicks, flares, dips, and lunges. The eerie
music, sultry motion, and the haunting sense of
dark moods barely under control make Tango a
truly fascinating dance!
- Rick teaches ADVANCED
TANGO Sundays at 7 pm. Featuring a review of
the Fallaway, the Boomerang, and Side Switch
Flares, this class will then bravely venture
into the Suicide Lunge and Viennese Cross
Turns. Are you ready for a challenge?
- Jill Banta rounds out our
Sunday Ballroom lineup with BEGINNING FOXTROT.
Foxtrot is dance of Inaugural Balls, Wedding
Receptions, and Formal Dinners. It is also the
dance to use to all Sinatra lounge music. The
Up-Town cousin of the Texas Twostep, the Foxtrot
can be used to a wide variety of music ranging
from Van Morrison's "Marvelous Night for a
Moondance" to Sinatra's "New York, New York" to
"Mack the Knife" by Bobby Darin.
- Scott Ladell brings his
favorite dance in the world, HUSTLE, to Mondays.
Scott starts off his four-month Hustle cycle
with Beginning Hustle in May. Hustle, also
known as the Latin Hustle, is the famous Disco
Dance from the Saturday Night Fever Era. This
flashy partner dance is a clever combination of
Swing footwork and Latin hip motion. The
patterns and footwork are actually taken from
Swing while hip motion and feel of the dance is
more similar to Salsa. Hustle is a unique blend
of both dance styles. Hustle is used to Disco
music and soft R&B hits. A very smooth, flowing
huge following at SSQQ. Come join the fun!
Dakota and Susie start off a new Whip/West Coast
Swing Superclass cycle with
Whip/WCS on Mondays (and Thursdays) at 7
SSQQ has the only program in Houston that allows
you to take this difficult class on 2 different
nights (Sunday/Thursday) for the price of one.
Plus SSQQ is the only program that still teaches
the legendary Texas Whip. Although our emphasis
is on the popular West Coast Swing, the Whip
with its naughty moves and eye-catching hip
motion brings Texas Heat to the class as well.
Then stay and join us after class for our
popular Monday and Thursday West Coast Swing
practice night at 9 pm!
- Bryan and Lisa teach a
special Monday West Coast Swing class known as
"WCS TECHNIQUE I."
Taught by two-time Texas State Whip Champions
Bryan Spivey and Lisa Palmer, as the title
suggests, this is a "Finishing Class" that
reviews everything you learned in the first four
months of SSQQ West Coast Swing with an eye on
Polish, Style, and Technique.
- Tuesday Salsa is
phenomenal. Each Tuesday, there is a Beginning,
Intermediate, and Advanced Salsa class that
average 80 to 100 people in each class. In
particular, Steve & Danielle conduct their elite
Advanced Salsa class each Tuesday. The Tuesday
Salsa Practice Night hosted by Linda Cook is
- Sharon Crawford-Shaw
begins her final series of Western Waltz with
INTERMEDIATE WESTERN WALTZ on Wednesdays at 7
- In addition to Beginning
and Advanced Whip/WCS on Thursdays, Texas State
Whip Champions Bryan Spivey and Lisa Palmer
bring you MARTIAN WHIP.
Martian Whip is dedicated to teaching the most
Advanced West Coast Swing patterns. This class
is especially useful for students considering
competing or performing at some point.
- Scott Ladell teaches
Intermediate 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.
- Willie Bushnell has
Zydeco starting on Saturday at 430. Zydeco
dance music originated in the state of
Louisiana. Similar to Cajun music, Zydeco is
more heavily influenced by blues and music from
the West Indies. Zydeco is fun, sexy, and pretty
easy to learn! This is a great Saturday class
that will have you laughing all night long!
FOR MAY – SSQQ BALLROOM DANCING MOVES TO SUNDAY
Starting Sunday, April 30, the Sunday Western
classes will start at 4:30 and the Ballroom classes
will start at 7 pm.
We are making this switch because Ballroom Dancing
currently has no opportunities for Practice Night.
Western Dancing on the other hand has Wednesday and
Friday Practice Nights. In addition, Western
dancers who finish on Sunday at 6:30 will have a
short dance practice after class plus they can
always organize a group trip over to Wild West just
down the street.
permits us to organize a weekly Ballroom Tea Dance
at 9:05 pm.
In Room One, we will have all kinds of Ballroom
Music: Swing, Foxtrot, Waltz, Rumba, Tango, and Cha
Cha on a rotating basis. In our side rooms, we will
play music unique to each dance class held that
evening. In other words, if your Tango class was in
Room Two, we will play Tango music in Room Two
during Ballroom Practice.
