Experience with me the highlights of my passion: Ballroom Dance! At Daza Dance, teaching techniques are based on three planned methods of instruction, which are: Private Lessons, Group Classes and Dance Parties. The combination of these techniques establish skills and develop concepts, building one upon the other.
Today is a beautiful clear day! It seems almost surreal that last night I performed in the 10thAnniversary Gala for Daza Dance. What an amazing experience to be a part of this vision for the past 3 years and to grow into the person I have become. It was incredibly inspiring to learn how everything began and part of the history of the studio, also to see how things are positioned for the future.
I laugh when I think that I almost talked myself out of doing the first showcase 3 years ago, and am so grateful Antonio and Mario encouraged me to fully express what was in my heart. The first Song I danced to was “When You Believe” from the the Movie The Prince of Egypt, and since that I have experienced a miracle in the way I have transformed. I am not only a better dancer but a stronger person who is becoming more and more confident and secure every day.
Now I that I have completed 6 showcases, I feel a special sense of accomplishment. I feel fantastic about this showcase because I overcame several obstacles to once again dance the best I ever have. Dancing a Rumba to the song “Chandelier” by Sia became a symbol of the restlessness I feel, and how I want and need to continue to pursue the most out of my life, this caused growth to happen as I continued to learn my steps. My first challenge was difficulty with the timing, I knew the steps, but coordinating them with the Rhythm of Rumba required a lot more work from me. Then there was the step that gave me a fit – those chase turns! After the fall showcase I would come to the studio and practice chase turns over and over for hours as they were one of my weakest steps. I remember thinking I hope my choreography will include chase turns since I was practicing them so much, and boy did I get my wish. Every step of my routine was somehow connected or led into a Chase Turn, and while I may not have them perfect after 6 months of practicing them I can see marked improvement!
Another challenge was performing with 2 coaches. Performing with more than one coach makes you the focal point; when you are with two coaches you have to know where you are supposed to be, and who you are dancing with at every moment. There was also the challenge of learning tricks, such as the drag step where Antonio and Maxi drag me across the floor, and of the lift where I had to trust them to carry me over their head. Being able to get to the point where I could execute these moves made me feel incredible.
The last and greatest obstacle for me was breaking through the limitations in my mind. As I continued with the process of learning this piece I was encouraged to not be afraid of my voice, to always strive for to be greater and go one step further, and that I am enough. Once I put in the work, got to know my choreography, and built up my confidence I felt like a star with backup dancers! The fact that I was able to feel this way was truly a reflection of how good Antonio and Maxi really are. I was even able to learn from a mistake during my last rehearsal with Antonio and Maxi. I slipped because I was rushing through the Ronde with Antonio, so I came to the studio later that week going over my notes and corrections and polishing those steps. I made sure to focus my energy and listened to the song a few times to make sure I understood the timing. By the Thursday evening before the showcase I stopped rehearsing so I wouldn’t make the mistake of over rehearsing, and trust that I knew what I needed to know. Anticipation continued to build, I was nervous for dress rehearsal Friday night, but after going through everything as I received encouragement from instructors and students telling me how much I had improved, I was stunned and filled with confidence.
All of these elements came together last night at the Gala as I gave a performance I didn’t even know I was capable of. Hearing the cheers when Antonio and Maxi l lifted me up filled me with joy, and I felt so proud of that performance upon completion. That moment symbolized to me that I am my only limitation in life, and as I continue to take steps to move forward the momentum will add people and circumstances that can help me achieve my goals. I am looking forward to continuing to use the positive impact the Daza Dance has had on me to inspire and impact the world.
