Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

This Duo Has Danced Their Way to the Top - Twice

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

This Duo Has Danced Their Way to the Top - Twice

Article excerpt

Byline: BRANDIS JEST

Winning the 2008 United States Pro/Am Smooth National Championship was all too familiar for John Glessner and Susan Walden.

With a combined dance experience of almost 50 years, they took the center stage and defended their title - again.

As two-time undefeated national champions, Glessner and Walden would take first place in the American Rhythm/Smooth category, American Style 9 Dance and overall as grand champions.

And no matter how many times they win, the thrill is always there.

"It's a very exhilarating and exciting experience," Glessner said, "You get to see the fruits of your labor ... to be recognized as the top is pretty great!"

Glessner and Walden met nine years ago. If Walden wasn't partnered with her husband during classes, Glessner was her partner. "We kind of just worked into it," Walden said, recalling how they became partners. Soon they would begin traveling the nation and performing in American ballroom competitions.

When Walden isn't serving as chief financial officer and executive vice president of Miller Electric Co., she's dancing. Walden considers it "part of my daily life."

As for Glessner, "I get paid to do what I love." So, if you think you can't dance, Glessner can provide the perfect remedy. Established in 2000, Glessner's Avondale Dance Directions is located at 1650-5 Hamilton Ave. It's also where the dance champs practice for eight to nine hours a week.

Currently, Glessner and Walden are competing in the First Coast Classic Dancesport Championship, which is taking place this weekend in St. Augustine. After that, they are preparing for the televised Ohio Start Ball, where last year they opened the event with a solo foxtrot.

They were judged on connection, frame, posture, speed, timing, alignment and grooming. The event was Sept. 2-6 at Universal Orlando. For more information on the dance duo or Avondale Dance Directions, visit www.avondaledance.net or call (904) 384-8324.

Here's more good news:

- Twenty-seven Duval County Public Schools students were recently honored as National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. …

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