Why we like to waltz

At every ballroom dance I’ve been to, the waltzes are the most popular. Everyone gets up to dance when a waltz is played. I’ve never known why, but this piece from NPR gives a nice explanation–and a bunch of good music links. And NPR.org is one of the few websites where it’s safe to read the comments without despairing for the future of humanity. You might even learn something from the comments that will help your dancing!

As an 18th-century specialist/ballroom dancer I love knowing that the waltz originated in the 18C and that it was considered scandalous because of the close body contact. Good fact to share with teenagers or anyone who can’t shake the mindset that ballroom dancing is stodgy and old-fashioned.

Dance is a universal language

A British ad agency uses an Argentine tango set in Los Angeles to advertise a German car!

Dancing Stars of Central Georgia 2014 Recap

Woo! I am still in a daze after last night’s amazing event. We set a new fundraising record of $248,013 of which Dean raised over $70,000! His total made us the People’s Choice award winners!  I am so proud of all his hard work both on and off the dance floor. He and his wife Ashley (Daniel’s partner in 2012 when they won People’s Choice) are a power couple in the best possible way: boundless positive energy, totally down to earth, always ready to “git ‘er dun.” So that’s just what we did! After the jump, a full rundown of the evening’s adventures + some pics! Read more

#Deanra rehearsal video!


Just a week till showtime. It’s not too late to get tickets: hit up dancingstarsofcentralgeorgia.com and click “Tickets.” Be sure to choose Dean Copelan from the “In Support Of” menu. Thanks!

Dancing Near the Stars

Last night, Daniel and I got a special treat: we got to take a master class from Tony Dovolani of Dancing With the Stars fame. He was in Atlanta rehearsing with his DWTS season 18 partner NeNe Leakes (Real Housewives of Atlanta) at Academy Ballroom and decided to offer a class. Being star-struck goofballs and avid DWTS fans, we said yes to the class as soon as we heard about it! Tony is very nice and approachable, very funny, and an excellent teacher. He focused on Latin/Rhythm technique and styling with an emphasis on balance and using energy. Read more

What does a professor look like?

Emily Friedman, a graduate student in English at University of Missouri, has started this great Tumblr called “What a Professor Looks Like.” It examines public perceptions of the professorial image and contrasts them with photos of actual professors, mostly in our after-hours clothing. Let’s just say that most of the professoriate is NOT walking around in tweed jackets with elbow patches, smoking pipes!

Recognize anybody?

Who Is Deanra?

Dancing Stars of Central Georgia just posted photos from Thursday’s cast party on their Facebook page. You can look at the whole album (this link will work if I am lucky) but I wanted to post one pic of Dean and me for those who don’t know him:












Yesterday I had Daniel stand in for Dean so I could start trying out the choreography. Our routine is going to be so much fun! I can’t wait to start rehearsals.

Introducing Team Deanra

Last night was the cast party for the 2014 edition of Dancing Stars of Central Georgia, the Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser that Daniel and I first participated in back in 2012. This year I was asked to rejoin the cast at the special request of one of the stars. We all convened at the Blacksmith Shop last night to officially meet our partners for the first time. My star is Dean Copelan, a vice-president at SunTrust Bank and the husband of Ashley Copelan with whom Daniel danced in 2012 and won the People’s Choice trophy for top fund-raiser. I am very excited to be partnered with Dean! As soon as I found out he was my star, I knew exactly what I wanted to choreograph for us. He is totally game and up for anything: the ideal partner!

We have already agreed on a no-trash-talking, totally victory-focused approach. Go, Team Deanra!

WGXA is once again serving as a presenting sponsor so we got to appear on their newscast last night:

Professional dance instructors in action in Macon

This past Saturday, USA Dance Greater Macon once again welcomed Josh Jones down from Atlanta with his gorgeous partner Anne-Marie Edwards. They taught us some great lessons in waltz (“Throw your body!”) and foxtrot with introduction to quickstep (“Ah-one two three four five six seven eight slow, quick quick, slow). That evening at the dance they did a beautiful foxtrot exhibition:

And then we harassed them into doing a tango as an encore:

Anne-Marie is so beautiful and sweet, and Josh is just an impeccable technician. Every move he makes on the floor is a balance of control and energy. Just watching them work is so exciting and it was a privilege to learn from them again.

Mercer Ballroom Club Winter Formal

Daniel and I had the dubious but real pleasure of being the oldest people at Mercer University Ballroom Club’s Winter Formal last night. To clarify: being an Old is a dubious pleasure but the dance was genuine fun! The club has really grown in just a few months and the students are already demonstrating everything that’s positive about ballroom dancing as a social activity. We saw them switching partners so everyone got to dance, showing each other steps, joining in all the line dances, and generally being excellent to each other. Plus, everybody looked really nice! I wore a simple black halter dress kindly given to me by CeCe (I want to be her when I grow up) and I was hardly even visible next to the young ladies in bright colors and curled hair. I love it when people love to dress up.

This is obviously a great group that is achieving the elusive goal of every dancer over 35, viz. Getting More Young People Involved. Ballroom dancing was only re-popularized within the last decade so there is still a big age gap. We need more young dancers and these folks are well on their way. Hooray!

Here is a link to some photos on Facebook. I’m not sure if they are publicly visible but hopefully the link will work even for non-FB users. Check it out. We hope to see the Mercer dancers again soon

Update! Mercer Ballroom Club now has its own website! Check it out!