Best of the Boat: Best Dancer — Roddy Beall
Dancing has always come naturally for local Roddy Beall, voted this year’s Best Dancer. Something about the grace and athleticism required has always resonated with the former high school soccer star.
“I’ve always liked dancing,” he says. “It was something I was naturally good at. I love the rhythm and movement of it, no matter what type I’m doing.”
He found one type he likes by accident while attending the University of Colorado. “I kind of haphazardly discovered it in college when some friends suggested joining a dance class,” he says. “So I checked it out.”
When it finished, he went to an end-of-semester dance party thrown by a West African dance class, whose drummers were a pair of brothers from Ghana. “It was super cool,” he says. “I just jumped in and started dancing and they liked it. Afterward, they came over and said they had a dance company, so I joined it for the next few years.”
From 2003 through 2007, Beall practiced a couple nights a week with them, performing gigs on weekends. They also traveled to Ghana for performances. “I dove headlong into it,” he says. “It was probably something my parents thought I devoted too much time to.”
After college, Beall pursued dancing in New York City for a spell, but returned to Steamboat for its community. “One of the things that brought me back was the Steamboat Dance Theatre,” he says. “People are pretty serious about it here, and they put on a professional-level show.”
He adds that he’s humbled by the recent recognition. “There are some real dancers in town who are incredibly good,” he says. “They’re true professionals, and I’m not in that category. I just do it for fun.”
He says that he now has what he calls a “dance” season, just like he has a ski season, kayak season and soccer season. It usually runs from October to February, when the dance theater hosts its annual show.
“Roddy’s a committed dancer, who brings great energy and technique, and he has an infectious smile when he’s out there,” says Steamboat Dance Theatre board president Kristen Jespersen. “He has a mastery of a number of different styles. He’s also breaking the glass ceiling when it comes to men dancing. Ever since he joined, a lot more men have participated, both at the studio and in the show.”
Beall enjoys bridging the gender barrier. “People like to see a guy dancing,” he says. “People can see I’m having a really good time, and I think they feed off my energy. They can tell that I love it. I love to push myself and try new things.”
Beall has also danced ballet in the annual Nutcracker performance for the past five years, and is a regular in the annual Dancing with the Stars fundraiser, winning it once with partner Millie Flanigan. “But I was in drag,” he says, further graying the gender lines. “We were wearing matching gold dresses.”
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Steamboat Free Summer Concerts announced Friday that it will return live music to the Yampa Valley this summer in the form of two concerts scheduled for August and September.