Tuesday, September 08, 2009

"This Is My Sport"

By Catherine Brill, Copywriter

Joe Tafuri hated to dance. He only entered the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Mamaroneck, New York to purchase a gift certificate for his wife’s birthday, choosing that studio because of its convenient location a few minutes away from his house.

Two and a half years later, he’s hooked.

An Inspirational Student
After beginning his lessons with his wife, Beth, he decided to take some individual instruction from Meg Sommers, the owner of the studio, in order to strengthen his technique and become a stronger lead. He now competes in the pro/am division four times a year. Beth and Joe also compete as an Amateur couple. Joe dances at the studio Monday – Friday with both Meg and his wife. "There is never a time when I don’t look forward to working with her [Meg]," Joe says. This year, Joe attended the Atlantic City competition in March and the Astaire Awards Championships in July. At the AAC, Joe and Meg won the American Smooth A division and placed 6th in the B division. According to Joe, "Meg always makes me look good."

In turn, Meg credits her student as "inspirational" and "fabulous." "One of the great rewards of teaching is meeting someone like Joe. He constantly surprises me as he deals with the challenges and frustrations of learning how to dance," Meg states.

Joe is not someone with a lot of free time on his hands. With 25 years of experience in the advertising business, he is the Vice President, Advertiser Sales at the Tennis Channel and a former senior executive at SONY. But even with the constant high pressure and hectic nature of his job, he keeps his dedication to dance and ballroom competition.

The Challenge Of Dancing
For Joe, dancing is a sport. With a diagnosis of osteoarthritis in both knees, he had to stop playing tennis in recent years but now that he is ballroom dancing, he is able to get the exercise that he needs."Competing is a great way to challenge yourself," he believes. He prepares for each event in the same way an athlete trains, committing himself to each lesson with focus and intensity. The second he steps out onto the dance floor, the pain in his knees fades as he gets caught up in the rush and excitement of competing.

Something For Everyone
During his time with the Fred Astaire Dance Studios organization, he has grown to appreciate our system of teaching. Although preferring the individual attention and level of detail that comes with private lessons, Joe understands that our studios offer a wide range of services and programs for everyone – from the enthusiast looking for a social past time to the competitive dancer eager to win titles. "There is something here for everybody."

The Power Of Dance
Joe’s experience is a wonderful testimonial to the power of dance. We thank you for your commitment to dance and wish you the best in all your future performances!

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