This is part of a series of Dancer Spotlights to show how someone got into dancing.
Richard is a dance historian who teaches Social Dance at Stanford and at workshops around the world. When young, Richard did not dance and pursued a career in engineering. He even held eight patents. At age 27, he got into movement through Tai Chi, which he was taking to perfect Asian calligraphy. After discovering movement, he wanted more and tried dancing. Here is some of Richard’s calligraphy:
Richard first tried several different dances — Contra, Folk, and Historic. In Historic Dance, Richard combined his love for history, music, and dancing. So he started his own performance company right away. Taking himself as an example, Richard finds that when people get into dancing later in life, they often become even more enthusiastic right away as though to make up for lost time.
After developing his interest in Historic Dances, Richard soon found his love for partnered dances of the 19th century. Since not much scholarly work was being done for this era of dance, Richard learned how to research dances from Dr. Ingrid Brainard and applied her guidelines. He found a plethora of undiscovered material and currently owns the largest collection of dance manuals in the world — larger than the Library of Congress and Bibliothèque Nationale combined!
When asked for one word to describe what dancing means to him, Richard chose: multidimensional. “Every person who loves social dancing loves it for a different reason. Or maybe they like it for four different reasons and love it four times as much.”