Please note we
will skip the popcorn and switch to complimentary
Iced Tea and Cookies in Room One. Plan to stay
after class each week and practice!!
SHAW ANNOUNCES HER DECISION TO RETIRE
friend Sharon has decided to make 2006 her final
year at the studio.
Ironically, I had just gotten around to telling the
entire world how Sharon saved the dance studio back
in 1989-1990. For about two years, Sharon was
probably more valuable to the studio than I was.
She literally carried me and the studio on her back!
Sharon began her final Western Waltz cycle here at
the studio. Believe it or not, 100 loyal students
showed for Beginning Waltz and enjoyed every single
Wednesday, May 3, Sharon will be starting her
Intermediate Western Waltz cycle for the final
time. We will need to limit the size of the class,
so as a word to wise, I suggest you sign up swiftly.
PARTIES IN MAY –
DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT SWING AND BALLROOM PARTY
9:15 pm – 11:30 pm
Cover charge $7
ZYDECO - Ronnie
LATIN RUMBA - Rick
SWING CHARLESTON - Maureen
SLOW DANCING (Cpls only) - Marla
SINATRA BOXFOX - Marty and Adele
DAKOTA’S FAV ADV TANGO PTNS - Dakota
PARTIES IN MAY - THE HONKY TONK BLUES WESTERN PARTY
9:15 pm – 11:30 pm
Cover charge $7
BEG C&W : TEXAS
TWOSTEP - Cindy
DIRTY DANCING (Cpls Only) - Ben
BEG WESTERN CHA CHA - Rhonwyn
BEG WESTERN WALTZ - Jill
SCOTT’S GHOST TOWN PTRNS - Scott
SYNCHRONIZED POLKA - Linda
MATCHMAKER STORY: PARTICIPATION AT PRACTICE NIGHT
Two months ago 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.
This article was so long it had nine chapters. In
Chapter Seven, the “Love Boat” Chapter, I wrote at
great length about the need to PARTICIPATE.
The following is
an excerpt from the “Love Boat” Chapter:
There are many
lessons that can be drawn from our stories, but
the overriding theme above all others is that
the SSQQ Playground will work for anyone as long
as you PARTICIPATE.
SSQQ Slow Dance
and Romance Magic is available to everyone.
But don't sit around and wait for it to happen.
Focus on the Journey, not just the Goal. Some
people waited years to find the right person.
Make it fun every step of the way.
If you are
interested in dancing, then make it one of your
hobbies and put some energy into getting good at
it. Organize your free time around dance
Get out there and
dance at every opportunity. Not only is dancing
healthy for you, some of the brightest, most
active people in the world absolutely love to
There are several
direct ways to make it happen.
1) Take a dance
class. Become a good dancer. Some people meet
the love of their life in the first class they
take, but the vast majority of our marriages
started as friendships and developed over
time. Most of these friendships developed in
Night. Since the 'Turf' is built around social
dancing, the better the dancer you are, the more
confident you will be in every social situation
involving the studio or dancing as your dance
skills improve. Therefore, when your class is
over, don't head to the Exit Door... head to the
dance floor. Practice Night at SSQQ is FREE to
anyone taking a dance class that month. Get out
there and dance. Ask someone to dance. Accept
all offers. Learn names. Smile. Get to know
3) Friday and
Saturday Night Parties. A great number of the
single people come to our weekly Friday Night
dance and our Saturday night parties. This is
'Where the Creatures Meet'. Because people
don't have to get up and go to work the next
day, they dance hard and are looking for
adventure. Do NOT miss the Halloween Party.
4) Become a
Volunteer. Our instructors are hired directly
from the ranks of our Volunteers. Anyone in a
leadership role at the studio sees their profile
5) Read the SSQQ
Newsletter. Figure out what's going on, read
about the celebrities, look for ways to
6) Take the
Cruise. Modern-Era SSQQ celebrities are either
Staff, great dancers, or participants in one of
the yearly cruises. You get your name and your
picture published for all the world to see. And
if you misbehave enough, maybe you will make it
to the fabled 'Usual Suspect' team of all-star
troublemakers and be lucky enough to have me
write terrible things about you.
7) Become a
phenomenal dancer. In a program organized
around dancing, the best dancers attract every
eye in the room. People like the Waltz Kings
became the men in demand for a reason - women
love to dance and these men made it fun for
If you are good
at Western or West Coast Swing, consider dance
competition. Currently the dance studio has
several men involved in training people to
compete. Consider asking them to form a dance
team. Some of the best times the studio has
ever seen revolved around the Swing Kids and
Heartbeat in the late Nineties.
Join a Group. Plan an Adventure. Not everyone
can become a great dancer, but everyone can
organize activities and plan adventures.
