Fordney Foundation Interviews Wayne Eng
We are delighted to share with you an interesting interview from an extraordinary individual, Mr. Wayne Eng. Wayne Eng is an entrepreneur that is far beyond accomplished, a retired award-winning professional dancer and owner/operator of ballroom dancing educational programs and dance championship events. You may know him better from his amazing work organizing the well attended Emerald Ball Dancesport Championships each and every year since 1989. The Emerald Ball is considered one of three of the largest competitions in America.
Freddie Brock, Wayne Eng @ Emerald Ball, Photo by Alex Havasi
The Fordney Foundation attended the Emerald Ball on May 6, 2018, to catch all the Youth and Junior performances. And boy, were we entertained by all the talent and sensational abilities these young dancers had! Marilyn Fordney was able to give away many awards on behalf of the Fordney Foundation that day. Congratulations to all the winners! While we were there, I was lucky to catch up with the always busy, Wayne Eng to do this interview. We hope you see what a day in the life of Wayne Eng is like, and enjoy this interview, as much as we do.
Freddie Brock: Where are you originally from?
Sam Sodano, Marilyn Fordney @ Emerald Ball, Photo by Alex Havasi
Wayne Eng: Hong Kong, my family moved to the United States when I was 5 years old.
FB: Tell us a little about your beginnings in the dance world?
WE: I was 18 years old selling real estate, one of my clients was taking lessons at a dance studio and he convinced me to attend a guest party. I ended up becoming a student there for 2 1/2 years and then a ballroom instructor. It was at that studio where I met my wife Donna and soon started competing in the International Latin. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. You never know what life brings to you, expect the unexpected.
FB: What was your highest achievement as a professional dancer?
WE: We danced Professional for only 7 years, achieving United States-Latin Finalists 5 of those years. We were finalists in all major events in North American competitions. We also reached the Finals 3 years in the Blackpool Rising Star Latin, and reached the Quarterfinal in the Blackpool Open Latin 2 years. Unlike most couples that kept dancing, we decided to retire early and start a family. We have no regrets.
FB: Tell us about your Dance Vision company that you’ve had for over 20 years in Las Vegas, Nevada. What makes it so successful?
WE: My corporate office Dance Vision is in Las Vegas, Nevada. We do not teach dance lessons; instead, we have produced a ballroom instructional video business since 1992, We have produced over 400 titles and have sold over a million videos. Since 1992, Dance Vision has been the world leader in the production of DanceSport instructional videos, from VHS to DVD and now Online Streaming. We feature over 5,000 videos in every style and level, including our premier product, the DVIDA® Syllabi (Dance Vision International Dance Association). Our professionally produced videos are like a private lesson with 38 World Class Champions.
Donna Eng, Sam Sodano, Wayne Eng, Photo by Alex Havasi
Prior to moving to Las Vegas in 1995, we owned and operated, Club2005 Dance Studio in Torrance, CA from 1982 to 1994. During that time, we had notable instructors Victor Veyrasset, Heather Smith, Donald Johnson, Viola Weiss, David Hamilton, Olga Foraponova Wright, and Teresa Shiry at the studio. Having these great instructors was the ingredient to a successful studio. So many memories and friendships were made during those years. It was an awesome chapter in our lives but we are glad we moved on and created Dance Vision.
FB: Do you still do an annual dance camp with over 700 participants? What is the main goal of these dance camps?
WE: I had this camp for over 16 years and just sold the camp to the 4 Times former American Smooth Champions – Slawek Sochacki and Marzena Stachura. The purpose of the camp was to allow the students and professionals to experience the teaching from 16 National Champions in one venue. We offer over 90 classes during the 4 days with 5 very large ballrooms.
FB: You are currently the Vice President and Competition Director of the American Ballroom Company which sponsors the United States Dance Championships, can you tell our readers exactly what this is and why this organization is important?
WE: This is the official event to crown our United States Champions recognized by the
National Dance Council of America. The Champions and runner-up from the Latin & Ballroom earn the right to represent the United States in the World Championships each year. There are over 90 events on the NDCA calendar, but this is the event that most, if not all the competitors are dreaming of one day to win the title.
FB: You are an entrepreneur in the dance world in so many areas of dance educational programming, providing dance floors and charity events, how do you do it all?
WE: I love what I do and have a great passion, desire, and most importantly, the work ethic to do it well. It’s not a job, it’s my lifestyle, and it makes me happy! I love to work and I love to play even more. I also have had a great support system for over 30 years, my staff, my wife, and my family.
FB: Tell us why our dancers would want to compete at the Emerald Ball, especially a new dancer to competitions?
WE: At Emerald Ball, you have over 45 judges from all over the country. They will get to see you dance at a very high-level competition and you will be able to see how you rank against many amazing dancers from all over the USA. As a new dancer, you want to expand your vision, see what is out there, and then you can redefine your goals in competitive ballroom dancing. Don’t be afraid not placing well, get yourself out of your comfort zone, it will do a lot of good for your life.
FB: What would you say to a young person who may be interested in becoming a dance competition organizer?
WE: Why not, if you have the passion and work ethic, go for it!
FB: Is there anything you would like to see improve in the way the current system runs dance competitions, if at all?
WE: Competitors need to enter on time, as a professional dancer would.
FB: Do you have any words of wisdom or some things to keep in mind when dancers are competing?
WE: Are you dancing to win? Then take it seriously. Do not blame others for your shortcomings or bad results. Do you have a daily plan? A wall is not built in a day, it is built one brick at a time. Think each day that you are adding a brick, one at a time; then pretty soon your wall will be higher and longer. Now you are building a strong foundation. Work towards your goal, one day at a time, work smart and work hard!
There you have it, people, from not only an accomplished dancer but a man who found ways to create (dance) businesses from his love and passion for dance. I hope this gives you some idea, that there are many useful ways to be part of the dancesport world, besides just dancing and competing in competitions. Use your vision to create where you belong! Don’t forget to visit us next week for a peek at some “awesome” shots taken at the Emerald Ball.
Thought Of The Week:
You have to change the way you think in order to change the way you feel – Robin Roberts