Ronda Byers’ talent will be in the spotlight in more ways than one at the hugely popular fundraiser, “Dancing With the Stars … Columbus Style” on Jan. 16 at The Clarion Hotel and Conference Center on Jonathan Moore Pike in Columbus.
Besides dancing with partner Andrew Laker, former Republic photographer and now with Columbus Regional Health, Byers is choreographing for three other couples for the event that benefits Children Inc. and Family School Partners.
As a local dance studio owner, she’s especially grateful for television’s “Dancing with the Stars” show.
“Until that came on TV,” she said, “it was very hard to get men into the studio.”
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» Briefly describe your daily/weekly workout routine.
Yoga at home in the morning to simply stretch and get my body moving, followed by as much as six hours or more of dance instruction and performance in the studio, and sometimes also some Brown County walking, hiking. Plus, I’ve done some rock climbing.
» What’s the background of some of your dance experience?
My first dance gig came in middle school at age 12 for a musical that included scores from the Twenties to about the Seventies. My drama and music teacher could clearly tell that I couldn’t sing. I was also a part of my high school color guard. Then, I was on the Gold Dusters dance team at Purdue University. I didn’t get a lot of formal training until my time at college. So I was kind of a later bloomer, considering that people begin dance at something like age 4.
» What’s the best part of dance?
I think that mostly it’s the freedom to create. Ideally, dance doesn’t have a clear boundary. I teach my students patterns and structures and a foundation. But the one thing I really like is telling them, “Now — go break the rules and just enjoy it. I want you to be YOU.”
» How do get your points across to those who have never danced?
I try to describe things in basic ways that most people understand.
» Do you follow any special diet or eating plan? If so, describe briefly. Do you “cheat” much?
Not really. My three most favorite foods would be chocolate, Starbucks and pasta. But one thing I do is make smoothies for healthy things.
» What’s your favorite music to dance to?
Because I’m an ’80s girl, I like artists like Prince, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper.
» What do you do to motivate yourself when you just don’t want to work out or dance?
That day never happens. I absolutely love this. Even my worst day gets better when I’m at the studio.
City: Near Columbus in rural Brown County.
Occupation: Owner and instructor at Columbus’ Dance Street Studio on National Road.
Family: Husband, Brent. Daughter, Anne-Marie; son, Aaron. Two grandchildren.
Where you work out: Dance Street Studio, plus morning yoga at home.
Time: Several hours per day dancing, plus occasional other activities such as rock climbing.