For February’s interview, I’d like you to meet Antoinette Datoc, otherwise known as the Dancing Housewife. She is a fellow ballroom dancer, as well as a blogger and podcaster.
First, I asked Antoinette to share some of her ballroom background.
How long have you been ballroom dancing and how did you get started?
My husband and I have been ballroom dancing since late 2013. At first, our goal was to become proficient social dancers. We decided it would be a fun way to spend time together and to offset the inevitable downward spiral I anticipated I would experience when our youngest son headed to college the following year! We took lessons for about three months and then took a long break and started back again in fall of 2014.
People usually end up being social dancers, performance dancers or competitive dancers. I know you’ve become a competitive dancer. What was it that drew you in that direction?
Both my husband and I have been competitive athletes and it was really a natural progression. I began competing pro-am in February of 2015. My husband and I competed together for the first time in July of 2015. His first pro-am competition was in September of 2015. We danced am-am and pro-am for all of 2016 and, after Ohio Star Ball in November, decided to take an indefinite break from pro-am in order to concentrate on our amateur partnership.
I blog a lot about the challenges and struggles I encounter on my ballroom journey. What is a major challenge that you’ve been able to overcome?
I was a college springboard diver and before that a competitive elite gymnast. I think a lot of the skills I have from those experiences have helped me in ballroom, but some have also been obstacles. For example, both gymnastics and springboard diving are sports of power and amplitude, which has worked against me in dancing. I’ve had to learn to harness and restrict my strength and power to my lower body and to be graceful and soft through my upper body. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m getting there. It is certainly a work in progress!
Is there anything you’ve learned through ballroom that was unexpected?
You know, I’ve always been an overachiever – very results oriented – but lately I’ve been measuring my success in ballroom dancing as a function of the joy it brings me and my husband as well as the joy it brings others. I think what has surprised me the most is how gratifying it is to have someone tell me how much they enjoy watching my husband and me dance together!
As she mentioned, Antoinette has experience competing as a pro-am student and as part of an amateur couple with her husband. I wanted to know more about the partnerships and how they compared.
I know you’ve competed as part of a pro-am couple and an am-am couple. In your pro-am partnership, you have the reassurance and comfort of dancing with your teacher, a professional who isn’t likely to screw up and can easily help you through your mistakes. In your am-am partnership, you have the fun and joy of dancing with your husband! Did you compete in pro-am or am-am first? What was the transition like from one to the other?
I competed via a pro-am partnership first. The transition was pretty easy for two reasons! 1. My husband is a very good dancer and he has worked hard to be a good leader, which makes my job as follower easy. 2. I think the performance aspect of the dance – embodying and representing the character of each dance – comes much more naturally when I dance with my husband because we really do love each other!
What is your favorite thing about each partnership?
Favorite thing about am-am is working toward goals and making progress with my husband. I also like that I am much more responsible for my successes and failures. What I like best about pro-am is the level and depth of competition is very high in my age class (which is the old hag class).
What has been the biggest challenge for each?
I think the challenge in am-am is getting along with your partner – there’s a fantastic book our coach gave us for Christmas, Ballroom Is Not for Sissies, that should be mandatory reading for all amateur couples, especially if they are married! I think the biggest challenge in pro-am is finding the right pro.
Antoinette blogs about her ballroom experiences as the Dancing Housewife and is getting ready to debut the Dancing Housewife podcast. I had the honor of being interviewed for one of the podcast episodes!
What prompted you to go beyond blogging and start a podcast?
Interestingly, one of my loyal blog followers suggested it to me.
What are your goals with the Dancing Housewife podcast?
I’d like to convey the message that ANYONE can dance.
It seems like a big undertaking to transition from blogging to podcasting. You would need different equipment, different skills (speaking vs. writing, editing sound files vs. an article), etc. Did you have to learn everything from scratch or did you already have a background that made the transition easier?
Yes, it is a big jump and yes I had to learn a lot in order to be able to launch the podcast. The first thing I did was learn how to use Garage Band in order to record, edit and save audio files. I then learned how to actually publish a podcast and did some beta/testing of the episodes you listened to. Finally, I didn’t want to limit myself to interviewing folks in my area so I had to invest in some sound equipment that would allow me to record phone interviews. It turns out learning how to use this equipment not only allows me to reach beyond my own backyard, it has improved the quality of the recordings. The whole process has taken a lot longer than I had originally anticipated and I am still in production and hoping to launch the first official episode in the next few weeks. I have no sound background so I did have to learn everything from scratch. I’m lucky because one of the instructors at our studio is married to a sound engineer and for the price of cooking him a nice dinner, he actually helped me set up my studio and gave me a crash course in how to use it. For the record, the studio is aptly named “Kitchen Pantry Studios” because it and my office are located in what was a walk-in pantry on the original blueprints for my house, but knowing I needed a work space, we converted it to an office when we built the house! So yes, I work next to my kitchen which has been very convenient for a stay-at-home mom and (writing, blogging, dancing) housewife!
Now that you’ve done a few beta test podcasts and recorded multiple interviews, how are you liking podcasting vs. blogging? Do you prefer one platform over the other?
I enjoy podcasting because it’s new and I’m really excited to see this project through to the point at which I am just interviewing, recording, editing and publishing. I’m still working out production bugs and handling glitches so it’s not super fun. As far as what I think I’ll prefer? I’m not sure. I think writing is just what I do well and it comes easily so it will always be what I love to do, but I also love learning new things so to answer your question… I don’t know!
Where can people find and listen to the podcast?
The podcast will be available soon for free on iTunes, Pod-O- Matic and of course, on The Dancing Housewife website at www.thedancinghousewife.com
What is something you wish you had known when you first started ballroom?
I wish I’d known how EXPENSIVE it was going to be and how ADDICTING it is!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Please check out the podcast, The Dancing Housewife Show. I’m also writing a book for folks interested in getting into ballroom dance and I hope to start shopping for an agent by the end of this year.
I want to thank Antoinette for being my second interview of 2017 and wish her the best of luck with her podcast and book! While you wait for the podcast to officially premiere, check out the super cute and awesome trailer. Recognize anyone?
Next month, we’ll have a guest post by a woman who danced her way through breast cancer. Until then, happy dancing!