Ballroom Dancing 4 by jlhd32


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   ENTERTAINMENT                                                                              THIS SECRET
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                                                                                             CY-FAIR FOLKS
                                                                                                 OF EVERY
                                                                                                  AGE AND

                  Ballroom D
                                                                                            ARE LEARNING
                                                                                            TO BALLROOM

        written by STEPHANIE DONOVAN
photography by DEB COLSON and SUZI ISSA

                                                                                          Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya
                                                                                                      from Dancing with the Stars
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Most attribute the nationwide gain in ballroom dancing popularity
to hit shows such as Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You
Can Dance. But, what you may not know is that the Cy-Fair area can
now claim a world-champion ballroom dancing duo in its midst who
are ready to help even the most novice of steppers learn how to tango
with the best of them.

By the time Hunter and Maria Johnson moved into their Blackhorse
Ranch home in February 2006, the pair had already raked in an
impressive list of dancing accolades. The two met in California after
dancing separately for several years. Maria had trained as a ballet
dancer for more than a decade prior to finding ballroom. Hunter
graduated from Waller High School in 1989 and stepped into dancing
with entirely different motives in mind. “I walked in a dance studio to

take country and western lessons because I was young and wanted to
go dancing at bars and pick up girls,” admits Johnson with a grin. “I
didn’t even know what ballroom was. I got pretty good at it and they
ask me to stay around and be a teacher and that was 15 years ago.”

After marrying and competing for some time, the couple realized
California was not where they wanted to raise a family and moved
to Cypress once they found out Maria was expecting. Baby Parker
was born in April 2007, and soon after Hunter and Maria competed
and won the Arthur Murray Ballroom Championship that same year.
That’s when the pair chose to step away from the high stress and
constant travel associated with competitions and stepped onto the
teaching floor instead. That teaching has also included two seasons as                                                    Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya
choreographers on the hit Fox show, So You Think You Can Dance.
When they are not helping mold amazing new talent on the small
screen, Maria and Hunter can be found introducing their passion for
dance to Cy-Fair dancing wanna-bes.
                                                                                                                                       Dancing at Arthur Murray

One visit to the couple’s Arthur Murray Dance Studio, which opened
in January 2008, and you can see that the success of ballroom dancing
lies in its broad appeal. “We have teachers, business people, people in
the oil business, and insurance agents,” explains Maria Johnson. “Most
people who come in and take dance lessons just want to be able to get
up and not make a fool of themselves. So, we cater to the social side.
And, then some come in and want to do more with the competitions.”

A principal at an HISD magnet school, Theresa Campos says
ballroom dancing has impacted her life in ways she could have never
expected. Campos was hesitant to give dancing a whirl when her
husband, Jose, suggested it. However, since January, Campos has not
only lost 25 pounds and gained more self-esteem, but she says dance
lessons impacted her job performance as well. “For me, it has actually
helped me to do my job better—dancing is a great stress reliever,” says
                                                      To advertise, call 281-579-9831 or email   CY-FAIR MAGAZINE • 59
                                                                                          Hunter Johnson with student at the
                                                                                                     Arthur Murray Studios

  Hunter and Maria Johnson dancing

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                                                   Hunter and Maria
                                                      Johnson at the
                                               Arthur Murray Studios

“Sometimes the hardest step is just
coming in the door, but once they get
in the door, then it is easy for them. It’s
not just about the dancing; it is a social
gathering.” - Hunter Johnson

                             To advertise, call 281-579-9831 or email   CY-FAIR MAGAZINE • 61
                          Ballroom dancing students
                            practicing their routines

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                                                                                                      “Dance brings absolute joy
                                                                                                          into your life. It is such a
           New students cutting a rug and
              learning to ballroom dance
                                                                                                                beautiful art form”
                                                                                                                                                - Susan Dew

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“There are very few activities that you can do as a couple and this is
one of them,” agrees Maria Johnson. “Even in tennis you can play
together, but you’re still against one another.” She adds, “Ballroom is
an activity in which you have to communicate with one another to

Already starting off on the right foot, engaged couple Andrea
Hernandez, 27, and Phil Guerrero, 32, took their first ballroom                                    LEARN TO DANCE LIKE STARS
class in June and say they liked the atmosphere immediately. “We
don’t have a first song for our wedding reception, and we want to do
                                                                                                  ARTHUR MURRAY STUDIOS
                                                                                                  (Between US 290 & Hwy. 6 next to Cy-Falls High School)
something nice,” says Hernandez. “And, they have wedding packages
                                                                                                  9521 Huffmeister Rd.
where you can have lessons a few months before the wedding.” Cindy                                Houston, TX 77095
Martin, 46, says her husband Kerry, 50, gave her the lessons as a                       
Valentine’s gift and jokes that it is “the gift that keeps on giving.”                            832-593-0090

Susan Dew started taking ballroom as an empty nester, when her
daughter, Marissa, left for college. “I got to come and do something
where I’m not somebody’s mom, somebody’s wife, somebody’s
anything,” says Dew. “It was just for me. I’m doing something that I’ve
enjoyed watching for 10 years now.”

Maria Johnson says that even those with no dancing experience
should try a class as most of her students enjoy it more as a social
activity. “I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met,” adds Maria.
“Just seeing the transformation--whether it’s someone’s weight,
their confidence, their posture--there’s so much that you can get
from ballroom dancing that you can’t sometimes put into words.”                                     Studio Owners Hunter and Maria Johnson
Her husband and dance partner, Hunter, agrees and encourages
anyone who is interested to not be shy about giving ballroom a spin.                              HUNTER AND MARIA JOHNSON
“Sometimes the hardest step is just coming in the door,” says Johnson.                            2007 Arthur Murray Ballroom Champions
“But once they get in the door, then it is easy for them. It’s not just                           2006 Open to the World Ballroom Champions
about the dancing--it is a social gathering.” CFM                                                 U.S. Open Finalist 2000-2007
                                                                                                  Featured dancers on America’s Ballroom Challenge (PBS)
STEpHANIE dONOvAN is a freelance writer living in Cypress with her husband and two kids.          Choreographers/Coaches on So You Think You Can
She has not talked her husband into taking ballroom dancing lessons... YET!                       Dance (FOX)
                                                                                                  Former Choreographer for Dancing with the Stars (ABC)
                                                                                                  Combined total of more than 30 Championship Titles

                                                                     To advertise, call 281-579-9831 or email   CY-FAIR MAGAZINE • 63

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