1906 - 2000 (93 years) Submit Photo / Document
||Boyd Andrew Kotshonis |
||26 Nov 1906
||Kotche's School of Dancing |
||22 Sep 2000
||Oklahoma City, OK
||Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, OK \
- Kotshonis, Boyd A, 2633 NW 58th St.
Appeared on Jury List
Journal Record, The (Oklahoma City) , Feb 6, 1997
- KOTSHONIS, Boyd Andrew "Kotche"; 93;
Oklahoma City OK;
Daily Oklahoman; 2000-9-25
- Daily Oklahoman, The (Oklahoma City, OK) - September 26, 2000
Boyd Andrew "Kotche" Kotshonis
Boyd Andrew Kotshonis "Kotche", 93, died September 22, 2000, at his home in Oklahoma City. He was born November 26, 1906, in Oklahoma City. He attended school and was named "Kotche" by classmates at the old Culbertson School because they couldn't say Kotshonis.
He started his first Dancing School September 10,1928, at the L.E. Buttricks School in the old Ritz Ballroom and taught tap dancing and private ballroom dancing for Mr. Buttricks School. He operated "Kotche's School of Dancing" for 56 years and closed his last school at 416 N. Hudson on September 10, 1984.
August 24, 1984 was proclaimed "Kotche Day" by the mayor of Oklahoma City. He won several Dancing Championships: Oklahoma State One-Step in 1925 at the Louvre Ballroom in Tulsa, with partner Louise McComb, Oklahoma State Charleston Championship at Oklahoma City at the Liberty Theater in 1926, after which he toured with the Song and Dance Troupe "Midnite Fancies" over Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Louisiana, doing a Charleston, a Skate Dance and a Soft Shoe. Also won the Oklahoma State One-Step in 1927 at Louvre Ballroom, partner Dolores "Babe" Reagan who later became his wife for 62 years.
Mrs. Kotshonis passed away on October 30, 1990. Kotche taught for many national and state conventions. He was a life-time member of Dance Masters of America, Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, Texas Association of Teacher of Dancing, Honorary Member of Oklahoma Dance Masters and organized the Oklahoma chapter of Dance Masters of America #27. Also a member of Ahepa Greek Lodge #240 where he was past President and Secretary, and a member of the State Historical Society. He served in the Marine Corp during WWII and was a member of American Legion Post #35 and amember of St. George's Greek Orthodox Church.
He is survived by his half-brother, Foster Howland of Lakewood, Colorado; a niece Marguerite Brewster and husband Bill of Oklahoma City; a nephew, Howard Link of Oklahoma City; great nieces, Patricia Tetreault and husband Ted, Susan Fleck and husband Bruce of Edmond, Michael Rollins, husband of deceased great niece Cheryl of Tulsa; 5 great nieces and nephews, and the many beautiful people that touched his life. A Trisagion service will be held Tuesday, September 26, 2000 at 7:00 P.M. at Hahn-Cook/Street & Draper Chapel.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2000 at St. George's Greek Orthodox Church at 11:00 a.m. with burial to follow at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens. 
Last Supper Lot 199 D space 3 & 4 
- Uncommon Common Folk
By Kathryn Jenson
Oklahoma Today Magazine
Come on, honey; come this way. That's right, bless your heart," he calls out over the microphone to a female student looking a little lost during the circle mixer practice dance that follows each night's one hour lesson. He's said it, or a variation on it, countless times during the last 56 years. That's how long "Kotche," who got this nickname because his real name, Kotshonis, was Greek to his Oklahoma childhood playmates, has been teaching the people of Oklahoma
City to cut the rug. The foxtrot, swivel, shag, Black Hawk waltz, little foot, two step, rhumba, tango and Cottoneyed Joe are but a few of the dances in his repertoire.
At 77, Kotche has more grace, charm and energy in one tapping foot than most of us have in our whole bodies. Early pictures of Kotche call to mind the suave and debonair Don Ameche or Caesar Romero. Today, his silver-white hair, blue eyes and dapper moustache still evoke the smooth sophistication of early screen idols. However, whether Don or Caesar would have ever sported Kotche's very Oklahoma silver collar tips, good-sized cowboy hat or beaded Western jacket is open to question.
For 28 of his 56 teaching years, Kotche has glided and led others around the floor of Kotche's School of Ballroom Dancing at 416 N. Hudson. Both he and it are Oklahoma City institutions.
The cornerstone of the human institution was laid in the early '20s. As Kotche remembers it, "My father got sick, so I quit school and went to work at Thornton Drug Store, seven days a week from 7 to 7. Every night after work, I'd go to the old Cinderella Roof at 101/2 Broadway and dance until they closed." In 1925, he opened a soda fountain there; in 1927, he opened another at the Ritz, which later became famous as the Trianon Ballroom. When he wasn't serving refreshments, Kotche continued to dance.
In 1927, he and his wife, Dolores, won the Oklahoma State Championship in the one-step. Kotche also took the 1925 one-step and the 1926 single Charleston medals in the same competition. He explains, "After I won the championships, people would ask me to teach them, but I didn't know how. I'd just picked it up, you see?" Kotche attended school hlmself to learn to teach others what came naturally to him.
