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Tracy Frank, Published September 28 2009

The dancing king: Q-and-A with Victor Gelking of Victor's Dance Studio

Victor Gelking has traveled the world and says to meet a lot of ladies, all a fellow needs are five words: “May I have this dance?”

“Wherever you go throughout the world, if you can dance real well, you will meet a lot of nice people, you really will,” he said.

Gelking has taught dance lessons in Fargo since he moved to town in 1980.

Victor’s Dance Studio offers dance classes throughout the year as well as exhibition dancers that people can hire as entertainment for parties, conventions, weddings and conferences.

“People, when it comes to dancing, are extremely shy, especially men,” Gelking said.

He also runs Vic’s Aircraft Sales, through which he sells aircraft and carousel hangars and offers flight lessons and airplane rides.

“It works out pretty good because I fly in the day and dance at night,” Gelking said with a laugh.

Q: How did you get involved with dancing?

A: I started dancing when I was 9, 10 years old. My mother made me go. The only person I danced with was my sister.

I did tap dancing for three or four years, then I drifted away from that.

I went into the Marine Corps. in 1945, and while I was in the Marines I was transferred to Camp Pendleton, Calif., and I used to go to the Hollywood Palladium all the time.

How did you decide to start offering dance lessons?

I got started when I was in Minot (N.D.).

A gentleman came to Minot, he’d been with Arthur Murray (Dance Studio) for 12 years. He was a very good instructor, and he knew the business very well. So my wife at the time, we took lessons from him.

I thought I was a good dancer until I went to the studio. I trained under him for quite a while.

I ended up buying him out. I started a studio in Minot called Victor’s Dance Studio.

Where do you usually hold classes?

The VFW in West Fargo, American Legion Club in downtown Fargo, the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse (at North Dakota State University).

The college hires me to teach over there.

What’s involved with your exhibition dancers?

A lot of times I’ll have people call me and say, “Look, we’re having a wedding reception, we’re getting a lot of people together, and we want to entertain them.”

We come and dance for them, and we try to get the people at the wedding receptions involved. We get them out on the floor.

One of the easiest dances to learn is the cha-cha, so often we teach that.

People enjoy that.

The most popular dances are swing, waltz, tango, cha-cha and salsa.

It’s extremely good exercise. Dancing is the best exercise next to swimming, they say.

Dancing is a form of physical and mental therapy.

In what ways?

It’s very healthy for you. You’re using different muscles.

Mentally, you’re concentrating on the music. You get rid of a lot of stress.

I’m 82 years old, and the reason I’m healthy, mainly I think is because of dancing.

I’ve lived a pretty clean life.

As long as my health is good, I’ll continue dancing.

Business profile

Victor’s Dance Studio

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526