Interview with Rebecca Gentry, A Dancer of Many Talents

One of my favorite things about this blog continues to be the connections that I make with dancers and other creatives that would have never happened otherwise. Today’s interview is a result of one of those connections. Rebecca Gentry, professional ballroom dancer and owner of City Ballroom Dance Studio in Lancaster, PA, found The Girl with the Tree Tattoo on Instagram and reached out. We had a wonderful conversation a couple weeks ago and I’m happy to be able to share it with you today.

Please welcome to the blog, Rebecca Gentry!

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The Purpose of Dance

If you follow me on social media, you got a sneak peek of today’s blog post. Yesterday, I asked if my fellow dancers were planning on returning to their regularly scheduled dance life as soon as it was feasible, or if they felt like they were entering a different chapter of their dance story. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Pre-pandemic, my dance life was focused on competition. 2020 was set up to be my most ambitious competition season yet. Four and a half months later, I’m asking myself whether that focus is still true.

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Not Dancing Back Into Society

Before the pandemic, competition was my ballroom niche. I competed primarily in American Smooth and thrived on that competition dance floor. I loved that all of the pieces of dance came together for competition – the steps, the timing, the technique, the styling, the expression, etc. All of it played a significant role in the performance.

As I traveled along my dance journey, social dancing started to lose its appeal. Showcases had helped me fulfill that dream of performing on stage and successfully making that first big push past my fear and self-doubt, but even they didn’t quite satisfy my dance appetite as time passed. Competition fulfilled my passion for ballroom and my desire to continue to challenge myself and grow as a dancer.

Now, during the pandemic, I don’t have any of those outlets. I have a single 45-minute private lesson once a week on a patio.

And you know what?

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We Dance

We’ve made it through another difficult week. I spent the week not sleeping well, working the day job, and reading and listening to multiple points of view on the issues. I also “muted” myself on social media in favor of discovering new-to-me BIPOC dancers and artists and sharing those instead. I’ve linked a few favorites at the end of this blog post.

I didn’t do much dancing. I took Teacher’s online technique class on Wednesday, but I skipped the various dance fitness classes I’ve been taking. I didn’t do any exercise really, aside from walking the dogs. Reality was just weighing too heavy on my shoulders. By the end of the week though, I was feeling the urge to do something creative. To dance, or to write. I was also feeling the urge to clean. A clear space can lead to a clearer mind.

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Dancing My Beautiful Truth (With a Dress to Match)

Happy Memorial Day weekend! Honestly, when I kept hearing commercials about Memorial Day sales this past week, I thought it was odd they were advertising so early. Then I realized this was the holiday weekend, not a week or two from now. Better to realize it now instead of logging into work on Monday and wondering why no one else is online!

I kicked off the weekend by hosting the Dance Your Truth workshop with RiTika Rose, which was eye-opening.

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A Mind for Dancing

Clarity of mind leads to clarity of dancing.

The Girl with the Tree Tattoo

Mindset has been on my mind lately. I find it fascinating how our perception and attitude can have a profound effect on our behavior and experiences. If you walk into the studio with the mindset that you’re going to have a great time working through challenges with your teacher versus walking in with the mindset that it’s just going to be another lesson full of mistakes, you’re going to wind up with two very different experiences. Even if you make the same number of mistakes.

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