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Article released in "Newberg Graphic" newspaper
July 2008
"Dancer Will Glide Across The Ballroom Floor"

Annie Gerlicher will participate in pro-amateur dance competition next month

By Laurent Bonczijk


Backward, forward, sideways she moves across the glaming floor with grace and poise.

Annie Gerlicher, a Newberg resident who will be a sophomore at Veritas School this fall, is a ballroom dancer and will compete August 1st in the Seattle Star Ball. In dance parlance this is a Pro/Am competition; one of the two dancers is a professional while the other is an amateur.

Gerlicher will dance with her teacher, Chad Brooks. "I've been dancing since January," Gerlicher said. A former ballerina, she was introduced to The Ballroom Dance Company in Tigard by a friend.

Ballroom dancing is a whole different game than ballet. "It's a lot harder to work with somebody than dancing by yourself," she said. The key is to "think on your feet" and understand what the lead wants."

Gerlicher will compete in two different dances -- the Paso Doble and the Samba. Paso Doble, Spanish for "two-steps" is a stylized representation of a bullfight. The lead represents the matador, Gerlicher explained, while at times her dancing represents the cape, the sword or even the bull itself. Samba is a lively Brazilian dance with a distinctive bounce. It originated in the early 20th century and is performed to Samba music.

Gerlicher practices three days a week at least two hours at a time. She attends a mix of private and small group lessons. Because ballroom dancing is a sport that doesn't attract many boys, she and the other teen girls practice both roles for every dance. She finds it a strength because dancing the lead role helps in following.

Private lessons emphasize learning her routine for the Seattle Star Ball, her posture and "how I look on the floor," she said. The group classes are to learn steps and work on technique as well.

Gerlicher said she was attracted to Paso Doble because of the energy and that "you have to act into the part." She picked Samba because she was more familiar with the style than other Latin dances such as the cha cha or rumba.

While it will be her first time competing, Gerlicher said she isn't stressed out about it. "It just seems like I'm going out there and dancing like I do during practice," she said of the competition

On August 1, she will achieve what she had set out to accomplish when she first began attending classes: "I just wanted to get better and eventually compete."