Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
In 2014, as Ballroom Made Simple celebrates its 6th year of dance instruction on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, I think back to how it all began. In my last #pamsblog I reminisced about my introduction to ballroom dancing on a dance cruise. Here’s part II of how my dance journey continued after that memorable vacation.
Before disembarking the ship, other dancers and the instructor in our group encouraged me to enroll in dance classes when I returned home. At that time, in 2005, there was only one instructor in our immediate area who was teaching social dancing. I heard through he grapevine that she was developing a dance club for her students. Long story short, I became involved in helping to establish that club which would become our local USA Dance Chapter. That kept me busy in the dance arena through the summer and fall. In the winter of 2005/2006 I was fortunate to meet up with a young ballroom dance instructor, 20 years my junior, who lived an hour from my home. I took private lessons with her for a couple of years – really focusing on Ballroom, Latin and Swing. She gave me the confidence I needed to take it to the next level. I loved dancing so much I wanted to share dance with others. In the back of my mind I began to think of teaching. In 2007 I approached her with an idea. At that time, it never occurred to either of us to partner together in business i.e. she training me under her name. I was just focused on learning more and sharing this new found passion with others. So, in September 2007, our private lessons continued as she began to train me to break down several dances, both lead and follow, so that I could begin teaching under a yet to be named ballroom dance business. That, my friends, is a sign of a class act. She did it with so much grace and professionalism knowing I wanted to branch out. To this day I still consider her a mentor and friend.
Throughout all of this training and business planning I worked full-time (I still work 4 days a week). I have vivid memories of sitting with my co-workers around the lunch table brainstorming a business name, logo, etc. After a while they probably just tuned me out. But everyone was so helpful and supportive. This went on for months! I’m so thankful for their friendship and feedback.
I initially started out teaching 4 dances: Rumba, Swing, Waltz and Foxtrot. I knew just enough to teach students a very basic dance pattern. My first teaching location was a small classroom in a church where I taught for a year. Then I relocated to a gymnasium at a local agency. And, for a brief time, I reunited with my instructor when she needed someone to teach at a local venue. Over time, I learned more patterns, more dances, took lessons, and attended dance workshops to help improve my craft.
In 2010, I decided it was time to have a place of my own where I could schedule classes at any time. I found the perfect spot and was there for nearly 3 years! But as I started to outgrow the location, and didn’t have adequate space to teach the traveling dances. I decided it was time to move on. I found the perfect place: our local Senior Center Services Building where I work during the day! It has a beautiful floor in a large activity room. I’ve been able to hold successful dance parties, classes and workshops there. I made that change in May of 2013 and I haven’t looked back. And, it’s a good thing I moved when I did as I recently broke all my attendance records and had 32 dancers in my winter ballroom series!
As I look ahead to the future, I hope to one day become a certified dance teacher. I’ve learned so much from my instructor and many other wonderful instructors along the way but this is something I want to do for myself – to increase my ballroom dance knowledge and to continue to share that information and my passion for dance on to my students.
Stay tuned for blog updates on the next part of my journey: Ballroom Certification. What are your dance goals? Share them with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.