The Newsletter is written by Rick
THE NEW SSQQ DANCE SEMESTER
BEGINS SUNDAY, MARCH 2
As always, if you miss
classes the first week, you can start in the second
week as well.
DESCRIPTIONS OF CLASSES
Our Advanced dance classes
for March include:
SYNCHRONIZED POLKA, SUNDAY
Experienced Western dancers
know that Polka-rhythm music will tire you out.
This explains the popularity of alternatives to
Polka such as Triple Two and Western Cha Cha.
Synchronized Polka has been around for several
years, but in 2007 this pretty dance system really
began to catch on.
Unlike Western Cha Cha and
Triple Two, Synchronized Polka is used right along
with your regular Polka. In other words,
Synchronized Polka enhances what you normally dance
to Polka songs. Danced mostly from the Sweetheart
Position, Synchronized Polka has many advantages.
It is easy to learn, easy to lead, it gives the lady
a much-needed break from her double turns and it
allows everyone to dance forward. People don’t get
tired out quite as much. Best of all, the patterns
are graceful and flowing.
This class started on March
2. We had nearly 40 students and lots of fun. If
you would like to join in the second week, by all
means please do so.
OUR NEXT DANCE
PARTY: SAINT PATRICK’S SWING PARTY IN MARCH
Saturday, March 15, 9 - 11:30 pm
7-9 CRASH COURSES
SWING CHARLESTON - Maureen
IRISH WALTZ PTNS! - Rick
(Intermediate level patterns)
INT FOXTROT - Jack
SWING ACROBATICS - Paul (cpls
STEVE’S FAVORITE SWING PTNS - Mr.
BEG HUSTLE - Scott
Wear White and Green or Don’t
Erin Go Braugh! (Ireland
Our Saint Patrick’s Swing
Dance Party is one of my favorite parties of the
year. I would say half the music will be Swing, but
there will be some Ballroom music.
You can expect lots and lots
of beautiful Irish Waltzes so consider taking the
Irish Waltz crash course!
In addition, a fun part of
the night is an Irish Jig John-Paul-Jones. A lot of
Irish music is the same speed as our Western
Polkas. If you feel like putting a hop in your
Polka, go right ahead. Even the grumpiest human
usually is grinning head to toe after ten minutes of
This is a fun party so we
hope you will join us!
INTERESTING STORY: RV RETIREMENT
My guess is that every once
in a while you just want to say to heck with it all,
get in your car and head out into the wild blue
yonder to see the world. I know I sure do!
In February, my buddy Leroy
Ginzel sent me an email complete with photographs of
a super duper luxury Recreational Vehicle. Quite an
I had no idea that RVs could
look so comfortable! The more I stared at those at
those pictures, the more curious I became. So I did
a little research and came up with a very
Up till now I have been
satisfying my own wanderlust with Marla’s excellent
cruises. But once that RV fantasy came into my
head, I have been thinking about it every day. It
seems almost within my reach! But do I have the
guts to go for it?
I know a lot of people here
at the studio who have already reached retirement
age or are knocking on the door like I am. If you
are a Boomer, I GUARANTEE you will find this story
fascinating. And if you are a youngster, I have no
doubt you will be amused as well.
Go read it right now: The RV
OF THE RODEO DANCE PARTY FEATURING SPECIAL GUESTS
SUSIE MERRILL AND RACHEL KOENIG
We had a Western Party on the
last Saturday in February. Our Sweethearts of the
Rodeo Party featured visits by two favorite SSQQ
instructors who have retired - Rachel Koenig and
Rachel retired at the end of
January. Rachel and her husband Dave are going to
be having another child. Between marriage, a
demanding new job, raising one 2 year old son, and
being pregnant, Rachel was feeling pretty worn out.
Her decision to retire from Western teaching made a
lot of sense.
That said, Rachel will
definitely be missed. She has spent the last ten
years of her life teaching students how to Western
Dance (and Belly Dance too!) and will carry many
warm memories of the studio in her retirement.
Hopefully she and Dave can come back for the
By the way, Rachel has joined
the SSQQ Hall of Fame. Rachel was kind enough to
give me an Interview about her ten years of
teaching. I definitely think you would enjoy
hearing what this fascinating lady has to say about
her experiences here at the studio.
If you would like to read
about Rachel’s adventures here at the studio, visit
The name Susie Merrill is
probably not familiar to SSQQ students who have
started in the past couple years, but in her time,
Susie was one of the most dynamic instructors we
have ever had here at the studio. Susie taught here
at SSQQ for fourteen years. She was instrumental in
developing the Triple Two and Nightclub programs
that Scott Ladell now teaches.
