Guest Post: Writing the Prescription for Ballroom Dance

Erin Drake is a professional ballroom dancer and teacher in Orange County, California. When I heard about her new nonprofit, Rx Ballroom Dance, I knew it would be something you guys would love to learn about and support. Please read on to hear about the amazing progress her first participant has already made.


NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 25: When you buy the Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing, I will donate 25% of the sale to Rx Ballroom Dance.


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Mandy Mykitta: Daring to Turn Disabilities into Dance Abilities

I met Mandy Mykitta, this month’s interviewee, at the Murdy Park community center in Huntington Beach, California. When I arrived, kids were outside playing on playground equipment and a game was in session on a basketball court while parents watched and chatted. Families spending time together outside? Imagine that! After a long day and getting stuck in traffic on the way to the interview, seeing some pure and simple positivity lifted my mood.

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Writing Without Words

I’m fighting that feeling I get when I think I haven’t done enough to feed my passions. It’s a mix of antsy and adrift topped off with a dollop of blues.  I can feel there are thoughts and feelings inside me that want out. They want to be expressed and are making it difficult to focus. But when I opened up a new blog post, the words were MIA.

So basically, this is me trying to drag myself out of the muck. This is one of those crappy days I need to show up for. If I can waltz without a partner, I can figure out how to write without having the words first. Be warned, this will probably be akin to jumping in the car and starting to drive without any destination in mind. Scenic route to nowhere, here we come!

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“Ballroom Was My Defibrillator” – A Conversation with Elizabeth Thomson

When I first spoke with Nicholas Barkley and Elizabeth Thomson about doing an interview for the blog, I also proposed a second set of individual interviews. Their stories of how ballroom became the key to coping with their PTSD were incredible and deserved their own spaces, separate from their shared story of becoming an amateur couple.

Liz was kind enough to make time for me during one of her visits down to Orange County. We met at my studio after one of my dance lessons and talked for over an hour. While we sat stretched out on the floor of the teachers’ break room, Liz shared her journey, from enlisting in the Army to getting diagnosed with PTSD to finding relief in ballroom. Although she still struggles, ballroom has been Liz’s defibrillator. It brought her back to life and saved her from becoming “just another PTSD statistic.”

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Interview: Elizabeth Thomson and Nicholas Barkley, From Boots to Bling

In my continued effort to bring you stories from other ballroom dancers besides me, I’m happy to introduce you to an American Smooth amateur couple, Elizabeth Thomson and Nicholas Barkley. They have backgrounds that you would not expect to find in ballroom and share an important message. This month, we get to learn how they got started in ballroom and formed their new partnership.

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Stuck in a Bog of Uncertainty

A few days ago, Dance Advantage posted an article titled 7 Things To Remember In Phases Of Uncertainty In Your Dance Life. The seven things are nothing earth-shattering, but they are excellent reminders. I think I’ve written about all of them myself in past posts. Which got me thinking…

What do you do when you know all these things and you do your best to practice them, but you’re still struggling?  Sure, you know “this too shall past,” but does that really help you in the here and now?

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Why You Should Try Social Ballroom

At the same time my competition money was being rerouted to pay other expenses, new opportunities appeared for me to get more involved in social dancing. I’ve mentioned the new Sunday socials, hosted by Teacher’s friend. I’ve also started taking private lessons with Teacher’s friend to work on my social dancing and he plans to take his team out to other studios and dance venues to patronize those establishments as well as spread the word about his events. I have a lot of social dancing and potential dance adventures in my future!

If you haven’t added ballroom dance to your social calendar, here’s why you should:

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