‘Dancing with Stars’ duo chosen to perform before US Olympic Committee — and you can help them get there

A fundraising event for Erik and Rickie’s Olympic Trip will be held on May 17 at First Class Ballroom at 7:30 p.m. The two will perform a variety of dances. Afterward, the floor will open for dancing and a dessert buffet will be served. For more information or to make a donation, visit erikandrickie.com.

By Meredith Barrett
UW News Lab

Edmonds resident Rickie Taylor and her dancing partner, Erik Linder, have been dancing together since they were 4. Now both 12, the dynamic duo have competed and won many titles, including four national championships. They have been featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Inside Edition,” as well as won the mini-championship of “Dancing With the Stars.”

“I don’t know where my life would be without [ballroom dancing],” Rickie says.

Together, they practice nearly every day at First Class Ballroom in Everett. Both are Ten Dancers, meaning they compete in Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep, Cha Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Pasodoble and Jive. Erik notes sometimes they work on choreography alone, but for the most part they practice as a pair.

“They get along so well. They are like peanut butter and jelly,” Michelle Taylor, Rickie’s mom, says.

As a mother of three dancing daughters, Taylor has a busy lifestyle. From planning competitions every six months to chauffeuring the kids straight to practice after school, she says a lot of energy goes into every day, yet the process is valuable.

“I am a fan of the results in their growth, which makes it worthwhile,” Taylor says.

Taylor sees Rickie and Erik’s true passion in dancing. When Rickie was 4, Taylor says, she told her mom she was going to win a title.

“I told her hard work was necessary,” Taylor says. “But she’d be willing to do it.”

rikkitaylorRecently, the pair were chosen by the United States Olympic Committee to train with highly advanced dancers in New York City. Only eight out of 74 couples were invited to this program, where they have the chance to perform for the International Committee, opening the possibility to becoming potential Olympic medal contenders.

Both Erik and Rickie shared enthusiasm about their upcoming trip. Rickie mentioned the fun of getting to know competitors since it will last for a few days.

After their performances, the two agree they feel exhausted.

“I just want to sleep [after a performance],” Erik says while smiling and Rickie giggling.

Together, the duo works through their exhaustion to become better dancers. By pushing themselves, it only feeds the fire of their passion.

“I want to dance until I die, even if it’s social,” Rickie says.

Meredith Barrett is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory

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