Kool Kat of the Week: David Spencer Has Gotta Dance, Gotta Swing, & He’ll Teach You How, Too, at Callanwolde This Spring

Posted on: Mar 1st, 2011 By:

“Dancing is like dreaming with your feet,” goes the famous quote by Constanze. If that’s true, David Spencer has spent his life in dreams. Since he was a little boy, he let his feet guide him, and they haven’t led him astray from becoming a sought-after high school date to professional ballroom dancing shows and competitions. For the past 30 years, he’s also been a ballroom dance instructor, and he currently shares his secrets to fantastic footwork at Allure Ballroom Atlanta, near Cumberland Mall, and at the Atlanta Ballroom Dance Centre in Sandy Springs.

However, aspiring and seasoned ballroom dancers wanting to hone their moves will get to practice in top-hat style this spring as David leads a pair of Thursday night 10-week classes for beginners (7 PM) and continuing dancers (8 PM) starting March 24 at Callanwolde. For those not versed in vintage Atlanta, this magnificent Gothic-Tudor-style mansion in Druid Hills was completed in 1920 and once belonged to Howard Candler, president of The Coca-Cola Company and son of its founder Asa Candler. Now it’s a cultural arts center and special occasion venue listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but one can only imagine the Gatsby-like grand gatherings that happened here in days gone by.

ATLRetro recently caught up with David to find out why he has such a passion for ballroom dance and also get a preview of these special Callanwolde classes, which represent just a few of the visual and performing arts seminars at the mansion this spring.

1. How did you first get into ballroom dancing and is there any story behind that?

I was very fortunate to have a mother that would sit and watch all the old, classic movies with me as a child—everything from musicals to horror films. We would pile up on the sofa or the bed and watch with a big tub of popcorn. By the age of 7, I made the decision that when I grew up, I wanted to be Gene Kelly. It is no wonder that I teach dancing for a living now. Oddly enough, with Mr. Kelly as my role model, tap dancing is the only form of dance I have not studied—yet.

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Kool Kat of the Week: A Lover and a Fighter

Posted on: Jan 25th, 2011 By:

Name:  Cary Tedder
Age: 24
Hometown: Marietta
Retro Job: Performer, Snowboy, and Tony (understudy), WEST SIDE STORY
Location/Dates:  The Fox Theatre, Tues. Jan. 25-Mon. Jan. 31
Favorite Retro Movie: SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
Favorite Retro Performer: Gene Kelly
Favorite Retro Show:  ON THE TOWN

WEST SIDE STORY. Been there, done that, you may feel inclined to say if you grew up seeing the movie on TV most likely in the wrong aspect ratio with its dynamic dance moves chopped and cropped. Or maybe you were lucky enough to catch a big-screen revival probably at the Fox Theatre if you grew up in Atlanta. So like many, including Cary Tedder, you may not have been blown away.

But flashback to the original stage play bursting onto the Broadway stage back in 1957, which critics were declaring it revolutionary from Jerome Robbins’ dynamic choreography and Leonard Bernstein’s powerful score to its controversial setting in the harsh, angry reality of urban street gangs and racism. The recent Broadway revival, now on tour via Broadway Across America, tries to recapture that sense of danger, according to Tedder, who plays “Snowboy”—one of the Jets—and also is leading man Tony’s understudy.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus, 2010

“You’re not going to see the movie on stage,” Tedder says. “You’re going to see something far more original, something different every night and something far more alive.”

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This Week in Retro Atlanta Jan. 24-30, 2011

Posted on: Jan 24th, 2011 By:

By the clicking of these keys, something Retro this way comes… The first installment of “This Week in Retro Atlanta” won’t be as complete as I hope to make it. But everything has to start somewhere—or in this case, some time. So the time has come simply to just get the first installment of ATLRetro’s top picks of things to do this week posted.

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