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How 3 men went from former Marines to ballroom dance instructors

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3 men went from former marines to dance instructors (KTRK)

At the Fred Astaire Dance Studio on Westheimer, classes are always in full swing.

"The people that get the most attention are out there on the dance floor," said Patrick Stuckwish, former Marine turned dance studio owner.

Those commanding attention are breaking stereotypes.

"I was stationed in Indian Head, Maryland," said Leon Flores, former Marine.

"I served from 1978 to 1982," said Hal Hoodwin, a former Marine.

Most people wouldn't expect for three Marine veterans and a third-degree black belt karate student to be dancers.

"I think 'Dancing With the Stars' really helped popularize this," said Carter Erwin.

Erwin went from karate to dancing the cha-cha with his wife, and they love every minute of it.

"It's very structured, but at the same time it's freeing and liberating," said Erwin. "Once you understand the concept of it, you let go and have fun with it."

"When I was overseas I came up with a bucket list of things to do," said Stuckwish.

His bucket list included ballroom dancing and joining the police academy, but instead, he's the owner of a dance studio.

"It's been a lot of hard work, dedication and really working towards it," said Stuckwish.

These men said it definitely wasn't easy, but it's very rewarding.

"For me, the most masculine feeling I will ever get is when I can take any woman to the dance floor," said Leon Flores.

After serving, Flores took a few dance lessons and was hooked. He's now a dance instructor.

"I learned how to engage with a woman with a floor and effect beauty, and that's magic," said Hoodwin.

Dancing didn't just teach Hoodwin great moves, but it actually led him straight to the love of his life.

"I showed up and there she was. The rest is history," Hoodwin said.

Related Topics:
societydancemarinesveteransu.s. & worldballroom dancing
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