Katie Carmichael Carmichael 1
Marilyn Maniaci McBride
Dance Teacher/ Director at Douce Dance Studios
Marion, Ohio/ Mt. Gilead, Ohio
I first met Marilyn in 2005 when I started dancing at Douce my freshman year of high school. She was my teacher, and the more I danced, I became friends with her daughter Courtney. Knowing Marilyn and her mother, some stories I hear every once in a while drew me to her for this project. I had to find out more. ‘Mimi’ as we call her has been directing the dance studio in Marion ever since her dad died in 2002, which is how we met.
I’m Marilyn McBride and I’ve been dancing [long pause] well I started dancing when I was two, and I’m going to be 58. So what is that, 56? 56 years. I started teaching my own classes when I was 12. My mom always had me teach older people. You know, people who were older than me, not old people, anyways. I always hated that, and I was scared since I was younger than them, but I did it. This is my 39th year out at Mt Gilead. So I’ve been the director out there for almost 40 years. In 2002 I started directing the Marion studio too, when my daddy passed away. I had basically been directing it since before that, but it became official then, in 2002. There are seven studios in all: Cincinnati, Galion, Bucyrus, Marion, Mt. Gilead, Waldo, Delaware and Cleveland coming in June, making it eight studios throughout Ohio. LuAnn, you know the middle sister, runs the Cincinnati studio. Baby Suzy runs Delaware and Waldo, Tammy runs Bucyrus and will run Cleveland, Missy runs Galion and I run Marion and Mt. Gilead
How did Tammy and Missy become the director of some studios, they aren’t family?
Well, Cindy Sparks danced here with us and she was Louie’s best friend, well through Lu being my sister, I became friends with Cindy too. Us three would run around and just have fun, well eventually we wanted to start a studio in Galion, so started it and Cindy helped. Tammy took dance from Cindy in Galion. Wait, how did Tammy get from Galion to Bucyrus? Oh yea that’s right, The Bucyrus studio was about to close and Cindy said that she had a student that she thought could take over Bucyrus. So Tammy took the Bucyrus studio and then Missy who taught here in Marion took over Galion when Cindy was ready to retire. Tammy actually lives up by Cleveland, and she drives every week to Bucyrus, so that is how she got to be directing the soon to come Cleveland studio. My favorite style of dance would have to be tap! And I really like Patton too.
Growing up with successful business parents was a lot of fun, being around people all the time! Meeting new people and meeting new friends! It was all so amazing. I know you may not remember, but your teacher may remember, Flippo the clown was a family friend and I got to see him all the time! I felt so cool. Attending parties with my parents was a lot of fun too. They would have parties out at the house oh it was just oodles of fun! It was definitely a very exciting childhood. Al Gilbert from California, somehow my parents became friends with him, he is the voice in all the TA songs
(teachers aids) and every time he would come visit he would sleep in my room so I’d go sleep in Lu’s or Suzy’s room. It was just a lot of fun. My parents had a dance club they hosted once a month and they would go out of town for a day or two. Well my mom had a lot of nice, expensive fancy jewelry and ball gowns and me and my sisters would go into my parent’s room and play with all of mom’s things. Before we knew it the babysitter would yell up saying our parents were home so we would shove it in the closest. All these nice dresses just throw them in there! And we would have to go hang them back up later when my mom was busy [laughs]. As a girl I would just admirer my mom and I would love to watch her teach the beauty pageant girls, and this room that were in now, it wasn’t even a studio at first. It just to be our big concrete porch/patio area and my room was right there [points up]. We would have to go to bed, and I would go and sit by my window and watch all the props being made for pageants and competitions.
No, I didn’t think I would take over for my mom. Not when I was younger. It was just something fun to do. I started teaching when I was 12 years old. To me then, it was
just an after school activity. The older I got the more I thought about teaching on a long term basis. But even then, I thought I would just always be teaching and my mom would be directing everything, but things change. I actually wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. That is what I went out here to the branch for. But my freshman year of college my mom got sick and my dad came to me and said. “Listen I really need you, no one else can do this.” So I dropped out and starting teaching full time. I feel lucky enough to have had the privilege to start teaching full time though. “It is not a job to me it is a hobby, something I love to do and thank God I have such an understanding husband because of all the hours I put in here.”
You want to hear a good story from teaching? Or a bad one? A Good story would have to be, Kristi Cooke.
Like the cheographer for Pleasants show choir?
Oh yeah, her, well she’s Kristi Wink now. So Kristi Cooke Wink. She was in my wedding. Our little flower girl when she was four. She used to take here, and just watching her through the years grow was something special. So for my 40th birthday Russ, my husband, took me to New York to see Kristi and I got to watch her dance on Broadway! I really enjoyed that. Here’s a bad story. Back when I was teaching in Mt Gilead, we would teach in an old fairgrounds building before there was a studio. And we would use the kitchen as a room. Well I was teaching this girl how to do a frog stand. It’s a Patton move where you put the Patton behind your legs like this, so it’s behind your ankles kind of and you grab it. So your hands go through your legs and behind them. This girl was trying to do it, and she fell right over. Flat on her face on that hard floor and onto her teeth, she broke her teeth! She stood up whining and looked at me and I screamed so loud in my head I scarred myself. I didn’t know what to do. I just kept thinking oh my God! What do I do?! I felt so bad. I swore from then on I would never teach that move again, and I haven’t still, till this day. The girl had to have surgery on her teeth and everything. She ended up being a teacher for me, but still… [laughs]. Oh man.
[Giggles] You want to know about Russ? Well, we were dancing out at the fairgrounds. Mom always had a show out there for the July 4th festivals. It was a week long, almost like the fair. And he was dating one of my best friends from dance. Well on July 1, 1966 his friend asked him if he wanted to go to the fair with him. He says “That Maniaci girl will be there” So he came out and watched. We talked that day, I mean we had seen each other at parties. But that day we hung out for a little bit then we held hands. And we have been together ever since. Well we broke up one week my sophomore year. He broke up with me for some girl, then he went with this girls sister. Then we came back to me and said he wanted me back. But I said no “I have dates” It was fun all the boys flirting with me that week, but I needed to see if Russ was the one. So for that week I stayed single, but then we got back together and we dated 6 years, 1 month and 19 days before we got married. I can’t believe I remembered all that. Ha.
After all these years Russ is still here, and now I’m scared it’s coming to an end. I don’t know. I always thought Courtney would take over after me, but I don’t know anymore. With her being a nurse now her hours are crazy and you have to be committed to this job, you can’t ‘just do it’. I used to think I would seriously leave this studio to Heather and Courtney, but Heather moved to Florida so that’s out of the question. But
who knows, out of the grandkids probably Mya would take over, even though she’s just a baby; I wonder if Leah would ever take over?
I was looking at Shelby’s interview with Martha and your mom thinks Nadalee will take over, then Mya, Paxton and AJ.
[laughs real hard] Paxton and AJ would never want to take over. But Nadalee is good. I never thought about that, yea I could see her taking over and then maybe Mya.
Want to know something? “I am successful – I don’t get a lot of money out of it, but it is what I love to do. I’m not successful like my mother was – because family meant for to me. [Looks over at her mom] To be truly successful at this business you have to be 100% devoted. I’m devoted to what I do, but still, my family came first and to me that makes me successful; running a business, loving every minute of it, having good health, raising three children to be responsible caring adults and having enough money to live our life to the fullest. That is why I’m successful.”