When I first mentioned to Maxi that I wanted to enter a dance competition, I had no idea what I was signing up for. Like most crazy ideas, it sounded like a good idea at the time. You see, as a teen I had taken a few lessons in my home country, South Africa. I had even entered a couple of competitions. It had been no big deal: there were no costumes or hair and make-up. You literally showed up at a town hall wearing a leotard and skirt, paid your entrance fee, and danced with about 50 other beginner couples in a social, amateur-amateur format. No one even asked if you had an instructor. It lasted a couple of hours, and you were on your way home again. No prizes or medals. If you made it to the top 4 of the competition, you might get a mention, but it was really just a chance to dance and meet other couples. The real experts showed up after all the novice sessions were over in their costumes and full make-up doing their amazingly technical routines, but I never even imagined ever doing that. Reflecting back, I realize that what I thought was a competition, was more of a social dance party than a competition at all. The competition I was about to enter was in an entirely different class to the one I had in mind.
Although, I am a decidedly social and outgoing person, I’ve never really loved being the center of attention. I’m happy being “at” the party, I just don’t want to “be” the party. I’m most comfortable supporting and cheering for the natural performers in the world from the sidelines.
So why then would I sign up for this? Frankly, my drive for personal development and my competitive and impulsive spirit often overshadows my desire for anonymity. I love the fear and adrenalin of a challenge. After years of being a lawyer routinely dealing with crisis after crisis daily, in a practiced, cool and calm demeanor, I need to find new (safe) ways to get my adrenalin fix and push my boundaries.
When I made the decision to enter, I had just performed in my first ever dance showcase and it had been one of the best experiences of my life. There were so many firsts: my first real dance costume, my first time performing in front of an audience as an adult, and even my first set of false eyelashes – ever. Mostly, I’d enjoyed the camaraderie and support of my fellow performers backstage at the showcase and the challenge of trying something new and overcoming my fears. My drive to constantly challenge my beliefs about what I think I can do, has this inexplicable habit of getting in the way of my rational thought process: kind of like the time I thought that bungee jumping would be a good way to overcome my fear of heights. So when I signed up to do my first competition here in the States, still reveling in the afterglow of the showcase and all the precious friendships I’d made, I simply didn’t think it through at all. By the time the reality of what I’d gotten myself into started to dawn, it was too late! Besides, quitting is even more scary to me than performing.
To compete, I had to learn 3 new dances in 3 months: the Bolero, West Coast Swing, and the Hustle. I’d been dancing for less than a year, was only beginning to remember the basic steps of my other dances (and learning more steps at the same time), so it was definitely pushing me well beyond my comfort zone. I was dancing more often, too and an old knee injury started acting up, which eventually contributed to a foot injury which stopped me dancing for a while – all this at a time when the competition date was quickly approaching. In hindsight, the injury was a good thing for my mental state: I was under no illusion that I was as prepared as I should be, and didn’t expect to be a serious contender, so I decided to simply do my best, relax, and have fun.
I loved preparing for the competition. Until then, I had taken most of my lessons with Maxi. Maxi is not only a talented dancer and teacher, but he is so much fun to be around. My week doesn’t seem complete without a lesson with Maxi in it. Just 10 minutes dancing with him, and the stresses of life seem a million miles away. Even on days when steps just don’t seem to come easily, I always leave my lessons much happier than when I arrived at the studio.
Now that I was preparing for the competition, I needed a full time secondary instructor. Each instructor has a slightly different focus, so having two points of view really helps you improve more quickly. At that point I had taken a few lessons with Antonio in addition to my lessons with Maxi. Antonio is not only a great instructor, but as owner of the studio he oversees the business in addition to studying toward a degree. Getting our two busy schedules to synchronize was a challenge, so Mario became my secondary instructor. Mario is an experienced instructor with an eye for technique, so he is the perfect complement to Maxi’s artistic flair and passion. Mario has the patience of a saint, and can break steps down into movements that make sense to me. Although he seems quiet at first, I’ve learned that he has a wicked sense of humor and we laugh all the time. Maxi and Mario both worked so hard to prepare me for my first real competition. I am so glad I had them along for the journey.
