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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Embassy Memories

Embassy Ball, home of the World Championships under the NDCA and WDC, took place in Orange County, CA this past week. Seeing so many social media posts with photos and videos from the event had me waxing nostalgic over my own Embassy memories. I’ve competed at Embassy Ball three times – 2017, 2018 and 2019. Embassy Ball has been a place of highs and lows for me, each triggering a significant turning point in my dance journey.

I thought we’d take a trip down memory lane, if you’ll indulge me!

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Moving Sale! And Giant Forest Trolls

Happy 4th of July everyone! And to my fellow fur parents and their fur babies, hang in there. It’s almost over.

People around us have been shooting off fireworks all week, so it’s been really rough for my boys. Yesterday evening, we drove up and down the coast for about three hours just so they wouldn’t be at home, panicked and waiting for the next bomb to drop. We’ll be doing the same tonight.

In more exciting and happier news, we hit the road for Maine in just a week! I’m working to consolidate my belongings so there won’t be any problems fitting them into my new-to-me station wagon. Aligned with that goal, I want to announce a special Moving Sale at practiceballroomdance.com! Help me clear out some inventory before I hit the road AND set yourself up for dancing success with free shipping on everything through July 9.

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Starting a New Chapter Requires Ending the Old One

After I renewed my apartment lease the last time, I hit a point when I had to decide to move onto the next chapter or stay stuck in the current one. How much longer could I realistically continue living like this? I was constantly walking this financial tight rope in order to take ballroom lessons and compete while also living in Southern California. It was frustrating to see every raise from work be wiped out by the next rent increase. I felt like I could never get ahead.

So why stay? My job can be done from anywhere with an internet connection. I have family and friends here, but I also have family and friends back East. My dogs would certainly benefit from living somewhere with less noise and asphalt and more trees and grass.

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Getting Grounded to Take Flight

When I first had an inkling that I was going to need physical therapy for my knees, before I even got the official word from my orthopedist, I started to research PTs because I wanted to make sure I saw one who worked with dancers. There was no way I was going to see a PT who didn’t understand why I had to keep dancing at least a little bit while I recovered from my injuries. Lucky for me, Doctors for Dancers had just launched and a PT local to my area had added herself to the database of dance specialists.

Two+ years later, we’ve gotten my knees back into dancing shape (mostly), but we’re still working together on other issues. Besides just directly working on healing my body, my PT has been helping me better understand my body and increase my body awareness, which has just been a boon to my dance training!

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Focus on Your Own Dance Journey

Reaching out to my dancers today who may be feeling like everyone except them is getting to resume their regularly scheduled dancing program, full of in-person lessons, social dances, showcases, and/or competitions. This post is for you.

My current dance status: I’ve been lucky to have had in-person lessons for a number of months now. They were intermittent through the second half of 2020 and became more regular after the new year. Currently, I’m taking two private lessons and one group class a week. My last competition was February 2020, and I don’t know when I’ll be competing again. Two of the competitions that I was hoping would be my pandemic-era return to the floor have already passed.

Compared to some, my dance journey is awesome right now. I’m getting to dance regularly. I’m getting to work with my teacher in person. Heck, my studio survived the pandemic shutdowns! Compared to others who have already managed to compete multiple times in 2021, my dance journey is…ok, better than nothing. At least I’m getting to dance, right?

Whether my dance journey seems awesome or just ok to you doesn’t matter. Because it’s my journey, not yours.


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Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Lots of thoughts and feelings happening over here on my little 700-square foot planet! So strap in for what may not be such a cohesive update from The Girl with the Tree Tattoo. 😉

Next week is my pandemic anniversary (pandemiversary?). My company ordered everyone to work from home on March 13, 2020 and I’ve been answering emails and reviewing reports from my kitchen table ever since (sometimes I move to the living room for a change of scenery). In between reports, the dogs and I go for walks while our groceries are delivered and I wait for my turn to be vaccinated. Pandemic life goes on.

It seems like the worst is behind us. Case numbers, at least in my area, have been steadily dropping. My county is very close to being able to move out of the most restrictive tier of pandemic mandates. Time will tell if the virus variants will cause us more trouble down the road, even with vaccinations. I certainly hope not.

You pop that gum one more time…

Dance-wise, I filmed my second virtual showcase routine last weekend. This time, it’s a group number to Cell Block Tango. I’m playing Pop. This number has been a long time coming; we started rehearsals for it back in October and were supposed to film in December. The entire showcase had to be pushed thanks to the holiday-induced pandemic shutdowns. Finally, we were able to restart in February. The virtual showcase premieres tonight!

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Is My Dance Journey Over?

As we reach the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., I know many dancers have one question on their mind: Is my dance journey over?

Some have been extremely lucky and privileged to be able to continue dancing and even compete through this pandemic. They experienced a couple months’ break in their dance schedule, which used to seem like a lot but in our current reality, hardly anything. I’ve been lucky to be able to take one in-person private lesson almost every week since July. I even got to perform in a virtual showcase.

Others have not danced in a year or longer. No lessons, no showcases, no competitions. Through an extremely stressful period of our lives, they have lost their primary source of mental and emotional relief. And after a year, they can’t help but wonder – is this it? Am I done dancing?

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