Meet Daryll Sverrisson ’98 and her husband Gunnar—ballroom dance champions, owners of Ballroom Fever (Enfield, CT), and the dynamic duo behind the training and choreography for our inaugural President’s Gala, “Dance a Mile in Their Shoes.” The Sverrissons presently live in Longmeadow, MA with their two young children.
“Dance has been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember. From childhood fun and fancy free classes at the studio, to nightly programs throughout middle and high school and a pre-professional program at a conservatory, to falling into an opportunity to teach ballroom dance the summer before starting college, and later dancing with Li Ciaglo in Bay Path’s dance troupe, my love for dance has grown with each adventure.
It would be misleading to say that my mother, Linda Craven ’69, did not encourage me to look at the opportunities that Bay Path had to offer with its stature in the community and involved leaders and educators guiding the school to its position of esteem. It was an ‘early decision,’ no less. Looking back, I suppose it was also my mother’s fascination with the elegance of ballroom dance as featured in Turner Classic Movies that inspired in me a passion for the style.
I can remember the exact moment every plan I had changed its course and I knew I wanted to ballroom dance. I was waitressing at a local restaurant when some lively couples sat down for a bite to eat late at night. It was impossible not to catch the enthusiasm of their conversation as they jovially discussed their evening of waltzes, fast swings and Latin dances. I was captivated to learn that there was a world of dancing in my neighborhood available to adults, as evidenced by their animated expressions and flushed complexions. I confessed to them that I danced, too, albeit the traditional ballet, jazz, and lyrical, and they immediately turned their focus to informing me about ballroom and Latin dancing. A few days later, the owner of the studio where they’d been dancing came to the restaurant to introduce himself to me, and he invited me to audition for a ballroom dance instructor position. The rest is history.
Fast forward to today, and our studio, Ballroom Fever, is celebrating its 15th year in business. We are presently in the planning stages of expanding and broadening our services.
Each opportunity Gunnar and I have shared presented itself with a decision that we approached as a team, including giving everything we had to become the first couple in the US to win both the Professional Rising Star American Rhythm Championship Title (2005) as well as the Professional Rising Star American Smooth Championship Title (2006) and then in 2007, becoming US 9-Dance Champion and World Finalist in Smooth. It has been a climb, and I feel I can thank Bay Path’s team for the confidence in my approach.
We dance because we cannot envision it any other way. We competed because the sport aspect is exhilarating. We teach because it is rewarding to watch our students flourish. We perform for fundraisers because we feel we are giving back to the community in a way that we can.
I enthusiastically anticipated dancing with Jonathan Besse at Bay Path’s inaugural President’s Gala, and the experience was everything we'd hoped for! It was a proud moment watching Jonathan accept the mirror ball trophy after the hard work he put in to practicing our routine. Gunnar and I were honored to participate in what was surely an event to remember and look forward to in the future. There were a remarkable amount of dedicated people involved in planning this grand event, and we were proud to be a part of the performance for guests who came together to support Bay Path students in their own journeys of growth.” –Daryll Sverrisson ’98