My Body

Oliver Steele on Body Building and Being the Only Boy in Dance Class

Oliver and his wife Teri are the founders of STEELEDANCE, and both are on the faculty at Dance New Amsterdam. Last week we talked with Teri. Today, we get the other side of the story from Oliver.

I started dancing with gymnastics, actually, when I was ten or so. And I always wanted to do the girl's exercises on the floor, and I always wondered why the men couldn’t do gymnastics to music. I just enjoyed that dance aspect so much. When I was 16, a friend of mine was dancing in a jazz group and wanted me to join. I said, if there’s ever a boy who shows up to practice let me know, cause I’ll come too. I just don’t want to be the only one. One day she called and said, "We have another boy!" But, of course, I went, and the boy wasn’t there. But I was hooked, and I didn’t care.

I actually had to learn the hard way that when you’re a dancer you have to do other stuff to keep your body healthy. Strength is only activity specific. I never did any cross-training or strength training. I only wanted to do what I loved. But I ended up with a bad back injury, so I couldn’t dance for quite a while. And that’s when I started to take Pilates for the first time. I’ve actually, just this year, entered a whole new part of my life — strength training, actually lifting weights, doing a little bit of body building. I’m not talking huge like the Hulk. I’m 6' 2," and up until my 30s I was so skinny I could hide behind a broomstick. But with this new addition of actually lifting weights and trying to get stronger in a different way, I’ve never felt better in my whole life.

I met Teri my first day in New York. But even though we were introduced the first day, we didn’t start looking at each other until we saw each other in dance class. We had a natural connection in terms of doing the same dynamics when we were doing the movement. When you see out of the corner of your eye that you’re mirroring the other person's movement, and that person notices that too, it becomes a thing. You want more of that. It’s thrilling. Dancing is how we got together in the first place. In fact, it was during a snow storm. We were dancing in the studio all by ourselves, and the rest is history. 

Oliver (via <a href="">dnadance</a>)

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