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January 23, 2007 > Dancing artistry

Dancing artistry

By Steve Warga

Back in the early days of the 20th century, a young man, shy and slender, was introduced to dancing in New York City. That fellow, name of Arthur Murray, found in dancing, a means to express himself in a bold, self-confident way. He then conceived the notion of sharing his enthusiasm with common folk by teaching some basic dance steps. His mail order diagrams of various foot positions sold over 500,000 copies before he opened his first studio. With this impetus, and thanks to Hollywood's once great sense of entertainment, the art of dancing fell within reach of millions in Murray studios, and others, worldwide.

When young Daisey Aydelott first saw the movie Dirty Dancing, she was hooked. But it wasn't cute and spoiled Baby, played by Jennifer Grey that snagged Daisey's 10-year old imagination, she identified with Jake. The San Francisco native didn't want to be Jake, played by Patrick Swayze, She wanted to be what he was in the film: a dance instructor.

Without knowing or understanding it back then, the girl who liked what the guy on film was doing had just experienced the good fortune of discovering what would be the most rewarding expression of her inner self she could hope to find. She was latching onto a dream of doing what she was best-suited to accomplish by virtue of her genetic traits, her learning, her experiences and her personal desires. In short, Daisey found a personal creative outlet in the art of dancing.

Not long ago, ballroom dancing was reserved almost entirely for those living on society's upper crust. But the appeal of such graceful movement, a lovely lady and a handsome man arm-in-arm, simply could not be kept in such restricted quarters forever. Who could deny the romance of sweeping across a polished and gleaming dance floor in tux and tails or gowns and heels with all the panache of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers?

Once Hollywood began mass distribution of films depicting photogenic faces and movements, fluid and natural, seemingly surreal, class barriers were shattered. Women of all ages, shapes and stations in life simply had to do it too; and if women wanted to dance, than a few smart fellows figured they'd better learn too! It might be considered prissy or sissy by some, but dancing is an art form that requires great strength, stamina and poise...and remains a sure-fire way to meet and woo a woman or two, if you're so inclined.

She is Daisey Lynam today, but while still an Aydelott, it was her parents' mutual love of music and movement that sparked the girl's interest. She took lessons as a teen, and enjoyed ballroom dances before packing up for college and the study of accounting. Her early learning enabled the young woman to land a well-paying job crunching numbers while still pursuing her studies. The extra cash went almost entirely to feed a fire burning within. "I spent it all on dance lessons!" she cheerfully admits today.

She finally realized accounting wasn't her cup of tea. "I was so miserable! I dreaded going to work every day. I realized I didn't really want to spend my life as an accountant."

Reactions at home weren't very positive, Daisey relates. "I thought my parents were going to kill me! I told them, 'I'm quitting everything. I'm quitting school, I'm quitting my job. I'm going to be a dance teacher.'"

Her parents, now enthusiastic advocates of Daisey's career, never got around to killing their daughter but were not early supporters. Even so, this girl's dream would not be denied. On her third application, Daisey was accepted into an Arthur Murray training program where she prepared to work as a fully certified instructor. This was what she'd wanted since Dirty Dancing days, but it turned out to be only the start for her. The dream grew from there.

With the same dedication and intensity of all world-class athletes, Daisey tackled competitive ballroom dancing. Working through countless hours of practice; studying under every coach or instructor who could help her excel; seizing every chance to perform; working her dream job all the while; Daisey plunged into perfecting world-class style and grace with fellow instructor Chris Lynam, her first and only competition partner. Oh, and he's working out real well as her husband too!

Now in their second year of matrimony, the partners have been dancing together - and winning numerous competitions around the country - since 1999. Even while operating the thriving Arthur Murray franchise in Hayward, this couple devotes 25-30 hours every week to practicing their moves. The hard work is paying off as they are considered legitimate contenders for this year's United States Ballroom Championship title, awarded annually after a series of fiercely competitive performances in front of a panel of judges. The nationals are held every year (September this year) in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Daisey's drive to excel has aided her business endeavors as well. Devotion to her love of instructing led to a remarkable achievement in 2003 when she became the youngest franchise owner in Arthur Murray history. And her parents who worried their daughter had lost her marbles helped fund the initial investment. Daisey says she was so scared she cried for a solid hour after signing the papers.

Not to worry, though; this was one case of buyer's remorse entirely unwarranted. With Chris standing by her side, the Hayward location is currently the third-strongest Arthur Murray "school" in the world! It should come as no surprise that Daisey is now aiming for Number One.

Bright, energetic and ambitious people like Chris and Daisey Lynam found their own self-expression thanks to Arthur Murray and have been sharing it with others ever since. As Daisey says in her resume, "My objective is to teach the world to dance and laugh and smile doing it!"

Arthur Murray Dance Studio
22445 Foothill Blvd., Hayward
(510) 537-8706

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