Diving Deep: An Interview with Samantha Stout

I’d like you all to meet Samantha Stout! She is a professional ballroom dancer and teacher based in Utah. She is the owner of Love.Live.Dance, LLC and host of the podcast Ballroom Chat.

She invited me to be a guest on her podcast a few weeks ago. The episode aired last week (you can also watch it on YouTube). I returned the favor and asked her to share her story here. Samantha has experienced both the pro-am student and teacher sides of competitive ballroom dance, which gives her a unique perspective on our art/sport.

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Studio Solo Practice

I solo practiced at the studio yesterday! First time in 7 months. With talk of competing again in early 2021, 2021 being only three months away, AND only one lesson a week on the books for the foreseeable future, I thought it was time to get back into the solo practice habit.

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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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