It's never too late to dance
Rita Papazian
Norwalk-Citizen News
Published:Friday, March 4, 2011 


When Rosann Levy set up her booth in Hartford last year to sell copies of her book, "It's Never too Late to Dance," a woman stopped briefly at her booth and asked Levy why she should buy her book. The question proved more rhetorical than inquisitive as the woman moved on to the next booth. Yet, the question caught Levy by surprise.

During a recent talk at the Fairfield Public Library, Levy, a Norwalk resident, in a self-deprecating moment noted that she and her husband of 51 years, "schlepped" - because that's what one does when they are a first time, unknown author - 500 books to the exhibition thinking hordes of people would rush to buy her book. They sold 18 copies. No doubt, those buyers were surprised by the honest, informative memoir in which this 69-year-old mother of four and grandmother of nine, chronicles a life of personal and professional challenges. For, as Rosann likes to emphasize, "My story is really the story of everyday people and everyday lives."

That is precisely why someone should buy this book, which is available on the couple's website, www.theroartgroup.com. Now, in their "golden years," Rosann and Arthur Levy, founded their own consulting group to help clients with personal and professional endeavors. Their company is the latest business venture in a nearly half century business career in which the couple headed their own family-owned accounting firm, which they subsequently sold to one of the top 25 accounting firms in the country so they could retire and enjoy their "golden years."

Well, guess what? Retirement wasn't so golden and the everyday "what-are-we-doing-today- honey" approach to filling their days was not what they expected.

A trip to Cuba put fire under this couple's feet and became the impetus for their opening Soho Dance in Manhattan in 2004. The venture lasted two-and-a-half years when the couple decided to move to Connecticut to be closer to their grand kids.

Levy describes her memoir as "the story of her journey...business successes, depression, learning to cope with her son's cancer and how to build a more meaningful life."

Many people can relate to her story because as she likes to say, her story is everyone's story: It's about growing from a verbally abusing father; learning to stay connected to husband and children, and finding personal fulfillment in her own professional endeavors, that have including positions in the tourist industry as well as founding the Family Business Council of Greater New York, a logical step since she and her husband hired two of their three sons to join the family-owned accounting firm. Running a family business brings with it an entire different dynamics, as the Stew Leonard families can attest.

"It's Never Too Late To Dance" is relatable on many levels. Small business owners, especially family business owners can relate to the challenges that the Levysfaced, both professionally and personally. Also, this is a terrific book for women, in particular, women of Rosann Levy's generation. She grew up on Long Island in the 50s, married her high school sweetheart at 18 and became a mother at age 20. She did not let a failed attempt at achieving a college degree prevent her from achieving success, first in the tourist industry and then as a partner in her husband's accounting firm.

What did she know about numbers? Not much, she admits, but she knew through her experience in the tourist industry how to market a business. She knew how to sell accounting services and how to network. And as she accomplished all this, she learned how to face her personal demons--from time to time, she suffered from panic attacks and agoraphobia. As she quotes her doctor in her book: "Agoraphobies" feel safe at home...they refrain from being in situations in which the feel threatened."

Rosann worked through her fears. "I embraced my fears," she said during her talk. "It's about living now. The negativity weighs us down. How we live our lives will decide our future. We can be whoever we want...don't wait for crises to start. God knows what crises are out there...You do what you have to do to get it done"

Dance has become a key component in the Levys' lives. They took dance lessons to prepare for their trip to Cuba and subsequently opening their own dance studio introduced them to a variety of dances. She begins each chapter of her book with the description of a dance, which becomes the metaphor for that chapter's message.

While co-owners of Sono Dance, the Levys were invited to dance on the Fox5 "The Morning Show WithMike & Juliet." To their surprise, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli, the judges from "Dancing with the Stars," critiqued their performance.

"You're one saucy lady in the morning," Bruno said.

While Rosann may be saucy on the dance floor, her business acumen continues to shine in a variety of endeavors, including her co-founding with Gene D'Agostino, ConnectMore, a Fairfield County networking organization that meets twice a month with a lunch in Stamford and a dinner meeting in Fairfield. It's next meeting will be Tuesday, March 8 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Butterfield 8, 112 Beford St., Stamford. Guest speaker, artist Jane Pollak, author of "Soul Proprietor: 101 Lessons from a Lifestyle Entrepreneur" will discuss the topic "Seven Tips to Grow Your Business That You Don't Hear Every Day." Her talk is described as an abbreviated "boot camp" for business owners wanting a firm yet gentle push to the net level. Register at www.meetup.com/coectimore-fairfield-country.

In the meantime, get a copy of Rosann's book. She, too, has a certain way of giving you that little push to get you to the next level, personally or professionally.

 

Copyright 2011 Rita Papazian All rights reserved.