Dance Advantage Best Dance Blog 2013

So a little over a year ago I started dancing with this crazy Bulgarian named Ivan.  And a little over a year ago, I had so much to say about it to my husband that his eyes would glaze over.  I discovered another outlet and I began writing this blog.

One of my first posts very surprisingly went semi-viral and it convinced me to stick with this blog thing, that maybe, just maybe, I had something valuable to say and share about my dancing life experiences.

A little known fact is that, shortly after I began the blog, I also discovered this amazing website called Dance Advantage.  Around that time I saw that they had a dance blog contest and I think, though I could be mistaken, that it was through this contest that I discovered this entertaining, funny blog called Adult Beginner that had won the contest.  Well, I’ve continued to follow AB because it is seriously hilarious, but back then I vowed to myself that I’d put in for this contest in the following year 1) because it was so cool and 2) because it led me to other great dance blogs that I still continue to enjoy and 3) it hooked me up to DA which has all sorts of great dance-related info and I follow on Twitter.

So, not wanting to make bad on my promise to myself, here is me entering the contest.

The deal is this, I need comments on THIS blog post to even be considered for the second round.  The blogs with the most comments get to move forward.  There are many categories – I’m entering under “Recreational Dancer.”

But you know me, and I can’t write a blog post this short so I thought I’d kind of reflect on where I was a year ago, seeing as it is the new year and all.  It also seems apropos since it was a year ago that I thought about entering this contest.

So I looked up the post on my blog that was almost exactly a year from today.  It turns out, the post was mostly about confidence – probably one of the main themes I’ve broached on this blog o’mine.  In it, Ivan was doing what he does best, pulling out the part of me that wants to express myself, the part of me that I choke and hide, the part of me that makes me a performer.  A particular portion stood out for me, though.  Ivan had asked me how soon it would be until we were able to do that famous lift from “Dirty Dancing,” which, in my mind, the answer is, like, never….but anyways…..

He’s  [Ivan] fearless, though, and doesn’t have my particular flavor of mental baggage that creates limitations in my mind.  I’ve seen him toss around a 70-year-old woman, one of his students, in the Hustle.

And don’t get me wrong, I have big dreams when it comes to dancing. In my head I have all sorts of fantasies about how I’m going to look, that I’m going to win some scholarship competitions, that I’m going to eventually get to dance in open heats in the night sessions when the lights are low and the ballroom is buzzing. But all that feels like a fairy tale – things I generally do not talk about for fear that others will think me mad but that are in my heart and that I desire greatly.

But today is not the day to attempt this particular trick.  Just standing still and preparing to move have been a challenge.  But ultimately I feel encouraged by Ivan’s belief in me.  Sometimes I think he believes in me more than  I do.  That’s why he endlessly crams my brain full of details.  That’s why he has me do the same thing over and over and over.

And one day I’m going to believe in myself this much.  One day, if I stick with it, and work hard, and practice, and sweat, then one day I will get to maybe play out in real life some of those fantasies in my head.  And what an amazing feeling that will be.

But here’s the thing.  Looking back from where I was to where I am, though I may not be where I’d ultimately like to be, I do believe that I’ve gained some confidence and belief in myself.  I do believe that what I deeply desire is, in fact, possible for me…and that, in and of itself, is a huge win.  I believe that I could dance in open heats in night sessions, and I have already danced in two scholarship rounds.  Though I earned poor results, entering those scholarships was the first step to actually placing well in one.  I do now begin to believe that I will get to play out in real life these fantasies in my head…they are becoming more of a reality with each practice and lesson, with each day I stick to my diet, with each coaching or dance camp and competition I attend.

Maybe I haven’t realized these things just yet (or ever), and maybe I still struggle with believing in myself, but truthfully I feel that I’m closer today than I was a year ago.  And, I’m committed.  Like damn skippy!

When it comes down to it, I’m proud of myself for the advances I have made, and I’m ready to dig in and work to improve my shortcomings.  I’m motivated, and boy does that feel good.  It’s funny because at the end of the post from a year ago I included a link to a video about pushing that extra bit to make the difference between good and great and now, in a year’s time, I find myself once again motivated by a quote to push myself harder and more profoundly (as in my last post).

Well, anyways, I felt confident enough to share this photo with the Facebook world and that’s a pretty good thing, I’d say.


