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My Experience as a Ballroom Dancer

Some may think that ballroom dance champions are born with a gift for dancing, one which makes them exceptional human beings. Although it is true that there are dancers which have a natural talent for movement and musicality, in order to be exceptional, much more is required. Oftentimes it means that dancers start training at a very young age and their lives revolve around coaching, competitions, and practicing. They are dedicated to a goal. My goal was to discover my purpose.

When I first started dancing, I must admit that I did not immediately love it. I struggled with focusing on the technique and connecting to the movements. Even though I appreciated the movement and enjoyed expressing myself, while following the rhythm of music, I had a hard time finding a heart connection to what I was doing. My dad would watch me getting distracted by the cute girls in class and sternly remind me of why I was there. But I simply could not comprehend what made ballroom dancing was so special. I loved watching the performances and experiencing the thrill of being on stage, but it was difficult for me to feel that unique connection. It wasn’t until I started performing that I understood the soul connection that the greatest dancers have with what they do.

My first performances were a bit rough. But as with anything, with practice and strict discipline, I gradually improved. Everyday I practiced for hours with my dance partner, until we perfected our routines. Each step, each facial expression, and each subtle gesture was practiced until we could perform in our sleep. When we got out on the dance floor, we were ready to blow the audience away. And we did. Over and over again.

By the age of 12, I had become an Israeli 10 Dance Champion and started traveling all around the world competing. I worked hard to live up to the ever rising standards of my coaches, including my dad. There were always things to work on and unending expectations to fulfill. The more I accomplished, the more was expected of me as a dancer.

After having competed for about 10 years, I was ready to move on and embrace my purpose. I was not sure as to what my next move would be, but I was certain that my future would be filled with unending possibilities. I received my answer in the form of a job offer to become a dance instructor in New York City, which my parents pushed me to accept. So, I transitioned my world to the United States and worked numerous hours to learn the art of teaching social ballroom dancing.

The more I learned about how social dancing touches lives, the more motivated I became to grow as an instructor. Some days, I found myself teaching over 8 lessons and group classes, never taking breaks. It was hard work, but my training as a professional ballroom dancer carried me through.

I loved watching new dancers as well as experienced dancers grow and become more confident. It was my greatest joy to see beginner couples discover their talent, or to watch a shy woman find herself. There was nothing more fulfilling than to see other dancers living out their purpose on the dance floor. In turn, this work became my life’s calling and I found the reason why I dance.

The training I received as a ballroom dance champion was of the highest quality and the discipline that I learned I still carry with me today. It was grueling, but I would not change my experiences for anything. They are what made me stronger as a dancer and as a person. My experiences- training and competing- also helped me discover the importance of instruction and catering to each dancer. This is my purpose and the reason why I dance.

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What a delight to read of how you found your purpose, Stas. Being one of your students, I totally affirm your work and am grateful for your dedication, brilliance, and fun as an instructor. Happy-dancing from Jeanine 🦋

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