Country Dancing

From Ballet Shoes to Boots


In the first article I wrote for CCM, I explained my dance background. This month I want to delve into how my ballet experience has formed me into the line dancer and teacher I am today.

My first love of dance came in the ritual of ballet. I was entranced by the grace, structure, and technique of the steps. When I was 13 years old, I was a member of a ballet company that was invited to dance at Convention Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. For a young girl from a small town in western PA, that was a big deal. I danced and taught this beautiful art through the following four decades, retiring my ballet shoes in 2013. I still miss it to this day!

Throughout my previous 28 years of teaching line dance, some people would comment that I was a graceful dancer. I didn’t really understand what they meant by that, because to me, I needed to dance ballet to show that skill. It wasn’t until I was at the Dallas Bull in 2018 that I understood what they saw. During the intermediate lesson, I watched a group review a line dance that was previously taught there; when they danced it to music, one particular lady stood out from all the others. You know why? Because she was so graceful!

When the class was over, I approached her to say that I enjoyed watching her dance and explained how she helped me to understand how line dancing can indeed be graceful. We introduced ourselves and I was pleasantly surprised to find out she was not only a dancer, but also a teacher and choreographer! I’ve taught several of Donna Manning’s dances over the years; there’s a lot to choose from, so here’s one of my favorites:


When I went back home to Ohio, I set a goal for myself to learn that dance they did in Florida at The Bull. The choreography is intricate and I don’t know if I’ll ever teach it in any of my classes; however, I love to dance it because it reminds me of my ballet memories while dancing in boots! If you want to check it out, here’s the link:


PHOTO: Dori Yez in her first ballet performance on “pointe” in 1974 (left) and her final performance on “pointe” in 1983 (right).

Once these establishments are permitted to open again, Dori Yez hopes to continue teaching Country Line Dancing on Mondays at Rolling Mills Bar in Girard, Ohio and at the Cortland Ohio SCOPE Center on Fridays.

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