Please welcome to the blog, Rachel James! She is a fellow blogger out of the UK who kindly put together a few important reminders for all of us dance enthusiasts. The topic of this article may seem obvious to us, but obvious benefits can be easily taken for granted. Also, what is obvious to us is not obvious to all. So help spread the word! Let everyone know about the wonderful and amazing mental health benefits of dance.Continue reading
Hi dancers! This week’s post is available on Medium:
Patrick Bailey, a fellow writer, reached out to me recently. He has a close friend who, like so many of us, discovered the healing powers of dance. Here is her story, as told to Patrick.
If you are struggling with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or addiction, please know you’re not alone. Help is available. Reaching out for support is a sign of strength, not weakness.Continue reading
Hi dancers! How’s Day 6549723 in quarantine going for you? It’s starting to feel like a real-life version of Groundhog Day here, without the public gatherings of course. I’m coming to you a day early because the day job asked me to take some vacation days while I barely have any work to do (insert slightly worried emoji here).
Week after week of staying home is creating a new challenge for me in writing. I usually take inspiration from my experiences, and after five weeks of basically the same experience, it’s kinda hard to come up with something new to write about!
Week 5 did bring a couple new developments that I’ll share. I also want to remind you that the next workshop in The Girl with the Tree Tattoo series is only a week away, so be sure to register soon! These workshops are just one way I’m stoking the inner dance fire (keep reading, I’ll explain).Continue reading
Officially two weeks in with this new “stay at home” reality (technically it’s been about a week and a half by order of the state but I started earlier). Week 1 was stressful and surreal, like “crap, is this really happening?” Week 2 was more contemplative. Yes, this is happening and it could be happening for a long while.
It’s been interesting to see how the dance community has reacted to their entire industry essentially being put out of work until further notice. Some reacted quickly to shift their services online and minimize disruption of their business. Some have shifted to giving away their services and asking for donations to keep them afloat. Others are simply showing up online frequently with inspirational messages and short dance demonstrations to encourage people to keep moving. The common thread is no one is ready to give up.Continue reading
Amusing side note before I begin: I opened up a blank blog post to begin writing and then just stared at the screen for a few minutes while I thought about how I wanted to start. I started writing things out in my head instead of on the computer screen, but by the time I thought, “oh shoot, I should actually be writing this,” I forgot what I wrote.
That’s what happens when I try writing while I’m still drinking my first cup of tea in the morning.
Embassy Ball is next week!
I always loved the warning “be careful what you wish for.” We so often think we know what we want, but then, if we actually get it or are set on a path to get it, we realize it isn’t what we expected. Reality rarely matches the fantasy or expectation. It doesn’t mean we should never wish, hope or dream, but we should be careful. We should make sure what we’re wishing, hoping or dreaming is what we truly want.
As follow-up to their joint interview in April, I had asked Elizabeth Thomson and Nicholas Barkley if they would be willing to do individual interviews and share more of how ballroom has impacted their lives. Liz shared her struggles with PTSD and how ballroom brought her back to life in May. Now, we get to hear from Nick!
This month, I invited another dancer to write her own story. We met through Instagram of all places. Her Instagram account (@girlinthe_vans) is mainly videos of her dancing at a gym. No fancy costumes or glamorous settings. Just her, the music, and dance. The story behind these videos is full of pain and loss. But always, there was dance, ready to act as a lifeline when she reached for it.
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.”