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June 8, 2013

NOT LATE TO THE DANCE: Weber School of Dance turns 65

Event planned for Sunday at Floyd Central

JEFFERSONVILLE — When Bette Weber Flock started a dance studio with her brother Bill Weber in 1948, the goal was to teach the best dance they could and pass along their knowledge.

After 65 years of business, Flock said Weber School of Dance accomplished and continue to accomplish that goal.

“Our attitude at the time was ‘why not?’ It’s what we wanted to do with our lives,” Flock said. “We had already established ourselves as dancers, as performers and as educators.”

The studio originally started out in three different locations — New Albany, Jeffersonville and St. Matthews, Ky. Weber and Flock acted as a “brother/sister duo.” Weber passed away several years ago, but Flock continues doing what she loves.

“It’s been a part of my life for so many years, I’ve never really had the desire to do anything else,” she said.

Flock began dancing when she was about 6 years old and said she’s continued dancing for about 75 years. She and her brother studied with studios in Louisville during high school, then New York, and Flock went on to study in California as well.

“I actually started dance on a whim after a dance teacher came to town ... I decided to take the classes and Bill had to walk me to class,” Flock said. “He would sit and watch the class and our love for dance and our partnership blossomed from there.”

The duo taught ballroom dancing at New Albany High School and were charter members of the Louisville Ballet.

“We were very connected to the ballet for about 15 years,” she said. “That was really the only place doing classical ballet.”

Flock said classical music was what she fell in love with. Overall, she said dance is “a way of self-expression.” Over the years of memories, Flock said one of her personal favorites was dancing with Alexandra Danilova, a very famous prima ballerina.

“Every recital is a vivid memory — every child is a little different and develops differently,” Flock said. “All my memories are beautiful — just working with great kids who want to be there.”

The growth of the studio has been steady over the many years since it opened. Flock said she has seen a continuous evolution.

“It’s really up to the successors to keep the tradition going on — same as after Bill passed,” she said.

Flock said dance not only assists with poise, grace and posture, but helps to build confidence and express opinions.

“With any profession, lessons can be taken from dance — working together, determination, dedication, sequence, among other little things,” she said.

Another partner in this business is Paula Merrill, who started out as Weber’s student and also attended Flock’s studio in Jeffersonville. Eventually, Flock asked Merrill if she was interested in teaching and she has been involved since then.

“I guess she’s been here about 19 years or something,” Flock said. “Once you’re hooked, you’re hooked.”

One of the great parts of her job, Flock said, is getting the chance to see her students grow up and keep in touch.

“So many students are now performers, or dancers, or teachers. It’s great to see how they’ve done in their lives,” she said.

Although there is no one act that keeps a studio running for 65 years, Flock said the main secret is having a passion for your art.

“You have to love what you do — teaching and children,” she said. “I love seeing the sparkle in their eyes when they achieve.”

Weber School of Dance’s 65th Anniversary Recital will be held at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 9, at Floyd Central High School.

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