When did arm styling become fun?

Dance is often referred to as an art/sport because of the athleticism required to produce beautiful and inspiring performances. Dance is a full-body workout; we all know and have experienced that. It’s also a mental and emotional workout as we try to remember all of the choreography and technique required to move our bodies in beautiful ways while also adding on style and expression that will connect us with our audience. I’m a little tired just thinking about it.

The sport half of dance always came easier to me. It was more black-and-white and scientific. Technique had rights and wrongs. I could muscle my way through the movement, which made me feel strong instead of vulnerable. When teachers started talking about arm styling and suggesting I do what feels right, I balked. What felt right to me was doing nothing with my arms, but that’s not what they were trying to get me to do. They wanted me to feel the right way to launch my arm over my head or out to the side in a way that looked graceful and effortless, or in the case of tango, strong and confident.

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New on Stance on Dance – A Dancer in the Woods

You may recall my sharing not too long ago that I had contributed an article to Stance on Dance’s first print publication. In it, I reflected on my move from Southern California to Midcoast Maine and the impact it has had on my dance journey.

If you didn’t get a copy of the printed version, the article is now available on Stance on Dance’s website! Enjoy. 🙂

Solo Practice is More Fun with Friends!

My relationship with solo dance practice was born out of necessity. I needed a way to improve as a dancer that didn’t come with a financial cost. The Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing was born out of my need to improve as a dancer without a financial cost and with a limited time requirement. The framework I developed for my solo practice sessions worked wonders. I grew in strength, balance and confidence. Lessons with Teacher were more productive. Other coaches noticed the improvements in my dancing when I competed. I became a World Champion!

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Country Living: Gorgeous Views and Nonstop Chores

Happy Saturday, dancers! It’s the weekend and it’s summer, which means I’ll be mowing the lawns again tomorrow before it rains again next week (a never-ending cycle until winter comes back). I love living out in the country, away from the noise and crowds of the urban environment, but damn, country living is a lot of work. Especially when you have 60 acres and a 120-year old house to take care of. Thankfully, I do NOT have to mow 60 acres!

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Everyone’s Doing the Best They Can

Photo by Roussety Gregory on Pexels.com

I belong to a fitness accountability group and earlier this week, I posed a question. I wanted to know how the others in the group managed their workouts when Life got really crazy, like it has been for me this month. They seemed to be so much better at doing their workouts consistently and reaching their weekly fitness goals. I was sure I was slacking somewhere and I wanted the secret sauce. What was the magic ingredient that I was missing that made me less consistent and less successful?

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Going with the Flow is Scary

Photo by Jacob Colvin on Pexels.com

We plan, God laughs.

Yiddish proverb

It’s March already, and while I’m not surprised that there is still a foot of snow on the ground, I am surprised and disappointed that I’m not back to taking ballroom lessons. I shouldn’t be surprised because I was there at every turn that delayed my return to ballroom. Always a good reason! But silly me still didn’t want to let go of her original plans.

If any four words were to sum up Life, it would be these four: We plan, God laughs.

You can interpret it in different ways, but I see it as a reminder that we cannot control the world around us. The Earth keeps rotating and Life keeps going, whether we like it or not. We try every day to control or at least predict, what the future will bring, but the best we manage is an illusion.

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On Your Dance Journey, Not Every Week Will Be Filled With Dancing

A common result of getting bitten by the ballroom bug is diving headfirst into all things ballroom dance. In the beginning of my ballroom journey, I went to multiple group classes each week on top of my private lessons. I’d show up to my lesson an hour or two early just to spend more time in the studio and be in that dancing environment. I never missed a practice party.

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Come Alive

The Greatest Showman was one of those movies that shouldn’t have worked. A musical about P.T. Barnum, a man who gained notoriety by exploiting people for profit and marketing racism to the masses in the form of entertainment? That’s just not right.

And yet, the movie was a major success! I’m a huge fan myself, and I think a big part of that success had to do with the underlying message that had nothing to do with Mr. Barnum. It was an invitation that appealed to that desire within all of us: to show up as our true selves, to shed the dreary gray uniform of the daily grind, and as they sing, come alive.

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Looking Back and then Forward

The response to last week’s blog post was huge! Clearly, I’m not the only one who struggles with reconciling my passion for ballroom with the cost. Before I jump into this week’s thoughts, I wanted to share another older post, which asks the question, “Is it worth competing if the game is rigged?”. This older post is for anyone who feels that their financial situation unfairly affects their placement at competitions because those who (can afford to) compete more get seen more. Familiarity can create an unconscious bias toward dancers who compete more often.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if a bias exists or not. What matters is you and your dancing. If you can only afford to compete once or twice a year, do you really want to taint those precious experiences with worries about whether or not judge bias is affecting your results? Wouldn’t you prefer to take advantage of those few moments you have to dress to the nines and perform your heart out?

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