One balmy Michigan day in 1983 my wife, Michelle, was teaching an advanced ballet class with girls in black leotards, pink tights, pink pointe shoes, and hair coiffed in a tight buns. She noticed this stately looking gentleman watching her teach and assumed it was a Dad she had not yet met.
It turned out to be Gary Clark, a coach from a local rink, who, along with teaching partner Diana Roynane, wanted to check out Michelle. They were looking for a strong ballet teacher to come to the Ice Box training center to instruct all of their top level figure skaters. I was still dancing professionally and on tour in Florida at this time.
When I called home after the evening’s performance Michelle said, "You won’t believe this. But the strangest thing happened today."
Little did we know, that with two small girls and one little boy soon to be born, that our lives would take this never to be dreamed of turn of events.
BTW, I do believe in serendipitous moments. I want to encourage all to look for the signs, to be brave and when you do fall down, first put one blade on the ice then one hand on you knee and stand up. We all fall down, after all.
While on a break from touring I went with Michelle to the rink to take her ballet class with some up and coming national level ice dancers. This team of skaters, coached by Sandy Hess and Peter Dalby, would catapult us eventually to the Olympics and the Broadmoor World Arena where our lives were forever changed by the legendary Carlo and Christa Fassi. Sandy and Peter asked us to show them some lifts ballet dancers do. They were so excited to see these new and innovative ideas they had never seen before. They asked us if Michelle would be their ballet teacher and if I would come work with their ice dancers in the summer when my dance company was on break.
Michelle and I will always be grateful to Gary Clark, Diana Roynane, Sandy Hess and Peter Dalby for opening our eyes to the most beautiful and exciting sport of figure skating.
The session is over and the Zamboni is coming out.