Ron Montez – Professional Latin Champion

On Episode 34 of the Legends series, José and Aimée of Dance Teachers Academy sat down with one of the most respected personalities in the dance business, Mr. Ron Montez.  Ron shares a heartwarming nod to his first dance teacher, Nancy Elliot.  He also expresses great appreciation for his dance partner Liz Curtis.  He speaks of the skill it takes to develop analytical powers to help dancers achieve a good look. Ron shares how teaching dancing is an unique profession that combines relating physical skills components and elements to create magic on the dance floor.  It’s a great show, so don’t miss out!

Ron’s Early Days

They began the episode talking about how Ron Montez  started off DJing parties for his sister.  She was an instructor for Arthur Murray.  Ron was a little undecided what to do with his life after high school, so he took his sister’s suggestion and enrolled in a 6 week teacher training course.  There was a lack of male instructors at his studio, so he quickly had to learn how to do a lot of things.  He immersed himself in teaching & choreography and learned what he could from the dance directors.

Ron was introduced to competitive dance when a professional couple visited his studio.  He was blown away by what he had seen.  He spoke with them and this is what they had to say

“Find a partner, you have to seek out training, and then compete, in that order”.

Websites & Social Links

If you are interested in DVIDA Certification, Ron is a Master Examiner.  He can test in all styles and levels of dance.

Email: [email protected]

Follow Ron Montez on Facebook.

Alohaballdance.com

Vegas Lights -Website coming soon

 

 

 

Bob & Julia – Legends of the Dance World

Bob Powers and Julia Gorchakova  are 12 Time United States Rhythm Champions and 3 Time World Mambo Champions and hold the record for the most United States Championships ever won by an American couple.  This husband and wife duo are also co-owners & developers of Core Rhythms, a top-selling aerobic dance fitness program sold throughout the world.

How one of the most the accomplished partnerships in the history of dance came to be.

Julia and Bob met in St. Petersburg, Russia, Julia’s hometown, over twenty-five years ago.  He was there with Forrest, (Forrest Vance) and other dancers to do a TV show.  They were taken on a tour of Russia but they said that they wanted to actually meet some Russians.  Julia’s mom hosted a social dance and that is where they met.  After dancing together they decided to practice together.  Two months later I came to the US to begin my partnership with Bob.

Bob had been ranked as high as fourth in the US with two other partners but, never won a major championship until teaming up with Julia. Within one and half years Bob and Julia had started winning competitions and ended the year with the title of US Champions.

Over the years the two have traveled throughout the US and abroad teaching, lecturing, competing and performing shows. They have toured and performed in China, Germany, Japan, Holland, France, England, Mexico, and Canada. To maintain their high level of fitness they ran, lifted weights, did Core Rhythms, and worked with a personal strength and stretching coach. Their dance training has come mainly from Julia’s mother and Rick Valenzuela, the co-star of the hit movie “Dance with Me” starring Vanessa Williams. As well, they were trained by Paul Killick and Taliot and Marina Tarsonov.

Dance Teachers Academy

In September Bob & Julia sat down with José and Aimée of Dance Teachers Academy.  During the podcast they discussed how to stay the course on the tough road to becoming successful champion dancers.

Great wisdom like:

– Have your own opinion and remembering what you are about.

– Have confidence in what you are doing.

– Develop your own style and identity.

– Enjoy day to day operations and know that not every day is going to be a good day!

– Keep the love to dance!

 

Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Julia designs custom handmade ballroom dance costumes with her company Artistry in Motion.  Bob is a traveling coach and the owner of the Mesa franchise of Arthur Murray® Dance Centers.

Shirley Ballas returns to Strictly Come Dancing 2018

Who is Shirley Ballas?

Shirley Ballas is a British ballroom dancer who specializes in Latin dance and has won numerous championships earning her the nickname, The Queen of Latin.

She started dancing at the age of 7. While attending her weekly Girl Guide class she noticed a ballroom dance class next door. She was fascinated with the class and started lessons the following Saturday. This was the beginning of her lifelong love affair with Ballroom and Latin Dance.

By the age 23 she had won all major titles worldwide.  Some of the most memorable titles for her include: 3 times British Open Champion, European Champion and 10 times Open United States Latin American Champion.

