Mandy Mykitta: Daring to Turn Disabilities into Dance Abilities

I met Mandy Mykitta, this month’s interviewee, at the Murdy Park community center in Huntington Beach, California. When I arrived, kids were outside playing on playground equipment and a game was in session on a basketball court while parents watched and chatted. Families spending time together outside? Imagine that! After a long day and getting stuck in traffic on the way to the interview, seeing some pure and simple positivity lifted my mood.

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Own It

I know it’s been longer than usual since I last posted. Searching for a place to live has been stressing me out of my gourd, which has left me with some major writer’s block. Some other things have been adding to the stress level too, and with Teacher out of town last week, I didn’t have any dance lessons to provide relief. So when this inkling of an idea pushed its way to the front of my mind, I jumped on it. The block has been alerted to its presence though, so hopefully it survives long enough for me to create something worth reading. (I have this image of this dark shadow slowly creeping toward the tiny glowing creature that is my inspiration inkling.)

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Writing Without Words

I’m fighting that feeling I get when I think I haven’t done enough to feed my passions. It’s a mix of antsy and adrift topped off with a dollop of blues.  I can feel there are thoughts and feelings inside me that want out. They want to be expressed and are making it difficult to focus. But when I opened up a new blog post, the words were MIA.

So basically, this is me trying to drag myself out of the muck. This is one of those crappy days I need to show up for. If I can waltz without a partner, I can figure out how to write without having the words first. Be warned, this will probably be akin to jumping in the car and starting to drive without any destination in mind. Scenic route to nowhere, here we come!

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“Ballroom Was My Defibrillator” – A Conversation with Elizabeth Thomson

When I first spoke with Nicholas Barkley and Elizabeth Thomson about doing an interview for the blog, I also proposed a second set of individual interviews. Their stories of how ballroom became the key to coping with their PTSD were incredible and deserved their own spaces, separate from their shared story of becoming an amateur couple.

Liz was kind enough to make time for me during one of her visits down to Orange County. We met at my studio after one of my dance lessons and talked for over an hour. While we sat stretched out on the floor of the teachers’ break room, Liz shared her journey, from enlisting in the Army to getting diagnosed with PTSD to finding relief in ballroom. Although she still struggles, ballroom has been Liz’s defibrillator. It brought her back to life and saved her from becoming “just another PTSD statistic.”

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Book Review: With Ballet in My Soul – Adventures of a Globetrotting Impresario, A Memoir by Eva Maze

One of my favorite things about running this blog is getting to connect with other people. In this case, I also got a new book out of it!

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When I was first contacted about reviewing With Ballet in My Soul, I didn’t even know what an impresario was. But “ballet” was in the title and that meant something related to dance, so of course I was interested in reading the book. Yes, I judged a book by its cover (or title).

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Pushing Through the Crappy Days

About six months ago, I wrote a post about how the crappy days are more important. It was inspired by this quote of Georges St-Pierre:

“You don’t get better on the days when you feel like going. You get better on the days when you don’t want to go, but go anyway. If you can overcome the negative energy coming from your tired body or unmotivated mind, you will grow and become better. It won’t be the best workout you have, you won’t accomplish as much as what you usually do when you actually feel good, but that doesn’t matter. Growth is a long term game, and the crappy days are more important.” Georges St-Pierre, The Way of the Fight

I haven’t had a chance to get his book Way of the Fight yet, but it’s definitely on my list. I was thinking about this quote a lot in the last couple days because they’ve been pretty crappy.

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This Time, I Did Cry

I’m just going to get straight to the point with what I want to share because I can’t think of a good lead-in. Teacher had another surprise for me at the end of my lesson on Friday: a second anonymous sponsor. This one didn’t just pay for my lesson; they wrote Teacher a check that covered over six lessons!

It was too much this time; I had to go sit in the bathroom so I could cry. I sat in the stall for so long, the motion-sensor light went out on me! Even now, thinking about it, I’m a little teary-eyed.

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