HAL TAKIER is one of our favorite local legends (or "old timers" as we affectionately call them).
He's an inspiration to us all when we watch him on the dance floor. Now in his 80's, he displays the agility and grace of someone in his 20's.
He's a generous dancer who enjoys sharing his expertise with the new generation of dancers. I usually see him at the Satin Ballroom with his lovely wife.
Recently, Mr. Takier was kind enough to take the time to answer my questions.
HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU STARTED DANCING?
H. --- 18 years old.
WHO WAS YOUR BEST TEACHER?
H. --- I taught myself.
WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 THINGS YOU ENJOY ABOUT DANCING?
H. --- Music that inspires me, it's good exercise, and the great friends you make and meet.
YOU LOOK EXTREMELY YOUNG FOR YOUR AGE. DO YOU THINK THAT DANCING IS THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH?
H. --- Dancing keeps you young mentally -- good genes I suppose -- and it's healthy.
MANY OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE DANCE COMMUNITY LOOK TO YOU FOR GUIDANCE AND CONSIDER YOU A ROLE MODEL. ASIDE FROM TEACHING THEM STEPS, WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU CAN SHARE WITH THEM?
H. --- Don't smoke, no drugs and limit your alcohol. Just enjoy dancing as a sport.
I UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE SOME MOVIE CREDITS...WHICH MOVIES OR TV SHOWS DID YOU PERFORM IN?
H. --- Boogie Woogie (in the early 40s)
Twice Blessed (also in the 40s)
Junior Prom (TV show with George Jessel,
Eddie Cantor & Veloz & Yolanda)
ASIDE FROM DANCING, WHAT OTHER OCCUPATION DID YOU HAVE?
H. --- Industrial rubber manufacturing.
YOU'VE HAD SOME EXCITING DANCE MOMENTS IN YOUR LIFE, WHICH ONE WAS THE HIGHLIGHT?
H. --- Dancing and performing at the Palomar Ballroom with Artie Shaw and his band (1939) and 6 months in Australia.
CAN ANYONE BECOME A GREAT DANCER WITH PRACTICE, OR IS IT A NATURAL ABILITY THAT HAS TO FIRST COME FROM WITHIN?
H. --- I believe it takes a lot of natural ability. I don't feel you can teach rhythm. I believe you can teach someone the steps, but if they don't have natural rhythm, they will be mechanical.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO KNOW THAT THE DANCING STYLES OF YOUR YOUTH ARE BACK?
H. --- I think it's great and I'm really proud of these kids for learning it and realizing there's more to dancing than what kids have been doing for so long. We have never stopped swinging.
WHAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT QUALITY FOR A DANCE PARTNER?
H. --- Her ability, her posture and good execution. One must compliment the other. Her ability to follow.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE BIG BAND OF ALL TIME?
H. --- Benny Goodman's band.
YOUR WIFE ENJOYS DANCING TOO. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO BE ABLE TO DANCE WITH YOUR LIFE PARTNER?
H. --- Very important, you both have something in common to share.
WHICH DANCE STYLE IS YOUR FAVORITE AND YOUR SPECIALTY?
H. --- Swing or Lindy Hop and Balboa.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING WHEN YOU'RE NOT DANCING?
H. --- Golf.