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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Dancing in the Present, Gratefully

This past week was notable in two ways. First, this past Tuesday was my 38th birthday! I’m officially in my “late 30s” as opposed to my “mid 30s” and it feels weird. But also pretty great. Despite all the shite that the last year has brought, I feel more tuned into my true self than ever before. Despite the many many challenges still ahead of us, I am excited for what the next year will bring.

The second notable aspect of this past week is that San Francisco Open happened. SF Open was the competition I was preparing for before the pandemic hit. I was supposed to debut in Pro-Am Rhythm and I was working with my new amateur partner to debut in the Am-Am circuit as well. And then there came Covid.

It struck me almost as an afterthought as I saw social media posts from the event that I was supposed to be at a year ago. Like, “Oh look, a video of SF Open, that’s this weekend? Wait. That’s this weekend? Already?!” Just another processing moment of the colossal impact that this pandemic has had on our lives.

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Finding Joy in the Storm

I have an actual dance event to share with you today! Saturday was the in-person showcase for the Fred Astaire Los Angeles Region, and I performed in a group number to Cell Block Tango from Chicago. It was the first time I’ve performed at an in-person event in 13 months (last time was competing at the 2020 California Open). It was also the first time I’ve been around more than a handful of people in a year.

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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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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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Back in the Studio

Happy Monday, dancers! I like to call today 50% off Chocolate Day. I used to go to the drug store every February 15 to stock up on discounted heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. Now I don’t go to any stores! And my diet is considerably healthier these days, so we’ll leave the February 15th tradition with my younger self.

I got to spend part of my Valentine’s Day at the dance studio. It’s the first time I’ve been there for at least a month. I took an 11-day cross country trip and quarantined before and after. If you’re curious, you can read what it’s like to fly during a pandemic. It’s crazy how much more time and effort a trip requires these days, if you’re doing everything you can to stay safe.

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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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Reflecting on the Year of WTF is Happening

I had the opportunity to apply some upgraded technique to my Open Waltz routine this week. Well, maybe I should say I learned that I needed to apply less. I have a tendency to do too much because I think I’m not doing enough. This week, I learned I was rotating way too much in a slip pivot, which then put me at the wrong angle for my heel pull, which then threw me off for the steps coming out of the heel pull. All that was corrected beautifully when I just stopped trying to do so much. Less was more.

Life continues to be really weird, so it was nice to have a moment when things actually made sense.

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Turkey in the Morning, Turkey in the Evening

Happy post-Thanksgiving, dancers! Are your refrigerators as full of leftover turkey as mine?

Before I jump into today’s blog, I want to invite you to check out the sales happening at Practice Ballroom Dance! All book/journal bundles are discounted, so grab one for yourself and a friend to start the 2021 chapter of your dance journey off right. This year has straight up sucked, but we dancers know how to make our falls a part of our dance.

Now onto today’s story…

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