Everything In Life I Learned From Ballroom Dancing

Once upon a time, I was a competitive ballroom dancer.

If you think about it, the table-top shaping of most women is an illusion. I mean that, this type of shape is produced from sway. And sway is the result of alignment to your partner with respect to angling the lady’s torso slightly right and extending up and out the left side. When you sway, your partner can get past you—so easily in fact that it sometimes feels like you’re dancing by yourself. The same is true of the saying “go with the flow.” Sometimes it’s easier to not fight your way through life. Just move aside, sway, letting things go by without struggling against them.

Connection to your partner
The classic visualization for teaching this is to imagine a glass rod between the two individuals that will shatter with the slightest rotation away from the other person. It does work –when you’re consciously thinking about it though. I hear a lot of new lady’s asking about their reaction to the man’s lead; “how do I know he’s going to do that step?” or “how will I know what to do when he does something?” Here’s the ultimate trick, ladies: stop thinking about you. Instead, “be ready” to receive the man’s lead. You do this by maintaining a good frame, keeping your right side connected, and taking care to shift your weight and move from foot to foot.

Apologies, I got a little too into the technicalities of this one. I’ve found this lesson applicable to my relationships, both personal and professional. No matter what the relation, making an effort to be positive, encouraging and compassionate in all interactions makes the partnership just that: upbeat and constructive. Who doesn’t want that type of relationship?

Grace comes from balance
Good balance comes from engaging your core stomach muscles to hold you up, stop your momentum, and lengthen your spine without lifting the shoulders. Grace is not relying on someone else to hold you up. This is true in life; people gravitate towards independent and resourceful individuals. There’s nothing scarier than having to take care of someone else when you have no clue how to do it for yourself.

You can never have enough glitter
Apart from good posture; this one is my favorite take-away because it holds something for everyone. When men or women dress with care, it shows. The eye is attracted to “shiny objects”; a bright smile, a clean and fresh face, or sparkling attire. Matching patterns and adding complimentary pieces to complete your outfit are as important as pulling together a competition-ready look with the gown, hair, makeup and accessories. “Dress for success,” “black is slimming” –actually it is—it all ties into your attitude about how you look.

Holly Miller competitive ballroom dancer
Holly Miller competitive ballroom dancer – USA Dance Nationals 2013

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