Long before the “Dancing With the Stars” phenomenon swept the nation, Dana Glandon was hooked and had waltzed her way to a successful career in ballroom dancing.
But the SouthPark resident wasn't always hot for the foxtrot. When her parents began lessons at a Fred Astaire studio in 1988, she was reluctant to join them.
“I didn't want to dance with old fogies. But finally, after a year of them asking, I went. Of course, I fell in love with it,” Glandon said.
And she loved it so much, the then-Realtor bought the franchise four months later, which she sold in 1996.
Since then, Glandon has owned and operated two more studios with her partner, Tony Prado, their current business being Queen City Ballroom. She went on to become the 2006 National Ballroom Dance champion in the International Standard Division.
Through her love affair with ballroom dancing, Glandon got her just rewards. Once 100-plus pounds overweight, the shrewd businesswoman quickstepped her way to a sleek size 4. Glandon said, “I transitioned from a very shy person to a very confident person.
“I tend to stay 20 to 30 pounds overweight,” she said. “If I have a goal to do a competition or a show, that keeps me focused to lose weight and be careful of what I eat.”
Her pride and joy
Boasting a 5,600-foot floating hardwood dance floor, two five-foot crystal chandeliers, a circular bar and a fully equipped kitchen, the elegant Queen City Ballroom is a destination for people of all ages. Her youngest student is 6, and her oldest student – her mother – is 90. “She comes every day for a lesson,” Glandon said. “She won't skip it for the world.”
In addition to classes, dance competitions, wedding receptions and parties, Queen City Ballroom also showcases its talent twice a year with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. On July 26, the “Broadway Lights” production raised $1,500. The annual holiday gala, also benefitting Make-A-Wish, is scheduled for Dec. 20.
What's the best part of her job?
“Sitting at my desk and looking out the (corner office) window and seeing all the progress that each individual has made,” Glandon said.
“It's hard to do any paperwork because I like to watch the students.”
So you think you can dance?
Or maybe not?
No worries, folks. Take a complimentary private lesson with one of her 12 instructors, and go from there. “You don't have anything to lose,” Glandon said.
“Our job is to make (people) feel comfortable and make it fun.”
From Latin, swing, shag, country-western and ballroom dancing, the sky's the limit at Queen City Ballroom.