LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It began as an exercising hobby for Susan Gerard of Lake Charles.
"I've always loved to dance," says Gerard. "I did Jazz when I was young."
Gerard began ballroom dancing lessons almost seven years ago.
"I was almost 59 when I started taking lessons," says Gerard. "I wanted some exercise."
At that point Gerard had no idea this hobby would take her to glittering costumes and even a world competition in Nashville, Tennessee.
The world competition events happen through the United Country Western Dance Council.
Almost 2 weeks ago Gerard competed in a world competition for ages 60 to 70 year old.
"I'm always nervous when I perform," says Gerard. "I think there are probably 800 or 900 competitors."
But out of all the competitors from all over the world, Gerard and her professional instructor from Houston, Bobby Prichard, took the 1st place trophy.
Gerard says the road to the top took weeks and weeks of practice.
"I take lessons about twice a month in Houston," says Gerard. "We're always constantly learning new routines."
Gerard says it's challenging having to dance and act at the same time.
"For instance in the night club you have to look at each other and pretend you're in love," says Gerard.
Through the practices, costumes, and wins there is a new passion for dance that Gerard is happy she's finally found.
"Never did I think I would end up doing this," says Gerard. "I'm so glad that I discovered it at a late age and that I'm doing it now."
Gerard says her next dancing competition is scheduled for sometime in March.
She says her and Bobby Prichard will begin learning new routines in preparation for the event.