I was blissfully unaware that we were in troubling times. During the 1970s, New York City was a mess. The graffiti-covered buses and subways were crowded and dangerous. Drugs were everywhere and don’t even think about going to Times Square. Another indignity was that the Big Apple was broke and on the verge of filing bankruptcy. It struggled with financial problems caused by the mass exodus of families to the suburbs.
To learn more about this turbulent era, please check out this stunning collection of photos from 1970s NYC.
Those were difficult days.
At the time I was starting my career in ballroom dancing. I worked at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Manhattan at 5th Ave and 55th St. Having grown up on Long Island, I was like a kid in a candy shop in ‘the city’. To be sure, you had to have your wits about you when you went out. Above all, it’s always good to pay attention to your surroundings. To tell the truth, except for the Great Blackout of 1977, I didn’t sense any real trouble. On the whole, NYC was a little slice of heaven and my own personal playground.
However, many businesses were suffering. In spite of this, business at the dance studio was booming. It was a big school with a staff of between 15-20 instructors, so we needed a lot of new students. And, we had them. How is it that a dance studio could do so well when other business failed? I’ll say it again, in times of trouble, we need to dance.
What’s the secret, boss?
The studio owner had a good explanation for our success when others were suffering tremendous losses. He said that when people are living in difficult times or feel pain in their lives, it’s human nature to look for something to make themselves feel good. Believe me, it was hard-times in NYC at the time. And, when you think about it, a ballroom dance studio is a place filled with music, dancing, touching, smiles, good friends, and caring instructors. Hang out there and you’re gonna feel good.
Things are no different today. Isn’t it true that we’ve all got difficult issues of one kind or another? It’s not hard to fall into a funk when things go wrong. Don’t do it! Come on in and bask in the easy elegance of ballroom dancing. And, if you choose a studio that does theme parties, all the better. Read Dance Safari’s post, “Theme Parties by the Decade for Ballroom Dancers” for some ideas.
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