A Review of Embassy Ball 2018: A Cinderella Story

I’ve always loved movies about underdogs. Those characters who come from difficult circumstances and have a dream that goes seemingly beyond their means. They don’t quite fit in, but their passion drives them forward anyway. They struggle, suffer defeats, come close to giving up, and ultimately rise to victory. I love a good underdog story because I can relate. I’ve always been a bit awkward, never quite fitting in but also not really wanting to.

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Countdown to Embassy Ball 2018: 19 Days – Steady as She Goes

The countdown has begun! Less than 3 weeks until my return to Embassy Ball and my chance to see how far I’ve come after last year’s disappointment. I waited until the day before the deadline to submit my entries. There was a struggle going on between most of me who wanted a second chance at that world championship title and a small but loud part of me who didn’t want to face a second disappointment.

I won out, and entries are in.

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A Review of Millennium 2018: Connections and Rule 11

I haven’t written here in two weeks and so much has happened! So be forewarned, this may be a long post. I’m going to start with the latest exciting news first.


The first shipment of printed Solo Practice Guides is on its way! There were some errors in the print file that caused a delay, but we finally got them sorted out this past Thursday night and I couldn’t go to bed without submitting the official order. I can’t wait to get the first one in my hands! Preorders and the fast-action bonuses are still available at practiceballroomdance.com.

Ballroom Villagers, I have a special request/offer for my fellow ballroom bloggers, so please shoot me a note if you’re interested.

It’s surreal to think that an idea I had last year is about to become a real, physical object. And one that’s making a difference for dancers! So cool and crazy.

Ok, now on to the competition. The personal theme of this comp turned out to be connections, beginning when I got on the plane!

I was flying out Wednesday, but I took Tuesday off too. I had a dogsitter coming to stay at my place with my boys, so not only did I need to pack, I needed to clean and prep the apartment for her. I knew there was no way I’d get everything done in the evening after work. I ended up finishing about 6pm on Tuesday and spent the rest of the evening trying to remember what I must have forgotten because how could I be done with time to relax??

My dad and I were flying together. I have cheesy-level supportive parents, which is awesome, and so my dad has made it to almost all of my competitions. After we found our seats on the plane, another woman sat down in the third seat in our row. She started talking to another guy who was passing by and made a comment about dancing. Turns out she was also flying to Millennium! We spent most of the flight trading stories and talking about how much we love ballroom.

The first thing I did when I arrived at the hotel was connect with the host of Ballroom Backstage. We were doing an interview that evening. Check it below.


That was just the beginning. The next morning, while I was waiting to have my makeup done, one of the other girls asked if I was the Girl with the Tree Tattoo. Turned out she follows me on Instagram and had just seen the pre-makeup selfie I had just posted!

The ballroom was decorated with a comic book/superhero theme, complete with huge statues of characters like Captain America, Batman, Superman and Spiderman. Wonder Woman greeted you at the ballroom entrance. While I enjoy a good modern-day, action-packed superhero movie, I have a fond appreciation for the old-school “kapow!” and “splat!” So it was fun to see those quirky words scattered on the walls of the ballroom in lights.


Motivational wall in the practice room

Each event is assigned a heat number, and normally the heat numbers go in order. Not so much at this comp. Teacher and I were lined up for our first round of single dances, and right as we thought we were going out on the floor, we were told to wait. My dad was sitting on the opposite side of the ballroom from the on-deck area, ready to go live on Facebook. After I walked over to let him know they had switched things around, I ran into another connection! Another follower had come to support her friend and saw me as I was passing by.

As if that didn’t fill my heart enough, back in the on-deck area, another dancer smiled as she walked by me and said she loved reading my blog. These moments are why I put myself out there and tell my stories! Each person I meet who tells me I’ve touched their life in some small and positive way makes me want to reach ten more!

The dancing felt great. In my first round, we kept dancing by this one couple watching while in shadow and so we kept making eye contact. They seemed to be enjoying themselves, which made me want to dance even more for them. I was able to say hi to them off the floor later and thank them for being there for me to dance for.

During the second round of single dances and the scholarship round, we ended up in shadow every time we passed the judges. Quite possibly by Teacher’s design, it’s one of those times that is the perfect opportunity to show them what you’ve got and is nerve-wracking at the same time. I definitely stumbled a little out of one of my turns right in front of a judge, and I saw that he saw me. Oh well, I still ended up with all first places in all of my single dances!

I just missed getting a clean sweep. They jumped around again with heat numbers, and as I sat at a table thinking I had at least 20 to 30 minutes before I danced my scholarship round, I heard Teacher call my name and gesture to come over to the on-deck area. We were dancing next!

So my waltz probably could have been better if I had been warmed up and mentally ready to perform, instead of feeling a little caught off-guard. Each dance was better than the one before though, and overall I felt good about it. Awards time came, and I ended up with second place. Certainly nothing to scoff at, especially in a 7-couple final! But after we were all done and I went back to my hotel room to change, I felt unsettled. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was bothering me. I was curious what my individual marks were, so I checked the scoresheets online. Turns out I had actually tied for first place, but ended up with second by Rule 11.

Rule 11 is the last of 11 rules used to determine competitors’ placements. The last handful direct how to handle ties. If you get to Rule 11, that means you applied all of the other ten rules and the tie was still unbroken. That means the tie was very close. Looking at my marks, it was extremely close. If just two more of my 28 marks over the four dances had been first places, I would have won.

I actually felt better after figuring all of this out. Ok ok, my ego felt better. Being a hair away from first place was better than being squarely in second. Sue me, I’m human.

One last unexpected connection to finish off the trip. On Friday night, I watched Teacher and his wife compete in the Open Professional Smooth competition, and another one of my readers was sitting at the same table I was! I learned after I got home that her teacher also follows me because he sent me a note saying she told him that she met me. I tell you, these connections are so cool! I know ideally you’re supposed to be able to find fulfillment within yourself, not need external validation, etc., but it really makes a difference to me and inspires me to keep putting myself out there every time I make a new connection. I know I’ve said this more than once before, but you guys really keep me going.

I think that’s enough rambling for now. Don’t forget to check out practiceballroomdance.com! Preorders for the Guide only go until July 9 and then I’m going to take some time to fulfill those orders and get the official Solo Practice Guide website launched before regular sales start up.

And if you’d like to see how that scholarship round went, here you go:


Oh, P.S., if you’re wondering what’s next, the answer is Embassy Ball! Last year’s Embassy was a huge catalyst for the Guide, and I’m looking forward to seeing how I fare this time after a year of perfecting my solo practice.

Happy dancing!

Countdown to Millennium: 17 Days – Do It Scared

Before I forget, I’m going to be speaking on a live local talk show based in Hawaii tomorrow, June 5, at 4pm PST / 7pm EST. The show will be recorded and posted on YouTube, etc. and you can bet your dance shoes, I’ll share it. But it would be sooo cool if as many of my followers as possible tuned in live! You can watch online at thinktechhawaii.com. I hope you can make it!

Ok, on to the blog post…

It’s just about two and a half weeks until my next competition.


2018 will definitely go down as a crazy year, simply for how many competitions I’ve been able to enter (not to mention the publication of the Solo Practice Guide!). Then there was the addition of a new style…wow!

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