After competing in several local and international dance competitions with partner Steve Wilkie — and earning plenty of awards to prove it — Captivan Susan Scott announced she has found a new partner and is currently training to compete in a five-day national dance competition in Orlando on Oct. 24.
Scott, who danced in Sanibel’s Dancing With the Stars and went on to compete with Wilkie in Las Vegas and Puerto Rico, was shocked when he called her a month ago and gave a her a one week notice that he was retiring, had sold his Fred Astaire Dance studio in Fort Myers and was now going to play professional poker.
“He’s been spinning me around on the dance floor, but that one took me to the ground,” Scott said, noting that while she loved dancing with Wilkie, he would have had to undergo knee-surgery at some point, but she wishes him all the best with his health and future endeavors. “He’s responsible for getting me where I am today, and I think it’s great he’s playing professional poker. He’s really a genius.”
Scott contemplated “hanging up her dancing shoes and packing away her dresses,” but dancing has become such a huge part of her life, she couldn’t call it quit just yet.
Theo and Ganine Derleth, who operated the Fred Astaire Studio on Broadway in New York City and have performed everywhere from The Rainbow Room to The Today Show, bought the Fort Myers Fred Astaire Studio and encouraged Scott to continue with her new-found passion.
Reinvigorated, Scott turned to David Flory, a highly-skilled dancer at the studio, and asked if he would compete with her.
Scott and Flory trained for only four days and headed over to the Ritz in West Palm Beach to give their new partnership a try.
“David and I had great connection, crushed our competition and now I am in love with dancing again,” Scott said. “It’s interesting, because it’s so different now. I’m learning so much and the technique is so much higher. He’s moving me up a notch. It used to just be fun, and now it’s fun and serious!”
For their next competition, Scott and Flory will have more time to train and prepare for the event, a five-day national competition in Orlando on Oct. 24 where she will perform 26 different styles of dance. But don’t ask her which one is her favorite — she adores them all and said she is just happy to be back on track doing what she loves.
“I’m very excited. I’m always looking forward to doing better than last time. David and I know each other better and we’re more comfortable now. There’s a big group from the studio going and the new owners have really stepped it up a notch. It’ll be a lot of fun,” Scott said.
Scott, who is also an artist, plans to incorporate her love of dance into her artwork and, in addition to training harder than ever, is currently preparing for an exhibition at the Captiva Civic Association on Feb. 24.
Susan Scott with her new dance partner David Flory in West Palm Beach.