Susie retired from the studio
five years ago in January 2003. She and her husband
Bill moved up to a lake house near Longview Texas.
Like Rachel, Susie is an SSQQ
Hall of Fame instructor. Susie’s most notable
accomplishment was creating a dance team of 30 SSQQ
country-western students that won a World Dance
Championship in early 2003. Known as ‘Heartbeat’,
this dance team consisted completely of amateur
dancers who learned to dance like professionals.
During the six year era of Heartbeat, they won all
sorts of awards.
At the reunion last week,
many of the former Heartbeat team was here at the
Ann (Bush) White
Christine (Sandel) Marquez
Diana (Beasley) Liles
Janet (Wukman) Meyer
Karen (Day) Catalano
In fact, only about ten
former members were missing. That’s quite a turnout
for the Heartbeat Reunion! I was so happy to see
I understand that all
teachers have to deal with losing their students. I
don’t care if it is elementary school, high school,
or college... sooner or later students are going to
move on if you do your job right. The same thing is
true at SSQQ. All good things must pass.
Still it was kind of
bittersweet to see all those memories staring me in
the face. Those people were a big part of some very
good times here at the studio.
Of course the World
Championship was Susie’s crowning achievement. But
Susie rightly pointed out that she is just as proud
of the fact that six marriages formed within her
That’s right, six marriages!
I find that amazing. That didn’t stop me from
teasing though. These poor people were at the
studio morning day and night for six years. If it
wasn’t for their jobs, they would have never even
bothered going home... they would have slept on the
couches and started practicing again the next
morning. My point was there was no earthly way
these people could meet anyone because they had no
free time. So the only people they could date were
the members on the team. And since conveniently
there was an equal number of men and women - all
single - the birds and the bees did their job. And
of course that SSQQ Cupid who hides in the shadows
did the rest.
If you would like the read
the story of this amazing dance team and their
talented captain Susie, please visit
GREECE, ITALY, AND TURKEY
July 20-July 27
We are up to 46 people.
Frankly, this is the most amazing trip we have ever
booked. Italy-Greece turns out to be the hottest
ticket this summer. According to the travel
magazines, the most popular destination in the
cruise industry right now is the Mediterranean.
On March 22nd, we
lose our remaining reserved space. At that time,
there will still be space available, but the price
is likely to be $250 more per person. If you are on
the fence, fall off it right now and join us!
If you are game, email
CARIBBEAN DANCE CRUISE
August 24-August 31
Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
When I wrote about this trip
in the Newsletter two weeks ago, we had 44. Now
Marla reports we are up to 64. That’s pretty
amazing. This trip is selling like crazy!
If you are interested in a
balcony or an inside cabin, Marla reports she only
has two cabins left of each. Once we sell those
four cabins, the price will automatically jump $50
to $100. Fortunately we have plenty of Oceanview.
However once we reach the magic number of 100, the
price for this trip is likely to jump. So get on
board this trip now!
MORE MISCHIEF FROM LAST
YEAR’S CONQUEST TRIP
I have now completed two more
pages of pictures from the 2007 trip. I have lots
and lots of pictures left to publish. In addition I
have a story I am going to get around to telling.
But for now, please enjoy three pages of pictures!
We have an immediate Hall
Monitor opening on Thursday. We may have another
opening coming up as well. If you would like to join
the SSQQ Staff, please contact Marla. Her phone is
713 862 4428 or email to
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE - ROGER LEE AND
WENDY ZHANG GET MARRIED!
From: Roger Lee
Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 1:50 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Wendy Zhang Weds
“Hi Rick, Wendy and I married
on New Year’s Eve, 2007.
We met in Sharon Crawford’s
advanced western waltz class in July 2001. The first
night, when we rotated partners and I got Wendy, I
knew I would like to dance with her more than just
about anyone. But, I never thought we would go out
together. How things change.
In late August 2006, Wendy
and I went ring shopping. Wendy told the jewelers
what she wanted and we went to have a Chinese lunch
while they created and sized the ring.
At about the same time,
JetBlue ran an ad announcing their new service out
of Hobby airport. The airline said that you could
fly anywhere in their system, roundtrip, for the
price of a barrel of oil - at that time about $72. I
bought tickets for Labor Day weekend to Niagara
Falls. Wendy called this trip our “proposal-moon.”
