Folk Stories

Episodes about Dance:

4: Celebrating the Century with Hallie Kupperman

October 1st, 2018 (73 minutes)

Before introducing today's guest, I like to setup a bit of context. Within the last two years, I wanted to get out of my regular circles and do something that didn't involve technology (for people unfamiliar, my day job is a software engineer at Amazon). I ended up picking up salsa dancing - little did I know that this decision would lead to some of the most significant relationships that I have today.

Most of these encounters took place within the Century Ballroom, an incredible dance studio in the heart of Capitol Hill Seattle.

Hallie Kupperman is the owner of the Century Ballroom and the Tin Table Restaurant adjacent to the ballroom. She's created an incredible community at the Century which is something I and many others here are incredibly grateful for.

Hallie moved to Seattle over two decades ago and learned to swing dance after arrival. She started teaching swing to the LGBT community not soon after which soon expanded into teaching all forms of dances when she signed the lease on the Century Ballroom. Hallie has been managing and teaching at the Century Ballroom for over two decades and has overcome many hurdles in the interim, including a dramatic rent increase after the building was sold to a new developer that drove out all other tenants and a steep dance tax levied by Washington.

With the Century Ballroom, Hallie has created not just a great dance hall but an incredible community, one that comes together in times of hardship. Examples include events such as "Dance Your Pants off for Lorraine", a fundraiser held for fellow dancer Lorraine which raised money for her cancer treatment and another fundraiser held in 2013 that raised over $90,000 to help keep century afloat after the dance tax.

Thanks for listening and if you want to leave feedback or nominate folks to the show, please send emails to feedback(at)folkstories.org

Notes

  • Hallie's swinging start to dancing
  • origins of century ballroom
  • perseverance through hard times
  • mission and community
  • a day in the life of Hallie
  • everyone can learn to dance
  • future plans for century ballroom
  • Hallie's suits
  • experiences of being a female lead