May 26, 2015
BW: Hello Charla! I am so pleased that you have consented to share some time with me for the Palm Coast Line Dance Community website. I would love it if you could tell us a little bit about yourself?
Ch: Well, I was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. I have been very interested and active in dancing my whole life, beginning at an early age. When I was in elementary school I was into tap dancing and participated in many performances. From there the sky was the limit! I was a majorette in high school - we had many dance routines. When I was in high school I choreographed our school's stage productions.
BW: So, you showed from the beginning that you would be a leader - that takes a lot of confidence, especially at a young age! How commendable - and obviously very talented! I understand you were in contests, too, during that time?
Ch: Yes. As a majorette I won first place in our state twirling contest for solo baton. I enjoyed all types of dancing, solo and also with a dance partner. In fact, my dance partner and I won first place in a city wide talent / dance contest. He went on to a career in dance. I have always loved dance of all kinds and have continued to participate in dancing aside from my career - I worked for AT&T in the Chicago area. After 30 years with them I retired, and went back into dance via line dancing. During these years of my life I was married to the love of my life. He was an awesome, handsome man of faith. He looked young for his age. Very active. When he was in high school in Ohio, he was All American. He went on to Ohio state where he played for that great coach Woody Hayes - they played in the 1957 Rose Bowl.
The photo below is my Arizona Showteam - the Desert Stars. We are pictured in the outfits we did for a routine - we twirled streamers while we line danced to a Broadway production: Give a Man Enough Rope....
BW: He sounds like a great guy! So - after retirement you were in Chicago?
Ch: Actually we became snowbirds, going back and forth between our homes in Wisconsin and Tucson, Arizona. I attended many line dance workshops and taught line dancing at all levels. In fact, while in Arizona I choreographed the Arizona Follies for many years. I also started a showteam there - our name was the Desert Stars. We really enjoyed our time there. Besides the stage follies, I have a soft spot for vets and I have always used my showteam and entertained the vets at nursing homes, etc - in fact we still do this here. My husband began the struggle with Alzheimers (genetic) and suffered with it for many years. When his illness progressed, we decided to live in just one location. That was 8 years ago when we downsized and moved to Palm Coast.
BW: You've been a lady of many responsibilities and yet you find time to teach and help others! I have had only a small amount of experience teaching dances and its not easy! You make it look easy!
Ch: My class was lots of fun. It does take an incredible amount of time to prepare good classes and although it was easy for me to do it, it still takes time for planning, etc.
BW: Tell me about your showteam here in Palm Coast?
Ch: Well, when we moved here I formed another show team. We are called the "Dixie Stars". This is aside from my class at the VFW. We practice, give performances, fundraisers,etc.
The photos to the right are of the
"Dixie Stars Linedancing Showteam". I formed our group in 2010. After moving here to Palm Coast, it was wonderful to find so many lovely ladies here that love to dance. It was a natural progression that we would form a show team much like mine in Arizona. We have been performing regularly in both civic and other venues. Although some of the ladies danced as children, we all worked in the business world as teachers, nurses, bank tellers, etc, so this is a dream come true to dance and perform in our senior years. The Dixie Stars are: Charla S.(Director/Chreographer) Cindy J., Beverly L., Sandie O., Penny S., and Claudia T. - our ages range from 63 to 71! Like I mentioned, we do many kinds of performances, including Fundraisers for worthy causes like the gig where we joined headliner Tim Rippey at Halifax (top photo). Great turnout - great event!
BW: I was fortunate to see your team perform twice. Both times were very enjoyable. Once was a patriotic show - your group entertained our boating club right near the fourth of July a couple of years ago - very good! The other time was at a class of yours I attended where your team entertained us with your "Thriller" routine - very near halloween. Cute!
Ch: Thank you - we enjoy doing it!
BW: You have stepped down from teaching your Wednesday night class at the VFW....
CH: Yes, I am now taking a sabbatical from it. I have volunteered my time for years to teach the VFW class - and have thoroughly enjoyed it - but I do have a lot of personal things to attend to. I gave it a lot of thought before my announcement to cease. I am still working with our showteam, doing gigs and fundraisers. This is important for me to continue and am pleased to know that my class is being continued. They are truly a great bunch of ladies and gents!
BW: I know how disappointed your Wednesday class attendees were when they heard you were stepping down. But they also support you and want you to be well and happy! Know that you are appreciated! Is there anything you would like to add to the interview notes?
Ch: Well, I feel fortunate to have moved to Palm Coast and to find so many nice people that love to dance. It's great! FUN!! My life's journey keeps moving and changing. Its all good - Thanks so much - Xox Charla.
BW: and thank YOU Charla :-)
Palm Coast - The DIXIE STARS