I Never Would Have Moved to Maine Without Ballroom

Hello from a dripping wet, soggy Maine! The rain arrived Friday night and has kept us drenched since then. Good thing I got the lawns mowed earlier this week. #ThingsISayNow

The rain has made for a cozy, relaxing weekend, except when the dogs need to go out. Even then, it’s not too bad. They don’t care about getting wet and I have bright blue rain boots and a solid rain jacket, so who cares? I took it a step further yesterday afternoon while the power was out briefly and decided to have some fun (see below).

A fellow ballroom dancer shared with me that she’s appreciating how all of the intangible skills that have come out of her dance training, like increased self-confidence, ability to work through challenging dance moves, learning to win and lose gracefully at competitions, have translated well into “real” life. She saw the additional value gained out of all of those expensive private lessons. I responded that I agreed completely! Without those “side effects” of learning to ballroom dance, I never would have moved to Maine.

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Looking Back and then Forward

The response to last week’s blog post was huge! Clearly, I’m not the only one who struggles with reconciling my passion for ballroom with the cost. Before I jump into this week’s thoughts, I wanted to share another older post, which asks the question, “Is it worth competing if the game is rigged?”. This older post is for anyone who feels that their financial situation unfairly affects their placement at competitions because those who (can afford to) compete more get seen more. Familiarity can create an unconscious bias toward dancers who compete more often.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if a bias exists or not. What matters is you and your dancing. If you can only afford to compete once or twice a year, do you really want to taint those precious experiences with worries about whether or not judge bias is affecting your results? Wouldn’t you prefer to take advantage of those few moments you have to dress to the nines and perform your heart out?

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Reexamining The Cost of Being a Ballroom Dancer

I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow ballroom dancer for the first time in person this past week. She is one of several Maine dancers who proved me wrong when I thought I was moving to a place where I didn’t know anyone. I also learned that she has been following the blog from the beginning!

We had a lovely chat on a picnic table over tea, which of course primarily focused on our ballroom journeys. She voiced her appreciation for my willingness to openly discuss the financial aspect of ballroom. It can have a great impact on someone’s dance journey, but so often, the cost of being a ballroom dancer is swept under the rug or hidden in the shadows behind the bright lights and sparkling rhinestones. Don’t look over there, look here on the dance floor where everything is shiny and colorful and everyone is smiling.

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Embassy Memories

Embassy Ball, home of the World Championships under the NDCA and WDC, took place in Orange County, CA this past week. Seeing so many social media posts with photos and videos from the event had me waxing nostalgic over my own Embassy memories. I’ve competed at Embassy Ball three times – 2017, 2018 and 2019. Embassy Ball has been a place of highs and lows for me, each triggering a significant turning point in my dance journey.

I thought we’d take a trip down memory lane, if you’ll indulge me!

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House Projects

Well, dancers, I hope you did more dancing than me this past week! I saw the PT this morning (yay, my hips are sore but re-aligned!). I’m looking forward to working with her and getting back to more dancing. In related news, my neck spasmed when I stretched/twisted the wrong way trying to put sunscreen on my back on Friday and I had to get my hair cut with less mobility and a lot more pain. It was real fun trying to lean back enough so the hairdresser could wash my hair! Not to mention making turns in the car to and from the salon. Ouch. My neck issues will be the next thing I tackle with the PT.

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Dead Mice, Zumba and Dance Goals

They say time moves more slowly in the country, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. Caring for this house alone could be a full-time gig. There are about 50 acres of forest waiting to be explored and that’s without leaving our property. Inspiration for art, whether it’s dance, photography, painting, etc., is abundant in these natural surroundings. Country living is anything but boring.

The difference I notice as I sit at the kitchen table and listen to the wind in the trees through the open window isn’t that I’ve slowed down since moving here. The difference is that Life around me moves at a less-rushed pace. The manic mood of the city is absent here. The bumblebees and hummingbirds show up every day in the overgrown garden next to the kitchen to collect their pollen and nectar. They aren’t lazy about it; they are consistent and persistent. What they aren’t is frantic. Their work is steady, not hectic. Amazing how they still complete their tasks without buzzing around like their boss is going to set their hair on fire if they don’t appear entirely stressed out.

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Finding My Maine Rhythm

Whenever you move to a new area, you have to go through the task of reestablishing your routines. You have to decide where your glasses and silverware go in your new kitchen, and how to arrange things in your new bathroom. You have to find your grocery store, drug store, dentist, doctor, veterinarian if you’re a fur parent, etc. It can be fun exploring and trying out different places to see what you like best. It can also make you feel like a tourist in your own town while you’re relying on Google Maps to get to the hardware store.

I’ve been trying out different grocery stores over the last couple weeks, but I have to admit that I miss getting my Imperfect Foods delivery every week. It was so convenient, the produce was great, the customer service was awesome, and they kept adding new and fun products. Alas, until my mom moves up (she volunteered to do our food runs), I have to resort to doing my grocery shopping in person.

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