PALM BEACH, Fla.– Eric Sain, a sales associate with The Corcoran Group in Palm Beach, Fla., transfers the passion he once had for dancing to real estate.
When he was 5 years old, his mom enrolled him in a beginner dance class. “I laughingly accuse my mom of using the dance class as a babysitter since my sister had a class at that time as well,” says Sain.
What his mom didn’t expect was how much he would like it. “There weren’t a lot of male dancers, so we came in high demand,” he says. That led to quite a few soloist spots in ballets such as The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. “I almost always had a featured role, and I really liked that,” he says. Plus, he was good at it. Sain continued to dance through high school, entering and winning competitions around the country.
So, it came naturally that Sain would continue to dance throughout college – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received a bachelor’s degree. “I earned my first professional job at age 18 dancing on some state television shows,” he says.
Sain toured with a dance troupe that produced entertainment for the state level Miss America pageants, and he danced his way through North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Oklahoma and other states throughout the south. Things came full circle in 2006 (long after he retired from dancing) when Sain was invited back to be a judge for the pageant. “The lady we chose went on the following year to become Miss America. It was very exciting.”
After graduating from college, Sain started working with country singer and entertainer Louise Mandrell, one of the famous Mandrell Sisters, as the lead “swing” dancer at the Opryland USA theme park in Nashville, Tenn. “The park had five or six live shows and about 10 male dance spots. As the ‘swing’ dancer, I had to fill in for anyone who was injured or sick,” says Sain, who worked for Opryland from 1991 to 1997. “That meant I had to learn more than 10 different dances and roles for six different shows. There were times I would literally run from one stage, jump into costume and run out onto the next stage. It was very exciting. And, it was nice to know they had confidence in my physical talent.”
During that time he also worked with Dolly Parton and was one of Shania Twain’s back-up dancers for the Country Music Awards. He also worked with Billy Ray Cyrus and choreographer Melanie Greenwood on the Achy Breaky Heart music video. He’s worked with top-notch dancers and choreographers from Broadway and repertory theater, including such notables as Gregory Hines, Henry LeTang, Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson.
“At that point, I was classically trained in tap, jazz, ballet, ballroom and tumbling, but I was 30 years old competing against 18 year olds,” says Sain. He knew that if he wanted to continue his dance career, he would have to move to New York City or Los Angeles and become a true stage performer, start a dance company of his own or become a choreographer. “Those options didn’t really appeal to me, so I moved to Florida in 1998 and got my real estate license,” he says.
For three years, Sain did both. “I would travel during the slow summer months to dance in the Miss America scholarship pageants.” Sain finally hung up his dancing shoes in 2001 and has sold real estate full time since then. “I loved the traveling, but it was time to focus on my real estate career.”
Sain’s passion for historic homes led him to a real estate niche that ensured his appreciation for the arts and architecture could shine through. “There’s a nostalgia and connection to the arts with historic homes, although I’m a skilled negotiator and understand the business side as well,” he says.
Sain has embraced his career full force, spending most of his free time on charity work rather than dancing. “The dedication and drive I had for dancing is essential for real estate. As a dancer you always have to be prepared, and it’s the same way with real estate. You have to adapt to a lot of different scenarios and people.”
Sain’s passion for his profession shows: He was chairman of the Realtors® Association of the Palm Beaches in 2009; in 2010, Florida Realtors® selected him as its Associate Realtor of the Year. He has taken additional education courses to enhance his knowledge and expertise, earning the professional designation of Graduate, Realtor Institute (GRI). Sain currently serves as a Florida Realtors® District Vice President and the 2012 chair of Florida Realtors® PAC (Political Action Committee).