A Celebration of Legends – Sam Sodano
The BBC&C Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2010 to recognize individuals who have been exemplary in their dedication, professionalism and accomplishments within the ballroom industry. They have upheld a standard of continued excellence throughout their career and continue to inspire and enrich those who share their passion for dance. Past honorees include Margaret Redmond (2010),Pat Traymore (2011),Peter Eggleton (2012) also honored by the BBC&C’s annual “Peter Eggleton Cup” for professional Standard dancing, and Ken Sloan (2013).
Marilyn Fordney Presenting Sam Sodano with the Humanitarian Award from Fordney Foundation at the BBC&C Lifetime Achievement Awards in Boston 9-14-14
Sam Sodano was born in 1943 and is from Fairview, New Jersey. At the age of 4, Sam’s father would ask him to sing at gatherings so he would get up and perform. His father encouraged him to begin dance lessons. Sam started dancing in high school back in 1957 and was voted best male dancer in his senior class. He became a regular on the Clay Cole Dance hour that was televised at the Palisades Amusement Park. When he graduated, he wanted to go to New York and dance on Broadway. Sam went to Arthur Murray’s instead thinking it would take him to Broadway. He became a master of the mambo. Sam’s creative juices were always working and he thought it would be a good idea to invite dancers from other states to come to Columbus, Ohio to dance and compete. At first it was like a big dance party but eventually developed into Pro-Am (professional-amateur) dance competitions stretching across the United States and to other countries. In this type of competition, a dance student would compete dancing with their dance instructor and the student would be judged. Pro-Am dance competition became extremely successful and is known worldwide. In fact, “Dancing With The Stars” is patterned after this type of competition. Sam is widely regarded as the most successful competition organizer in the world. He is a busy man, judging over 30 weeks around the U.S. However, he always has time for a quick chat or a momentary pop into the ballroom on his off time to watch a Bronze level student compete and give helpful advice.
Marilyn Fordney with the Junior and Youth Award Winners at the 9-14-14 BBC&C Lifetime Achievement Awards in Boston
On September 14, 2014, a celebration was held at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel in Boston. At this formal gala dinner with a room filled to capacity of dance aficionados, Sam Sodano, was first presented by Marilyn Fordney with a Humanitarian Award from our Fordney Foundation. Subsequently, Sam was presented with the BBC&C’s 5th Annual Lifetime Achievement Award by Pat Traymore. Everyone was entertained by watching a specially prepared video showing young Sam dancing. Many people in the dance industry congratulating him on camera. Then we were entertained by a dance form of competitive pole dancing performed by Pantera Blacksmith that showed strength and artistry. Her trademark is World’s Most Famous Pole Dancer. Stay tuned, in the next couple of weeks I will be presenting a blog on Pole Dancing and show you some of this extraordinary dancer’s moves, compliments of Sandor “Alex” Havasi’s photography. For sure, it was an emotional evening to be long remembered!
Marilyn Fordney and Sandor “Alex” Havasi also watched and took photos of the many dance competitions over the weekend at the BBC&C. Marilyn was invited to give out some of the awards to the junior and youth dancers.
Special thanks go to Andy Fishel, Chris Johnston, Frank Miranda, Tibor Kerekes, Erik Pali and all those that helped make this event such a success. I also want to personally thank Marilyn Fordney and Sandor “Alex” Havasi who attended this event and helped me present this blog to you!
Thought Of The Week:
“Everything comes to those who hustle while he waits.” – Thomas A. Edison