It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The world starts to look almost as sparkly as a ballroom competition. We’ll be eating too much and enjoying every bite. The same ten holiday songs will play on the radio until the end of the year. Families get together to eat, laugh, argue, and then eat and laugh some more.
Then there’s the gift giving and receiving. While I don’t care much for shopping in general, I love finding the perfect gift for someone. Something that will light them up and they’ll actually use.
If you’re shopping this week for the perfect gift for the dancer in your life (maybe it’s you!), check out these options that I’ve curated from personal experience and that support other dancers.
Some weeks, I log onto WordPress and I know exactly what I want to share with you. Other weeks, I stare at a blank blog post begging me to “start writing” and I got nothing.
This week is somewhere in between. Ideas are swirling without settling long enough for me to see them clearly, so I’m just going to trust the flow of my creative process and see where we end up! Care to wander with me?
Coming to you midweek to share something exciting! Back in the beginning of November, I had the chance to sit down with Wayne Eng and chat about The Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing. If you don’t recognize the name, Wayne is the owner of DanceVision, the largest producer of ballroom dance educational materials including the DVIDA syllabus and a huge library of training videos. He’s also the owner of Emerald Ball Dancesport Championships and one of the organizers of the United States Dance Championships. Needless to say, Wayne’s a busy man, so just the fact that we could find a date and time when we were both available was exciting!
I have a bad habit of getting too far ahead of myself and then when I look back to where I am now, the gap appears so huge that I start to lose hope that I’ll ever close it. Ever happen to you? Maybe you see someone else more advanced in the dance studio and think you’ll never be able to reach that level. If you’re like me, you might even wonder if you should just give up now.
It’s official. The Girl with the Tree Tattoo now has FIVE publications on Amazon! I’m feeling legit.
Being designed by a dancer (me!), these journals are specifically designed to help you take ownership of your dance journey and gain more clarity, confidence and joy in your dancing.
How do they do that? First, studies have shown that the mere act of writing something down helps solidify it in your brain. You retain more of the ideas and concepts that you physically write on paper.
Second, these journals provide guidance and structure without being rigid. I’m constantly encouraging you to take ownership of your dance journey because it’s yours! It would be weird and a bit of an asshole move to then present you with journals that were designed to record notes in one particular way, force you to complete prompts or end up with blank pages, or restrict you to a certain timeframe.
A Journal for the Whole Dance Journey prompts you but if you want to just write freely, you can write right over them. Setting goals and commitments to yourself are important to your journey, so you will be presented with pages specifically for setting these types of intentions. But you decide what type of goals you set.
The Choreography Journal provides structural space to map out your routines in multiple ways, but no matter which method works best for you, everyone will have room to write up to 10 dances. You don’t lose out just because you see your dances on paper differently.
So go check them out, and please help me spread the word by sharing the links with your dance friends. Happy dancing!
Haters gonna hate, but I’m too busy dancing to notice.
The Girl with the Tree Tattoo
I met up with a dance friend last week and our conversation inspired me to share an important message on social media and now with you here on this blog.
The ballroom world, like any other sport, has its dark side. There are the stories of studios or teachers pressuring or manipulating students into buying more lessons than they need or signing up for events they’re not ready for. You don’t need to spend much time in the competitive world before you start hearing stories of certain dancers being favored over others because of who they dance with, who their coaches are, or how much money they spend at competitions.
Then there is the gossip, petty remarks and judge-y comments about people’s partnerships, costumes, dancing abilities, whether or not they’re getting special treatment from whomever and why, etc., etc.
It’s so easy to get sucked into the dark side of ballroom and get caught up in the gossip and pettiness. But to be frank, I ain’t got the time or the energy for that nonsense, and I don’t want you to waste your time or energy either.
In the last two weeks, I’ve had two back-to-back conferences (two days and three days) plus a one-on-one meetup about business, I’ve been interviewed twice about the books and journals I’ve published, and I consulted on interviews with other dancers. And I still managed to feed myself and my dogs and get to the day job on time. For an introvert like me, it was a LOT! While I’m grateful for all of these opportunities, I’m also grateful to be able to stay home for most of the weekend and do quieter things like write this blog post and go to the studio tomorrow for solo practice.
It’s been over 6 months since I first started going to physical therapy for chondromalacia patella in both of my knees. In the first couple months, I regained the 6 pounds I had lost during the fitness program I joined at the beginning of the year. Then I signed up for a 90-day transformation program and lost almost 11 pounds.
Aside from the weight loss, the biggest change in the last 6 months is that my body has gotten stronger. I had a lesson with the owner of my studio last week and she commented that she could see that I was using my core as I danced the practice routine she provided. She was impressed with my strength. She’s one of those people who doesn’t give praise just because, so when you get a compliment from her, it really means something.
That plus compliments from my physical therapist on how I was handling my at-home PT inspired me to share what I’ve been doing to not only stay fit, but also grow stronger, as I recover from double knee injuries.