Burr Ridge couple discover love of dancing
Scott and Lynn Magnesen dance during the Cross Country Dance Championships national competition in Las Vegas in April 2012.
Updated: December 30, 2012 6:10AM
BURR RIDGE — As Scott Magnesen watched his wife, Lynn Magnesen, compete for the first time at ballroom dance in September 2011, his own competitive nature emerged.
“I thought, these guys aren’t very good. I want to compete, too,” said Scott Magnesen, a managing director in Morgan Stanley’s Oak Brook office.
In his first competition a month later, it was 53-year-old Scott Magnesen who waltzed away with a national Novice of the Year trophy for his performance against men at the same age and level of dance experience. Most recently, he won Best Bronze Male Dancer trophy at the Fred Astaire National Dance Championships in Orlando, Fla.
The Magnesens, who usually compete individually with pro dancers, will compete together Dec. 6 at Fred Astaire Chicago’s regional 2012 Holiday Star Ball. They hope to move on to compete against Arthur Murray and other independent studios in the near future.
Looking back on their own nuptials 30 years ago, Scott and Lynn Magnesen recall they didn’t do much dancing at the reception, opting instead for a safe “sway” to the music. In April 2011, shortly before the wedding of the second-oldest of their four sons, the empty nesters resolved to making a more impressive showing, signing up for a package of six lessons.
“The idea was, ‘Let’s take some dance lessons so we don’t look so dumb at the wedding,’” Scott Magnesen said.
During their first lesson at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Burr Ridge, Lynn Magnesen was tapped for amateur competition. The Magnesens since then each have racked up several amateur dance awards.
The dancing has other rewards. As they’ve watched the marriages of their friends crumble when they no longer had children to bond over at home, the Magnesens have used their mutual interest in dance to reconnect with one another. Each also has lost about 25 pounds, and Scott Magnesen said it’s a great relief from the stress of managing a $2 billion portfolio.
“This became our fitness. We quit our health club,” said Scott Magnesen, who trains twice a week each with his smooth ballroom and Latin dance coaches.
He did have to overcome some of the social barriers that prevent many American men from enjoying dancing.
“It took me about six months to tell my friends I was doing it,” he said. “It took a year for me to admit to my wife that I liked it.”
Lynn Magnesen, 52, who practices with her smooth and Latin pros for 45 minutes a day five days a week, recently placed in four and won one out of 12 national competition events in Orlando.
“The most fun out of this is finding something I love so much and getting rewarded for it even when I’m over 50,” the former ballet major said.