Strictly Ballroom

A lesson in the love of dance from Sheila Davis

Sheila Davis DancerYou’ve seen her at social events and in the pages of all the local magazines. But she’s fast becoming known around town for her twirling, fancy footwork and gorgeous costumes. Sheila Davis loves ballroom dancing and says nothing other than her children has ever given her greater joy.

What does she love most about ballroom dancing? For starters, dancing makes her happy.

“It is great fun and keeps me in decent shape, all while having the time of my life,” she says. “I have met some of the most loving, caring and passionate people around the world whom I would otherwise never have met – many have become my ‘dance family’ and I feel truly blessed.”

Davis fell hard for ballroom on a cruise ship three years ago and says it’s been her passion ever since. After returning to Naples she began social lessons. Soon, she was hooked.

“Naples has several dance studios which offer private and group lessons and many also host weekly dance parties for students and guests alike – social dancing is great fun and it’s a wonderful place to meet others with similar interests,” she says. “When in Naples, I train at DanceLife of SWFL Studio where studio owner Lori Foehr is fabulous and goes above and beyond welcoming everyone into the studio.”

Another of Davis’ favorite studios is Naples Performing Arts Center, where she says studio owner and Juilliard alum, Lori Oliver offers separate schools of dance, drama, music and the Naples Film School for student of all ages. Davis is also known for her costumes.

“All of my dresses are custom made by an amazing team of designers using beautiful fabrics and Swarovski stones,” she says.

She competes in all four styles of ballroom dancing, including American Rhythm, American Smooth, International Latin and International Ballroom. Each requires a specific costume style.

“Rhythm (cha cha, rumba, swing, bolero, mambo) dresses are fun, flirty, colorful with beaded fringe or ruffles which gives great movement on the floor, while smooth (waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz) dresses are fitted with usually a wider skirt allowing for skirt manipulation by the lady that’s part of the choreography, allowing better movement and fluidity on the floor,” she says. “Latin (cha cha, samba, rumba, paso doble and jive) dresses are classical longer with asymmetrical hemlines usually without ruffles while standard (waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz, quickstep) gowns have full, multilayered ballgown skirts made from beautiful fabrics such as organza, satin, feathers and tulle with amazing detail. Many have complex floats which are attached to the gown. Very Cinderella.”

Davis says no costume would be complete without dance shoes. Her personal favorite Latin and rhythm shoes are Aida, handmade in Russia and worn by most World and U.S. Champions.

Interested audiences can watch Davis compete at major dance championships around the country. She recently completed filming the reality TV show Ballroom Blitz for TLC which aired in Europe, Asia, Russia and the United States.

“Locally, you might find me at Johnny and Lisa PerMar’s (Naples Performing Arts Center) social dance gatherings which are fabulously fun,” says Davis.

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