Interview with Award-winning Author Sue Tabashnik; over the years, Sue has won several awards for her books about the Swayze family.

Sue Tabashnik’s last book PATRICK SWAYZE The Dreamer was released in August 2017. She published two unique Dirty Dancing tribute books, The Fans’ Love Story: How the Movie DIRTY DANCING Captured the Hearts of Millions! (July 2010) and The Fans’ Love Story ENCORE: How the Movie DIRTY DANCING Captured the Hearts of Millions! (December 2013). She became a fan of Patrick Swayze in 1988. She was an active member of the Official Patrick Swayze International Fan Club from 2000-2010, which included writing numerous articles for the club magazine. She had the good fortune to meet Patrick Swayze several times at movie screenings and benefit events from 2002-2004, which led her to become an even bigger fan.

Sue has worked as a master’s level social worker since 1977. She has lived most of her life in the Detroit area.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of my first three books will be donated to the Patrick Swayze Pancreas Cancer Research Fund at Stanford Cancer Institute.

Why did you write this book? I met Patsy Swayze, mother of megastar Patrick Swayze, at several events for the premiere of Patrick Swayze’s movie One Last Dance in Houston, Texas in 2003. Patsy was one of the four choreographers of the movie.

I had been a big fan of Patrick since Dirty Dancing which was released in 1987. I was a member of the Official Patrick Swayze International Fan Club and had met Patrick earlier on in Detroit, Michigan at a benefit for Complexions Contemporary Ballet in 2002. I was writing numerous articles for the fan club’s quarterly magazine.

When I met Patsy and spoke to her briefly at the reception for One Last Dance, I was really impressed by her. She just had this charisma and was very welcoming. And to top it off, when Patsy and Patrick came on the tour bus to meet with us fans for about an hour to answer our questions, I was just amazed at the fun-filled and easy banter between Patsy and Patrick and their concern for the fans. I knew that Patsy was a dance teacher (including being Patrick’s first teacher), a choreographer, and a member of the Silver Foxes (parents of celebrities who promote senior fitness). I wanted to learn more about her. I searched the internet, but sad to say, I did not find that much information.

The years passed and I wrote two unique tribute books on the movie Dirty Dancing: The Fans’ Love Story: How the Movie DIRTY DANCING Captured the Hearts of Millions! (2010) and The Fans’ Love Story ENCORE: How the Movie DIRTY DANCING Captured the Hearts of MIllions! (2013). Then I wrote a biography PATRICK SWAYZE The Dreamer (2017).

It seemed only fitting to write a book on Patsy Swayze. I really wanted to find out from the people who knew her: former students, colleagues, friends, and family what Patsy was all about in terms of her career and her relationship with others, including with her beloved son Patrick. I was just bowled over to have so many people grant interviews (twenty-nine) and to find so many photos (sixty-four) that had rarely been seen. I had the opportunity to interview quite a variety of people including Jaclyn Smith (former student of Patsy and known for “Charlie’s Angels”), Patrick’s bodyguard, Broadway performers, actress from the film Urban Cowboy, ballet dancers, and on and on.

The end result is that this book honors and celebrates Patsy Swayze. It is the only place that you will find detailed information about Patsy’s life; which includes that she was an icon in the dance and performing arts world for decades as a dancer, teacher, mentor, and choreographer. Also, with all of that said, Patsy valued family and thought her greatest achievement was being the mother of her five children.

Patsy Swayze

Can you tell me about the book? The book gives the inside story of the mother and mentor of megastar Patrick Swayze. Patsy Swayze was also an icon in the dance and performing arts world for decades. She deserves credit for teaching and inspiring thousands of students, not only giving lessons in dance, but life-lessons. She founded the Houston Jazz Ballet, taught at the University of Houston, choreographed for Theatre, Incorporated, Playhouse Theatre, and Hollywood movies. She opened her studios to students of all races and backgrounds during the fifties and sixties in Houston, which was no small feat.

In today’s world, it is especially wonderful to have such a hero, someone who gave so much to others, advanced the performing arts, and has left such a profound legacy.

What did you learn? Dwight Baxter provided a wonderful interview about his experiences of being a student of Patsy and how that took him to become a Black ballet dancer and eventually performing on Broadway and in other venues and is now working on his own show. Dwight gives much information about the history of Blacks in dance which I really enjoyed.

What surprised you the most? I was surprised by how many people wanted to be interviewed for the book, the tremendous achievements of Patsy Swayze, and the depth of connection people had and still have with her.

What does the title mean? It means that every day gives each of us the opportunity to “dance,” to literally dance and/or do something positive or joyful every day.

What did the subject(s) of the book think of it? Patsy passed away in 2013. Many of the interviewees in the book have made positive comments. Here are comments from three former students.

Jaclyn Smith stated: “I can’t tell you how much fun I had reading your book. What great memories I had with Patsy. I know Patsy and Patrick or Buddy as we know him, would be so happy and proud of your book.”

Dwight Baxter stated: “I love this book on Patsy and Patrick. I love the photos.

Patsy was the first one to integrate the world of dance for African Americans in Houston, Texas. . . .

This is an important book for students to have in order to learn about the history of African Americans in the world of dance.”

Michael P. stated: “This book is a wonderful tribute to a very inspirational person, Patsy Swayze. It’s full of interviews by the many lives that she had touched. She created many stars long before her greatest creation, her son, Patrick, made it big in Hollywood. She is definitely missed.

I want to thank Sue Tabashnik for putting in the time to create this montage of love and reverence that will move forward the lasting legacy of one of the best dance teachers the country has ever had.”

Book Genre

Biography. Performing Arts.

Appropriate age for readers

High school students and adults.

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