Focus on Your Own Dance Journey

Reaching out to my dancers today who may be feeling like everyone except them is getting to resume their regularly scheduled dancing program, full of in-person lessons, social dances, showcases, and/or competitions. This post is for you.

My current dance status: I’ve been lucky to have had in-person lessons for a number of months now. They were intermittent through the second half of 2020 and became more regular after the new year. Currently, I’m taking two private lessons and one group class a week. My last competition was February 2020, and I don’t know when I’ll be competing again. Two of the competitions that I was hoping would be my pandemic-era return to the floor have already passed.

Compared to some, my dance journey is awesome right now. I’m getting to dance regularly. I’m getting to work with my teacher in person. Heck, my studio survived the pandemic shutdowns! Compared to others who have already managed to compete multiple times in 2021, my dance journey is…ok, better than nothing. At least I’m getting to dance, right?

Whether my dance journey seems awesome or just ok to you doesn’t matter. Because it’s my journey, not yours.


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Live Life Passionately: An Interview with Megan Cross

Dancers, please welcome Megan Cross to the blog! Megan has been learning ballroom for just under a year. She started with Fred Astaire Dance Studios of Laguna Hills, CA in the middle of the pandemic and has already conquered a team match and two showcase performances, and is preparing for the Fred Astaire World Championships! Like your host, Megan is also a writer. She recently turned her passion for vintage into a blog called The Vintage Love Letter. I was eager to sit down with her and hear about her initial impressions of ballroom dance and her experiences during the first year of her dance journey.

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Progress Doesn’t Always Go Forward

I was a little frustrated with my dancing this past week. After a breakthrough the week before and feeling like I was understanding more about why my body hurt while dancing and how to fix it, I went home from Tuesday’s lesson with my back aching in that old trouble spot. We were working on Foxtrot, and I thought I employed the same tweaks as the week before that made my movement in Waltz so much more powerful and less painful. Apparently not, or at least not with the same results. Thursday, we returned to Waltz and while I felt like I made some minor progress, my back was still aching.

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Understanding Why My Body Hurts

Happy Saturday, dancers! Life has kept me busy over the last few weeks. I was travelling for about a week (airports and airplanes were a lot fuller than my last trip in February!). The day after I returned home, I was sitting in line to get my second dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine. I’ll be fully charged in another week, yay! Go go gadget Covid shield! For those interested, I had one day of fever and body aches following the shot. Unfortunately, the body aches triggered one of my headaches (it doesn’t take much) and that hung around for several days. It was interesting how the fever and body aches came and went. I described it to a friend like doing a system check – flip the switches on and then flip them off. I was feverish and then I wasn’t. There was no lingering.

Luckily, I was free of all symptoms in time for my first dance lesson in two weeks. I didn’t have the opportunity to solo practice while I was gone (aside from visualizations), so my body was either going to love or hate me for jumping back in. Sometimes I feel like the Tin Man during those first few dance steps as I shake the rust off my joints. Our warmup Waltz felt pretty good though!

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Dancing in the Present, Gratefully

This past week was notable in two ways. First, this past Tuesday was my 38th birthday! I’m officially in my “late 30s” as opposed to my “mid 30s” and it feels weird. But also pretty great. Despite all the shite that the last year has brought, I feel more tuned into my true self than ever before. Despite the many many challenges still ahead of us, I am excited for what the next year will bring.

The second notable aspect of this past week is that San Francisco Open happened. SF Open was the competition I was preparing for before the pandemic hit. I was supposed to debut in Pro-Am Rhythm and I was working with my new amateur partner to debut in the Am-Am circuit as well. And then there came Covid.

It struck me almost as an afterthought as I saw social media posts from the event that I was supposed to be at a year ago. Like, “Oh look, a video of SF Open, that’s this weekend? Wait. That’s this weekend? Already?!” Just another processing moment of the colossal impact that this pandemic has had on our lives.

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Spreading My Wings

silhouette of bird above clouds
Photo by Flo Maderebner on Pexels.com

After two weeks of taking two lessons per week plus a La Blast class, the happy brain chemicals are finally kicking in. I feel like a bird that’s been let out of its cage so it can fully stretch its wings and take flight again. Having been in that cage for so long, I appreciate the open sky more than ever.

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Finding Joy in the Storm

I have an actual dance event to share with you today! Saturday was the in-person showcase for the Fred Astaire Los Angeles Region, and I performed in a group number to Cell Block Tango from Chicago. It was the first time I’ve performed at an in-person event in 13 months (last time was competing at the 2020 California Open). It was also the first time I’ve been around more than a handful of people in a year.

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Two Stepping with a Computer? Going Virtual with the Event Director of the MidAtlantic Dance Classic

Leads and follows, please welcome to the blog, Jennifer Egl! She is one of the Event Directors of the MidAtlantic Dance Classic, which is the first United Country Western Dance Council (UCWDC)-sanctioned competition to go virtual in 2021. She is also a competitive dancer herself in country dance and is actively learning ballroom. When she isn’t dancing or organizing the dancing of others, she acts as UCWDC’s Media and Marketing Chair and the Marketing Coordinator for the UCWDC Country Dance World Championships. Oh by the way, she also works full time, has two children, and freelances as a photographer. We are definitely cut from similar cloths.

Jennifer and I first connected while I was covering UCWDC events for FloDance. When she told me that she was taking her event 100% virtual, I thought it was a great opportunity to share a different view of how the pandemic has affected the dance world. I’ve shared stories of dance teachers and studio owners, but we haven’t heard from a comp organizer yet.

So without further ado!

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