Anyone can learn how to Ballroom Dance! Yes even you!

 Shawn Nerdahl and his Student Katy June performing their winning Dancing with the Bars routine

Shawn Nerdahl and his Student Katy June performing their winning Dancing with the Bars routine

Most people seem to think that good dancers are born. But all of the good dancers that I know have been taught or trained.
— Fred Astaire

    One of the best things I ever did for myself was learning how to Ballroom Dance.  It has completely changed my life, and I can’t imagine what it would be like if I had not taken the chance and went to my first dance class.  I was 26, and I had never been to a dance class. That first class was fun, intimidating, scary, and incredibly addicting.  I knew right then and there that I had found my passion and that I would do whatever it takes to keep dancing.

    When I first started, I was not very good, and I had a hard time learning how to hear the music and make my body move the way that the teachers wanted me too. I remember struggling with the “triple step” in the Swing.  I just could not do it no matter how hard I tried.  I got so frustrated that I had to leave the class for a few minutes to keep myself from crying.

    Why was something that looked so easy be so hard for my body to do?

    She would proceed to demonstrate “Ball-flat, Ball, Ball-Flat” as if that would make it any easier.  I had no clue what any of that meant.  The other people in the class also seemed to be doing it with ease, and I could not figure out what I was missing.
 
    She continued to praise and encourage me with words that I felt were a lie.  How could she tell me that I was doing a good job when I clearly wasn’t getting it?

    It wasn’t until I became a teacher that I realized that those words of encouragement were real.  She was encouraging my effort.  She was encouraging me not to give up.  She was encouraging me to be ok with feeling uncomfortable.  She was creating the belief in myself that I needed to pursue this ballroom dance thing.  

     And now as I teach my students, I can only hope that I create that much desire, passion, and belief in themselves to continue dancing.  Just like Dory said “Just keep swimming.  Just keep swimming.”  You have to take it day by day, lesson by lesson.  The rewards for not giving up are priceless.

    Now, ten years later, I am a professional dancer, and I own my dance studio.  I have danced all over the country. I have performed on TV, Stage, and in Parades.  I have danced for packed audiences, for small audiences, and everything in between. I worked hard and trained even harder.  I spent so much time and money on becoming a great dancer that I proved to myself why Fred Astaire said that “all of the good dancers that I know have been taught or trained.”  If I can be taught to dance, I know that you can too!