Happy Sunday, dancers!
As always happens, time seems to take off without me. I can’t believe there are only three weeks left in 2021! These last three weeks are going to be busy too. I’ll be covering the United Country Western Dance Council World Championships for FloDance over the next month. I reported on country western dance competitions pre-pandemic, and this coming January is the first pandemic-era UCWDC Worlds event. Just like the ballroom world, country dance was hit hard by Covid. So everyone is thrilled to finally be getting back onto the dance floor!
I may be less active on here while I’m covering the competition, but you can check in with me on FloDance! I’ll be doing several interviews, providing updates on the competition, and discussing just what it takes to become a World Champion.
In other dance news, I’m adding private lessons to my ballet journey. My first lesson was Friday evening. We went through some of the barre exercises we do in group class, with plenty of interruptions from me asking questions. Excited to report that I received a high grade for keeping my hips square through my pliés!
As in ballroom, the arm movements are a challenge for me. Coordinating the graceful arm movements with the rest of my body is a slow work in progress. You know how it is. You focus on what your feet are doing, and the arms just kinda hang!
One helpful tip from my teacher had to do with breathing through my arms. I’ve practiced lifting my arms with that breath in my ballroom dances, as if I’m extending invisible wings from my shoulder blades. But I’m used to having a partner’s arms to rest them on, or holding them very strongly when I’m practicing my frame in solo practice.
In ballet, the arms are held out in some form or another, but softly. There are those classic positions where the arms form a beautiful curve all the way through the fingers. My curve usually stops at my wrists, which end up looking either too limp or too stiff. We worked on extending that breath all the way through, so there’s energy to hold my arms in the proper position but not too much energy to warp that pretty curve. It’s a delicate balance!
I’m excited to work more on controlling the breath through my arms because it will most definitely translate to better arm styling in my ballroom. It all comes back to being more connected with my body, which enables me to dance more full-out and enjoy the experience more.
Ballet is also making me rethink my typical approach to new dance challenges, which is to rely on my physical strength. Strength is definitely needed in ballet! But it’s more internalized, while the external output is softer and more delicate. That takes a whole other level of strength and control. Not gonna lie, I’m geeking out about it!
From ballet to country western to latin and hip hop via Zumba, my December is full of dance! I’m already looking ahead to 2022 and how I’ll be able to incorporate ballroom lessons back into my life as well. At this point, I usually start to overwhelm myself with logistics and how is everything going to work. Instead, I’m choosing to just let myself dream big and focus on what needs to get done right now.
Don’t forget! Everything in the Practice Ballroom Dance shop is on sale through the end of the year, which is less than a month away!
Be the champion of your own dance journey
Whether you’re learning new routines, refining technique, or ready to take ownership of your dance training via solo practice, Practice Ballroom Dance has something for you.