An obsession with music and dance coming together in dance shirts!
My name is Reid Walley, and on Sept 10, 2018 I got to hang out with the awesome Ventura dance family (Eric, Corrie, Zoe, and Kade), founders of Dance Bootcamp in Reno, for a couple of hours at Coffeebar in Reno. I asked Zoe and her brother, Kade, “where’s the most embarrassing place you’ve danced”? “The grocery store,” they said, smiling and laughing. “A good song came on and we just couldn’t help ourselves!”
“The Every Floor Is A Dance Floor™ dance quote expresses how I interact with the world. And dance shirts are my favorite mobile billboard.”
During the summer of 1980, I met 4 guys who were Popping on the mildly-windy slightly-sand-covered concrete patio on the west side of the since-defunct Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, CA. Their robot dance moves and coordinated 4-person routines stunned me – I was amazed and in awe! And the one song they danced to the most – and has been my dance song anthem ever since – is Cameo’s Shake Your Pants. Randomly meeting those guys, hearing Cameo‘s jam, and learning the back slide, arm wave, and other basic popping moves TRANSFORMED MY LIFE!
Three years later, Dave MacDonald hired me to teach beginning popping at his The Broadway Academy of Performing Arts studio (at its original location in Carmichael, CA). Dave also had me perform in his annual The Best of Broadway (then held at Hiram Johnson High School’s beautiful auditorium) in 1983 and 1984.
National & International dance and fitness educator, Pepper Von (co-founder of Step 1 Dance & Fitness in Sacramento, CA), and I met during those Best of Broadway performances. He asked me to join his Bodytalks Dance Company in 1984.
Spent a lot of time buying vinyl records at the first Tower Records on Watt Ave. And every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night was spent DANCING MY ASS OFF at Danseparc in West Sacramento, CA.
William Hanford Lee Jr sang in The Best of Broadway in 1983, and offered to teach me graphics production at his family’s newspaper, The Sacramento Observer. This led to graphic design as a life-long career.
Fast-forward to 1989, I moved to Reno and married Lisa Stampfli. Then Sunrise Sales Promotional in Sparks, NV, hired me to work in their art department designing t-shirt artwork. The previous experience at The Sacramento Observer and later, The PennySaver in Rancho Cordova, CA, served me well! I spent 6 months in the Sunrise Sales art department and another 6 months in the screen-printing department. My #1 take-away was that t-shirts – and t-shirt design – is fucking cool! It was at Sunrise Sales that I designed and printed my first personalized t-shirts.
“My first memory of you is seeing you dancing in the aisle to the Violent Femmes opening for The B-52s [Oct 14, 1992] at Lawlor Events Center, wearing a shirt with the Flammable Hazard label on it.”– Tom Gordon, Music producer at Inspired Amateur Productions
Hit up my first Rave in 1992. It was called the Jama Rave, and thanks to my friend DJ Christophe, I was on the guest list! Fifty-five HUNDRED people all raving their asses off inside an old airplane hangar in San Francisco’s industrial area. There was real lawn grass, 100s of mattresses (Pajama “Jama” Rave), and water-guns and super-soakers. IT. WAS. OFF. THE. HOOK!!!
Befriended most the dancers in the former-Flamingo Hilton’s show American Superstars in 1993, including Suzy Darling, Heather Oldfield, Carolyn Cronkwright, Christine Weimer, Tracy Janczak, and Karen Shrader. Eventually had the show’s managers reach out and ask if I could bring as many of my friends to support the show for a big night that included the show’s producers. Twenty of us yelled our faces off in support of our friends dancing their asses off on stage! So. Much. Fun!!!
From 1994-2005, the coolest dance places in Reno were: KRZQ’s “Club 96” on Tuesday nights at Rodeo Rock on Mt Rose Street; Visions dance club on Kietzke Lane for Rave Wednesdays; and a smattering of fun hole-in-the-wall dance clubs and pop-up Raves I can’t remember the names of in the early 2000s. By this time I knew quite a few DJs, and designed a t-shirt called ANALOG to commemorate all the awesome DJ sets that I’d danced to over the years.
A big shoutout to the Reno DJs that moved my feets back in the day: Scott Gann, DJ Sulli (Sean Sullivan), DJ Ahn (Sean Carlson), DJ Sean Murray, DJ Christophe (Christophe Martin), DJ Alcheme (Leo Oh), DJ Happy (Tara Hapgood), DJ Freeze (Bryan Webb). Seriously, thank you!