When we caught up with Joann Tresco two years ago, ballroom dance was a lifeline to the world she left behind for combat duty.
“I had become a very isolated individual,” recalled the recently retired Pa. Army National Guard Master Sergeant, “a personality trait not uncommon for people coming home from war.”
With her 34-year-military career winding down, dance had become her new-found passion and during our interview, she predicted she would be doing a lot more dancing.
Little did she know at that time that the very dance ballroom she once ran to would one day be a business she ran.
As the new operations manager of Pa DanceSport Ballroom in Hummelstown, Tresco combines decades of military management skills with her love for learning and teaching dance.
“I think it’s important that when you stand behind the desk you also need to be actively out on the floor dancing,” said Tresco.
Although she has danced competitively, Tresco calls herself a relative newcomer to ballroom dance, relying heavily on veteran instructor Jon Kopatz and other staff to handle the bulk of teaching while she bridges the gap between administrator and dancer.
“You don’t have to be an expert in the subject matter yourself,” explained Tresco, “but you do have to work with the subject matter experts that are there.”
And, for fellow veterans returning to uncharted civilian waters, Tresco has words of advice.
“They have to find their passion and then they have to have the courage to simply walk through the doors and start,” said Tresco. Most of Tresco’s military career involved management, training and counseling.
“If I can take off my combat boots and put on dance shoes,” said Tresco, “and make it work, anybody can.”