Before I knew it, the preparation was behind me and competition weekend had arrived. From the moment we arrived in Tampa, Florida for the competition, I didn’t stop having fun. Maxi and Mario treated me like royalty all weekend. They went above and beyond all expectations to ensure that my every need was taken care of. I didn’t have to think or plan. If I wanted anything, it would magically materialize – even when I asked for the seemingly impossible breakfast (cold, cooked oatmeal). Maxi and Mario even showed up at my room to escort me, unexpectedly serenading me with “We wish you a Merry Christmas”-- in March! They accompanied me to my hair and make-up appointment at the crack of dawn when every other instructor was probably still sound asleep. I haven’t felt so taken care of in years (if ever). I didn’t want the weekend to end! And I hadn’t even started dancing yet.
Not only were Maxi and Mario attentive and fun companions and hosts, but the event itself was fantastic. Flawlessly arranged.
Dinner the night before the competition, with our hosts Anna and Andrew Smart at an enchanting restaurant nearby (where we even ran into Patrick Dempsey from Grey’s Anatomy -- yes, he is as dreamy in real life!!!!) gave me the opportunity to get some advice from other more seasoned competitors. My favorite piece of admittedly terrifying advice was from Andrew. He said "Whatever you do, just don’t fall”. Until then, it had never occurred to me that I might. Eek!
Happily I managed to dance over 50 dances and stay on my feet. An achievement in itself when you consider it was my first time dancing in costume in front of a packed audience who were watching my every move.
Maxi is the consummate professional. He did an expert job of leading me, keeping me calm and quiet. I babble when I’m nervous and I was under strict instructions not to talk during the competition. Before I knew it, I relaxed and was loving it! I learned so much from watching other couples. The whole experience was fabulous, but it was also great getting recognized for all the practice and preparation at the awards ceremony. Maxi and I placed second in both the smooth and rhythm challenges we entered.
I was also overwhelmed by all the support from our friends back at the studio. I loved reading the words of encouragement on the pictures and videos Mario posted. Although I still find it slightly traumatic watching myself dance in videos, I’m glad I have a video record of all the things I want to work on and improve. The visions in my head of how I look are far more romantic, and I’ll cling to the memories of how I thought I looked for my next competition. Yes, that’s right – I’ve signed up for another competition in Scottsdale, Arizona in December.
You should sign up too. Enjoy the ultimate dance experience at the same time as deflecting some of the attention from me. I can highly recommend it!
We are finalizing the last few details of our “10 Year Anniversary Gala” Showcase to be celebrated on Saturday, May 12th. Here are just a few pictures of some of our participant students doing their interviews, conducted by the amazing team of Espeuté Productions (@danielespeut and @justin_vc ). At Daza Dance, we look forward to continuing bringing love, fun, peace, and more dance to our #atlanta community for many more years to come.
Congratulations to our student and friend Heidi Braniff for her amazing performance at the #SpringFlingCompetition in Tampa, FL, last weekend with her dance instructors Maximiliano Panesi and Mario Recoba. At #DazaDance, we are extremely proud of you guys and thankful for your great representation at this prestigious event. We value, respect and appreciate all the hard work that Maximiliano Panesi, Mario Nicolas and Heidi have put into their dance journey... You guys have made us so proud! As always, spacial thanks to Andrew and Anna Smart, as well as the rest of the #WorldPromotionsTeam for putting together such fun, entertaining and personally enriching experiences. We look forward to continue bring #peace, #unity, #happiness and more #BallroomDance to all of our #Atlanta-home-community!
Challenges I have been facing have made all of my smiles hard won, but this week I felt hopeful, my joy was returning. When I reached the Studio Antonio and Mario were in the midst of choreography and I felt so much happiness watching this routine take shape that I began to release my frustrations, and I was fighting back tears. They took a break from what seemed like a long session and I was able to collect my thoughts. I would have the ballroom all to myself for a few minutes, and I took the opportunity to practice Cuban hip motion that I had learned from my Rumba class, the constant movement became a meditation for me. Antonio came over and suggested a simple adjustment for my feet so that my heels would rub together. After the adjustment, I am able to produce more hip motion, and I keep practicing until class begins.