His philosophy of teaching explains why he's been successful all +ese years: "Ballroom dancing, to be enjoyed, should be an individual thing; no two people should dance alike. When a person gets on the floor, he or she ought to forget worrying about the foot movements and just enjoy moving to the music. That's the thing." With this belief, Kotche doesn't try to teach style; he teaches only the fundamentals and leaves the rest to the individual. He continues, "My idea of teaching is to allow people to develop their mm styles. Ninety-nine percent of them want to dance to have fun. One percent want to compete or exhibit.
Some big schools produce stylized dancers who can dance only with other students from the same school. That's not the idea of American dancing. I say that if you can't dance with different dancers, you can't dance." Sitting one afternoon in the ballroom where a good many of his lessons have taken place, Kotche says of the place, "It's 28 years old, and it looks a lot better at night now. But when we first opened, it was one of the showplaces of the country." He doesn't need to apologize for the wrinkles and worn spots. Like its dancing master, it hasn't gotten older, only better. Part of the place's current charm is its age, which may have dulled the glitter but not the power to bring to mind that glitter.
His janitor, who's been with him for 40 years, is 80, and Kotche claims, "He and I, all we're doing now is just rockin' along, just rockin' along, that's all." A night at Kotche's proves he's not "just rockin' along"; he's also swinging, foxtrotting and waltzing. The ballroom is staffed and frequented by regulars, a word that's probably an understatement in this case. Two women who work there have in 18 and 20 years' service. One dancer was taught by Kotche in 1942, when she was just a child. A couple sitting at "their" table met at the ballroom and married 10 years ago. Kotche plays their favorite waltz tune for them each night they are there. He probably even danced at their wedding.
The routine is the same each night. After an hour's teaching and demonstrating in the center of a big circle of students, Kotche removes himself to the Disc-o-Lodeon to play records for the open dancing. This machine is the forerunner of the disco deejay set-ups we now see in most dance halls. Kotche created it in 1947: "At that time we had a band seven nights a week, but when they closed the naval base, I couldn't have them that often. So I cut the band down to three nights, and I made this thing here. I tore up an old jukebox, what they called a "nickelodeon" then. I came up with the name because records are also called discs." Looking out over his brood from this nest of records and memorabilia from over 50 years, Kotche announces each record, dedicates it to one of the crowd and names the dance it best accompanies. As he spins the disc, they spin their partners out onto the floor. Most of the men wear semicasual clothes; most of the women wear dresses with skirts that swing and swirl around their legs. It doesn't take much imagination to see them all in Fred Astaire tails and Ginger Rogers chiffon gowns.
While the tunes are playing, so is Kotche. He dances or visits during the songs. Fiddling with his pipe and gazing out over his "kids," Kotche claims that in all the years he's taught, he's run across only five or so people who couldn't learn to dance. He's taught a man with one artificial leg and seen another man with two master the art. He believes that what makes a good dancer is, simply, love of music and movement, because "music and dancing are the wedded pair." He hurries on to explain, "Now, that's not my quote. I got it out of a book at the OU Library.
When I was teaching in Norman during the '30s I read every book they had on dancing. Anyway, it's true." This love also leads to practice, of course, and Kotche holds that learning to dance is 10 percent lessons and 90 percent practice. He certainly loves the music, although he says, "You know, I can't sing one line of any tune because all I'm listening to is that beat. I've played some of these records thousands of times, and except for an 'I love you, I love you' here and there, can't remember any of the words." Kotche does sing along, however. As the music pours forth, he croons, "Side, close, step" and "One, two, tap, step, one, two, three" in a way that would make Sinatra envious. A seemingly inborn love of dancing among most people has kept Kotche in business even when times were tough. During the Depression, he did a booming business at 25 cents a lesson for men and 10 cents for women. He explains it this way:
"There's two things people will always spend money for: . something to put in their stomachs and something to take their minds off their troubles."
Lost in the melody and wrapped in the arms of one equally rapt, no one can worry about too much. Kotche sure isn't a worrier; dancing has taught him to go with the flow. Unfortunately for all of us, the flow seems to be moving Kotche toward retirement. He has mixed emotions about the idea. "My knee is bad, and I got the gout. But I don't want to give it up. I'm thinking about putting it on computer," he says with a twinkle in his toes. I hope he doesn't; I waltzed with Kotche, and I'd like many others to have the opportunity to glide across the floor with a man who could make them follow him anywhere. His feelings on his art and the half century he's devoted to performing and teaching it are clear: "Dancing, really and truly, has given me everything I've ever wanted. I'm fortunate that
the good people, the good dancm of this city have let me do the thing I love to do all my adult years."
||Extended Families of Childress
||8 Jun 2020 |
|Died - 22 Sep 2000 - Oklahoma City, OK
- [S238] Journal Record, The (Oklahoma City).
- [S239] Daily Oklahoman.
- [S139] Findagrave.com.
- [S651] Oklahoma Today Magazine, Between Sep 1984 and Oct 1984.