Live Life Passionately: An Interview with Megan Cross

Dancers, please welcome Megan Cross to the blog! Megan has been learning ballroom for just under a year. She started with Fred Astaire Dance Studios of Laguna Hills, CA in the middle of the pandemic and has already conquered a team match and two showcase performances, and is preparing for the Fred Astaire World Championships! Like your host, Megan is also a writer. She recently turned her passion for vintage into a blog called The Vintage Love Letter. I was eager to sit down with her and hear about her initial impressions of ballroom dance and her experiences during the first year of her dance journey.

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Two Stepping with a Computer? Going Virtual with the Event Director of the MidAtlantic Dance Classic

Leads and follows, please welcome to the blog, Jennifer Egl! She is one of the Event Directors of the MidAtlantic Dance Classic, which is the first United Country Western Dance Council (UCWDC)-sanctioned competition to go virtual in 2021. She is also a competitive dancer herself in country dance and is actively learning ballroom. When she isn’t dancing or organizing the dancing of others, she acts as UCWDC’s Media and Marketing Chair and the Marketing Coordinator for the UCWDC Country Dance World Championships. Oh by the way, she also works full time, has two children, and freelances as a photographer. We are definitely cut from similar cloths.

Jennifer and I first connected while I was covering UCWDC events for FloDance. When she told me that she was taking her event 100% virtual, I thought it was a great opportunity to share a different view of how the pandemic has affected the dance world. I’ve shared stories of dance teachers and studio owners, but we haven’t heard from a comp organizer yet.

So without further ado!

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Inner Strength + Outer Support: An Interview with Briana Suakjian

I’m super excited to introduce today’s guest to you all because she has had a huge direct impact on my dance journey. Please welcome to the blog, Briana Suakjian! She is the wife and pro dance partner of Kris Suakjian (a.k.a. Teacher!), and together they own and manage the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Laguna Hills, California. They took over their new studio literally weeks before the pandemic shut everything down. Despite possibly setting a record for worst timing ever (or perhaps the best, more on that later), Briana and Kris have successfully built a warm and welcoming dance home for their students. And yes, I may be just a bit biased.

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Ever Evolving: Interview with Elaine Rau, Founder of LadyBossBlogger

Elaine Rau’s team reached out to me last month with an idea to interview each other for our blogs. I enjoy connecting with fellow dancers, writers, and in this case, entrepreneurs, so of course, I agreed! Elaine Rau founded the blog, LadyBossBlogger, after realizing the company she worked for cared more about her sales numbers than her as a person. Like me, blogging for Elaine started out as a creative outlet and a way to make connections when she first moved from the U.S. to Honduras. Quickly, she turned it into a profitable online business.

We decided to exchange a list of questions to answer. Even though Elaine’s journey looks a lot different from a ballroom dancer’s, I think you’ll find we share a lot of similar elements!

Without further ado, please welcome Elaine Rau.

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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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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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When Passions Change – An Interview with the Founders of Dancing Ox Coffee

Last time, I wrote about how this ballroom dance thing is so much more than a hobby for a lot of us. It’s a passion. We take it just as seriously as any other commitment in our lives. We practice our steps under our cubicle desk at work and down grocery store aisles. We use all of our vacation time on competitions. The dance studio is our second home.

But what happens if we start to feel…less than passionate about ballroom dancing? What if the experience starts to lose its sparkle? What if something else begins to have a stronger pull?


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The Solo Practice Guide and DanceVision

Coming to you midweek to share something exciting! Back in the beginning of November, I had the chance to sit down with Wayne Eng and chat about The Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing. If you don’t recognize the name, Wayne is the owner of DanceVision, the largest producer of ballroom dance educational materials including the DVIDA syllabus and a huge library of training videos. He’s also the owner of Emerald Ball Dancesport Championships and one of the organizers of the United States Dance Championships. Needless to say, Wayne’s a busy man, so just the fact that we could find a date and time when we were both available was exciting!

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