An Interview with Jenell Maranto

We have the privilege of sharing with you an interview from Jenell Maranto!

She is the owner and teacher with Jim Maranto of the Academy of Ballroom Dance in Phoenix, AZ.  Jenell is a Fellow of the Imperial Society Ballroom Branch and has produced numerous US Ballroom Champions. She is also a DVIDA examiner.

Let’s begin with, what was the most challenging dance routine you have performed or learned?

Every performance is challenging for me because I’m always nervous.

 

Your favorite dance performance?

My favorite thing is competition.  Competition is fun and makes me happy   Being alone on the floor performing is not as satisfying.

 

Who/what inspired you to start dancing?

When I saw Australian Ballroom Champions Kerry Wilson & Ann Harding perform in 1981 in Reno Nevada, I knew I had to lean how to ballroom dance.

 

What is your most memorable experience in dance?

My most memorable experience in dance was winning the U.S. Professional Smooth Championships in 1993-94

 

What is your favorite quote?

Once a mind has been stretched, it never regains its original shape.

 

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

When judging Pro/Am I look for; Assured footing, balance over ones own feet, musicality, body stretch, and partnership.

 

What considerations go into turning Pro?

I was already a professional dancer before I learned ballroom so I didn’t know I had a choice but when my Pro/Am student – Jim Maranto won the U.S. American Smooth Championship we decided to turn Pro together and compete with the big kids.  I already owned my own dance studio and Jim joined me and started teaching. It was a great decision for both of us.

 

And finally, what would you like to tell dance students that you wish you knew when you started dancing?

No regrets, being in the ballroom dance business has always been great for me.

Stay tuned for more interviews!

Click Here to view Instructional videos by Jenell Maranto for Dance Vision

Dress for Success – An Interview with Donna Hamza

Let’s say you go to the doctor. Your doctor walks in with a ratty t-shirt, shorts, and flipflops.

Are you going to trust his opinion? Probably not. How you present yourself is important. In a way, the ballroom gown or suit is almost like a work uniform – designed to send a clear message of your skills and who you are. Donna Hamza explains why her dancers presenting themselves with confidence is the most important part of her work (her dresses are fabulously beautiful as well as you can see here,) in this interview.

This is why the most important part of your gown is presenting yourself well. To dress for success means to show your passion, magnifying the best parts of you. As a performer, there is nothing more important.

Appearance is about impression, not beauty.

This might sound strange coming from the ballroom community. You’ll always see dancers in sparkly dresses, heavy makeup, and spectacularly styled hair. These things are expected, particularly for a professional star.

Like any other community closely involved with the beauty industry, it is competitive about appearances, to say the least. It can be easy to be swallowed up in the midst of perfect bodies, tans, slicked back hair and dresses that fit a princess. However, try not to not lose yourself in the endless spiral that is “self improvement”.  The gowns should be primarily a form a self expression, rather than a way to compare yourself to others depending on how much skin you’re showing, or how tight your dress is.

Donna Hamza shows us that charisma and personality has no weight, no height, no skin color.

Wearing ballroom couture, as Donna Hamza states, should suit you. She even goes as far to replace her handmade dresses if she feels it does not suit the dancer because it is that important to represent the person wearing the dress. We all love to play dress up and enjoy the glamour of the ballroom (and who wouldn’t?!) but you are your own best asset as a performer.

 

Check out Dance Teacher’s Academy for more great interviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5aPyxJTNF7ySw6EmpRak-g/videos

Check out Donna Hamza’s online boutique here: http://donnainc.net/

Work Worth Doing

“Far and way the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

One of our favorite things about this interview is the emphasis that Forrest Vance has on positivity. Positivity allows you to view yourself with potential. It’s a form of visualization. You see yourself having a chance at success.

Of course, positive thinking does not come easily to most people. For most, it’s the opposite of their instinct. It is so easy, particularly as a new dancer, to become overwhelmed and want to quit. So how does one change a mindset from a negative to a positive way of thinking?

There’s never one answer that works for everyone, of course. One thing that successful people have in common is to work with pleasure toward their goals. Realize that what you want to do is worthwhile, important, and fun, and that it will continue even if you do not continue with it. Furthermore, by studying it, you become even more worthwhile, important, and fun (well, more so than you already are!).

This is not meant to discourage. In fact, it should urge you to chase after what you want before it slips from your fingers! There is so much to learn, so many techniques, so many people who love dancing just as much as you do. What good does it do anyone to stop before you even begin?

Do you allow dancing to encourage or discourage you? Do you feel like you’re getting a chance to be part of something you love, getting a chance to be good at something fulfilling?