Casey Treu Interview – April 6, 2014
Casey & Kayci Treu (Wedding Slideshow) March 26, 2014
We have just received some exciting news. For eight years Marilyn Fordney and the Fordney Foundation have offered scholarships to deserving young dancers who study dance at Brigham Young University in Utah. As you recall, Shannon Jensen won a scholarship in 2012 and went on to win first place in the Professional Theatre Arts (Cabaret) Competition with her husband at the Ohio Star Ball in 2013!
This year we are equally excited to present to you the recipient of the BYU 2014 Dancesport Championship, the very talented Casey Treu! We are very pleased for Casey and happy that he will take some time out from his extremely busy schedule to do an interview with us.
First, the Fordney Foundation congratulates you Casey. After watching you perform in your videos, it is no wonder you won the scholarship, you have amazing moves on the dance floor! As a side note, we would like to acknowledge and thank your mother Cheryll, who has assisted Marilyn Fordney and the Fordney Foundation develop a Dancing With Our Local Schools program in Ventura County, California.
FB: Please tell our readers how you first got interested in dance?
CT: When I was young, around 7 years old, I swore I would never dance. I thought it was lame at that age. But my sister Carli Treu danced and that is when things changed for me. She had two partners and was competing one weekend in Idaho at a ballroom dance competition. It just so happened that both of her partners fell sick. And my mother asked me if I would like to dance with my sister since her partners were sick and not able to dance. It was Pee-Wee swing and there 4 – 5 couples. I learned two steps, the “Under Arm Turn” and the “L” which I practiced just a couple of times with her before the event. My mother found clothes for me to change into and I got a number put on my back. Then I walked on the dance floor with my sister in hand, 7 years old, knowing only two basic steps in swing with several other couples my age that seemed much more experienced whom I was about to compete against. The music came on, and I completely forgot that I was competing when I started to dance. I had the biggest smile on my face dancing my best with my sister with everybody watching. And then the music ended, we walked off the floor and the awards started to take place. My sister and I won 1st place in Basic New Comer Pee-Wee swing in front of everybody! I must have been bouncing up and down so much the judges couldn’t help but mark us first. And from that moment on, I was hooked. I loved dancing and I never stopped from then till now, 15 years later.
FB: You answered the question about how long you’ve been dancing? Did you start out studying International and/or American ballroom dances?
CT: I have been dancing for 15 years. I started learning in the American syllabus style then grew into the International syllabus styles. First it was nothing but syllabus and no open in all dances. Then I competed in Open American Smooth, Open American Rhythm, Open International Standard and Open International Latin. Open International Latin is what I fell in love with.
FB: Is dancing what you want to do professionally? What is your favorite dance to perform?
CT: Yes, my wife and I would like to dance professionally. That isn’t even a question. We are going to work as hard as we can to chase our dreams together.
FB: I hear you are also called “Hip-Master.” How did you get that name (although I can guess from watching those dance videos of you).
CT: I was competing at a high school ballroom dance competition and we stole the crowd’s attention in the first dance of ChaChaCha competing in the Youth Latin category. And the wonderful reaction of the crowd lasted till the last dance of Jive and it was a blast. When I was in the changing room, I said, “thank you” to the other competitors for their enthusiasm in the audience. Then that’s when a couple of them singled me out and nicknamed me Hip-Master. That’s where that nickname came from.
FB: You are still a student at BYU, isn’t that correct? Yet you are performing in competitions too. How do you manage to go to school and perform in competitions?
CT: Yes, I am still a BYU student. I am currently a sophomore and am performing and competing too. Managing school, personal dance and dance at BYU in their community and on their team is crazy but worth it. And getting married while managing all of that was a lot. But I am sure I will be able to get back into the swing of things soon.
FB: Wow, you just got married! Isn’t the girl you married also named Kayci? Kayci Kirkham is also a student at BYU and your dance partner? You obviously met at BYU. Did you start dancing as partners?
CT: Yes, Yes and Yes! I was just married last Wednesday. Her beautiful name is indeed, Kayci Kirkham. It’s fun to have the same first and last name! It’s different and unique. Kayci is a BYU student doing the same things as me. And we did meet ten feet away from the NDCA US National DanceSport Championship floor. We started out as partners and we started dating around the same time. So far it’s been fantastic and a dream come true! I have always wanted to marry my dance partner. And I have always wanted my wife to be my dance partner. So, I am happy.
FB: Can you give our readers some pointers that would help them in competitions?