If a spark of joy was kindled earlier I began to cheer up even more in my class with Maxi. We had so much fun dancing together for warm-up. While practicing Tango he tries to get me to guess different positions, but I was looking at him with a blank stare on my face. He jokingly screamed out “You don’t know!!! Cry!!!!” and then we burst out laughing. Later I realized I knew what he was talking about, he was trying to get me to recognize promenade, outside partner and closed position. Since they were presented in a different context I didn’t recognize them. One of my challenges is to recognize steps when they are not in the expected order. Usually, I am anticipating the next step and moving before I am led (again) as there is a usual sequence with each step, but I need to wait for the signal instead of automatically moving towards where I think the next step will be. He encourages me after steps like an open fan, open fan underarm turn, and reverse turn to assume that I am going back to closed position.
Later that week I have a class with Antonio and we go over more Smooth dances in preparation for my test coming up in April. This is the class where we begin to learn MY choreography, I am beaming from ear to ear and give Antonio a big hug. One of my favorite things to do in the studio is learning new choreography. Each piece learned becomes a metaphor for my life, and by the time the piece is performed I have grown physically, mentally, and spiritually. I’ve been thinking about how growing up I admired dancers like Maniya Barredo, Judith Jamison, and Suzanne Farrell and saw the mystical, vibrant, dances created on them. Each of these women performed in a way that communicated with your soul. To be able to now be in a place to have works choreographed on me is such a beautiful gift, and down to the last moment of rehearsal, I am always perfecting each frame. As we start the process today I can see how the Cuban hip motion and all the practicing walking in the studio I am doing are contributes to my routine. As always we start with posture, balance, and engaging my core. I must work on finding my spot on the floor, knowing each position, and where I am supposed to be at the end of each step. To help with my posture, Antonio tells me to fill up my chest like a balloon which adds a regal quality to my steps. Even with learning these first few steps I feel empowered, as though through this routine I will be able to break into a new level of freedom of spirit. This is truly the highlight of my week.
Also, later on, that same week was the party, and since Valentine’s Day was around the corner the class before the party was Rumba, the Dance of Love. I am happy to be able to once again embrace different elements of Rumba to apply them to my showcase routine. I got to dance with the instructors and sharpen my skills once again. With Mario, I danced the East Coast Swing twice and could tell how much I have grown in that dance. I can remember Mario teaching me the underarm turn at my second party now that I’ve learned so much more we have even more fun together. I danced a beautiful Rumba with Antonio and was able to cut loose and enjoy the dance. I was implementing notes about holding each frame until completion and really felt my improvements in this dance as well. I danced a merengue with Gerri, I always love to dance with her as she always teaches me something new on the dance floor. With Maxi, I danced the Tango and Cha-Cha and we had a great time covering the ballroom floor. I met some wonderful new students that I immediately befriended and got to share all about the school. Everyone seemed to be having a great time and we celebrated our beautiful community which is based on love, and acceptance. That evening we also honored Mario for his Birthday. Mario is more than just an instructor and Office Manager, he is a gift to all who know him, and dearly beloved. As the evening drew to a close as always with the Samba Line Dance there was a beautiful fragrance of friendship that connected us all.
Saturday as I was preparing for Waltz class when I received a text from Maria Lioce with a blog post her son Daniel wrote. It was an analysis of the book The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky. Daniel is definitely someone who has a genuine happiness and lives life to his fullest potential, so I was eager to read anything he would have to say on the subject. As I read through the post I began to think about how I could train myself to be more positive in my thoughts. I was reminded of the person that I am striving to become, and I truly needed that charge of joy at that moment.
