Rick and Judy grew up in the neighboring cities of Piqua and Sidney, Ohio, however they did not meet until their senior year of high school. They each belonged to their school’s Spanish Club and the two clubs got together to take a cultural tour of Mexico just a few weeks before graduation. They learned that they had some friends in common even though they lived in different cities. They began to spend more and more time together and were married two years later while Rick was still in college in Florida.
After Rick graduated – on Judy’s birthday – they moved back to Piqua where they still reside today. Several of his co-workers started taking ballroom dance lessons, but much to Judy’s dismay, he was not at all interested. Finally, in 1997, with Christmas approaching and their daughter planning a springtime wedding, he caved and signed up for ONE session of classes with Peg Myer in Troy. Judy’s persistence paid off. Peg made learning so easy and fun that even the reluctant Rick liked it and they have been dancing ever since.
They took all of the lessons that Peg had to offer, then began to assist in her beginner and intermediate classes, learning to dance from a teacher’s perspective. Meanwhile, they also took lessons from other area instructors, which exposed them to different teaching styles. When Peg retired from teaching, Rick and Judy were in a position to seamlessly continue the business that she started, renaming it RJBallroom.
Any school teacher knows the value of continuing education and it’s no different for dance instructors. Rick and Judy make an annual trip to Brigham Young University, which has a prestigious dance program. There, they receive about thirty hours of instruction in one week. In addition to the BYU staff and assistants, the university brings in world-class dancers as guest instructors. The material and techniques available during this event are second to none. RJBallroom students benefit directly from skills Rick and Judy bring home from this event.
Being a small business with a limited geographical reach, Rick and Judy realize the importance of staying connected with and supporting their local community. Since 2012, they have been involved with charity events modeled after the TV program Dancing with the Stars. In those events, several couples, whether amateur or pro-am (using RJBallroom’s advanced students as the pros) have several weeks to learn a choreographed dance routine which they perform in front of hundreds of people and a panel of judges to compete for a mirror ball trophy. While training, they also engage in some competitive fundraising for the charity that sponsors the DWTS event for the chance to win another mirror ball trophy. Teaching dance was never their plan from the outset, but it has been and continues to be a wonderful and rewarding experience.