We had the good fortune of connecting with Walter Hayes and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Walter, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
We live in a Technology driven age. Things are becoming more and more automated. We are losing a lot of human interaction. Covid-19 caused an even greater divide within people. Social Distancing is the “New Normal”. On the contrast, Social Dancing has always been a pivotal part of cultures around the world. Prehistoric peoples have gathered around campfires to tell the stories of nature, the stories of triumphs, and their stories of tragedy. Dance goes hand and hand with music. Dance soon evolved into theater and acting. The arts are part of the human experience. As we become a more automated and distanced society, we cannot afford to lose this means of expression and interaction. It is my mission to keep the arts alive. Every partnership dance has a unique origin and cultural significance. By educating all ages about dance, we keep those cultural histories alive.

I love seeing people express themselves through dance. A body is motion, giving life to the music they are hearing. That is so beautiful! When a Leader can confidently sweep his/her follow off his/her feet; that is a very rewarding feeling. It is a gift and my pleasure to teach others how to do that for themselves.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I was raised in Tennessee. It is my goal to teach everyone “The Tennessee Waltz”. I love the gracefulness of the Waltz. I imagine myself as a Duke or Baron at a lavish party. My partner and I in the center of the dance floor twirling and stepping in time with the music. Our bodies swaying back and forth as we rise and fall like the tides. We command the attention and respect of all foreign dignitaries and delegates. Our skill signifies our social and political standing. Our waltz is to celebrate the peace between our kingdoms.

Hours later, the pomp and circumstance has ended. Libations pour. The “real party” begins. My partner and I have retired our crowns and gowns. We are now sleek and sexy. The music becomes more sultry. We share the dance floor with more couples, but my partner is the only one I see. Our dance is full of passion and intensity. Our Dance is closer, more intimate. We tango dramatically: every flick and drag, flirtatious, borderline scandalous. All eyes on me as I seduce my partner, teasing of a forbidden love. Mouths gawk as we finish with a dip that is a prelude to the after-party.

Years have passed. Our love has grown stronger through our partnership through dance. We don’t need a gala event to have fun. I see my partner outside, tending the small garden. Sweat glistens, highlighting the beauty I see. I spy an small radio playing American Top 40 hits. I grab my partner for a swing dance. We laugh and play in the sunshine. We simply enjoy ourselves as our bodies bounce and hearts pump. We are not be as young as we once were, but our hearts are filled with joy; the joy of having someone special to share our years with.

Every dance invokes a different feeling or picture story. My joy is creating that image for my students and helping create their own dance memories through recitals and competitions. Many people grew up with dance, but adulting has caused them to redirect their energies. Some clients have lost their “forever partner”. However dancing with me keeps the memory of their lost love alive. They can smile again thinking about the fun they shared. Those are but a few of the benefits I game from being a Ballroom Instructor. I benefit by helping my clients find joy through dancing. We have a motto that I live by: “Life’s Better When You Dance!”

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Pre-Covid Atlanta was a wellspring of entertainment. It was not hard to find a place playing live music. There was always a party somewhere… The world is starting to get back to equilibrium. One of my favorite places to go is Sanctuary of Saturday nights for Salsa and Bachata dancing. It is a diverse crowd with two levels and two dance floors. It is great fun to Salsa into the wee hours.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Fred Astaire Dance Studio is the avenue I have chosen to further my dance goals. They have the Name Recognition of Old Hollywood. I love the movie magic and glee their name inspires. Classic Black and White films and then Roaring Technicolor have inspired the glamorous dreams of so many. I am honored to count myself among their ranks. There are countless dance studios across the country, but each one is different. Fred Astaire has a clear syllabus of popular dance steps of numerous of dances. However, dance steps don’t equal dancing. Fred Astaire’s great teachers and coaches are educated in the latest techniques and stylish changes. Though most dances have a deep history, they can still evolve to a new form by applying elements from other dances. They can become interrelated and drive students to new heights of expression.

Website: https://www.fredastaire.com/atlanta-midtown/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fadsatlantamidtown/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FADSAtlantaMidtown

Image Credits
Toby Rhinehart http://tobyr.com/about-me/ Melba Mullings Rani and Thomas Hamilton

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.