On my way to Waltz class, I was thinking how the Waltz is close to my heart and was the perfect transition for me from ballet to ballroom. I so value these workshops as they focus on one or two objectives that when mastered add polish to the overall dance. We went through box technique and twinkle. With the box technique, we focused on rising and falling motion. It took almost the whole class but I began to see and feel a rhythm. I have done the twinkle before in choreography but when it was explained made it even better, I never realized before how part of the box step is part of the twinkle. The last song of the day was Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” and I poured my heart into the steps. I spent a few minutes after class going over what I had just learned to make sure I committed it to memory.
After class, I thought some more about Daniel’s post which reminded me how much power I potentially have over my thoughts. Circumstances will come and life will always present challenges, but if I can harness the power to continually create my own happiness, and continue to connect with my faith on a deeper level when good things happen they will be an extension of my joy and not something clung to out of desperation.
One morning I awakened to the sound of rain, which was comforting and helped to cleanse my soul. This was a tough week for me emotionally, it was a week where life made no sense and I felt completely helpless. Though my natural inclination was to be by myself I knew I needed to be around people who care about me, and I needed the hugs and smiles of my dancing community; to just be in the presence of positivity.
The energy at the studio is overflowing as it is choreography time again! Even when I don’t have a class I love to watch the creative process as I practice, and am always amazed at how the dances take shape. I am intrigued how Antonio creates pieces that are all unique and highlight each of the dancer’s strengths. For the 10th Anniversary we will be pulling out all the stops, and while we have several of our past artists returning, there are some phenomenal new acts making their debut in our ballroom.
Today I have a great warm up with Antonio doing an East Coast Swing to “Applause” by #LadyGaga. I have an extra burst of energy and feel like this is my best swing ever. Besides almost cutting the circulation from Antonio’s hands a couple of times, I was quite pleased! I am doing better on the throw out all the time and it doesn’t seem so difficult anymore. Another fun part of the warm-up was the Salsa we dance to “Wild Thoughts” with Rihanna and DJ Khaled. I really had to focus on technique and form as this is a slow song. After Salsa Antonio says “that was the one!” meaning that I had done a good job. Every compliment makes me feel good because I work so hard and Antonio is not one to give a compliment freely.
After a fun warmup, we picked up where we left off with Tango technique. I am thinking of a diagram Antonio made for me with geometrical precision explaining the Reverse Turn With Outside Swivel when I first learned the step. “Did you do your Tango homework”? He said. I hesitated for a moment and said “no...” I’ve been working on my Rumba and neglecting all other dances, however, I need to be simultaneously preparing for my smooth test. Antonio looks like he is about to fuss at me and then he bursts into laughter and we both start laughing. We start to go over positions again, the line of dance, backing the line of dance, etc. and things are clicking better than they were last week. I ask him what I need to know for my upcoming Medal test and to my surprise, it isn’t new steps, it is technique. He begins to explain what I need to know down to the smallest detail; it seems my inclination to make technique my focus this year is right on point! As I come to practice this week I am filled with excitement as I know each small step I make is building to something even greater than I could have imagined.
As I think about life lessons this week through moments of sheer joy and accomplishment I could escape my thoughts. I was filled with gratitude for being alive and for being able to come to a place where I can completely and totally be myself. As I focused on being grateful I saw how my hope began to be restored and caused me to see things in a different light. I was able to challenge myself to persevere and not be controlled by circumstances.
January has gone by quickly and almost feels like a dream, I am calling this the Year of the Diamond! Dance and faith are tools that have helped me to take all of the pressure and pain I have received throughout my life to create something beautiful, and this is a year I will let my light shine brighter than ever before. On January 2, I started my transformation by moving into a new apartment with a beautiful view of the Buckhead Skyline. After moving in and spending quiet moments alone in my apartment part of the verse from Revelations 4:1 came to mind “come up here and I will show you what will take place after this” immediately I knew that I would be of changing perspective and this will also be a season of letting go, of becoming stronger. I have been in continual perpetual metamorphosis since the beginning of the year I already feel myself speaking with a new boldness and clarity.
