Mayor Steve Luecke has been called many things during his career—carpenter, philosopher, volunteer, and some things that we can’t print here, but he is most proud to be known as the Dancing Mayor. At events throughout the greater South Bend community Steve and his wife Peg are often the first on the dance floor and the last to leave. His passion for dancing started early and is rooted in his appreciation for the history of his hometown.
One of seven children, Steve grew up in Freeport, Ill., a city renowned as the site of the second Lincoln-Douglas debate. Lincoln handily won the lengthy rhetorical exchange when he forced his opponent to choose whether dancing should be allowed in states newly admitted to the Union. Douglas waffled with his pronouncement of the Freeport Doctrine, but he scored a moral victory at the community gathering afterward when he introduced break dancing to an astonished crowd. Our Dancing Mayor and historian of danceology also notes that Freeport is the birthplace of Calista Flockhart, star of the long running Ally McBeal television show, which featured the Dancing Baby (aka “Baby Cha-Cha”), one of the earliest Internet phenomena. These events have inspired our mayor to cast off his inhibitions and “dance like no one is watching.”
Mayor Steve started his dancing career as the pole for the annual Maypole Dance. Since that heady time he has worked hard to overcome his lack of rhythm and coordination to stay in the limelight. He once performed at the Ethnic Festival with a local folk dance troupe, drawing rave reviews for his grapevine step; he also danced onstage during the grand re-opening of the Morris Performing Arts Center. During a trip to our Sister City in Poland, he and Peg danced a polka 5,000 feet below ground in a salt mine. (Insert your own joke here.) Steve has come a long way from practicing dance steps in his basement when his father would shout from upstairs: “What’s all that racket down there?!”
Whether a slow dance, the twist, or the Electric Slide, the Dancing Mayor continues to lead our community in the dance of life. Though he has won many elections, enabling him to serve nine years on the City Council and 12 years as South Bend’s mayor, he believes that his greatest victory will be earning your vote for Dancing With the Stars. Vote early. Vote often!!!
Nicole Pliske is a 2003 graduate of Saint Mary's College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Dance. She has been dancing for the past 23 years and teaching for 11. Her dance styles include all of the Ballroom, Latin and Swing dancing. She competes professionally, with her partner Matt, and Pro/Am with her students. Nicole's dance background also includes tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, musical theatre, lyrical, modern, Andrean High School Pom Squad, and gymnastics. She had the opportunity to teach show choir (singing and dancing) in Amsterdam, Walt Disney World, Ohio, and Illinois. Nicole is currently the manager and full-time dance instructor at DanceSport.