Judy Archer came to SSQQ in
1989. She took classes for about six months, then began
teaching. Judy and Rick Archer dated in 1989 and got married in 1990.
In 1991, Rick and Judy
became the proud parents of Samantha Archer.
Judy helped Rick run the dance
studio for 15 years. She played a major part of
SSQQ during the studio's major expansion period in the 90s until she
decided to leave in
2004. Judy made huge contributions
particularly in developing Swing and Salsa programs during
her 16 years at SSQQ that gave the studio a huge
head-start. One way to become the city's largest dance studio is to
get there first. Judy's foresight was phenomenal in this regard.
Judy started at SSQQ as a student in 1989 and was subsequently asked
to train to teach classes that same year. She entered the Ballroom
program and taught her first Foxtrot class in November, 1989.
began to train for national certification with Joe Lozano, six-time
American Style champion and tested with a national judge three times,
scoring “Highly Commended” on each test. She then successfully
developed SSQQ’s ballroom program, including the currently popular
“Dancing in the Moonlight” series.
Judy contributed in other ways, too. The Holiday time of year in particular
highlights many of Judy’s brightest spots here at the studio. I remember how
Judy took great delight in making the studio look nice at Christmas. The
Dickens Village was largely her creation and she always took great care to
decorate the studio Christmas tree. Although she kept it hidden from public
view, Judy had a huge soft spot for the needy. For starters, Judy made sure
that SSQQ made an annual contribution to the Chronicle Goodfellows program.
Plus Judy took it upon herself to organize a toy drive here at the studio each
year. After a month of collecting many toys contributed by staff and students
Judy would deliver them to Star of Hope just before Christmas.
Judy’s goodwill didn’t stop with the needy. For example, our veteran
instructors will remember the many Christmas seasons when Judy worked hard to
bake cookies for each member of the staff, as well as making cross-stitch
Christmas tree ornaments.
Due largely to Judy’s work during the Swing era, we started to make some large
profits for the first time in several years during the late 90s. It was Judy’s
idea to reinvest $100,000 of our Swing profits into new dance floors. I
swallowed hard but agreed to do it.
Judy was so proud of how beautiful the floors looked that she took it upon
herself to make sure they were maintained properly. Indeed, each year Judy and
Bryan Spivey spent many hours during studio down time screening and
refinishing 6,000 square feet of dance floor. Our New Year’s Eve Party was
always a delight when our students would gasp at how beautiful the floors had
become. People would come up to me and compliment me on how lovely the floors
I also remember that Judy helped this studio make a lot of money. There was a
year – 1995 to be exact – where the studio finished with $100 in the bank
after paying the final bill. As you might imagine, we were deeply worried.
Fortunately a dance that had been dormant for 50 years sprang back to life in
1996. Swing and its’ Lindy counterpart came soaring back to our rescue. The
Swing Era literally brought us back to prosperity and all the credit has to go
Only a few of you have been with us long enough to remember that Judy
single-handedly elevated the SSQQ Swing program to huge prominence during the
middle and late 90s. Judy personally made sure that Lindy Hop made it to
Houston well ahead of all other cities save NY and LA.
Besides Swing, Judy had lots of good ideas. She created the Halloween Haunted
House, the first Extravaganza, had two terrific swing teams and was a great
performer and choreographer.
Judy was responsible for creating our impressive Salsa program. In the past
few years, Salsa has become the most successful program at the studio. Believe
me, without Salsa, we would have been in a lot of trouble last year. Salsa
basically carried the studio financially in 2004. To say I am grateful for
Judy’s contribution to the Salsa program is a vast understatement.
In addition to Swing, Lindy, Salsa and Ballroom, Judy also introduced dances
like Zydeco, Argentine Tango, Carolina Shag, Bossa Nova, Night Club Two Step
and others. Judy had a prodigious talent for learning dances from videotape.
If there was even the hint of interest in a dance that didn’t already exist at
the studio, Judy loved to investigate. She would order the tape, watch it and
learn a new dance on her own, then break it down and teach it to our students.
At one point in time she literally put this studio on her back and carried it
to great new pinnacles of success.
SSQQ would not be nearly as
successful as it is today without Judy’s immense talent.