In Hawaiian, the word ‘ohana’ means family. In the world of CCA, Kay Bliss has become ohana to many of the organization’s members. Her quiet presence, integrity, and wonderful guidance endear her to all she meets.
The daughter of a railroad steam boiler maintenance man and housewife, Miss Kay was born in Peru, Indiana. She and her family moved to Detroit when she was still a child. Miss Kay was fortunate to study with Enid Ricardeau, a CCA Charter Board member, and her husband, Jeff. Miss Kay studied all forms of dance – ballet, tap, Spanish, jazz and acrobatics. By the time Miss Kay was 13 years old, not only was she a member of the Ricardeau ohana, but, she was teaching.
Through the years since, Miss Kay has never stopped teaching. Thousands of students and teachers are able to say that they have been lucky enough to study under her direction. During the years she has joined the ohana of many. Some notable families who claim Miss Kay as a member are: Gladys Knight of Gladys Knight and the Pips; The Fentons-skaters of Ice Capades fame; Dennis Nahat, formerly of The Cleveland Ballet and San Jose Ballet companies. In addition, Miss Kay joined the family of Sugar and Spice, a Detroit based-school.
Teaching has not been Miss Kay’s only vocation. She has spent her life as a performer. She appeared as a tap dancer tapping out tunes on a specially built dance platform; danced around the country with a line of dancers under the direction of Rob and Norma Tayton; performed in circus venues, and worked The Busy Bees, a dog and animal act, at locations such as Boblo and “The Farm” in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada. Miss Kay is a card carrying member of the American Guild of Variety Artists.
Miss Kay has supported the arts throughout her life. She has been a board member and assistant director to Detroit City Ballet and The Downriver Civic Ballet Company. She is currently a member of the CCA’s Executive Board, a Permanent Examiner, a Liaison Officer, Scholarship Chair and is a Past President.
Earlier this summer during the CCA Summer School Awards Banquet, the CCA Ohana presented Miss Kay with a beautiful shawl. CCA President, Julie Merkle announced, ” We present this to you. Each time you wear it, you will be wrapped in the love and hugs from all of us”. It is a wonderful tribute to an outstanding member of our, the CCA, ohana.