Teenage Dancing Dreams Faces Reality

youth latin ballroom dance competitionBallroom dancing and latin dancing transformed my life.  My teenage ballroom and latin dancing years lasted from 1994-2001.  During those 7 years I went from looking very awkward on the dance floor to learning how to use my hips (which at one point I didn’t even know I had).  I learned how to dance in heels without breaking my ankles.  I improved my posture and balance.  My completely shy personally got a makeover and I actually started looking like I belonged on that dance floor.

I’ve competed in several youth competitions in several different states.  Some I’ve won, some I didn’t, but I enjoyed every single experience.  My mom was always there for me during the competitions; helping me with my hair and my make up.  My dad would do his best to attend.

youth ballroom dance competitionI spent my teenage years in a ballroom dance studio, the one and only place that made me the happiest.  I thought I’d grow up to be the best female ballroom dancer  and best female latin dancer (mainly latin, since it’s my favorite)!  I thought I would grow old in the studio teaching and inspiring other ballroom and latin dancers!  I had many hopes and dreams, but as we all know, sometimes life doesn’t always go exactly how you plan it.

One thing led to another and I ended up having to quit my passion of ballroom/latin dancing at the age of 17  in the year 2001.  And I have regretted that decision for the past decade.

You know, when I first quit ballroom and latin dancing, I thought it was no big deal and I would be back in no time.  A year went by and I missed dancing, but I had other things in life that I had to do and I kept saying to myself, I’ll come back next year.  Well, next year came and went.  Before I knew it, ten years passed me by without my feet ever touching a dance floor!

youth ballroom dance competitionIn the mean time, I danced in the kitchen from time to time, but that didn’t fill the emptiness in my heart. I even started watching Dancing With The Stars, but I couldn’t get through a show without crying my eyes out, imaging myself as one of the pros.  It got to the point that I couldn’t even watch the show.  I did keep watching America’s Ballroom Challenge because it made me feel like I was still, somewhat part of the ballroom dance community.  Eventually, I said my peace and I put away my latin dance shoes.

Not being able to dance was making me miserable.  Poor Travis would have to hear me complain about how much I wanted to dance again.  But Travis kept assuring me that one day I will find a way to come back, no matter what!  I just had to be patient and focus on finding a local studio; finding an instructor that would push me to work harder; and finding a way to create the extra money that I can put towards dance classes (just to name a few hurdles).

So, what’s a girl to do?  Giving up dancing completely has crossed my mind.  But could I really let go of the only thing that I’m actually good at?  Absolutely NOT!  Yes, it was hard to find the time and the money to put towards dancing, but I had to find a way to dance again.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right?

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Anyone else had to stop ballroom or latin dancing?  Did you regret your decision or was it the right choice?  What were your reasons for leaving?  Did you ever end up coming back to it?  I’d love to know so send me a message or leave me a comment.

8 Responses to “Teenage Dancing Dreams Faces Reality”

  1. Trish 17. May, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    Hey Yana!

    From a co dancer, let me say I am very happy to be in the dance studio with you….though not directly next to you because I look like a beached whale on roller skates!

    I used to be an amazing dancer on the drill team and club floors but never (I use the word NEVER) with a partner. This ballroom thing is a completely new era for me and I am loving it! I quit dancing with the marriage and kids and I never miss an episode of DWTS because I want to be them. I love dancing and its one of the few times nothing in the world can penetrate the wall of happiness. No matter what’s going on in the world, as long as I am dancing, all is well.

    With having said this, ballroom is a whole new world. With protecting toes and relinquishing control to your partner to lead, it is very foreign to me. Sometimes I feel like I am making the biggest self esteem killing mistake ever by walking into that studio and putting myself out there, but in my ripe old age, I’ve decided to push that off and just dance!

    Thank you for your blog! I can see you being back on that floor and glowing every time I see you dance with such beauty and grace. You will be back….it is where you belong and I’ll count myself lucky one day to have “known you when”! And thanks for making the classes so much fun for this novice. I love every class with you and the “Master” and hope I get to dance with you guys for years to come!

    Take care, never give in to any doubt and I will see you moving and shaking!!

    Lots of dancing love,
    Trish

  2. yana 17. May, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    Trish,

    You just made my day with your comment :) Thank you! Believe me, you can dance and you look great on the dance floor, so keep on dancing and never let go of something that makes you happy! I’m glad to be able to take the class with you because your energy and your commitment is something to admire.

    ~Yana

  3. TC 18. Aug, 2010 at 2:03 am #

    Putting away one’s shoes is so sad. The finality. It’s a sort of death. :(

    I had an injury that kept me off the dancefloor for the better part of a year. At the time, I didn’t know if my foot would ever fully heal. I thought I might never dance again. Once, I went to a ballroom social. Just to be inside a studio again. To catch that scent of sweat and stale court shoes. To be there with the lights turned down. To see the couples, each a four-legged, magical creature twirling beneath the disco ball. To feel the gentle gust of air as they whizzed by. I remember when I stepped inside, the Viennese waltz “The Snow” (by Claudio Novelli) was playing. It was beautiful. And I wanted to cry. I was so sad. And yet, I couldn’t *not* be there.

    I’m glad your shoes are back!

  4. yana 18. Aug, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    TC, sorry to hear that you had to stop dancing for a while. You’re absolutely right, putting away our dancing shoes is a sort of death! I know what you mean by just needing to be in a studio….whether you’re the one that’s dancing or just watching and admiring :) Now the question is, are your shoes back?

  5. TC 20. Aug, 2010 at 2:53 am #

    Yes! And I hope I never have to put them away! I hope I go in the middle of a Peabody like that lady in the movie “Roseland” and they have to cart me off the dancefloor and pry my shoes off my corpse. :)

  6. dancingqueen 31. Jan, 2011 at 3:10 am #

    I agree with you, “if there’s a will there’s a way”.
    Actually I love to dance but I don’t have a chance to join any dance lesson because I can’t afford but who knows someday if I could get a good job well I’m surely join a dance class:) I will follow my hearts desire:)

  7. JC 27. Nov, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    This post just made my day.
    I started dancing when I was three, but stopped two years after I moved to England from Russia as I couldn’t dance without competing. There were no partners available and I felt that doing the same thing every lesson without actually going out there and seeing how I matched up to other people was dull.
    Recently I got back into dancing(3 years since I have up) and I’m loving every second! But whenever I can’t do a certain step, I just remember that I dropped dancing and nearly start crying. I can’t believe that I let 3 years go to waste. And when I see other couples my age dancing so well it makes me even more annoyed with myself. Before competitions, when there are more couples than ever in the studio, it makes me want to give up altogether. But then I realize that there is no point in giving up- I haven’t even tried!
    I just hope that I can make up for the lost time, and I’m positive that you definitely will! Where there is a will there IS a way. This post made me realize that I am not alone. Thank you so much!

  8. yana 27. Nov, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    JC, thank you for sharing your story. I have made a promise to myself that no matter what happens in life, I will always continue to dance with or without a partner. I have been lucky enough to dance and compete Pro/Am with my instructor, but I know that’s not always an option for others. I know how frustrating it is to see others your age dancing better than you only because they continued dancing when you quit; however, don’t let that discourage you. Continue with your dancing journey, appreciate all the dance opportunities you get and never, ever give up! :)

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