Meet ballroom dance instructor Zak Bauman

Get to know your Scotts Valley neighbors a little better

Scotts Valley Patch: What is your occupation?

Zak Bauman: Besides being a mom to my two children, Hunter 9 and Scout 6, I am a ballroom dance instructor at the newly opened Palomar in Scotts Valley and the Palomar Ballroom in Santa Cruz. 

Patch: Where were you born?

Bauman: I was born in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California, but left West Hills when I went off to college.

Patch: Where were you educated?

Bauman: I have a BA in American Literature from UCSC, and a teaching credential from SJSU which I used while teaching High School English in East Side San Jose. The education that I use daily is the dance training that I began as a child. After taking Modern Dance in College and finding my passion, I moved to New York City after graduation from UCSC and trained with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.  I danced professionally with various NY Choreographers, and was a member of The Blanco Dances.  I returned to Santa Cruz to join the Mel Wong Dance Company for whom I danced several seasons.  I continue to receive ballroom training from a coach over the hill in San Jose.

Patch: How long have you worked in Scotts Valley?

Bauman:  I have been teaching ballroom dancing at the Palomar Ballroom since 1998 and am thrilled to now have branched out to our location in Scotts Valley this past August.

Patch: What is something you are known for?

Bauman: I am known for being a patient and caring teacher who genuinely delights in my student’s successes.

Patch: What is your latest project?

Bauman: I am working to build my classes in Scotts Valley by teaching two Senior Ballroom Dance Classes a week, every Tuesday and Friday from 1-2 p.m.  I also teach a kid’s creative movement/pre ballet class and an adult ballet barre class on Friday afternoon and evenings.  I am hoping to grow those classes so residents in Scotts Valley can have great dance opportunities in their own backyard.  All the information for classes can be found at the Palomar Ballroom website: www.palomarballroom.com

Patch: Book you last read?

Bauman: The Hunger Games, along with a parenting book.

Patch: Newspaper or magazine you read regularly?

Bauman: I read the NY Times on-line and I also like to find out what is happening locally so I read the Santa Cruz Sentinel on-line.

Patch: Movie you could watch again and again?

Bauman: I could definitely watch these movies over and over and never get tired of them: To Kill a Mockingbird, Running on Empty, Fargo, As Good as it Gets.

Patch: Favorite thing to do in your spare time?

Bauman: Any time when not working is spent being a mom.  I drive my kids to martial arts in Scotts Valley, my daughter to art and soccer while I chauffeur my son to piano, flute, and chess.  It is a busy existence but very enjoyable none the less.  When my husband and I do have down time, some Thai food with friends is always a treat.

Patch: What is one of your most gratifying accomplishments?

Bauman: I’m really pleased with all the choices that I have made after college.  I graduated early from UCSC so I could move to New York by myself.  I found a place to live, a job and created a life for myself in a city and an industry that is very harsh.  In hindsight I see that it took a lot of courage to put myself out there and take that jump across country. 

Patch: What is your greatest indulgence?

Bauman: I’m not an indulgent person in the least.  If we are talking food however, I would have to say I adore a scoop of peanut butter and a handful of chocolate chips to go with it. 

Patch: One of your most memorable vacations?

Bauman: As a family, going on vacation is not something we often do, but we did travel with two other families to Hawaii and it was wonderful.  The kids had friends to play with, we had our friends to hang out with and best of all there were six adults taking care of six children.  It was a dream vacation with lots of time at the beach, pool, eating, and playing board games.

Patch: What is a goal you are chasing after? 

Bauman: I’m not sure I’m chasing after anything myself. I think I want to be the best I can be at all that I do, so perhaps that is what I always strive for. I also want my students to find joy and success in their dancing and I work to do that daily.

Patch: What do you like most about Scotts Valley?

Bauman: I love the feeling of family and community that Scotts Valley has.  I spend a great deal of time taking my kids to activities there and I love that everyone knows each other and supports each other.  It has a very small town feel. 






























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