This site is
dedicated to everyone who has ever pursued a passion madly, wildly
and relentlessly and, in so doing, brought unimaginable joy to
their life. This has been my journey with ballroom dancing.
I always wanted
to be a dancer since I was a very young girl of five or six. More
specifically, I wanted to be a ballerina. And more likely, I really
just wanted to wear a pretty, pink tutu. In my first 50 years,
however, I never studied ballet or any type of dance although I’ve
always loved dancing.
until I started working with an executive coach, Suzanne Levy,
in 2002 that I actually took my first formal dance lesson. Booking
lesson was my first “homework assignment” after I explained
to Suzanne that my purpose in life was “to have joy in my
life everyday, to be mindful of that joy and to share that joy
with others.” Suzanne’s immediate next question was, “what
gives you joy?” I blurted out, “dancing,” without
a moment’s hesitation. “So when was the last time you
went dancing,” Suzanne probed. I struggled to remember. At
that point Suzanne informed me that my “homework” was
to book myself a dance lesson before our next coaching session
in two weeks. A half-hour before my next coaching session I booked
a lesson at the Pierre Dulaine Dance Studio, which a friend of
mine had highly recommended.
I really enjoyed
my once a week dance lesson but I became seriously “hooked” after
my teacher, Tony Scheppler, convinced
me to dance in the studio’s upcoming “showcase” (a
dance recital for friends and family). I laughed out loud when
he first suggested it and only began to think seriously about doing
it when he said he would choreograph a special samba routine for
me – knowing
that samba was my favorite dance. For me, samba is truly the dance
With the showcase
only a few months away, I got serious and started taking lessons
more frequently because I was afraid of embarrassing myself. Dancing
the showcase was one of the most exciting, adrenalin-pumping experiences
of my life. I was terrified and excited in equal measures. My dancing
in the showcase was not great but I felt great doing it. It gave
me such a “rush.” I couldn’t wait to do the next
showcase and was crestfallen to learn that the next one was six
months away. “I can’t wait that long,” I whined
to my teacher Tony. “Ok,” he said, “next month
there’s a small competition called the New York Dance Festival.
Let’s do that.” And, so we did. I danced well and took
first, second and third places for all of my six dances. And that’s
how I got into competitive ballroom dancing.
Each year I do
four to five ballroom dance competitions. To prepare for competitions
I practice 4-6 times a week with my two dance teachers: Tony Scheppler,
my “smooth” (waltz, tango, fox trot, Viennese Waltz)
teacher; and Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine,
my “rhythm” (cha cha, rhumba, swing, mambo, bolero,
samba) teacher. Yes, it’s unusual to have more than one teacher,
but as you may have guessed I am somewhat obsessed with my dancing.
And, I am blessed to have two great teachers, both nationally ranked
professionals in the ballroom world, who I adore and who are invested
in helping me to become a good dancer. I love them both madly.
Practicing with them is as much fun, probably more fun, than dancing
in competitions, which I still find nerve-wracking. I dance in
competitions primarily to force myself to keep improving.
I hope these
photos and videos of me performing with
my teachers in some recent pro-am dance competitions bring you
a tiny bit of the joy I experience in my dancing. Thank you so
much for your interest in and support of my dancing.
Patrice (aka “Sambagrl”)