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Danceworks Blog

Want to make it to the NBA–take Ballet

Posted on by 10Web Support

I was having dinner tonight with Todd at Zarletti’s, our favorite restaurant downtown. Their salmon is the best in the city. We sit at the bar. Suddenly, I felt some commotion–my husband was shuffling in his seat. I can’t explain it but for a split second before he turned towards me to say something, I looked into the face of the guy sitting next to him and I thought, “that’s Scott Williams.” Todd started talking to the guy sitting next to him and turned to me about to say something but I blurted out, “Scott Williams!!!”

Scott Williams…it’s  September 1987, my husband Justin Grimes and I were living in Chapel Hill, NC. He was working with Playmaker’s Theatre. Charlie was five. I got a job teaching dance in the Theatre Department. UNC-CH didn’t have a dance department.  I was teaching my first Ballet class of the semester. It was a non-majors class open to all students. I remember it was very hot, no air conditioning. The studio wasn’t that large but the class was and there were a lot of really tall, muscular, athletic looking guys in it. Not your usual dancer types. There were two windows in the studio and I noticed that they were both packed full with faces watching me teach my ballet class. I thought, “Wow, the word’s out, I’m a really good teacher!”

Well, while I think I teach a good class, it turns out that the people at the windows were there to watch the tall, muscular, athletic guys who happened to be on the Tarheels men’s  basketball team. It seems, their coach, the famous Dean Smith, thought that they would improve their flexibility by enrolling in Miss Debbie’s little old ballet class for non majors.

I was not a big basketball fan at the time, like Charlie, but they were really nice guys and I had a lot of fun with them….

Back to last night at Zarletti’s…”SCOTT WILLIAMS!”  I exclaimed.  He looked at me quizzically for a second. I said, “You were in my ballet class at Chapel Hill in 1987.  I’m Debbie!”

A look of recognition came across his face and then that big smile that I have remembered for 26 years. We embraced.

We talked and laughed about the class and his friend Steve Ehrmann was amused to hear that Scott had taken Ballet at UNC-CH. You see, Scott is 6’10” and weighed in at 230 lbs. during his college career. Scott did suggest his playing weight is a little bit higher now but he looked as great as ever.

By the way, among the other tall athletic students in my class were: J.R. Reid, Rick Fox, and King Rice.

Scott, J.R., Rick and King all went on to have distinguished NBA careers. Scott won three NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan and was a favorite with Milwaukee fans when he played for the Bucks.

I like to think that my little old ballet class had something to do with their success…well, maybe not…but it’s a great story and Scott is a really great guy.  It’s wonderful to have him back in Milwaukee coaching with the Bucks. Welcome back Scott!

Zarletti's 9.13.13

Zarletti’s 9.13.13

About Our Blog

Welcome to the Danceworks blog, where we're hoping to share a little bit more about the heart and soul behind Danceworks… what made us join the dance and keeps us dancing, what keeps us inspired, and where we can share some of the stories worth telling.