CT: In life, you don’t need to make the same mistake twice. So apply that to your dancing progress; especially in competition. Every technical flaw you have could be considered a mistake. Don’t make the same mistake twice. If you learn how to fix it, then you don’t ever need to repeat that same flaw. Too many couples improve only when they change their choreography at the end of the year or every couple of competitions. You can sincerely improve every single competition by a measurable rate. It is not easy, but very possible. Also, you can compete over and over and over and not improve and even digress. Change your dancing. Someone once asked an incredible dancer, “How do you improve so fast?” The response: “I actually apply what my teachers teach and I teach myself even more.”
FB: I read how you love learning, dancing and sharing your knowledge with others. Again, I must ask, how and when do you have the time do this? I read where you give dance lessons to students, do you still give lessons?
CT: Yes, I do love learning. I love learning about many things, not just in dance. I love learning about new and better ways to manage and organize my life to be more successful. I love to share knowledge with others because we are all trying to improve in dance together. And, if I am nervous to share my special information, then maybe I should be working harder to stay ahead myself. When I am in the studio and friends ask me a technical question, I love to answer them. I find time often when I am about to start practicing.
Yes, I do give dance lessons around my home town here in Utah, Idaho and in Washington as well or wherever I am hired. I give dance lessons when it fits in my schedule, in the summer or random weekends during the school year.
FB: I found it particularly interesting that in 2011 you went to Ghana, Africa as a missionary. Tell us a little bit about that experience. Did it change your life in any way?
CT: I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints. We are also known informally as Mormons. I first and foremost do not wish to push my religion upon anybody. But I do not wish to live a life without giving people an opportunity to learn more. I am a Christian and I believe in Jesus Christ. I wish to follow Christ’s example and draw close to him through his simple life living teachings. As part of our church, I had the opportunity to leave and represent the church and teach about the church and share a message of Jesus Christ and his Gospel and invite people to draw close to him for two years in Africa, Ghana Accra. I did so after saving up for years. LDS Missionaries are not paid and no one is paid in the church either. It is more than a full time job. It changed me forever for those two years. I came to know a different culture when I lived there. I also was able to grow as a person in indescribable ways. I am grateful for that opportunity to serve for two years trying to help others come unto Christ by listening to our simple message.
FB: I heard you just got back from China. What did you do there?
CT: I actually went to China before my mission. So, that was several years ago. That was the last of my dancing before the mission. I was invited with my then partner, Rachel Pope, to be a soloist with the Extreme Ballroom Dance Company going on a tour to China. We performed all over China and met with several government officials representing the U.S. It was a cultural exchange managed by and created by Celebrating Children U.S. and China. We were very privileged to be the featured soloist for the tour. This tour was some of the best dancing Rachel and I have done.
FB: I read that you love computers. In what respect do you love computers? Do you actually have time for hobbies? If so, what are your hobbies?
CT: I love video editing, music editing, learning about programming and art design through tools like computers. Computers to me are useful tools that help you manage a successful life. Computers offer tools that give you an opportunity to learn and create anything free of charge. That is why I love computers. I used to have more time for hobbies like drawing or artsy things. Not too much time now. I used to create and make models of anything like detailed ships when I was a boy.
FB: Is there a future plan for Mr. and Mrs. Treu?
CT: We plan on going professional in the ballroom dance world. We desire to give anything and everything we have to improve the level of dancing in the U.S. We want to become an example in any way possible to inspire others. We want to enlighten and enlarge other dancers knowledge and passion for dance and how to become a better individual. That is what dancers I have known in the past have done for me. I am sure Kayci feels the same way. We will do Ten Dance as a primary style with Latin and Standard then do Smooth at some point in time. We plan on traveling, teaching, performing, giving lectures and training to improe ourselves.
FB: Do you have a message you would like to share with the world? Or anything else you would like to share with us?
CT: My wife and I would like to say thank you to the Fordney Foundation for their kindness, support, love and scholarship. As of now, we have a lot on our plates with school, dance, work, marriage and life. This scholarship will greatly influence and even determine our timing of success. We are forever in the debt of the Fordney Foundation. I would like to say again, “Thank you so very much, Fordney Foundation!!” We wish you all the best.
We also want thank you for this exciting interview Casey. Again, we congratulate you on being the recipient of the 2014 BYU scholarship, for your devotion to dance, for your wonderful gift of sharing with the world and most of all, congratulations on your marriage to Kayci. We hope you both will be very happy – the Fordney Foundation wishes you all the best!
Thought Of The Week:
“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing” – Casey Treu