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Dreaming About Dancing a Cha-Cha on a Trading Floor

Wendy Carlson for The New York TimesMaria Seragou with her dance partner, Dimitrios Damalas, in a foe in Stamford, Conn.

Maria Seragou, a credit attorney during Phoenix Partners Group, spends hours each day examining figures, firming adult her positions, and perplexing to equivocate tripping adult her partners.

Then she goes to work.

Ms. Seragou — who, in her day job, serves as an surrogate between buyers and sellers of credit products — has a side career as a rival ballroom dancer. While operative during her table on Phoenix’s trade floor, she mostly thinks about ditching her Bloomberg depot for a Balenciaga robe and three-and-a-half-inch dance heels.


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“I have daydreams all a time,” Ms. Seragou pronounced in a new talk in her office. “I’m looking during my screens, though I’m meditative about my jive.’ ”

For Ms. Seragou, who grew adult in Athens, dancing was something of a dream deferred. She took some ballet lessons as a child though put aside hopes of dancing professionally when her relatives pushed her to higher-earning professions.

“Greek relatives wish we to be a doctor, a counsel or go into finance,” she said. “I went into financial given we was forced to.”

After removing her master’s grade during University College London, Ms. Seragou took several jobs in financial before alighting during Creditex, a organisation that executes derivatives trades on interest of vast financial institutions.

She mostly danced during clubs in her twenties, and pronounced she was “always on a height somewhere.” But her grave training began several years ago, after she held an partial of “Strictly Come Dancing,” a British foregoer to “Dancing With a Stars,” in 2008. The intemperate costumes and theatricality of a ballroom stage appealed to her. So when she upheld by a studio charity a giveaway hearing doctrine nearby her apartment, she motionless to go for a spin.

In February, Ms. Seragou began entering competitions, and has taken partial in 7 ballroom contests so far. She specializes in a International Latin pro-am division, in that she is interconnected with a veteran masculine partner for dances including a cha-cha, samba, rhumba, paso doble and jive. She has brought home several dozen first-place finishes in dance sport, as rival ballroom dancing is known.

Ms. Seragou has slimmed down to a distance 0, from a distance 6, given she began ballroom dancing. But she says a advantages of dancing are penetrating as good as physical. She used ballroom dancing to cope with a genocide of her father in 2008, as good as a detriment of “a lot of ex-boyfriends.”

“It’s intensely therapeutic,” she said. “It helps a lot to get out of your system.”

These days, Ms. Seragou slips out of work shortly after a marketplace closes, around 5 p.m., and heads to a category during Basic Ballroom, a studio in Manhattan where she trains 4 or 5 days a week. She pronounced that dancing frequently authorised her to vacate some of a effects of a testosterone-fueled trade building during Phoenix, that is scarcely all male.

“My masculine appetite comes out in a morning, and a womanlike comes out in a dance,” she said. “And that’s a good balance.”

Ms. Seragou’s dance emplacement has gotten her courtesy during work. Some colleagues call her a “Greek Gaga,” and others embrace a leg stretches she does during delayed trade periods. When she initial showed her trainer a video of one of her showcases, he promote it over a firm’s Bloomberg trade system.

“It’s small consternation to us that her bravery on a trade building is so good mirrored on a dance floor,” pronounced Nicholas J. Stephan, a arch executive of Phoenix Partners Group.

The costs of dancing aren’t only light tantalizing by colleagues. A 45-minute ballroom doctrine goes for scarcely $100. And Ms. Seragou has paid as most as $1,800 for only one of a many exuberant dresses she wears in competition.

“I feel sanctified that we have a pursuit that gives me a opportunity, financially, to do this,” she said.

Ms. Seragou recently took mixed initial place prizes during a foe in Stamford, Conn., including dual supposed grant events that netted her $800 every in esteem money. She dreams of apropos a inhabitant champion in “open gold,” a top turn in pro-am dance competitions.

She even relishes a luminary that comes with her double life. On a new conveyor float down from Phoenix’s 19th-floor offices after work, a co-worker speckled her dance heels adhering out from her purse.

“Dancing with a Stars?” he asked her.

Ms. Seragou laughed and replied, “No. Dancing with a Brokers.”

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