Shirley Ballas & her history with Dance Vision

Shirley was a Latin coach for Wayne & Donna Eng c. 1984- c.1992.  She was instrumental in helping them become 3-time United States Latin Finalists, United States Rising Star Vice-Champions, 3 time Blackpool Rising Star Finalists, and Eastern United States Champions.   Wayne credits her with giving him the confidence to believe in himself.

When Wayne and Donna established Dance Vision, they didn’t hesitate to ask Shirley to film.   Some of her instructional video titles include:  Turns & Spin In Style,  Latin Technique & Muscular Technique, and her latest International Latin Technique collection.

Strictly Come Dancing

In 1996, she retired from competitive dancing at Blackpool. In 2017 Shirley Ballas returned to Blackpool. to join the judging panel of Strictly Come Dancing, replacing Len Goodman as head judge.

Her judging style is a no nonsense approach.  She’s a real stickler when it comes to technique but she is fair.   She is returning as a judge for series 16 of the ballroom competition on BBC One this Fall.  Fellow judges Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood, and Darcey Bussell, will also be back this year.

 

Interview with Katarzyna Kozak!

Introducing Kasia!

The Latin champion has been lighting up the dance world with her spitfire personality and incredible skills since she was young as 18. Now she aspires to improve and contribute to the dance community, teaching classes and workshops. She also created the Attitude Belt to help aspiring dancers with posture issues.

The Interview.

What do you look for when judging a Pro/Am competition?

I’m looking for precision of steps and ease of  movement.

What interests me is the well roundedness of the performance. I like to see clean and clear execution of the steps as well as smooth, pleasant energy of the delivery. I like to see strength and enthusiasm in the dance. As much as we all like to put a lot of artistry and our own interpretation into our dancing,  what I always recommend to my clients is to stick to readable, elegant movements. If the artistry takes away from the strength and stability  it’s not worth it. First a Pro Am dancer  needs to look independent and fully in control and than we can expand into more fun, entertaining things. 

What does partnership mean to you?

Partnership to me means we are in it together.

It means we have well chosen goals and a common path to accomplish those goals.

We are supporting each other every step along the way and we are each other’s biggest fans. We both take the responsibility of making sure we are moving toward our goals. When one person is not feeling up to par the other person takes over and tries to help. It’s a team – in our case a small one, just 2 people,but a powerful one.  A team should always encourage and support each other.

What was your biggest challenge when you first started dancing?

 My biggest challenge in the USA was that I did not speak English. Often times I could not understand what I needed to do or I could not express what I wanted to do and what I wanted my partner to do.

Even teaching was very difficult – I will always tell my students do what I do not necessarily what I am telling you.

What considerations goes into turning pro?

The biggest thing for me is evaluating if  you truly want to be a dancer – or do you just want to dance a little bit as a hobby.

Are you willing to work hard and make sacrifices to get what you wish for. What I mean by that is being a dancer means dancing is your life. It is want you breath, what you eat, who you become.  I tell my friends I wear my dance glasses all the time – I look at the world through those glasses. There is nothing else I would rather do than dance.  If you are ready to commit to that – then I believe you will be a great professional.  You will be a great competitor as well as great teacher. Your love for dance will help you to be committed not only to your own improvement as a dancer but also to the improvement of your students.

It’s amazing how when you want something very much and are willing to do whatever it takes, things usually align themselves in such a way that even the impossible becomes possible.

The right people will show up in your life and they will guide you to where you need to go.

How did you come up with the Attitude Belt?

One of the most important things to us as a dancers is our posture -but what exactly does it means to have a good posture?  

Good posture meant correct alignment of the bones. When the bones are correctly aligned there is efficiency and ease to our movement. I compare it to driving a very well aligned car – it is smooth, easy and fun.  It is the same with our bodies. When our bones are where they supposed to be in relationship to each other, our movement is smooth but powerful at the same time, it’s strong and elegant and therefore its very pleasant and enjoyable to look at it.

My attitude belt helps us with the correct alignment of the pelvis and the spine . This contributes to  beautiful posture and helps with the ease of the movement as well as great presentation and performance.

