Andrew Patterson is one of six Dedham “stars” vying for the most votes at the Dec. 8 Dedham Education Partnership’s "Dancing with the Dedham Stars" fund-raiser at Moseley’s on the Charles.
He recently took time to answer a few questions about her experiences so far and her thoughts just two weeks before the competition. The answers have been edited for clarity and style.
Q: Who are you and what do you do when you are not dancing?
Patterson: I’ve been teaching sixth grade here in Dedham for nine years now. It’s been an awesome experience and I have a job I love going to each day. I also coach the Ursuline Academy swim team in the fall. Those keep me pretty busy in addition to dancing, so most days I’m pretty fully booked.
Q: Why are you participating in the Dancing with the Dedham Stars program this year?
Patterson: There are two major reasons I’m participating in this. The first, and most important, is that as a teacher, I can see the amazing impact the Dedham Educational Partnership has on our schools and the benefits for our students. To get to add to that is truly rewarding.
The other reason is that I have to admit I love performing. No small part of being a teacher is being a performer (five 45-minute shows daily) and I’ve always loved getting a chance to perform. Dancing is certainly out of my comfort zone, but what an opportunity to try something radically different from normal and debut it in front of nearly 1,000 people. When am I ever going to have an opportunity like that again?
Q: What special skills do you have on and off the dance floor?
Patterson: To reference “Seinfeld,” I’d like to think I have “unbridled enthusiasm.” Hopefully that won’t lead to my downfall (as it did Billy Mumphrey.) I’m a bit of a ham and hopefully the fun I’m having catches on with the audience. I also have a lot of energy (ask anyone at Dedham Middle School) and that’s certainly helped out in my practice and what I’ve been able to do on the dance floor.
Q: What's been the best part of participating so far?
Patterson: I never realized how much a part of the community I would feel through participating in this. The encouraging comments people have given me, advice from former participants and people just generally interested in how it’s going have really made this experience even better. I wanted to participate to help my schools and you can feel how many people here in Dedham share that sentiment. To be a part of that has been great.
Q: What has been the most challenging part of learning to dance?
Patterson: At the end of the day, I have to transfer from teacher to student. I’m so used to being the teacher and being in control of the lesson and lesson plan. It’s been a long time since I’ve been the student and learning the material instead of teaching it. Of course, the fact that I don’t have dance experience is adding an extra challenge as well.
Natalie Feulner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.