Championship ballroom dancer Glendy Yeh knows the ins and outs of the DanceSport competition world, having been in competitions since 2004. She also has a full understanding of the enterprise systems on campus, as she is associate chief information officer in the I&IT division.
Dancing is a welcome break from work, Yeh says.
As associate CIO, Yeh oversees enterprise and administrative applications for the university, as well as media production and support. She works an average of nine hours a day, some days going from meeting to meeting without a break.
“Although I like my job, it can be mentally and physically challenging. Dancing provides a good balance in my life,” Yeh says. “It gives me a chance to stretch my body and mind. Through beautiful music and productive practice, my energy is recharged and my mind felt refreshed.”
Many of her coworkers were initially surprised when she started dancing.
“She’s always real calm, you wouldn’t expect it of her, because dancing is so expressionistic,” Karin Schott, technical lead in I&IT says. “I’ve seen her on video; she’s incredible and graceful.”
Glendy and her husband, Terry Yeh, began dancing socially in 2000 as a way to get out of the house together.
They enjoy the teamwork that dancing presents and the challenge of always improving. Practicing involves not only getting the steps right, but also the partnership, musicality and performance.
Competition never even occurred to them until their teachers encouraged them to give it a try. Even though they were initially intimidated by the idea, they competed for the first time in 2004 and won at the pre-novice level. Now, Glendy laughs at the memory, because they had no idea what they were doing.
“After winning we thought, ‘Oh, maybe we aren’t that bad.’”
The couple has been dancing at the championship level since 2006. Most recently, they won the United States National Amateur DanceSport Championship, the Disney Cup at the Disneyland Resort in Paris, and placed second at the World Dance Council’s Amateur League Ballroom World Championship in their age division.
The ballroom at the World Championship was crowded with representatives from many countries, and Glendy says the atmosphere was more competitive than at other events. After passing three rounds and 16 other couples, the Yehs made it to the finals.
“When they announced our name in the final, as we walked onto the floor, the crowd chanted ‘USA! USA!’” Yeh says. “It was awesome.”
Since the introduction of shows such as “Dancing with the Stars,” Glendy has noticed ballroom dancing gaining popularity in the States. She watches the show too and says that Derek Hough is her favorite because of his ability to choreograph to the strengths of his partner. She has been to a studio taping twice and enjoys the behind-the-scenes work that goes on.
Glendy enjoys all dance styles, but tango is favorite style because of the emotion it entails. She and her husband hope to learn more dances styles in the future.
Together, they plan on dancing until it’s physically impossible for them to continue.
“We met this man about 10 years ago, at that time he was already in his 70s, now he is 87 or 88, and he’s still dancing,” she says. “He can still run around the floor, still do the quickstep. He’s our idol.”