It is a very simple, easy to use practice tool that gives you constant feedback on your alignment even when you are busy working on something else.

You are a Latin Champion. Why did you choose to focus on this specific style?

I come from Poland  where I started to dance. International style was the only style available. We never knew that American style even existed.

I fell in love with Latin dancing back home in my  native country and so when I come to USA I just continued my Latin journey – and I loved it every part of it.

Your favorite dance performance?

My favorite performance was at the Blackpool competition with Donald Johnson when we won our British Latin Rising Star Champion title. That was definitely a night I will remember forever.

It was special from the very beginning. I remember that year we worked so hard not only on our dancing but also on our mental strength. We were ready, we were strong, well rehearsed, confident,and  excited – it was just the right mix of everything all together. I was so happy and excited to share with the audience my skills and my love for dance. I was not scared at all – I was nervous of course but in a positive uplifting way – there was no fear  – just pure joy. And the fun part of it was I knew good things would happen that night. I had no doubt in my heart. 

That night was a fantastic, one of a kind experience. As a dancer we all are working toward that – to be able to be free and competitive at the same time. To enjoy our own skill and to be impressive to others. It is truly unforgettable.  You literally feel like walking on clouds.

Who/what inspired you to start dancing?

I started to dance when I was in grammar school in Poland. I was always a very active, wanting to move child. I saw an advertisement for Ballroom dancing and thought that could be fun.  I asked my parents to take me to a class – they gladly said yes. So after  church on Sunday they would drop me of for an hour to dance and that was it. My competitive side kicked in and I was hooked for good.

What would you like to tell dance students that you wish you knew when you started dancing?

I would like them to remember that the judges are not against them but rooting for them.

We are always looking to find good things not your mistakes. Do not be scared of us but share with us your skill and your love for dance. Unfortunately our job is to place all the dancers in the order we think it fits but that does not mean we do not like what you do.

 

Dance With A Goal In Mind!

“Thinking – the talking of the soul with itself.” – Plato

Training Your Mind To Dance With A Goal!

You work toward training your body to be toned, strong, and graceful. You practice choreography until you can do it backwards and with your eyes closed. You train your body every day to  level up in the Dancesport world. But what about your brain?

You can train your brain just like any muscle in your body. If you’re dedicating your entire life  to dancesport, it should always be working toward a specific goal. It can be something simple, like mastering a specific move or a choreography. It can also be something huge – win Blackpool Dance Festival 2019. Become the next US Championships.

No matter what your goal is, here’s a list of how to train your brain to reach your goals:

  1. Write down your overall goal. Look at it every day. Write specific, concrete steps. Write down your goal so you have one focus for everything you do.
  2. Set yourself a date to complete your goal. This helps avoid procrastination or distraction. If you find something worthwhile to add into your list of to-do’s that extends the goal date, then great! Just stick to your plan as it evolves.
  3. Set higher long-term expectations, and lower short-term expectations. Break up with the idea that you’ll turn into your idol tomorrow. A high expectation with a long term goal is, “I’ll be the next US Champion!” A low expectation with a short term, reasonable goal would be something like “I’m going to perfect this technique.”
  4. Work on something toward your goal EVERY SINGLE DAY. Small changes in your life grow into larger accomplishments, working similarly to a staircase. Each step up is stacked on the step before it, but you can’t get till the top until you’ve taken every step.

 

 

 

Social Media in the Dancesport World

What are the advantages of Social Media as a professional dancer?

Social media is kind of like a user-generated newspaper or news channel on television. You create, edit, and publish your own content.

We live in a world flooded by self expression through social media. It’s one of the best times in history to be in a creative industry! We have the power to reach the entire world at your fingertips. To those who didn’t grow up using social media, it can feel invasive and intimidating. However, it you look at it with a different perspective, it’s easy to see how you can use it to your advantage.

At the same time, ANYONE has that publishing power.

It can be increasingly frustrating to feel like you are competing against influencers and celebrities with millions of likes and followers. For example, Supermodel and celebrity Kendall Jenner released a commercial for Vogue dressed vaguely like a ballet dancer (See it here). She moves around but when she tries to pose as a dancer her technique is nonexistent. She received backlash from trained dancers all over the globe for capitalizing on an art form without any formal education. Jenner took away that opportunity from a trained dancer to make money with her skill set, making more money than most dancers will make in their lifetime because she is a celebrity.

