The Merging of Practice Ballroom Dance and TGWTTT

They were basically the same place anyway.

Somewhere along my entrepreneurship journey, wrapped up in hustle culture, I got it in my head that I needed a separate place for each piece of The Girl with the Tree Tattoo brand – the blog, the shop, the email list – they all needed their own home. Once I moved to Maine, as I continued to bask in the natural beauty of my own home and felt no need or desire to go anywhere else, I started to wonder why did The Girl need to be so spread out?

Continue reading

Sheesh, I did a lot in 2022

Happy Day 1 of 2023, dancers!

First walk of 2023

I kicked off the last day of 2022 with my regular Saturday morning Zumba class. All of my new friends here have come from that studio, which makes it a special place for me. Like my ballroom studio in California, it feels like a home away from home. A place where I can go and let my dance freak flag fly without fear of judgment or rejection. The final Zumba class of 2022 was no exception. I left with a tired body and a full heart.

Continue reading

Winter Storms and Dancing at Home

We just had our first snowstorm of the season this weekend. It only dropped about 3 inches here, but other parts of Maine and the rest of New England got more. In Maine terms, it was rather mild. Local businesses stayed open, despite warnings prior to the storm that they may close. The studio where I go for dance and fitness classes was no exception. I didn’t feel like braving the downhill slope of my snow-covered driveway though, so I signed up for the livestream of Saturday morning’s Zumba class.

Continue reading

When did arm styling become fun?

Dance is often referred to as an art/sport because of the athleticism required to produce beautiful and inspiring performances. Dance is a full-body workout; we all know and have experienced that. It’s also a mental and emotional workout as we try to remember all of the choreography and technique required to move our bodies in beautiful ways while also adding on style and expression that will connect us with our audience. I’m a little tired just thinking about it.

The sport half of dance always came easier to me. It was more black-and-white and scientific. Technique had rights and wrongs. I could muscle my way through the movement, which made me feel strong instead of vulnerable. When teachers started talking about arm styling and suggesting I do what feels right, I balked. What felt right to me was doing nothing with my arms, but that’s not what they were trying to get me to do. They wanted me to feel the right way to launch my arm over my head or out to the side in a way that looked graceful and effortless, or in the case of tango, strong and confident.

Continue reading

Guest Post: We Are TIRED!

Last month, I attended an online webinar titled “Racial Representation in Ballroom.” Ballroom dance is very much a white-dominated style of dance, but why? What is preventing everyone else from experiencing this art/sport that we adore? How do we bring greater diversity to the ballroom world?

It was these types of questions that the hosts of webinars wanted to explore. I was so impressed by the information provided and the open and honest discussion that took place, that I had to reach out to the people behind the webinar with a request to share their mission with my readers.

The ballroom dance floor is where I finally connected with my true self and found the courage to show that true self to others. I know many of you have had similar experiences. I hate to think anyone anywhere has been made to feel, intentionally or unintentionally, that they didn’t belong on that floor because of who they were. Which is why I believe this group’s mission is so important.

So without further ado, please welcome to the blog, The TIRED Movement!

Continue reading

When the Usual Creative Outlets are Unavailable, Pull Weeds

Remember that ballroom dance lesson where I learned to lead? It was actually my last lesson. One of my boys needed minor surgery (he’s fine), but even minor surgery always comes with a major bill. So unless it had already been paid for, dance and fitness classes have been cut from my calendar until that vet bill is paid. This is far from the first time I’ve had to pause dance because funds had to be redirected. I’ve been blessed along my dance journey to have had generous dance teachers who would let me owe them for a few weeks so that my training wouldn’t be disrupted. But the kindness of strangers (and people I know well) can only go so far. Sometimes I just have to cut back.

As you’re probably aware, I also cut back on blogging and social media posting.

Continue reading

Learning to Lead

I did something different in this past week’s ballroom lesson: I learned to lead! Traditionally, men lead and women follow in the ballroom dances. However, it’s very common outside of the U.S. to see female couples competing in ballroom, especially in younger or more beginner levels, simply because there aren’t enough boys to act as partners. You see my soul sister Fran leading in group classes and on the competition floor in the classic movie Strictly Ballroom.

Strictly Ballroom (1992)

Why learn to lead?

First of all, it’s a fun challenge to reverse roles as a ballroom dancer! I’ve always had an interest in learning the leader role of ballroom dances because only learning the follower role meant I was only really learning half of the dance. Learning what your partner needs to do and what they need you to do creates a better understanding of the partnership as a whole, which can only lead to a better connection and more enjoyable dancing together. Understanding how to cue a lead can also help you recognize when someone else is trying to cue you as a follower.

Continue reading

New on Stance on Dance – A Dancer in the Woods

You may recall my sharing not too long ago that I had contributed an article to Stance on Dance’s first print publication. In it, I reflected on my move from Southern California to Midcoast Maine and the impact it has had on my dance journey.

If you didn’t get a copy of the printed version, the article is now available on Stance on Dance’s website! Enjoy. 🙂

New on Medium – I Like to Move It, Move It

Happy Monday, dancers! This week’s piece is featured in the Medium publication, Songstories. Did you know that I danced ballet, jazz and tap when I was little? I even performed in several recitals, dancing as characters like a California Raisin, a sailor on the Good Ship Lollipop, and Flounder in The Little Mermaid. Then a couple decades passed before I would step foot in another dance studio. What happened?

You’ll have to read to find out. 😉