We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Mark Moy a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Mark thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Can you talk to us about a project that’s meant a lot to you?
Being on the board of directors for 3 years and then being elected president of the prestigious Mayfair Dance Club. This is a club that started in Austin in 1940 and is still ongoing. Serving as president has allowed me to guide the club forward through the pandemic and loss of members to rebranding and reinvigorating in today’s age while maintaining the tradition, character, and decor of our black tie events. This has been one of the most rewarding endeavors of my professional carreer.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I am a dance professional in partner dance styles, which means that I perform, judge, choreograph, teach, coach, and mentor other professional and amateur dancers in Ballroom, Latin, and Swing-based dances. I did not grow up dancing and was not formally trained in dance until I was in my 20’s when I first started discovered dance at a studio in South Africa and used it as a means of physical and emotional therapy from combat injuries I sustained in 1990. I continued training and started dancing professionally a few years later before I began teaching. I no longer dance professionally, prefering to dance in Pro/Am competitions with my students who are judged against other amateur dancers in their age and skill level or judged in their proficiency. I instruct all levels of dancers from strict beginners to high-level competitors. I really enjoy working with couples preparing for their wedding dance or those just wanting to improve their social dance skills.
For you, what’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative?
The most rewarding aspect of teaching dance is being able to witness the progress of those learning from me. Sometimes it is the pleasure of watching a youth dancer aquire new skills in technique, other times I get to be a contributor to a new-found confidence in someone who has struggled in a social environment. Beyond all the well-documented physical and cognitive benefits of dance, I still just enjoy being a part of the growth in individuals who have entrusted me with teaching them.
Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?
I did not come from a dance background when I started seriously studying dance. My university degree is in Political Science and I served in the U.S. Army and later in the Intelligence Community. Martial Arts was my primary interest during this time period. When I began dance training, I went in disadvantaged with no former dance experience and combat injuries. In addition, I was also a decade older than my contemporaries. I credit my military training with the necessary resiliance to achieve most of the benchmarks despite my handicaps and ultimately obtain the required skills for examination and conferrment of a degree in dance. I was able to overcome the challenges of changing careers in a discipline that required many hours of training and coaching and suceed in not only working as a dance professional, but also acquiring the business skills to own and operate dance studios.