I’ve often talked about how at every new level of dance it feels like I am beginning again, today I am doing the very first thing I did in my very first private lesson- walking back and forth. The difference is that now that my understanding of concepts is greater and more details are added. Antonio and I spend time differentiating between smooth walks and Rhythm walks and how to place my feet when to rotate my hips etc. there is so much to remember I start gasping for air because I realize I forgot to breathe!! Antonio says to me “We had our fun last week but the honeymoon is over! I say “the honeymoon has been over”, then I think for a moment and say “what honeymoon”! When I began my journey at Daza Dance After only 3 private lessons I decided to do my first showcase, and ever since then, I have continued to take on bigger and better challenges. Though there are moments of laughter and we have a lot of fun there is a lot of discipline, hard work, and practice. This year I am focusing on technique, I want my skill to match my emotion, and technique begins with me perfecting my walks.
Outside of the studio every spare moment I have I am walking. I practice walking at home and run into the wall. I am thankful for not being in the studio because I know Antonio, Maxi, and Mario would laugh at me and then they would have to face my alter ego, Sheneyney Beyoncé Laquisha Brown!! I come to rehearse Friday and my friend Angeles is back from Argentina and will be the very first Daza Dance Intern, eventually becoming an instructor here! She already has the beautiful, caring, heart That Antonio, Maxi, Mario, and Callie have, it’s just a matter of her learning the skills and she will be a phenomenal instructor! Angeles and I are so excited to see each other and hug periodically asking for help from Maxi to communicate. I had become complacent with learning Spanish, but now I have a reason to accelerate my pace because I so want to talk to my friend.
When I come back for a class the next week with Maxi they have already put Angeles to work at the front desk. She has also begun training and is working hard with all of the instructors perfecting her technique. Maxi and I practice- what else walking! For my upcoming Rumba Showcase, I may have to fake it until I make it with every other step but I am going to be walking like a pro, it’s like walking has become my full-time job. Hahaha! It is extremely humbling to know how many notes I have to walk. Today Maxi tells me for Rhythm walks to break each step into 3 parts as I shift my weight to the standing leg. Later when I am practicing on my own in the studio as I am trying to piece together all of my notes. I forget to straighten the standing leg accordingly, but I am quickly reminded by Antonio who corrects me and says “it is better to do it one time right than 100 times wrong”. If I continue to practice wrong and learn bad habits it will be harder to undo and more time will be spent to unlearn bad habits and then reteach me correctly. This is why I am taught technique very slowly so that when I do practice the right way is committed to muscle memory. As I practice I am reflecting on of my earlier posts talks about how Michael Jordan was cut from his Jr. High basketball team but he decided to do 300 jump shots a day in practice. We know the rest of the story because of that commitment we all know his name as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. I draw on examples of commitment like that as I continue to strengthen what I learn through repetition.
This Friday is one of my favorite Daza Events, the party! Maxi starts teaching East Coast Swing, and Angeles is formally introduced to the school as she flows seamlessly, helping Maxi teach the group. As with every class before the party, we are going through the basics but I find something new to focus on each time. Today I am focusing on keeping my feet on the floor, probably to the amazement of every coach there. It’s no secret that this has definitely been one of my challenges! Tonight there are several new faces so I am getting to know more students during the break. As usual, I get to dance with all of the instructors, Maxi and I dance a Salsa and he continues to spin me around until I am dizzy. Both Mario and Antonio challenge me with the East Coast Swing, Mario changes up the sequence on me keeping me on my toes, and Antonio keeps having me do my hardest step in Swing, the Throw Out over, and over, and over! This step is finally starting to get easier. I got to dance a lot with Angeles as well, even though this is her first party she already has the eye of an instructor and catches me leading with the toe during the Tango.
Monday I have a class with Antonio and we work on the reverse turn in Tango. We work on along the line of dance to the wall the center, backing line of dance. Antonio calls out the positions and I have to think before moving to each one. We put these into practice and I am trying to connect the positions with each part of the Reverse turn. After class Antonio tells me he is proud of me for what I have achieved I am happy, my head is spinning trying to remember everything.
