Music In Their Feet And In Their Hearts

August 16, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

Dolly Kilduff was dancing in a stage show at the Dutch Mill Lounge on Harford Road when Louis Henry "Pat" Schultz came in one night in 1936. She was 16; he was 19. He thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

When he asked her to dance after the show, she said no -- the first several times he asked, in fact.

"She didn't know what she was missing," Mr. Schultz says now, deadpan. He could never match her ability to repeat any dance she saw. But he had what their daughter Pat Weyant calls "music in his feet."

Fifty-five years of marriage, six children, 17 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren later, Pat and Dolly Schultz's cowboy boots are scooting around the metropolitan area country-western circuit.

The Kingsville couple give exhibition dances at charity fund-raisers, special shows and occasionally lessons at The Strand nightclub near Fallston.

When not dancing country-western, Mr. and Mrs. Schultz are on-stage with the Bay Shore Cloggers, a 30-member Middle River area group that performs at Rocky Point Park, Fort McHenry and Miami Beach, Md. They also clog with the Carroll County Cloggers, who perform at the Farm Museum in Westminster.

When the Schultzes wait to go on at the edge of a dance floor in their black, white and gold western costumes, they look like the senior citizens they are. He is 78, she 75.

But when the music comes up and they launch into their own mix of jitterbug and shag to the song, "Paralyzed," they somehow shed 50 years. Local country-western DJs and event sponsors say the audiences love it.

"The crowd was just cheering . . . cheering them on," said Carl R. Oulton, director of development for the Chimes, describing the Schultzes' performance at the Chimes' annual country-western festival, a fund-raiser. The organization provides day-care, training and job placement for mentally impaired and disabled adults.

The look of love

"The thing I like about Pat's dancing is that the love he has for Dolly is very evident when he dances with her," said Jim Ratliff, who teaches country-western dancing with his wife, Mindy, and directs the annual Capital Classic line-dance competition in Timonium. "He acts as a prop and lets her do the fancy moves."

Dean and Sandy Garrish, Division I grand-champion dancers -- the second-highest level recognized by the United Country Western Dance Council -- are among a few Baltimore area instructors who teach a 172-step dance called the Hip Hop Main Event.

"It's probably the hardest line dance to do," Mr. Garrish said. He and his wife get a high drop-out rate in the three-hour class. But Mrs. Schultz, easily the oldest student, mastered the dance.

A quick study

Mr. Schultz could have predicted that. In the early 1970s, he and his wife wanted to learn clogging. The instructor said it would take eight to 10 weeks.

"I said, 'Not with my wife. If she sees you do the step, she can do it behind you.' So he showed us right there," Mr. Schultz recalled.

Mrs. Schultz absorbed clogging just as she had mastered toe, tap, ballet, acrobatic and adagio after a local dance instructor spotted the 8-year-old girl creating dances in her back yard on Gutman Avenue in Lower Waverly. Her mother agreed to lessons.

Within a few years, Dolly was performing at banquets and shows, competing in talent shows and dancing in an annual recital in New York City.

'A perfect husband'

Mrs. Schultz said she didn't mind, however, leaving the stage and the chance of fame to get married and have children.

"I really got tired of it," she said, adding that Mr. Schultz has been "just a perfect husband. I wouldn't trade him."

She and Mr. Schultz didn't dance onstage for 45 years after their marriage -- but they never stopped dancing privately. The living room became a ballroom-dance studio for the Schultzes' five girls and one boy.

They got back into performance dancing because Mr. Schultz took a construction job in northwestern West Virginia in the early 1970s. Looking for social life, the couple found it in square dancing, which led to a square-dance convention and an introduction to clogging. They decided they had to learn that dance and soon were teaching clogging.

The couple returned to Baltimore in 1982. They joined a new clogging group that would become the Silver Eagle Cloggers, where they heard about country-western dance lessons offered through the Baltimore County recreation department.

Hearing the beat

Mrs. Schultz said she has never been able to keep her feet still when she hears music. Once in West Virginia, she and her husband and another couple spent a day at a dance festival. They were walking back to the car when she heard what she thought was a drumbeat. She started clogging to it.

One of the others asked what she was doing and she said she was clogging to that drum. Told to turn around and look, she had to laugh.

She had been clogging to the beat of a pair of trash cans being bumped along a street.

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