|Born||in Lancaster, Ohio, USA|
|Birth Name||Mary Ann Murphy|
|Nickname||Queen of Scream|
|Height||5' 9" (1.75 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
Mary Murphy was born in Lancaster, Ohio, the only daughter in a family of four children. Her father worked as an elementary school teacher and her mother, originally from Ireland, remained at home, looking after the family. Life with three brothers led Mary to see herself not as the only daughter in the Murphy household, but as the fourth brother. Keeping up with her siblings left Mary with little affinity for typically feminine pastimes, and she spent most of her free time after school and on weekends participating in athletics such as track and field, basketball, volleyball, and football.
After high school, Mary went to Ohio University for the express purpose of graduating with a degree in Physical Education. In addition to her Bachelor's Degree in physical education, Mary, having developed a love of modern dance over the course of her college education, also minored in modern dance. With no idea she had a professional ballroom dance career ahead of her, Mary saw herself using the combined benefits of her degrees to pursue a career as a specialist in physical education for children with learning disabilities, helping them to connect the mind and the body through repetitive movement and creative dance.
Shortly after graduating, Mary moved to Washington, DC, where, looking for a summer job, she answered an ad in the newspaper; a local studio was recruiting trainees to become instructors. Although her background in modern dance allowed her to transition from trainee to instructor in only a week's time, the studio's limited resources and basic social dancing did not make a favorable first impression on Mary, leaving her feeling dispassionately about ballroom dancing and with no belief that her future would lie therein.
The turning point came when the owner of the dance studio invited her to attend the United States Ballroom Championships in New York City. Upon entering the ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria, Mary's senses were overwhelmed. As she watched the couples whirling across the floor, their bodies seamlessly executing complicated patterns in perfect synchronization, their elegant movements in harmony with the music, it dawned on her that ballroom dancing was much more than what she had been exposed to in the small studio in Washington, DC, more than the blinding glitter and glamor of the fancy dresses and tail suits -- this was a sport in the truest sense of the word, and the athleticism, the sheer artistry of the dancers was astounding. At that moment Mary realized that ballroom dancing was more than just job for her -- she no longer felt the desire to spend the rest of her life as a modern dancer, performing alone.
Mary returned to Washington, DC, determined to become part of the magic she had witnessed, and immediately launched herself into the world of competitive ballroom dance, never looking back. While continuing to teach for the studio, she sought out the best instructors in the area and began her competitive dance training.
After only a year in Washington, familial circumstances demanded that Mary move back to Ohio, and she found herself in a small town with no dance studio an hour and a half outside of Columbus. Mary made the drive to Columbus daily, where she intensified her training in the American Rhythm, American Smooth, and International Latin styles of dance.
As Mary's dancing improved, she focused more on the International Standard style of dance and began searching for a partner with which she would be able to compete. Her search for a suitable dance partner lead her across the country to Southern California. Although the partnership ultimately did not prove to be viable, she decided to make California her home.
Mary resumed work as a dance instructor in San Diego, but remained dedicated to finding a competitive dance partner who would help her realize her goals -- to make the national final in any given category.
That year Mary went to Blackpool, England for the UK Open Championships, where she met Manfred Siglitz and her search for a partner finally reached its end. After a precursory tryout the pair agreed that, though separated by a not inconsiderable distance, Mary living in California and Manfred in England, they would immediately form a partnership and compete in International Ten Dance. Mary and Manfred spent the next two years commuting between Manfred's home in England and Mary's home in California, and touring the world in competition. The couple became Austrian National Champions in 1990 and 1991 and enjoyed considerable success, representing Austria in the World Championships, and making the World Cup final.
In April of 1990, Mary opened the doors to Champion Ballroom Academy in the heart of downtown San Diego. Her vision, partly driven by her own needs as a competitor in training, was to provide the very best facility for competitive dance education, while at the same time creating a school where students and teachers alike would feel a sense of comfort and community as they sought to improve their dancing skills.
Over the course of time, the strains of commuting took their toll, and Mary was put under pressure to leave her studio and life in California behind and move to England. Ultimately, the distance proved too great an obstacle for the partnership to overcome, and despite the promise of placing in the top six in the world, they were forced to part ways.
Although the partnership with Manfred was at an end, Mary's competitive career was long from over. During the five years following the breakup, she went on to build an impressive list of accomplishments with various partners including the Southwest Regional Dance Tournament, the Saint Louis Star Ball, and the International Grand Ball. With partner Bill Milner Mary made the U.S. Open Standard final in an unprecedented six months' time. Finally, in 1996, Mary Murphy and partner Jim Desmond made the final of the U.S. Open American Smooth and won the U.S. Open American Nine Dance.
Her competitive goals realized many times over, Mary immediately retired from competition and shifted her focus toward her ballroom, devoting herself to bringing the joys of dance to all of her students and to those in the community who have not yet discovered the intoxicating, liberating feeling one gets when one steps out onto the dance floor. Mary feels comfortable with her decision to retire, and feels extremely fulfilled managing her business and watching her studio blossom.
Not one to lose herself entirely to the necessary details of managing a ballroom, Mary's desire to share her love for the art and sport of dance with others has led her to remain active as an instructor, coaching and choreographing for many U.S. Amateur and Junior Champions.
Mary has also done her share in bringing ballroom to the screen, acting as a dance double for Julia Roberts in the movie Something to Talk About (1995), appearing in Dance with Me (1998), starring Vanessa Williams, and most recently was part of the Fox television series, So You Think You Can Dance (2005), as a judge and choreographer.
Also, Mary is a partner in and organizer one of the largest U.S. dance competitions, The Holiday Dance Classic, held in Las Vegas each December. She frequently serves as a judge in some of ballroom's most reputable competitions, including the U.S. National Ballroom Championships, and can still be found on Champion Ballroom Academy's expansive floor passing on her infectious enthusiasm and unsurpassable love of dance to her students.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Originally by Laetitia Santore, updated from Wikipedia