Like, I still see the imperfections (oh, trust me, I do!)…but I’m still willing to put it out there anyways and say, “This is me. Here I am.”  That makes me feel like I am a courageous person, and a person with courage like that can go far in this world….they could probably even dance in open heats at night and place well in scholarships.  They could probably even shed 100 pounds.

So here’s to me believing in myself and what is possible in the coming year.

What’s possible for you?

And now, since this is my entry into the Dance Advantage contest and all, here is is where I ask (*beg*) you to please make a comment on THIS post so that I might possibly move forward to the next round of competition.  Please consider sharing a link to this post so I might accrue more comments if you’ve been moved by what you’ve found here, or have gained any value from the blog.  I have until January 22nd to garner as much support (i.e. comments) as possible.

As always, I’m grateful.  Thanks for your support, whatever it looks like!


55 thoughts on “Dance Advantage Best Dance Blog 2013

  1. Paragon2Pieces says:

    Congratulations on how far you’ve come 🙂 I love reading about your ballroom adventures… especially while I’m on a break from dancing myself. Love that great picture of you and Ivan. So excited to see where dancing will take you this year 🙂

    • loveablestef says:

      Paragon, you are the best. I’m so very glad I got to meet you in person in CA. That was such a thrill for me, and I’d never have made it without your help in the bathroom with my costume! I am rooting for you and holding a space in my mind and heart for you to return from Japan to a place you can really make a home with roots. I’m so glad we met and know that I think of you often and wish you all the best and that I especially can’t wait to see you dancing again! Much love, Stef

  2. You have the best blog ever! You share yourself honestly and openly and we all benefit from it. Thank you!

  3. Thank you for you sharing your dance hopes, dreams and accomplishments. You are an inspiration to everyone that you meet. Love you Stefanie!

  4. Rebecca Howard says:

    Well done Stef – you truly are beautiful and I wish you well in the contest but to me, you are already a winner 🙂

  5. Love that pic! Keep the blog posts coming!

  6. TaraJo says:

    Gorgeous lines chica!!!

  7. Ceci Torres says:

    I have seen you grow in courage and hope. You truly are an amazing dancer, and person. Keep believing and moving forward. Lets meet up at a comp.

  8. trophos says:

    The picture is fantastic – the first thing I noticed were your arms and hands, which look so elegant and balanced! I always enjoy your thoughtful posts, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you 🙂 Love from tdp

  9. Greta says:

    What a beautiful photo!

  10. Anonymous Lurker says:

    Stef, your body makes gorgeous pictures.

  11. Blue Eyes says:

    Stef- It’s like I said the first time I met you – You express me. You express my hopes, dreams, frustrations and victories. I love being on this amazing journey with you!

  12. Good luck on the contest! And great lines!!!

  13. Dawn Elliott says:

    Miss Stefanie, I so enjoyed reading your blog and finding out more about your dance goals, as well as your inner thoughts about the logistics of reaching your goals. I’ve never seen you more excited then when you talk about your dancing, and I’m so happy for and proud of you! It’s a beautiful thing to be motivated – you go, girl!

  14. bgballroom says:

    Wow! That photo is amazing! It almost makes me want to take up dancing Latin:-) Almost. Hope to see you out on the west coast in the upcoming year.

  15. […] Source: So a little over a year ago I started dancing with this crazy Bulgarian named Ivan.  And a little over a year ago, I had so much to say about it to my husband that his eyes would glaze over.  I discovered another outlet and I began writing this blog. […]

  16. aduarte01 says:

    Oh Loveable Stef, how I adore you. Your blog makes me smile every day. I’m always yearning to read about your struggles and insights about ballroom dancing. You’re always learning and I love that! You’re doing such a great job, in your dancing, in your life, and inspiring other students and weight fighters.
    I hope you win. I’ll be sharing this post as much as I can. Good luck!!
    And that photo is amazing! You look so graceful and poised! Beautiful lines =)

  17. Alaina says:

    Keep dancing, girl!

  18. Diane says:

    I have just recently discovered your blog. I realized that I have actually seen you at CA competitions in the past! Next time I will be sure to introduce myself!! I really enjoy your blogs (I look forward to reading the ones I didn’t get to!) and how you share of your dance world and yourself.

