Dancing to the stars
By Doris Christelis
Southborough – Dan Radler makes it all sound so easy. A native and resident of Southborough, Radler is a professional ballroom dancer who has won countless national and international awards, thanks to his skill on the dance floor.
To hear him talk about his passion for dance, and to watch him fly across the floor, it all seems so natural. Yet as with everything, natural ability is only part of it. Radler has worked arduously on perfecting his talent for over 20 years. And ironically, he almost didn’t even become a ballroom dancer.
The owner of Ballroom Dance New England began his career as a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was also one of the founding members of the famous MIT ballroom dance club.
“I actually started dancing to meet women, as there was a dearth of them at MIT. When I gave up varsity tennis because it took too much time away from my classes, I took up dancing and it became my competitive outlet,” Radler explained.
While still at MIT, Radler met his first professional partner at a dance at Wellesley College.
“Soon after we went to see a local ballroom dance competition in Boston and enjoyed it so much, we decided to begin competing and immediately started doing well,” Radler said.
After graduating from MIT, Radler worked as an architect for four years while he remained an amateur, but after winning the United States amateur title twice, he decided to turn professional.
Radler’s father was “aghast” at the idea of his son turning professional.
“He was not convinced that I could make a living dancing. Part of my decision to turn pro at that time was to show him it wasn’t just a frivolous hobby,” Radler said.
He and his partner were instantly thrust into the spotlight of professional dancing when they won the United States Rising Star title just one week after turning pro.
Radler went on to compete for 12 years as a professional, and among his many accomplishments represented the United States four times in the World Professional Ballroom Dance Championships and was a finalist at United States Ballroom Championships 11 times.
He continues to compete in Pro-Am events with his students, is also an exhibition dancer for shows and events, and judges dance competitions.
Today, Radler and his wife Deirdre compete as partners. Deirdre saw Radler dancing on PBS’s “America’s Ballroom Challenge” and went to him for lessons. They fell in love, got married, began dancing together competitively and have since won many Pro- Am titles.
In addition to dancing, Radler is the author of “How a Dance Competition is Judged,” which has been translated into 15 languages and is considered by many the concise authority on this subject. He has also appeared in, as well as choreographed, dozens of television shows and commercials both in the United States and Europe.
When asked about his reaction to shows like “Dancing With the Stars,” Radler says he loves them and has even coached some of the competitors on “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Radler coaches all levels of dancers, aspiring and amateur in his Southborough studio. He can be contacted at 617-455-5555 or at Danradler@aol.com.
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