Swing dancers step into a life together

Just Married

Jennifer LaCorte and John Johnson

April 21, 2002|By Sandy Alexander | Sandy Alexander,Sun Staff

Right from the start, Jennifer LaCorte and John Johnson were in step with one another.

They met while swing dancing at Avalon Dance Studio in Catonsville and soon discovered that in addition to sharing a passion for dance, they both love good food and wine, are outgoing people and have a wacky sense of humor.

"Our personalities fit together like two pieces in a puzzle," says Jennifer.

Their March 30 wedding reflected their interests. At the Maryland Club in Baltimore, they had a wedding ceremony followed by a reception with elaborate hors d'oeuvres. Next was dinner, prepared by a friend and colleague of John's, that included Cuban black-bean soup, cheese tortellini, grilled salmon and filet mignon with porcini-mushroom sauce. Plus there was an assortment of pastries to accompany the four-tier wedding cake for dessert.

After a first dance to the song "Honeysuckle Rose," Jennifer changed into a shorter dress so she and John could dance throughout the evening with their guests to the music of a five-piece swing band.

Jennifer, a research nurse at the Johns Hopkins University, had been attending Avalon's bimonthly social dances for a few months before she first danced with John in August 2000. John, a culinary-arts teacher at the Carver Center for Arts and Technology, really noticed her after the next social when a group of dancers went out to a local pub.

"I never cook on the first date," says John, but he made an exception and asked Jennifer over for dinner.

That evening, they talked and laughed so much, "it ended up being five courses in three hours," says John. "After she left, I looked at my cat and I said 'Basil, she's it.' "

"It was very mutual," Jennifer says. "I was driving home flying on cloud nine."

After dating for five months they decided to get engaged.

"It was short," says Jennifer of the time they dated, but "it was a no-brainer."

John led up to the proposal by e-mailing Jennifer an "application" to join the Johnson family. It included a number of questions based on the couple's inside jokes and concluded with instructions to return the form to John and "prepare to start the journey of a lifetime."

Jennifer took the form straight to John's house in Butchers Hill, where he gave her an engagement ring and asked her to be his wife.

Jennifer, 30, earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Maryland, College Park and her nursing degree at the school's Baltimore campus. She spent five years at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center at University Medical Center before taking a six-month break from medicine to crew on the Pride of Baltimore clipper ship. Then she started to work at Hopkins.

John, 43, is a Towson University graduate and has spent many years working in restaurants, starting as a teen-ager washing dishes. He was a chef at Rolling Road Golf Club and Great Occasions Catering before teaching culinary arts at the Howard County Institute of Technology and then the Carver Center.

Along with dancing and dining, the two, who live in Reisterstown, enjoy skiing together. They also have separate interests: Jennifer likes to sky-dive and John likes to golf. And while John likes to be in the kitchen, Jennifer is great with tools and home projects.

It's a role reversal, says John, "but it works for me and it works for her."

Jennifer says the biggest surprise is how easy it has been to go from the single life to sharing everything with John. "It's been such a smooth and easy transition," she says.

John agrees: "It's so nice to have someone to come home to."

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