Saturday, January 11, 2014
Sadly, we mourn the passing of one of the "legends" of the Ballroom Dancing World, and one of the Imperial Society's most highly esteemed members.
Frank Regan was a fellow in all branches of the United States Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. He was the Dean of the educational faculty for the Theatre Arts branch of the USISTD and a former multi-national champion.
Frank Regan served the Imperial Society since the early nineteen sixties as an innovator and crusader both for the competitive dance scene and the promotion of dance education in the United States and Canada.
As a graduate of the Alex Moore School in London, he was fortunate to be trained by the legendary Guy Howard (actual writer of the Revised Technique). His dance partner for his Associate exam was Elizabeth Romaine. His partner for the Licentiate exam was none other than Bobbie Irvine MBE.
Frank’s enthusiasm for showing his exceptional knowledge led him to initiate a training program for professionals in the Philadelphia area starting during the early sixties and continuing for a number of years. Some of his professional students have been such notables as Sam Sodano, Bill Davies, Meryam Pearson, Pierette Chartier, Fran Rogers and many teachers in Canada as well as the United States.
He was instrumental in launching the competition scene on the east coast. Some may remember the Philadelphia Dance Festival at the Bellvue Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia where such famous names as Peter Eggleton and Brenda Winslade, Bill and Bobbie Irvine MBE, Laird and Lorraine etc were the featured demonstrators. He organized the Atlantic City Dance Festival, a successful competition at the beautiful Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City. Alex Moore was one of the judges and Dennis Udell and Joyce Brampton were the featured demonstrators. Frank generously donated this competition to the “Imperial” and this was the first of the many outstanding competitions held in Atlantic City. He continued to co-organize and promote competitions with the USISTD until the end of the sixties. His crowning glory as a competition organizer occurred in 1973 when he organized the first World Championship in America at the Madison Square Garden in New York. Thirty-three countries participated. Arthur Murray International sponsored the event.
During the seventies he was instrumental in promoting the International Style in Canada and trained many of the teachers in the Federation de Loisirs Danse du Quebec. He shared his expertise as a competition organizer in Quebec and helped build an incredible dance scene in the Province.
Frank organized his last dance competition in 1977 at the Olympic Velodome in Montreal; the World Ten Dance - 15 countries participated with an attendance of six thousand spectators in one night.
In 1979 he left the world of ballroom dancing for ten years earning his living as a director and choreographer for theater and television. He returned to the ballroom world in 1989 and in 1990 moved to Washington, D.C. where he started the American Dance Montage Ballroom Theatre Company. His most renowned work was a two-hour theater show, which depicted the history and evolution of ballroom dancing in America and its relationship to Hollywood and Broadway. The company performed to critical acclaim in such places as El Salvador, Hong Kong, Canada and various venues in the U.S. Frank received a special commendation for his artistry from the United States Department of Cultural Affairs. It is worth noting that all the members of his company were members of the USISTD.
Frank resided in Washington D.C. for 20 years and worked frequently in Florida where he served as the official Period and Stylistic choreographer for the world famous Miami City Ballet. He choreographed major ballets for the company for the past nine years and was accorded the singular honor of having the title of “MAESTRO” bestowed upon him on February 6th, 2010 by Miami City Ballet for his outstanding artistry.
He produced many educational films and DVDs for the Society.
If you had walked into one of Frank’s Ballet, Jazz or Flamenco classes you would have been impressed by the skill and artistry of a true master. But you would have been even more impressed to see Frank dance a basic Mambo or Rumba. With all his accomplishments Frank enjoyed most of all the process of dancing and teaching the basics of ballroom.