2016 so far has been a challenging and exciting journey through the world of dance! It started off in January with new routines, new costumes, and new difficulty levels, and since then, things have been active and going strong!
My partner and I have come a long way since we both started dancing and competing together, but we still have so much more to improve on! Dancesport sometimes become tough on the mind, body and emotions, and the pressure to improve in ability and ranking feels high every time. The atmosphere, politics and culture surrounding the competitive ballroom environment sometimes become challenging. Doing my best to enjoy each lesson, practice, and event while reflecting on things that can be improved each time. It’s a work in progress.
This year, we had another opportunity to work and perform at FanimeCon’s Black & White Ball for Memorial Day weekend. It was such an incredibly fun and refreshing social event that helped ground and reset my thoughts and feelings after the spring season full of competitive events, and reminded me of all the other aspects of dance that I enjoyed. It’s a great feeling bringing joy and entertainment to friends, attendees and watchers, hoping they will also catch the dance bug and be inspired to learn ballroom!
We are continuing to practice throughout the summer, and hope to be back on the competition floor in July for International Grand Ball! There are more goals for travel next year that we hope to reach as well. Other than that, I’ll share videos and write up a longer post focused on the recent FanimeCon weekend soon! And outside of dance, there have been a lot of exciting work projects and photo gigs happening lately that I’m pretty excited to share. Stay tuned!
A co-worker has been inspiring (bugging) me to blog more frequently for personal development. I know I post often formal things about projects, art, photos and tech stuff, but I’d like to share something that’s also more personal and a very big part of my life.
And because it’s National Dance Day, here it is: dancesport!
I share tidbits from time to time, but I haven’t emphasized yet how important, difficult, and rewarding it is for my personal, physical, and mental development. Outside of the very sedentary and tech-related work I do in my professional life, dancesport is a significant escape and mental balance for me.
I’ve been dancing for almost 6 years, taking classes in college, participating on the college ballroom team with friends, and entering in competitions casually here and there. As an initially shy, quiet, and socially awkward girl (homeschooling history tends to do that!), dance did wonders for my social development, self-confidence, and overall wellness.
But it wasn’t until recently that I was able to have the money, dedication, time and commitment to taking private lessons and progressing on a more competitive level. I realized more and more each practice how little I knew, how skilled I have yet to be, and how much harder I had to work. It suddenly became very serious, but so very rewarding!
Breaking into these was a several month lesson in itself
Dancesport, in short, is competitive ballroom/latin partner dancing (as opposed to social dancing). Many categories, levels, rules, exist in the system. Many don’t often think of it as a sport, or even very athletic… but it’s extremely physically and mentally demanding, and probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever trained my body to do.
What makes it different and interesting is, unlike hip-hop (fun stuff!), ballet (so difficult, so beautiful…), or many other dances, ballroom dance requires another person to be synchronized with you on all sorts of levels.
Getting to wear ridiculous dresses is a huge benefit of dancesport
I’ve had very good partners in the past, and currently many friends on my team that I dance with for fun, and enter into events or perform in shows with casually. But I partnered with my current competitive and #1 priority back in November, and my dance life has expanded with a lot more potential ever since.
We started taking private lessons with our coach just a few months ago, and she’s been really kicking our butt and pushing our limits as we train and grow.
Looking relatively clean and calm before we got our heads stuffed, our butts kicked and our clothes sweaty
UC Berkeley, 2015
I won’t post many details on our day-to-day routines and experiences just yet, but will consider it for future posts. We are still very actively learning and training, and will be joining many social and competitive events in the near future. I’ll keep updating with some fun videos and photos along the way!
Wanted to share these brief experiences in honor of National Dance Day, and encourage participation in trying out a dance class or two 🙂 who knows if you’ll like it!
Every year I get the amazing opportunity to work with talented staff and dancers for the FanimeCon Black and White Ball (held in late May)! It’s always one of the greatest weekends of the year for me- a weekend full of jam-packed dancing, teaching, wonderful people, and unforgettable moments. Here are some videos performances we did:
Dance lessons are going great, and my new partner and I have been working very hard with our coach for competitions. I look forward to learning more and improving throughout the summer and the rest of the year!!
Until next Fanime!
Every year, I get a chance to be part of the awesome Black and White Ball staff at FanimeCon in downtown San Jose!
There were lots of fun moments teaching, meeting new people, doing shenanigans on stage, and overall having a great time with friends throughout the weekend. My dance partner and I got a chance to perform at the Black & White Ball, and here’s a clip:
So… I graduated last Thursday! With all the constant activity and craziness happening immediately after graduation, I haven’t really had a chance to sit down and process/reflect on things. I have another teaching-related summer gig coming up which I’m extremely excited for, so I’ll still be keeping busy.
Now to experience what the rest of post-grad life will give me!
I just finished my spring semester at SJSU last week. The past couple of months have been very eventful and full of projects, art, and dance!
I don’t think I posted photos of my finished longboard yet. I have been enjoying riding it for a little over a month now. I’m still not too good at skating yet, but I’m able to get around downtown much faster.
I attended the Stanford Cardinal Classic and competed with my awesome dance partners. I was very excited to wear my first latin official costume! Also, we saw some professionals perform a showcase for us:
And lastly, I just came back over the weekend from FanimeCon and got to participate as an assistant in the Black and White Ball dance department! It was a lot of dancing, a lot of fun, a lot of energy, a lot of work, and even some performances and demos here and there. I met a lot of great people and had an overall fantastic experience.
Photo taken by Thomas Ferrick
Unfortunately, I was not able to take as many photos from the convention as I would have liked. My body is still very sore from all the non-stop activity over the weekend, but it was a great start to my official summer vacation.