    • loveablestef says:

      Hi Diane! Welcome to the blog! I’m so pleased you found it! Yes, please do interoduce yourself next time! That’s so cool that you saw me – are you from CA? I assume you compete as well? Thanks so much for the kind words, the comment, and I look forward to meeting you in person! What will your next competition be?

      • Diane says:

        Yes, I’m from California. I don’t know when I will compete next. Probably not until after May. Plenty to work on until then!!

  19. mybelle940 says:

    I loved reading this blog post of yours as much as any of your others. You’ve been such an inspiration! Best of luck in your endeavors!

  20. Marian Condon says:

    Great post, Stef! I agree with Tropos that the picture you posted of you and Ivan is just gorgeous – your body looks so-o-o graceful and joie de vivre the image conveys is contagious!
    Something I’d like to hear about is what Mr. Ivan thinks of your blog? Is he afraid of what you might write about him?

    • loveablestef says:

      No, Ivan knows all about the blog and reads it sometimes. Sometimes Marieta does too. If I thought he’d be worried about some specific content I’d ask him about it before posting. I shared it with him right at the very beginning. I don’t know exactly what he thinks of it, but he knows I love doing it, and he knows he’s in it. Thanks for the nice compliments about the pic.

  21. Carla Escoda says:

    Oh my. Standing in line behind everyone else who loves the photo. It’s going to take me a while to get through all your blog posts as I’ve just started, but if you don’t already have a cheering section here in the Bay area, I’ll gladly start one. Best of luck in the blog competition.

    • loveablestef says:

      Hi Carla! Thanks so much! It is always a thrill to see a new comment from someone I don’t know. Looks like you have a digital presence As well…I will have to check out ballettothepeople! What a nice way to start the morning before my dance lesson and Overtime at work! So glad you stopped by the blog.

  22. Ireene Bucks says:

    This is my first time here. I am so glad you posted this beautiful picture. I want to share this picture on FB to show some of my bigger friends that thy can do the harder variations if they tried like you, instead of using excuses.

  23. Lillian says:

    You are truly an inspiration for everyone. Your dedication to your dream will make it come true, as is shown in your amazing photo. Only a committed dancer could achieve such a beautiful pose.

  24. Great photo, and congratulations on a great year!

  25. Great photo! I vote for you!

  26. bgballroom says:

    I hope multiple comments from the same person work for you, Stef. You deserve to get into the next round!

    • loveablestef says:

      Awww, thanks bgballroom – for all your nice comments and support! I hope we get to meet in real life one day! No matter what happens, the blog, and my journey will continue…but it would be very cool to win! We’ll see…and there’s always next year!

  27. […] there, like the page to it to add it to your Facebook feed for extra content beyond the blog, and go here to write a comment and help me get into the next round of the Dance Advantage Best Dance Blog […]

  28. Cat says:

    I just found your blog, and LOVE IT! Keep up the good work!

  29. Ben says:

    I love you sis.

  30. Amanda says:

    What a great inspiration you are to so many people! While I don’t dance, I love reading your blog. You are so talented and determined! Don’t ever lose sight of those fabulous goals and dreams you have…after all I want to read about those accomplishments here on your awesome blog!

    • loveablestef says:

      Hi Amanda! Welcome to the blog and thank you very much for the kind words. I’m happy to know that a person doesn’t have to be a dancer to enjoy the blog, that you get something out of it! And I will keep on going…I’ve got big dreams. First up, dance lesson tomorrow morning at 6:15am. Hopefully it will be one to write about!

  31. Danika Lewis-Rexroat says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog! Your thoughts are so pure & inspirational. Thank you for sharing of yourself; your triumphs & your struggles. Keep up the good work!

  32. Tyler says:

    My eyes may have glazed over, but I still love you more than ever. I’m glad you have found such a great outlet for sharing your experiences. The stories you tell and the sense of community you have created is very special and I’m incredibly proud of you.

  33. Debbie says:

    I love reading your great blog. It’s so insightful & enjoyable. You are not only a great dancer but also a phenomenal writer. I always look forward to reading your comments. I have learned so much. Keep up the great job.

  34. Vikki Liles says:

    Love you, Stef. You’re a Dancer through and through.

  35. Awesome Stephanie really looking forward to reading your blog now !


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