Introducing a new IDO feature: Ask the President

IDO President William E. Fowler, Jr.

We are going to start a feature “Ask the President” on this site. This will be an open forum whereby you can ask for explanations of rules or IDO related questions. Please send your questions to:
Starting this feature we asked our President some questions apart from rules and competitions:

Please introduce yourself shortly to our readers.
My name is William E. Fowler, Jr., commonly known as Bill Fowler, and by many dancers and colleagues, Mr. Bill.  I currently have the honour of serving as President of IDO, as well as Director of Performing Arts.   I also had the pleasure of serving as Disciplinary Director for 9 years during my term as Senior Vice President.
The road to this position began in the late 1960’s, when I was asked to serve as Financial Director of the Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston, a fraternal and educational Dance Teacher Organization with a membership of 600 dance teachers.  This position led to the Presidency in 1973.  After serving a two year term, I was asked to continue serving on the Board of Directors, holding the position of delegate to the then named National Council of Dance Teacher Organizations, which is now called the National Dance Council of America, which is an organization of dance teacher federations and the governing body of dance in the USA. Shortly thereafter, I was asked to serve as Performing Arts Director of the NDCA, a position I held until being elected President of the IDO. 

How did you get into dancing?
I began taking “tap dancing” lessons when I was eight years old, together with my brother Danny, who was one year younger then me.  We were known as the Fowler Brothers and during our pre-teen years performed in many shows and did many performances on early TV.  During this period, realizing that “tap dance” was a fading art form, we supplemented our dance training with both Ballet and Modern dance, although I must say, neither of us were very interested in Ballet.  During our teen years, we continued performing and as my brother’s interest in dance ebbed, mine was just the opposite and I had made the decision that dance would become my passion.  Upon graduation from High School, I had made the decision that I would move to New York City, the dance capital of the world, to pursue my career in dance.  However, my father had other ideas.  It was his wish that I attend college and eventually join him in his business, a retail heating Oil Company.  At this time, when I was 18 years old, we reached a compromise; I would stay in Boston, attend college, and I would open a small dance studio in my home town of Medford, a Boston suburb.  Little did I know at that time, beginning with just 13 students, that it would grow into one of the largest and most successful dance studios in Massachusetts.

Which were your biggest points of success as a dancer?
The ability to teach and to impart the love of dance to my students, making them achieve goals that began as a dream and bringing them to reality.  
Although my performing career was rather short, my school was my biggest success.  Spanning 43 years, until the year 2000, thousands of dance happy faces passed through the doors of the Fowler Dance Studios.  Although recreational dance was the major part of the school, we also offered a serious dance program for the dancers who wanted to excel and possibly make a career in dance.   This program produced many dancers who are currently working on Broadway, Las Vegas, Hollywood, Dance Companies, Theme Parks and TV, and most of all teaching dance which is the nourishment of our profession.  This was made evident when walking into the main studio of my complex, seeing the walls lined with posters of all  the Broadway Musicals that former students have performed in.
Because of my reputation as a teacher of teacher’s and my history of producing professional dancers, I was constantly in demand as a teacher at congresses, conventions and workshops, throughout the United States and Canada, and have travelled the world as an adjudicator and teacher. 

Which is the secret of your work/choreography?
There is no secret to good choreography, but one must remember, that choreography is an art form, so it should never be copied.  We must open our mind and create pictures with movement that have never been seen before.  We must never overburden the dancers with movement that they have not thoroughly mastered.  We must constantly remind ourselves that choreography is a moving art form and like any art form must be interesting to watch.  It should be creative, original and imaginative

What do you want to give IDO-dancers on their way?
Never stop reaching for your dream, but make sure your dreams are realistic.  If you want to dance, you must make it your passion.  You must begin your studies at a very early age.  When one reaches the age of higher education, one must be ready to audition for placement in the dance department of a University or College, a dance company, or as a professional dancer in Musicals, TV or Movies.

Thank you very much, Bill!