The history of
the studio romances shows time and again that
every person who has ever become a mischief
leader or a great dancer has been rewarded many
organize Hill Country Tours with stops at famous
Honky Tonks like Gruene Hall. Others throw
parties in their home. Others organize
Margarita Trips. Others rent a couple beach
houses down at Surfside for the weekend. Others
organize visits to Dickens on the Strand.
Others organize weekend trips to San Antonio.
Others organize Rodeo activities. Others
organize ski trips.
Don't look to
other people to get the party started. Get it
started yourself. The leaders always get the
To read the
entire article, please visit
MITCH AND ANN FROM – SSQQ’S NEW SUPERSTAR WHIP
From: Ann From
Sent: Sunday, March 05, 2006 8:08 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Dance competition winners!
Hey Rick -
The results are
in, from this weekend's regional swing dance
competition...including people from Houston,
Dallas, Oklahoma, & other various states...
Dancing as a
couple, Mitch and I placed THIRD in the Newcomer
Mitchell won FIRST place in a competition where
they scramble the couples. Way to go Mitchell!!
We will compete
again as a couple this year and hope to improve
next time. For winning first, Mitchell
qualified for a national competition in Jan.
2007 to be here in Houston.
Mitch and Ann From trained under Bryan Spivey in
preparation for the March 3 Newcomer Competition
over at the Melody Club. Both Mitch and Ann are
phenomenal dancers, so it little surprise to me that
they did so well in their first-ever dance
However their success in the competition is only the
second-best thing to happen to them recently. On
November 5, 2005, Ann gave birth to their first
child, daughter Lindsey. Be sure to check out the
SSQQ web site for a picture of the entire family –
Mitch, Ann, and Lindsey (future whip dancer
COMPLAINT OF THE MONTH – REFUND ARGUMENTS
2005 was the SSQQ Year of the Refund
Arguments. In addition to the very complex MBA
Refund Struggle I wrote about in a recent
Newsletter, there were several other situations as
Here at SSQQ, we have a very simple
Refund Policy. You can get a Refund on your first
night of dance class without any problem
whatsoever. You have till the end of Break to
request it. The first hour of each dance class is a
Grace Period where you can take the class and decide
whether this is the right class for you or not. If
isn’t the right class, you can go to the Registrar
and either ask for your money back or change to
another class. I promise there is no meanness and
no arguing. We typically give about a dozen Refunds
back each month under these circumstances.
But after that hour is over, we are pretty firm that
no more refunds will be handed out. If you are
unhappy with your class we will try to find a way to
give you credit for it, but we won’t give you any
money back. An hour should be enough time to make
up your mind.
I think most people know where we stand at this
point. In four months this year we have had only 5
requests for Refunds after the Grace Period was
over. Not one of the requests turned into any sort
of a bitter experience. This is in stark contrast to
2005 where we had at least a half-dozen very bitter
If my experiences in 2005 taught me
anything, I discovered it does very little good to
argue about Refunds. Here is one of the examples
that taught me this lesson. I received the following
complaint about a week ago:
From: R P
Sent: Monday, April 17, 2006 3:39 PM
Subject: Wow, bad taste in making an example of
“You can fully reprint this word-for-word on
your pathetic site.
Your dance studio sounds like it is providing
the bare minimum of customer service by showing
up and providing dance lessons. Frankly, anyone
who claims that providing a service that you
said you would provide as a matter of course in
the business that you run is an idiot (yes, you
are an idiot). Look up customer service on the
internet and you will find that it typically
means catering to the customer.”
If you are curious to read the entire
story, please visit REFUND ARGUMENTS
THE MAY 2006 LOGIC PUZZLE – THE BOOKS
OF CHARLES DICKENS
Gosh, we sure have a lot of catching
up to do on Logic Puzzles for 2006.
The May Logic Puzzle deals with the
books of Charles Dickens. Each book such as “Tale
of Two Cities” and “David Copperfield” has on its
cover a famous London location such Piccadilly
Street, Westminster Abbey, and the London Bridge.
Your job is to match the correct cover to each book.
The Dickens logic puzzle is very ingenious.
Although it is a fair puzzle and doesn’t play any
dirty tricks, unfortunately it is not an easy puzzle
either. I enjoyed solving this puzzle a great deal,
but I have to warn you it was very challenging.
IQBAL’S COAT AND MARA’S SLEAZY DRESS
Oddly enough, we have had two
articles of clothing go AWOL so far this year.
At the 2006 New Years Party, Iqbal
Nagji discovered his coat was missing. On further
inspection, he found another coat that was
practically identical in appearance, but didn’t
fit. It is very likely that someone accidentally
switched coats. The “wrong coat” hangs in my DJ
booth at the studio in case someone reads this story
and puts 2 and 2 together.
