Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Renewed passion takes 57-year-old back to the dance floor

Sharon Strickler Sanchez and her instructor, Joe Taylor, dance the paso doble. Sanchez taught ballet and creative dance for 20 years but stopped dancing for 16 years while raising her sons.

Courtesy of Suncoast Ballroom

Sharon Strickler Sanchez and her instructor, Joe Taylor, dance the paso doble. Sanchez taught ballet and creative dance for 20 years but stopped dancing for 16 years while raising her sons.


Sharon Strickler Sanchez is a grandmother who is dancing her way up the competitive ballroom ranks while manifesting some exciting opportunities.

"Ballroom dancing is so good for your mind, spirit and body," said Sanchez, 57. "You'll have a whole new circle of friends, you can do it forever, and it's not expensive." Her mission is to be an example for baby boomers and those older to be fit, look young, be sensual and always go after their dreams.

With a degree in dance from Florida State University, Sanchez taught ballet and creative dance for 20 years.

But life got busy for Sanchez while raising her three boys, and she stopped dancing for 16 years. The loss of a dear friend, who used to encourage her to take ballroom dance lessons, got her back on the dance floor in 2009.

"Ballet and ballroom are different. You have to connect with your partner, follow the man, the stance is different, and you're always moving," Sanchez said.

Her dance instructor, Joe Taylor, 52, is the owner of Suncoast Ballroom on Ulmerton Road in Largo.

He got Sanchez interested in competitive ballroom dancing and became her partner at the competitions.

She almost gave up the first time out and joked about taking up knitting until she thought about what she would tell her boys.

"That's when I threw myself into being at the studio as much as I could and learning as much as I could."

Her perseverance paid off. She won best bronze performance at the next competition and has since competed against gold level dancers — and won.

"When you get into the showcases and competitions, it makes you take your dance to another level. It pushes you beyond where you would normally go," said Sanchez, who does a mesmerizing Argentine tango that could make some people blush.

"She likes the challenge, she's not afraid of anything," Taylor said. "She allows me to push her to do things that a 57-year-old shouldn't be able to do. We want to be a force to be reckoned with out there."

Sanchez trains about 11 hours per week, including group lessons and public dances. "As you keep going, you get more confident.

At public dances, she advises, "tell people you're new, they'll teach you. People love to share dance."

Trying on high-end ballroom gowns sparked a new interest for Sanchez when she suggested that Elle Couture Dance and Evening Wear use an older model for its marketing. That landed her a modeling job. "I can't believe these photos are me," she said. "I had no idea that dancing would lead me to pursuing a career in modeling."

"Dancing is so joyful," she said. "There's a song from A Chorus Line that says 'Everything is beautiful at the ballet.' It's the same with ballroom, everyone is so happy," Sanchez said.

"I always say, if you have a beautiful waltz, you'll have beautiful dreams."

Renewed passion takes 57-year-old back to the dance floor 05/24/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 12:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was curious how he would feel — and perform — in Friday's exhibition against Nashville, his first game since mid-November knee surgery.

    The Lightning’s Alex Killorn, left, makes his preseason debut and has an assist in a 3-1 win against the Predators at Amalie Arena.
  2. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.
  3. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.
  4. Investigators reviewing HHS chief's private charter flights


    WASHINGTON — Federal investigators are examining Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's recent use of costly charter flights on the taxpayers' dime for official business.

  5. FSU gives president John Thrasher a pay bump as its academic standing rises


    TALLAHASSEE — With Florida State University moving closer to becoming a top-25 public university, the school's trustees on Friday bumped up President John Thrasher's salary by 7 percent and awarded him a $200,000 bonus.

    Florida State University President John Thrasher, center, is surrounded by lawmakers in 2016 as he visits the Florida Senate. Thrasher on Friday received a pay increase to go with the university's increased academic standing, including in the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking of public universities. FSU ranks 33rd this year, and is aiming for a top-25 spot. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]