Tasi Rigsby’s name should not be an unfamiliar one. Her first name adorns the cozy café on Pearl Street where breakfast is served all day and you are encouraged to make friends at the community table. Her last name, well, that’s an easy one, because the name has long been the namesake of a certain restaurant staple in the Short North.
But, what you may not know about Tasi is that while her love of the restaurant culture evolved from working in her father’s Greek restaurant in San Francisco, it’s not the career she originally chose for herself. That was dancing.
She uncovered her passion first at her family’s restaurant as part of their dinner shows, but her talent excelled, thanks to her mother, a ballet dancer and instructor with the San Francisco Ballet. At the young age of 15, Rigsby secured a spot with the Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia. Later, she would move to Columbus to join BalletMet and meet her future husband Kent Rigsby.
“[After getting married] I started working for Rigsby’s almost immediately and stopped dancing,” says Tasi. “It was time for the next chapter, to settle down and have children.”
For 10 years, she remained focused on the restaurants and her children. That is until last year when she got a phone call from local salon owner Jacob Neal who asked her to dance for charity. All she had to do was attend a few ballroom classes and then perform. No sweat. She agreed, and after one class, she was hooked. After the charity performance, she decided to try competing professionally and took home first place on her very first try.
“Everything is dancing to the beat in ballet, but, in ballroom, it is act and react; the partner is leading you,” she muses. “I compete knowing nothing. I don’t know what my partner is going to do. It’s insane but I love it! You can watch some of the greatest and see the passion in their eyes.”