It’s the Little Things

As we advance along our ballroom dance journey, the fixes, adjustments and tweaks we make to create higher quality movement become smaller and smaller. We learn what the steps are, how to do those steps, and then how to actually dance in between and through the steps. Each level builds on the one before it. This process can get frustrating though because every time you start to think you know what you’re doing, you find out you’ve barely scratched the surface.

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Guest Post: Journey of Healing Through Dance

Patrick Bailey, a fellow writer, reached out to me recently. He has a close friend who, like so many of us, discovered the healing powers of dance. Here is her story, as told to Patrick.

If you are struggling with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or addiction, please know you’re not alone. Help is available. Reaching out for support is a sign of strength, not weakness.

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The Purpose of Dance

If you follow me on social media, you got a sneak peek of today’s blog post. Yesterday, I asked if my fellow dancers were planning on returning to their regularly scheduled dance life as soon as it was feasible, or if they felt like they were entering a different chapter of their dance story. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Pre-pandemic, my dance life was focused on competition. 2020 was set up to be my most ambitious competition season yet. Four and a half months later, I’m asking myself whether that focus is still true.

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Not Dancing Back Into Society

Before the pandemic, competition was my ballroom niche. I competed primarily in American Smooth and thrived on that competition dance floor. I loved that all of the pieces of dance came together for competition – the steps, the timing, the technique, the styling, the expression, etc. All of it played a significant role in the performance.

As I traveled along my dance journey, social dancing started to lose its appeal. Showcases had helped me fulfill that dream of performing on stage and successfully making that first big push past my fear and self-doubt, but even they didn’t quite satisfy my dance appetite as time passed. Competition fulfilled my passion for ballroom and my desire to continue to challenge myself and grow as a dancer.

Now, during the pandemic, I don’t have any of those outlets. I have a single 45-minute private lesson once a week on a patio.

And you know what?

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Dancing Back Into Society: The First Dance Lesson

Happy Fourth of July, dancers! Does it feel different to anyone else? Well, to be fair, every day of 2020 feels different than the years before. But this Independence Day in particular feels significant because it follows a month of protests and demonstrations over the fact that so many citizens of this country still don’t enjoy the freedoms that this country is so proud of.

The energy has quieted down on my social media feeds as people return to their “regularly scheduled programming” after expressing support or solidarity for social justice for a week or so. And now it’s Independence Day! It feels like a prime opportunity/symbolic transition point to commit long term to evolving into a better country that believes that all are created equal (no qualifier necessary).

For my part, I’m continuing to work to evolve into a better dancer and person overall. As we go through this series, I’ll share different parts of my vision for my future self. Something that the last few months has made me recognize (and I can’t remember if I’ve already shared this with you) is that our ballroom bubble is an illusion.

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We Dance

We’ve made it through another difficult week. I spent the week not sleeping well, working the day job, and reading and listening to multiple points of view on the issues. I also “muted” myself on social media in favor of discovering new-to-me BIPOC dancers and artists and sharing those instead. I’ve linked a few favorites at the end of this blog post.

I didn’t do much dancing. I took Teacher’s online technique class on Wednesday, but I skipped the various dance fitness classes I’ve been taking. I didn’t do any exercise really, aside from walking the dogs. Reality was just weighing too heavy on my shoulders. By the end of the week though, I was feeling the urge to do something creative. To dance, or to write. I was also feeling the urge to clean. A clear space can lead to a clearer mind.

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