Jan 01, 2020 01:55PM
By Kathy Cain
“If you hit a wall, climb over it, crawl under it, or dance on top of it.’
Two-three, cha-cha-cha, two-three, four and one.
I’ve had a passion for ballroom dancing since taking my first tango lesson at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in 1982. I was a marketing director for ConAgra pet products, but private dance lessons and showcases were still very expensive and not in my budget.
However, my mantra has always been ‘there has to be a way.’ When you are confident, you can move mountains. I must have a bit of Scarlett O’Hara in me.
I read that Arthur Murray Dance Studio was starting an instructors’ training class; I applied with no experience in dancing or teaching.
Whether it was my knowledge of political persuasion or theater training I’ll never know, but I convinced the Arthur Murray dance director to take a chance and train me to be a dance teacher—I was paid to dance. I then worked two jobs, my ‘real’ one at ConAgra by day and as a ballroom dance instructor at night. I’ve had to pack away my dance shoes from time to time, because of divorce and to raise my daughter, but I hope to realize my dream of competitive dancing again.
My family moved to Omaha from Southern California in 1963, and Omaha remained my home following college. I first majored in political science, later transferring to theater arts, eventually graduating with a degree in broadcast journalism…I’ve always been a bit of a showman.
I’ve worked for, and learned from, Omaha’s best entrepreneurs at Richman Gordman, Pamida, Mangelsen's, and Borsheims. Now, as vice president of Maun-Lemke, a locally owned health care speaking and consulting company, I work with post-acute care providers across the country.
I was blessed with a hardy Irish heritage and endless energy. At 67, I don’t let my age define who I am or deter me from anything.
As a breast cancer survivor, I am fortunate to not have any health limitations and I thrive on staying busy and seeking new adventures. I maintain a strong physical acumen and look for activities that challenge me physically, such as scuba diving and the Tree Rush Adventures obstacle course at Fontenelle Forest. I walk 20,000 steps a day (over eight miles), ride my bicycle, and weight train. Which is all good, but I have developed an addiction to my FitBit.
I am the second of the ‘three Kathleens,’ my mother Kathleen being the first, my daughter Kathleen the third. Along with my two sisters Heather and Diane, we are a family proud of our Irish heritage. There is nowhere in the world as welcoming, mystical, and beautiful as Ireland.
This past brisk and misty March we visited our Irish family in the ethereal countryside painted with rolling fields of green and stone fences. The Cliffs of Moher, sleeping in a haunted castle, and the Aran Islands were highlights. I had hoped to see the Fairies, maybe on my next visit.This article was printed in the January/February 2020 issue of Omaha Magazine.