Facing this kind of publicity where you’re not even represented correctly can be so discouraging.

So why should you keep up your social media presence? Here’s a few reasons why:

  1. It’s a public resume and portfolio. Social media gives you a blank slate to paint your public image and reputation to the rest of the world. Establish your reputation to the rest of the world while getting to select and edit your own content.
  2. The fastest way to grow an audience is to engage, and social media lets you do that with literally the entire world. You can create a community that admires you online and establish a relationship with them, which is a very fast way to create business.
  3. EVERYONE’S doing it. Usually this phrase is a deterrent. However, nowadays social media accounts are part of your reputation in the industry and typically where other professionals are looking. Make yourself as accessible as possible and keep up with the trends!
  4. By being successful, you pave the way for others. We don’t need more celebrities representing us. We need US representing us. We know our stuff, we’re good at what we do, and we deserve to make money doing what we do. To get us the recognition and work we deserve, we have to put ourselves out there, and social media is by far the easiest way to do it!

Use social media to your advantage! Be smart about branding yourself, make a reputation for yourself before others can, and pave your way to success.

 

 

 

Emerald Ball’s 30th Anniversary!

Wayne and Donna Eng are pleased to announce the 30th Anniversary of the Emerald Ball!

 

This year is bound to be bigger than ever before, and you won’t want to miss it! The Emerald Ball is one of the longest-running Dancesport competitions in the United States. It started 56 years ago under dance legends Ken & Sheila Sloan and now 30 years under Wayne & Donna’s supervision. The Emerald Ball attracts every status of dancer from beginners to professionals from Dancing With the Stars. It’s always the beginning and finale of the Dance Vision Circuit and a great place to see where your rank is in the national spotlight. Original organizer Ken Sloan will also be attending the big celebration!

Wayne and Donna Eng competing in the 1980’s

The Emerald Ball has an unmistakable and excitable charisma that has attracted dancers from all around the world! As Wayne says, it’s all about energy. He even uses an energy healer to help him incorporate his energy as effectively as possible while at the Emerald Ball.

A happy, excited energy always draws crowds of people, and we believe that’s part of the charm of the competition.

Rather than using status to intimidate newcomers, the Emerald Ball encourages new dancers to set new goals and see where they rank. It also gives them a chance to participate in a dancesport competition and get a feel for it. For the pros, it’s the beginning of the circuit, the starting point for the rest of the year, and a chance to compete against friends and colleagues that come every single year.  It’s even great for visitors and family members, particularly during the Pro and Show Dance portions. There’s something for everyone at the Emerald Ball!

Don’t miss the 30th Anniversary Celebration!

Mayo Alanen – How To Create Your Own Art On The Dance Floor!

 

Mayo Alanen is ranked second in the world and was a featured professional on Dancing With the Stars.

He is incredibly dedicated to the success of his students and well respected in the dance community. A talent scout spotted him at the Emerald Ball and he was on the show a year later. Alanen now lives in New York and has students from all over the continent who enjoy learning from him as he teaches professional ballroom dance, specializing in American Smooth.  He donates to charity by competing often and is passionate about bettering the community around him.

Make the world a better place – through dancing!

We agree when he says you should take your art and truly make it your own. Of course there is a time to ask for help, or to strictly follow an expert’s advice. However, we adore the emphasis he places on really taking your art and making it mean something to you. Each participant has a unique view that makes them special and memorable. He sees his students and other dancers as equals, and believes in all of them.

Alanen mentions a charity he created with one of his students. He and Aiyesha Dey donate their winnings to a different charity, giving them a bigger purpose and motivating them to work harder.

Join them as they help the world around us with programs like Meals On Wheels, supporting seniors that are living in solitude and hunger. They also worked with Dancing Dreams to raise funds that provided disabled children weekly dance therapy classes. Donations are also given to the Child Welfare project that supports underprivileged children in Bengal, India. The charity purchases school uniforms, meals, extracurricular activities, and study materials.

Dance for a bigger purpose! Donate and learn more here: https://competingforacause.org/