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LENEXA, Kan. – Don’t let the beautiful dresses, constant smile and seemingly easily executed dance steps fool you. Lisa Renner will be the first to tell you that ballroom dancing takes hours of hard work and perseverance to look so effortless. Renner, CEO, CU Holding Company LLC and Beyond Marketing LLC, and her husband of more than 12 years Bob, have been studying ballroom dancing for four years and competing for three. She said it was something they were always interested in “as a way to find something outside our careers we could do together.” With Bob working in information technology project management and her numerous responsibilities at the CUSOs, “We’d talked for a long time about doing ballroom dancing but couldn’t find the time. We decided we had to make the time. ” “ A community college nearby had a ballroom dancing continuing education class that we took to get our feet wet. After that we took private lessons at a studio for a year and then decided to compete,” says Renner. The Renners built a ballroom in the basement of their home so they’d have a processed floor to work out on. The space is split in half between a dance area and a gym. They practice at least two to three hours a night, six nights a week. On Saturday nights they do something different – they go dancing. “When we both work until seven or eight at night and you couple that with the hours of training, that can make for a lot of short nights of sleep,” says Renner. There are six levels in ballroom dance competition that are split into two groups. Each skill level has a different set of steps that have to be completed. Lisa and her husband dance the International Style Standard that includes five standard dances – waltz, tango, Vienese waltz, quickstep and foxtrot “which is our favorite because it’s the most difficult and we love challenges. It’s a very slow and controlled dance.” She said one of the hardest parts of ballroom dancing for women, is “women tend to want to lead, so we have to learn to follow the lead.” Competitors are judged on their floor craft, “and that’s where the lead-follow comes into play,” she said. “The pressure is on the man to have to lead and be looking at the traffic on the dance floor and putting the steps together on his own. I have to be able to read Bob’s body to see what he wants to do. The danger is in misreading him. On top of that, you have to make it look elegant and simple.” In August, Lisa and Bob competed in the USADansport National Championship. Next year will be their first time competing internationally at the renowned Blackpool Dance Competition in England. “For us, ballroom dancing has been the most difficult thing we’ve ever done mentally and physically, and we love it,” said Renner. -

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