Channel 19

Todd Dills

Stretching stereotypes

| March 12, 2009

Grammy-winner Marcy Marxer wrote her 1997 “Ballet Dancing Truck Driver” song as part of an educational package encouraging children to develop worldviews devoid of stereotypes. Elementary school teachers have sung the ballad at education conferences with sing-around-the-campfire enthusiasm. But a steel-toed boot-wearin’ honky-tonk-blues-loving lumper of the Red Smith era might switch radio stations before he hears all nine verses and refrain: “I want to be a ballet dancing . . . .” [Note Overdrive’s usage of the masculine pronoun in deference to the nearly 94 percent male trucking majority.]

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The pot belly underneath the white spandex may say it all: Could it be too much of a stretch?
One who overcame such a culture clash is Miami City Ballet founder and director Edward Villella. The son of a Queens, N.Y., trucker, Villella pursued dance to his father’s chagrin and became renowned for his athletic prowess and grace in George Balanchine’s 1960 revival of the “Prodigal Son” ballet, among others. At 72, he returned this past January to the Big Apple, where his troupe made its New York debut. To Overdrive’s knowledge, he never danced in a pink tutu on stage during his career. –Lucinda Coulter

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Todd Dills

Todd Dills is Senior Editor of Overdrive magazine and writes from Nashville, Tenn. He frequently covers business, regulatory and lifestyle topics for the magazine and at His work on the “CSA’s Data Trail” series in Overdrive about the federal CSA program was awarded the highest honor in trade journalism – the “Grand Neal” – by American Business Media at the 2014 Jesse H. Neal Awards. Dills’ Channel 19 blog covers a grab bag of on-highway hearsay, owner-operator news and driver views from the roadways the nation over. His work in trucking journalism builds on a background of news feature, fiction and other creative writing and editing. Find him here at the Channel 19 blog and via his Twitter feed, or send tips to or via phone at 205-907-2481.


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