What Do You Believe About Yourself As a Dancer?

A few weeks ago, I attended a workshop hosted by my mindset/personal development/creative/just generally awesome coach, during which we did an exercise that involved listing things you believed to be true about yourself. This wasn’t meant to be a self-roast or pity party; the goal was to identify positive things. The question then came up – is it really being honest to only list positive things and ignore the negative?

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Dancing to Keep Warm and For Plain ‘Ol Fun

It’s officially Autumn here in Maine! Those warm Summer days are long gone, evidenced by the 63-degree temperature inside the house (I’m not turning on the heat until I can vacuum out at least the ends of the ducts). The trees are also changing, which is beautiful. Batches of trees turned this brilliant red early on along the main route that I drive for groceries, PT, etc. You have this large swath of summer-y green and then bam! a batch of red in the middle. So gorgeous. I understand why tourists flock to this area at this time of year.

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I Never Would Have Moved to Maine Without Ballroom

Hello from a dripping wet, soggy Maine! The rain arrived Friday night and has kept us drenched since then. Good thing I got the lawns mowed earlier this week. #ThingsISayNow

The rain has made for a cozy, relaxing weekend, except when the dogs need to go out. Even then, it’s not too bad. They don’t care about getting wet and I have bright blue rain boots and a solid rain jacket, so who cares? I took it a step further yesterday afternoon while the power was out briefly and decided to have some fun (see below).

A fellow ballroom dancer shared with me that she’s appreciating how all of the intangible skills that have come out of her dance training, like increased self-confidence, ability to work through challenging dance moves, learning to win and lose gracefully at competitions, have translated well into “real” life. She saw the additional value gained out of all of those expensive private lessons. I responded that I agreed completely! Without those “side effects” of learning to ballroom dance, I never would have moved to Maine.

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Reexamining The Cost of Being a Ballroom Dancer

I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow ballroom dancer for the first time in person this past week. She is one of several Maine dancers who proved me wrong when I thought I was moving to a place where I didn’t know anyone. I also learned that she has been following the blog from the beginning!

We had a lovely chat on a picnic table over tea, which of course primarily focused on our ballroom journeys. She voiced her appreciation for my willingness to openly discuss the financial aspect of ballroom. It can have a great impact on someone’s dance journey, but so often, the cost of being a ballroom dancer is swept under the rug or hidden in the shadows behind the bright lights and sparkling rhinestones. Don’t look over there, look here on the dance floor where everything is shiny and colorful and everyone is smiling.

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Guest Post: Finding the Best Fitting Latin Dance Shoes by Yami Dance Shoes

It’s an exciting moment when you buy your very first pair of real dance shoes. It’s like going from being a person who dances to a honest-to-goodness dancer! Anyone who has shopped for dance shoes though knows that finding the right pair of shoes isn’t always easy. Different brands fit differently, and just because others love a specific brand doesn’t mean that brand’s shoes will fit your feet. I remember shopping for a pair of Latin shoes and trying on different brands. It was interesting to me to see how one popular brand didn’t fit the heel of my foot, no matter which style I tried.

If you’re in the market for a new pair of dance shoes, then please check out this guest article by Tina Lee-Almazar of Yami Dance Shoes! She provides some great insight and tips into what to look for when shopping for dance shoes. Happy (and pain-free) dancing!

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Back in the Studio

Happy Monday, dancers! I like to call today 50% off Chocolate Day. I used to go to the drug store every February 15 to stock up on discounted heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. Now I don’t go to any stores! And my diet is considerably healthier these days, so we’ll leave the February 15th tradition with my younger self.

I got to spend part of my Valentine’s Day at the dance studio. It’s the first time I’ve been there for at least a month. I took an 11-day cross country trip and quarantined before and after. If you’re curious, you can read what it’s like to fly during a pandemic. It’s crazy how much more time and effort a trip requires these days, if you’re doing everything you can to stay safe.

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You Keep Falling Because You Don’t Believe You Can Fly

Way back in 2015, when The Girl with the Tree Tattoo blog was still in the Newcomer division, I wrote an article for another dance website about partnering. I listed trust as one of three key factors for a successful dance partnership. Trust is a funny thing. It is like a house of cards, built up slowly over time, but one wrong move can make the entire structure collapse. It’s very fragile, and at the same time, holds very strong influence over us. We are willing to give so much of ourselves to those we trust without question.

In ballroom dancing, you have to trust your partner. You have to trust in their ability to dance and lead or follow (depending on your role). On a more emotional level, you have to trust them to respect you as you allow them into your personal space. The physical contact required for ballroom dancing (another key factor) can make you feel extremely vulnerable. It takes trust to ease that feeling and make you feel comfortable enough to dance well.

Ballroom dancing also requires trust in yourself.

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A 2020-Style Dance Showcase

I have an actual dance event experience to share with you today! The last one was California Open in February, a.k.a. a lifetime ago. This dance event was…different. And not just by the fact that it was a showcase, not a competition. It was different by the fact that I have already shared the dance experience with you. This is the viewing part of the experience. It was different by the fact that I attended opening night from my couch at home.

Of course, different doesn’t mean better or worse. Just…different.

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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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