In my next class With Maxi we have a fun warm up, and then we practice more walking!! I am moving backward in Tango, I practice staying on the same level with my knees slightly bent. When I come back to practice Angeles and I spend some time helping each other and she helps me with my form in Rumba and I begin to reinforce what I learned all week. We have a great time working together and her experience is invaluable as I learn different levels of grace to add to my movements.
At the end of the week, there is Rumba workshop with Antonio, I am so excited to learn some more technique to apply to my upcoming choreography. We practice Cuban hip motion, moving the hips in a circular motion like a washing machine. The feet are 45 degrees apart but the knees move forward giving the circular motion. We practice walking again breaking it down into three parts, by now I am getting pretty good! As we continue to walk Antonio shows us how to breathe as we are moving forward. For me knowing how to place the breath helps with balance. Next, we practice the open break underarm turn. Antonio breaks apart the turn which includes both a chase and a pivot turn. By the end of class, I am feeling more confident and ready to take on choreography!
As I think about life lessons as I work and rework steps and figures from different points of view I am reminded to look beneath the surface and search for a deeper meaning, to constantly refine my truth as I gain new insights and perfected knowledge. As I keep my mind open to deeper wells of thought, it will resonate through my dancing as I share my heart with the world.
I brought in the New Year quietly, but deeply reflective. I know in my heart 2018 will be like no other year I have ever experienced; I feel a restlessness like never before. 2018 is beginning to unfold for me just as in the song Chandelier by Sia which happens to be my song for my next showcase. My Life at Daza Dance has been like swinging from the chandeliers so to speak as I have found the freedom to be myself. To me just learning to be comfortable in my own skin has been wild and radical, and I have the desire to sever all of my fears as I continue this journey to become an all-around better person.
What a beautiful year 2017 has been. Being able to go to Argentina a second time exceeded my wildest expectations, it was so rewarding to be an even better dancer than I was the year before. This time I not only had my friends from Argentina, I made new friends from Chile and Uruguay. My favorite heat hands down was an East Coast Swing to the AC/DC Song “You Shook Me All Night Long” as Antonio and I just broke free and got wild and crazy! Just like last year I never wanted the dancing to end. In my other performances, I continued to improve with my showcases, having the opportunity to even teach Antonio during my Foxtrot showcase for A Chorus Line! Even though during those moments I actually learned more than I taught the experience helped to build my confidence. Then, of course, there was my final performance of the year “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid where I not only had to learn an entire routine without counts choreographed to the words of the song, I also had to act while dancing. To date not only was that my most challenging performance, it was my most rewarding. Both of my coaches, Antonio and Maxi, have continued to mold and refine me, pushing me beyond my perceived limits and helping me rise to new challenges throughout the year. I am looking forward to sharing the stage with both of them for the 10th Anniversary of Daza Dance!!!!!! Wooohooo!!!!!!
My last two classes of the year were with Antonio. He has been instilling in me the variations of character for my different dances from the sweetness of Waltz to the intensity of Tango and he calls out different characters for me to create. “Show me your inner Madonna! Dance like a pro.” Today is just a fun class filled with dancing. Antonio tells me how proud he is of me for having significant breakthroughs as a dancer and in my personal life.
The life lessons I gain from my dancing experience are continuing to shape me into the person I most want to be, on and off the dance floor. The conversation continues the next night during class. We have our usual motivation moments to solidify dreams and encourage me to plan for my path. For the past two years, these talks at the end of the year have helped me to remain focused on clear objectives. Antonio is also very good about keeping me accountable to my visions and goals, and if there are obstacles helping me figure out how to overcome them and move forward. Antonio tells me that with all that I have accomplished he sees that I can do more and I have greater potential. I know he’s right, as these words connect with the restlessness I have been feeling. There’s more dance inside of me, and there’s a deeper spiritual grounding that wants to break forth!! I am ready to take on 2018!!
By: Kamaria George (01/02/2018)
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