From South American Bandstand to Oakmont Squares

Kathy Hauck on far right wearing a tie and dancing the man's role (Photo by Susan McLean)
Kathy Hauck on far right wearing a tie and dancing the man's role (Photo by Susan McLean)

Kathy Hauck says you might call her an immigrant. She was born in Caracas, Venezuela to American parents and grew up there and in Columbia and Brazil. Though born an American citizen, Kathy felt at home in Latin American culture. It’s customary for children in those cultures to dance before they walk, and she and her sisters did. They also studied tap and ballet. As a blonde, Kathy didn’t look like most people around her. She easily learned several languages and surprised people when she opened her mouth and said she was Venezuelan!

Every 4 years the family took summer vacations in the states. As soon as the plane landed, Kathy and her sisters ran to grab their favorite candy bars in the airport (hers was Milky Way)! Those summer trips were her only experience with the United States, its fads, fashion, and culture. It was a shock to feel about 5 years behind the states in everything. Who were the Beatles? Kathy found out 5 years late.

In her teens, Kathy and an international group of friends would go to disco joints and dance Samba, Salsa, and Cha-Cha with everyone else. She and her partner even entered and won the South American Bandstand in Brazil!

Kathy moved to Portland, Oregon to attend college. Her goal was to become a nurse, but the dean of nursing thought otherwise and kicked her out for not making appropriate hospital corners with the bedsheets! On a whim she went to the foreign studies department and was accepted to study abroad in Salzburg, Austria. She traveled around Europe, experiencing other countries, languages, customs and dances. She took waltz lessons in Austria, rented a big puffy ball gown and attended the annual ball. Kathy recalls, “I danced the night away like Cinderella, although I kept my shoes!”

Kathy married right out of college and has three wonderful children. While her husband pursued the corporate ladder, Kathy reentered nursing school. They moved to California, then Milwaukee, then Dallas. Dancing took a back seat to children, a failing marriage, and the nursing career that she knew was always her passion.

After divorcing and moving to Santa Rosa with her youngest, Kathy worked in outpatient so she could be around when her son was home from school. When he went off to college, she transferred to the cancer ward and ended her career there doing what she describes as “close to my heart”.

Upon moving to Oakmont, Kathy jumped right into line dancing (no partner needed), then tap again, and even tried clogging. She had absolutely no experience with square dancing but decided to give it a try. She comments that “square dancing was a lot of fun because those of us who were new to the whole concept laughed a lot when we realized we didn’t know our left from our right. Dancing keeps me sane, and I missed it during lockdown. I am grateful for the opportunity here at Oakmont to dance away my retirement years”.

Related:

Sparkling Bubbles at Tasting Events Club on December 16th

Sparkling Bubbles at Tasting Events Club on December 16th.
Want to taste and compare a $110 per glass, 19-year-old exclusive Champagne with $20 to $50 Sparkling wines from around the world and Champagnes? You can at the next Tasting Events Club Event on Dec. 16th at 6pm at our Oakmont’s East Rec Center.

Unique JoRene Woodworth

In addition to Oakmont classes, JoRene leads four other classes, is certified for instructing people challenged by balance and movement, by Parkinson disease. She says she’s inspired by students and has become certified in leading exercise classes designed for senior adults.