It began as a way to create quality time for their family. They didn’t realize it was in their blood.
“It” is ballroom dancing. “They” are mother Kari Fraser, 14-year-old Grace, and 11-year-old Holden.
It seems Grandpa, Albert “Scotty” Fraser, who worked for the Rolls Royce Corporation in his hometown of Paisley Renfrewshire, Scotland during WWII, taught himself how to dance at the local halls as a means of entertainment. He eventually mastered all four international “smooth” dances: Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Tango, and Foxtrot. He won several awards.
Kari, Grace, and Holden have embraced Grandpa’s legacy and run away with it, entering competitions on the National Ballroom Dance Circuit. Since 2009, the Fraser Family Dance Group has won 180 1st place awards in only nine competitions, “astounding judges with their technique, stiletto sharp timing, and fluidity.”
One day, Grace says she hopes to compete at the Blackpool Dance Festival, a prestigious competition held every May in England. She’s also a huge fan of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars series, and dreams of being selected for the show sometime in the future.
For now, Kari (a former N.Y. actress who played the original Dixie Cooney on the daytime soap opera All My Children) works, runs errands, and marshals the family unit. Grace is a freshman at the Mayfield Senior School and Holden is a 6th-grader at the Clairbourn School. On top of their day-to-day responsibilities, when they are preparing for an upcoming competition, they must fit in three-hour practices five days a week . (It’s only one and a half hours of practice, four days a week when they’re not competing—thank goodness for downtime!)
This week will be intense as their next competition is the California Open Dance Sport Championships, February 16-19 at the Marriott Hotel in Irvine. Categories include “Open Professional Rhythm,” “Formation Team-Latin,” and “Bronze 6-Dance Championships-Smooth,” just to name a few out of a list of dozens.
After Irvine, it’s on to the San Francisco Open, then back to L.A. As usual, the Fraser’s will be keeping it all in the family.
CA Open Dancesport Championships
Thurs.-Sun., Feb. 16-19
Irvine Marriott, 18000 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine