Towson Dance Studio — Maryland’s oldest ballroom dance studio.Founded in 1961, Towson Dance Studio was purchased in 1974 by Mr. John L. Pattillo. John’s approach has always been to focus on the quality of instruction above all. He trains his teachers to give 100% value on every lesson; there are no sales gimmicks — only complete attention to the student’s progress.
John has also been dedicated to the real core of what ballroom dancing is all about: a man and a woman enjoying each other’s company on the dance floor, moving together to rhythmic, syncopated music, the man leading and the lady following, while in the midst of other couples also on the floor dancing at the same time. The specifics of how you accomplish this vary from Salsa to Waltz to Swing and so on, but the essence is the same.
It’s tremendous fun, and once you learn the knack, you will be able to enjoy it for the rest of your life. Once it’s in your muscle memory, it’s there; it may get rusty if you leave it on the shelf – but it will still be there, even years later, ready to be dusted off and put to the service of your pleasure.
The key elements of this unique skill are:
Music – developing your ability to hear the beats, the rhythm, and the phrasing of the music you are dancing to.
The character of each dance – knowing the specific way to move as a response to the unique feel of each type of dance rhythm, whether it is Tango, Foxtrot, Swing, or any of the others.
The hold (what the Argentineans call “the embrace”) – the specific way the man must hold his partner to give her the best possible lead, and the way she accepts this “embrace” so as to allow her to follow.
Balance – developing good habits of posture and poise along with the use of feet and legs that will keep you moving from foot to foot in the most relaxed way.
John and Barbara Pattillo have owned and operated Towson Dance Studio, the Baltimore area’s oldest studio, for 40 years. Their studio teaches all aspects of social and ballroom dancing. John and Barbara are former dance champions, the Baltimore-Washington Open Competition and the Virginia State Championships, being among their titles; they were Finalists in most of the major U. S. ballroom dance championships.
John holds the Fellowship degree in Ballroom and the Licentiate degree in Latin American in the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance, and has been a judge at many ballroom competitions. He is currently the President of the National Committee of the U. S. branch of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance. He authored the U.S.I.S.T.D. Examination Handbook, and trains other professional dancers for their examinations.
Mr. Pattillo has written many articles for the national dance newspaper, Dance Beat, and has frequently lectured on the history of ballroom dancing for many organizations in the Baltimore area, including the dance department of Goucher College.
A graduate of Princeton University and Roosevelt University, Mr. Pattillo holds a Master’s degree in philosophy. More recently, he graduated from a five year program at the Schuler School of Fine Arts, where he now teaches Artistic Anatomy. His paintings, drawings and sculpture are in many private collections.
He has recently completed a novel, entitled Sovereign, which you can order from Amazon, or Kindle, and learn more about on his web site here:
Barbara has a B. S. in biology from the University of Texas. She passed the Associate Ballroom examination with the U. S.I. S. T. D., but long ago decided to hang up her teaching and competition shoes in order to manage the studio.
North American Championships
Detroit International Ballroom Championships
Classique du Quebec
Imperial Star Championships
Virginia State Championships
Eastern U.S. Championships
Pan American Dance Competition
New England Star Ball
Texas Star Ball
For several decades John and Barbara Pattillo have conducted children’s dancing classes at several locations in the greater Baltimore area. Among these have been the Greenspring Valley Hunt Club Dancing Classes, the Friday Assemblies Dancing Classes, and the My Lady’s Manor Dancing Classes. These classes aim to teach children from the second through the fifth grades, or older, how to hold their own on the dance floor, and to give them some simple but important social skills such as being able to introduce themselves confidently to others and to know how to conduct themselves in a social gathering such as a dance party.