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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Lots of thoughts and feelings happening over here on my little 700-square foot planet! So strap in for what may not be such a cohesive update from The Girl with the Tree Tattoo. 😉

Next week is my pandemic anniversary (pandemiversary?). My company ordered everyone to work from home on March 13, 2020 and I’ve been answering emails and reviewing reports from my kitchen table ever since (sometimes I move to the living room for a change of scenery). In between reports, the dogs and I go for walks while our groceries are delivered and I wait for my turn to be vaccinated. Pandemic life goes on.

It seems like the worst is behind us. Case numbers, at least in my area, have been steadily dropping. My county is very close to being able to move out of the most restrictive tier of pandemic mandates. Time will tell if the virus variants will cause us more trouble down the road, even with vaccinations. I certainly hope not.

You pop that gum one more time…

Dance-wise, I filmed my second virtual showcase routine last weekend. This time, it’s a group number to Cell Block Tango. I’m playing Pop. This number has been a long time coming; we started rehearsals for it back in October and were supposed to film in December. The entire showcase had to be pushed thanks to the holiday-induced pandemic shutdowns. Finally, we were able to restart in February. The virtual showcase premieres tonight!

Continue reading