Dear Dancetime Friends:
The one year anniversary of my mother’s death was May 17, 2014. Mom brought me to a dance studio in 1976 where I was hired to train and teach social partner dancing. The dancing I have shared is my tribute to her. I am semi-retiring after 37 1/2 years of dancing, dance teaching, owning and operating an Independent dance instructor business for 18 years plus owning/operating a dance studio for 16+ years. My mom was my dance muse!
I had contemplated, for quite some time, the idea of closing the Pattie Wells’ Dancetime Center. I had a dream to pursue new passions of writing, photography (videotaping) and traveling. I decided to close my business while things were still going well. I still very much enjoy teaching dance in private dance lessons but had lost my passion for running a storefront dance business. I have enjoyed following my passion for dance including: private lesson students, dance classes and all the wonderful dancing friends I have met the last 37+ years!
The facility at West Morena Blvd. has re-opened with a brand new business, The Movement Dance Center.
I have moved my lessons to Dance For 2 studio in Kearny Mesa and will still teach a private lessons weekly but will spend most of my time on some new projects, which include finishing my novel in progress and a project to expand the Dancetime.com into a global dance resource. I have moved all the Pattie Wells’ Dancetime activities and teachers, except for a few rentals to Dance For 2 studio.
Last summer, both of my parents became quite ill and were on hospice care at home. They both passed away within six weeks of each other the summer of 2013. Losing both of my parents made me reflect on my life. I realized that I had lost my passion for running a storefront business, dance studio. I felt a certain responsibility to my employees, staff, teachers, renters, dance community, etc. but after both Brandon Detty and David Nguyen went on to fulfilling careers in the computer industry and that everyone associated with Dancetime would be okay, I began to contemplate making a big change in my own life and a way to pursue my new passions!
Owning a dance studio has been an incredible experience. In the beginning, I was curious to see if I could work with dance teachers, dancers, employees and focus myself to one storefront business. At times it was a struggle but overall it has been a rewarding experience. About every ten years, I had contemplated leaving the dance business (classes, parties, events) and then would decide to stay for various reasons including working on Dancetime.Com, videotaping dance, blogging, writing content for the website and learning a lot about online marketing and social media with a lot of guidance from Bill Bacellar. These learning experiences kept me busy and interested as I was learning something new.
Ten years ago, I decided to continue operating the Dancetime Center, so I could go back to study at San Diego State University under the mentorship of a world renowned poet, Ilya Kaminsky, and other amazing writers and poets. I hired Independent Contractor teachers to teach the dance classes and host dance parties, employees to do the office work and a wonderful studio manager, Diane Stumph.
At the same time, I began to mentor some trainees including David Nguyen in 2004. I had major surgery in 2005 but still managed to finish graduate school and study at the International University of Galway, Ireland for one month in 2006. It was shortly after finishing my Masters in Fine Arts, Creative Writing that I agreed to mentor Brandon Detty (2009). We all know what an amazing contribution to the Dancetime Center that both David and Brandon made including the things like the creation of databases, constructing computer systems, building the website, arranging for a business sign, performing, videos and their endless support of my dance studio. Many others have made huge contributions to the Pattie Wells’ Dancetime Center like Jamie Hanrahan, who put together and maintained Dancetime’s audio and early computer systems. Many other people come to mind like Milt Beard, handyman for us for years, too many to include all here.
I did a lot of soul searching before reaching the decision to close the Pattie Wells’ Dancetime Center. I started teaching dance November 1976, 37 years ago last November. In 1980, I went into business for myself after being manager of a dance studio, the Sunshine Ballroom Dance Studio in Pt. Loma for a few years.
In 1983, I started the progressive dance class system in San Diego. I started the Jitterbug Club San Diego with a small group of volunteers on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1984. The Jitterbug Club celebrated its 30th year anniversary on Sunday, March 16, 2014!
For 18 years from 1980 until 1998, I taught dancing all over San Diego county, at times renting four or five facilities at the same time, as well as teaching at San Diego State University, Grossmont College and Southwestern College as adjunct faculty in the Music and Dance Departments.
Sixteen years ago, on January 5, 1998, I started the Pattie Wells’ Dancetime Center moving into the Morena location with 250 students I was teaching along with my best friend, Lucky Pahl. Lucky has been the most important single person at the core of the Dancetime Center and my life generally. It has been a wonderful journey spreading dance to people all over San Diego county and beyond!
I have been blessed to own and run my own business for 34 years, originally Dance Instruction by Pattie Wells, and a storefront dance studio for 16 years. Besides all the wonderful people I have met, it has made it possible for me to write half a novel, finish a poetry manuscript and 1/3 of a book of Italian poetry translations. I have also published half a dozen poems, 3 Italian poem translations and a short story in highly regarded literary magazines. A few years ago, I was solicited by the Irene Goodman literary agency to send 50 pages of my work in progress to them after they read my short story in the literary magazine ZYZZYVA! I plan to pursue a career as a writer, poet, website content writer and blogger. This will include finishing my novel, writing website content, blogging, finishing my Italian poetry translation (Eugenio Montale) and sending my poetry manuscript out for publication.
I am grateful to have owned a business that made it possible for me to travel all over Europe, Hawaii and to Jamaica and to live in Galway, Ireland for a month studying at the International University Galway, Ireland!
Some of you know that my parents passed away within six weeks of each in the summer of 2013. It has been the most difficult time in my life. At times, I felt I could not go on without them but found compassion, empathy, support and friendship from many of my friends at Dancetime. I am deeply grateful and thankful to have you in my life!
During this last half year, I remembered that it was my mother that dragged me into a dance studio in 1976 and that they hired me that night, 37 1/2 years ago. She also recited lines from the famous Italian poet Dante to me and sang Italian operas, took me to violin lessons, taught me many things about the world and introduced me to most of the things I loved most in my life including art, music (violin), poetry, literature, etc. She took me by the hand into dancing and many times I took her by the hand leading her through jitterbug, waltz and West Coast swing. I was able to hold her hand in her last years too. With her passing, I haven’t felt like dancing much now that she is gone. It is as if my dancing muse disappeared. I hope, in time, my lifelong love of dancing will return.
While my mother was in transition (preparing to die) for a week, I sat by her bedside and held her hand, chattering about all kinds of things. I promised her I would finish my novel and dedicate it to her, so that is my goal, to fulfill my promise to her. I know she would have wanted me to be happy. She always encouraged me to pursue my passions. This thought sustains me. I know that she lives on through me and those whose lives she touched. It seems at times that she is nearby, tapping me on the shoulder telling me to get to work or wake up, maybe she will once again be my inspiration to rediscover my love of dancing.
Thank you, I am grateful to all of you for the support, friendship and love that you have shared with me and for being part of an amazing dance community!
With love and affection,
P.S. I hope you will come by and visit me and the Dancetime teachers, students and friends at Dance For 2 studio in Kearny Mesa where I moved the Pattie Wells’ Dancetime Center.