As for a honeymoon, well, we
just keep procrastinating. But we have some ideas.
Thanks to you and your studio
for our happy marriage.
Best, Roger and Wendy”
and Wendy announced their engagement in September
told me she knew Roger for three years before they
ever went out together. By the time they began
seeing each other, they had already been friends for
quite a while.
their mutual love of Waltz that cemented the bond
between them. As Roger pointed out in his email
letter, they met in Sharon (Crawford) Shaw’s Waltz
class seven years ago. Since then, the two of them
have put in many hours on the dance floor perfecting
their Waltz together.
way, Roger and Wendy’s announcement brings our
January total of weddings to six in one month. That
is quite an accomplishment!
- A CURIOUS INCIDENT ON FIRST STREET
I received the following two
notes in February. You should read them.
When I left SSQQ last
Wednesday night I had a scare while walking down the
side street to my car. A man came through the space
in the bushes by the streetlight and tried to make
contact with me. The hair stood up on my neck and
I know exactly what could have happened. I was
fortunate to see his movement behind the bushes
because there were no cars there at the time. I
have taken defense courses and know what to be on
the look out for. I wanted you to know that I was
able to get away safely but it did upset me quite a
bit. Women should not walk along the cars but more
out in the street if there is no oncoming traffic.
It’s a long and very dark walk some nights.
I know you can’t walk
everyone out to their cars but you might suggest
people leave in clusters or follow someone out.”
“At first I thought it was
someone walking on the curb on the other side of the
bushes in that neighborhood. I saw him stop behind
the bushes. I moved toward the other side of the
street. I was about 20 ft ahead of the opening when
he came out, called to me and started advancing
quickly. I was never looking straight at him and he
advanced in my peripheral vision so I didn’t see his
face, I ran to my car and got in. When I look toward
him he was gone. I assume he went back the way he
came because I looked down the side streets and in
the parking garage but saw nothing. He was about
white 6 ft tall, husky but not fat, dark hair,
casual clothes (jeans/maybe heavy flannel shirt or
layers) no western wear. That’s all I saw.
I just know the weird feeling
about something not right with this guy. I never
got a look at his face. I had hoped to see
something from a safe place. I was too upset to
come in and tell y’all, emailing you is easier
Jack walked me to my car last
night and I commented about the incident to him and
knew I needed to tell someone. I hope we all will
watch out for each other.”
RICK ARCHER’S NOTE: So there
you have it. A lady from SSQQ had an experience
where a man stepped out of the bushes and attempted
to get her attention, and then began to rapidly walk
towards her when she didn’t respond.
It is unknown what his
intentions were, but on the surface it seems like we
should all be careful.
I don’t see any reason to
panic. In 30 years at this location, we have never
had a single attack or face-to-face robbery. So
let’s keep that good record intact.
All we have to do is use
We should all walk in groups
when ever possible, walk towards the center of the
street and away from the bushes, always be scanning
the area when walking - don’t be distracted by
talking on a cell phone, make sure all doors are
locked before leaving your car upon parking it, and
for an extra degree of protection - when returning
to your car, quickly look inside to make sure nobody
is hiding in it, get into your car and lock the
doors behind you.
You ladies should not feel
guilty about asking a man to walk with you. In
addition remember there is a security guard at the
hospital who will likely keep an eye on you if you
ask him nicely.
But most of all follow your
instincts. If you get a funny feeling about somebody
or the area, return immediately to the club where
there are other people.
AND NOW FOR
THE JOKE OF THE DAY - THE SAD TALE OF AN IRISHMAN’S
Contributed by Rodrigo Aranda
Brenda O’Malley is home
making dinner, as usual, when Tim Finnegan arrives
at her door.
“Brenda, may I come in?” he
asks. “I’ve somethin’ to tell ya.”
“Of course you can come in,
you’re always welcome, Tim. But where’s my husband?”
“That’s what I’m here to be
tellin’ ya, Brenda. There was an accident down at
the Guiness brewery...”
“Oh, God no!” cries Brenda.
“Please don’t tell me...”
“I must, Brenda. Your husband
Shamus is dead and gone. I’m sorry.”
Finally, she looked up at
Tim. “How did it happen, Tim?”
“It was terrible, Brenda. He
fell into a vat of Guinness Stout and drowned.”
“Oh my dear Jesus! But you
must tell me true, Tim. Did he at least go quickly?”
“Well, no Brenda... no. It
took a terrible long time.”
“Fact is, Shamus got out
three times to pee.”
And that’s a Wrap!