One year ago
Mara Rivas loaned Marla Archer a black satin
tie-up-front sleeveless “Sleazy Dress” for the April
2005 Sleazy Bar Party. Unfortunately Marla didn’t
feel comfortable wearing it, so she hung it in the
studio’s office next to the TV and wore something
else. Neither woman gave the dress much thought
until the 2006 Sleazy Bar Party. When Marla went to
look for it in the office, it was gone. Perhaps the
borrower will return it.
THE NEW ORLEANS LEVEE STORY –
Contributed by CHRIS HOLMES
friend Chris Holmes sent me some amazing pictures of
the New Orleans levees that broke. As we all know,
when these crude structures broke, the City of New
Orleans was almost totally ruined and many lives
were needlessly lost. It was a disaster of
The sad thing is that New Orleans
took only a glancing blow from Katrina, the kind of
hit the levees were supposed to withstand. However,
as you will see for yourselves in the Levee picture,
the concrete wasn't any thicker than an average
traffic barrier on the Katy Freeway Contra-flow
If hadn't been for these substandard levees breaking
in the middle of the night, New Orleans would still
be thriving today. Instead countless people lost
their lives, hundreds of thousands lost their homes,
and misery was rampant while the helpless world
watched the images of despair and depravation in
horror. Today much of the city lays in ruins.
Seeing as how just a few month’s earlier National
Geographic had run a long story that related how
weak those levees were, it was obvious that many
the city was in a
dangerous position. Why didn’t we build better
defenses?? This disaster was – as they say – a
real eye-opener because the blame does not go to
Mother Nature, but to human beings who should have
wonder about the politics involved that would
produce such a shoddy effort.
April 19, the car of George Parker and several other
students were towed from the parking lot at 4900
Bissonnet. This location is about a block west of
the studio and is located on the other side of
Bissonnet. So far there have been no further
incidents. Please avoid this spot.
It was a cowardly action. A simple note under the
door would have solved the problem.
The towing was probably legal, but in this case
certainly the “Punishment” far exceeded any
perceived “Crime”. Obviously the students who were
towed meant absolutely no harm to the business. Why
such a cruel action was taken escapes me.
They claimed the action was taken because their
parking lot was littered and a window was punched
exception to both claims. As you know, we no longer
serve soft drinks at Practice Night. It is highly
unlikely that there is any serious litter problem.
It is also
highly unlikely that any SSQQ students broke their
window. A disgruntled customer would seem a more
likely suspect, but I guess they had to find someone
to take out their wrath on. Let me add I asked what
“evidence” they had that it was an SSQQ customer,
but they declined to offer any.
The people who had their car towed each have my
happens again, I will update. In the meantime,
avoid the parking lot.
DUBAI CITY, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES –
Contributed by Carol Gafford
One of the most remarkable cities in
the world is Dubai City. It is currently undergoing
an unbelievable transformation right in the heart of
the Arab world.
Considered the World’s fastest growing city, it is
estimated that there are 90 billion dollars worth of
projects being built in Dubai City right this
Using the success of our own Las Vegas as a model
that a hostile environment can be tamed to meet
man’s will, there is one fairy tale structure after
another being built.
Among the accomplishments are the Burj Al Arab
Hotel, considered the world’s most expensive and
beautiful hotel. Nearby you can see the Burj Dubai
Tower. When it is completed in 2008, it will become
the world’s tallest building. In the middle of the
desert you can see the world’s largest theme park
being built. Known as “Dubailand”, when finished in
2009 it will feature full size Jurassic Park-style
dinosaur recreations among other things. Or you can
visit the world’s biggest ski dome at the Mall of
the Emirates. That’s right, they are building a ski
slope in the middle of the desert.
And you can go to the shores of the Persian Gulf and
view fantastic man-made islands featuring some of
the most expensive houses in the entire world.
Dubai City is definitely something out of a science
fiction novel. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if
you thought I was making this up! Recently my
friend Carol Gafford sent me some amazing pictures.
Definitely do yourself a favor and go look for
2006 JOKE PICTURES
We have some serious catch-up work to
do on the Joke Pictures.
I would like to thank the following
January: Gary Richardson – Bad
February: Marla Archer - Home Early
March: Carol Gafford – the Men’s Bathroom
April: Chris Holmes – Alligator Dinner
May: Bett Sundermeyer – Truck Artwork
The May pictures give examples of the latest rage in
Europe: Painting murals on the side of trucks. Many
companies have discovered their trucks can act as
moving advertisements by painting eye-catching
murals on their delivery trucks. The result is some
amazing optical illusions. In addition, there is
something very peculiar about the pictures. See if
you can uncover the riddle!