by Marianne Salza
When Kathy Hull, a college philosophy and psychology professor, received a phone call one evening from a local dance studio inquiring if she and her husband would like to attend three, free ballroom dancing lessons, she had no idea that it would be the beginning of a new passion and a fierce, competitive drive. She was hooked on ballroom from the moment she was led through her first spin turn.
“I’m a very analytical person. I’ve been trying to figure out what it was about that spin turn that convinced me to do more of this,” Hull revealed. “We were in perfect harmony. It’s extremely exciting. You’re creating something beautiful and spontaneous.”
During the Jan. 11 Beacon Hill Womens Forum (BHWF) meeting at the Hampshire House, Hull described her journey from being a university administrator to becoming a national ballroom dancing gold medalist in her presentation, “Dancing with the Stars,” which included a fashion show displaying her collection of Swarovski crystal-embellished gowns worn by BHWF executive board members.
Suddenly, this scholarly professional – who is a strong woman in a predominantly male field, and has described herself as being an exceptional pool player — discovered a creative outlet like something she had never experienced before: one of drama and emotion.
“How does a person past 40 take a turn to do something else that is fundamentally different,” Hull asked. “We get caught in our lives between the past and what the future is, and sometimes we can’t imagine it.”
There was no place she would rather be than the dance floor after work, when she miraculously found the energy to practice her technique and timing. Hull eventually took a year off from her career to focus on pursuing her ballroom dreams. She practiced yoga, trained for dance three nights a week, and also took private lessons, learning how to negotiate and create space.
“There are many things I learned in ballroom that I’ve carried over to work,” said Hull, BHWF member. “It’s all in the details. That’s what people do here at the Beacon Hill Women’s Forum: they know that making something successful is in the details.”
The talented Hull participated in local competitions, nationally in New York, and Ohio, and even became a finalist in a competition in Moscow in 2012. She went on to win the 2011 Pro/Am International Championship after ten years of competing.
“What drew me to philosophy and dance was the same thing,” explained Hull. “I found the yearning for quality, excellence, and beauty in both of those things. The romance and beauty of dance was wonderful.”
The Beacon Hill Womens Forum meets on the second Tuesday of each month, with exception to the upcoming February 13 meeting which will be held on a Monday. For more information about connecting with neighbors, lectures, and gatherings, visit www.BeaconHillWomensForum.org.