Carter Lovisone grew up in Denver, Colorado. When he was seven years old he started taking Jitterbug (and later Ballroom) lessons with one of his father’s employees who taught ballroom dancing on the side. Carter was paired with his instructor’s seven year old niece, Maria and they soon started dancing at shows and exhibitions in the local area, often to a standing ovation. When the audience threw money at them, Carter would go to the candy store for the biggest bag of malted milk balls he could buy. Little did he realize that his life-long dance career was off and running.

Carter’s family lived close to the Rainbow Bread Bakery and there was a beautiful ballroom on the top floor of the building. The company sponsored a public dance for the blind twice a week. An uncle of Carter’s mother loved ballroom dancing and he was blind. So, Carter would walk the elderly uncle to the ballroom and ask different ladies to dance with him. With each dance, Carter stayed close by, helping to guide them through their moves without running into walls and other people. He made sure his uncle would dance with every lady in the ballroom. This was 1938 – the beginning of Carter “paring-up” people to dance.

Years later Carter opened his own dance studio and discovered that most of his students were single. So, during class he rotated the dancers, giving every gentleman the opportunity to meet and dance with every lady. Carter’s favorite saying was, “You never know who you might meet in a dance class.”

Reflecting back on his many years as a dance teacher, Carter will tell you, “The dance business has been very good to me. I never once thought of it as a job. If one has to do something for a living, it is great to be able to do something in life that is also one’s passion. I have been very fortunate to have been surrounded by very talented people that have made it possible for me to have a degree of success.”

Several top dancers and instructors of today trained with Carter Lovisone – namely, Mike and Amber Cross, and Wayne Bott. Wayne recalls, “When living in Denver, I was lucky enough to have discovered Carter. Carter gave me a fantastic and unique West Coast Swing foundation. He took me under his wing and graciously shared his dance knowledge. These were good times. My life of dance began with Carter’s love of dance.”

Carter was unfortunately crippled when a truck pushed a concrete wall over on him, breaking his back and leaving him in a coma for eleven weeks. Since his recovery he has had five hip replacements and numerous operations. He doesn’t dance much anymore, but his students have all heard him say, “Do me a favor the next time you go dancing – dance one for me.” … we’ll do that, Carter.

Awards & Accomplishments:
  • 1950’s – Started teaching dance at a major dance studio at the age of seventeen
  • 1936 – Awarded “Dancer of the Year” by Dance Magazine
  • 1950’s-1970’s – Won numerous dance competitions with several dance partners
  • 1972 – Sponsored by the California Swing Dance Club to compete at the San Diego Swing Dance Competitions
  • 1989 – WSDC Swing Dance Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 1990 – National Swing Dance Hall of Fame Inductee
Bio information provided by Sonny Watson & Annie Hirsch - Photos courtesy of Annie Hirsch