When Petr and I came to the United States we didn't know what to expect. We had big dreams of being able to succeed as professional dancers and instructors. We worked very hard to improve ourselves as dancers and teachers so we can better educate our students. However without help from the outside our success wouldn't be possible. Starting with our loving and supportive parents, teachers and mentors to our dedicated students who have trusted us to help them to become the best dancers they can be. To see our students improve and succeed at the dance competitions is very rewarding and we enjoy the journey with them. We became a great team and share wonderful moments together. Here are some thoughts from our dear students Melody, Peggy, Judy and David on why they started to dance and what it means to them.
Everyone started for different reasons, but love for dancing brings everyone together.
Melody is a mom of two boys. She works full time, volunteer a lot of her time between her sons High School and his sporting events. She loves being active: water skiing, snow boarding, hiking, water rafting and dancing. She also loves to read and watching movies at home. Melody started to dance jazz, contemporary, ballet and tap when she was only three years old and danced into her early 20's. She then stopped for 13 yrs to start a family, but now her kids are teenagers with busy, independent lives of their own, so she decided to start dancing again.
She started to dance with Petr in late 2011 and attended her first dance competition only three months later. Since then she tries to compete about 3-4 times per year and feels a huge sense of accomplishment when she wins because she knows how much effort it takes. Melody loves to dance because she loves music and the feeling dancing brings her. She says : "It truly makes me happy and makes me smile and I love everything about it. Dancing is such a huge part of who I am. I dance all the time. Dance helps me release stress at times and is good exercise for mind and body. If you want to start dancing I would say take a chance and have fun with it. You may find a new passion in life and get some exercise while your at it."
Peggy is a mom of two boys and someone who never pictured herself as a ballroom dancer. She played all kinds of sports but settled into playing tennis. She used to love basketball but as she says "the outfits got ugly" so she decided on tennis, because they have some really cute clothes.
That's probably the reason she likes to dance too! :)
Peggy has been dancing and competing with Petr since 2014. She asked her husband to watch the movie "Shall we dance" with her and that's what inspired her to take her first dance lesson.
She takes lessons 2-3 times a week and practices on her own everyday. She is very dedicated and tries to attend one competition each month. She is very accomplished competitor, winner and finalist of many dance events.
It's unfortunate Peggy had to take 4 months break from dancing when she accidentally broke her knee cap. But now, two surgeries later she is back to competing and inspiring others that no matter what obstacle comes your way, with faith and dedication you can overcome anything.
Peggy says: "I love to dance because it's a challenge to see if I can do it to the best of my ability. It's great to be talented, but most people are like me, not naturally gifted. Hard work can go a long way. My best dance accomplishment came recently at the San Francisco Dance Competition. I never had so many people cheering us on while I competed. I loved to win but this was really a special win because I was able to entertain the audience also.
My advice for someone who wants to start dancing is go for it. If you truly don't like it, you can always quit, but you have to give it a chance. Dancing is a wonderful way to exercise and meeting new friends. My dance plans/goals are to keep on dancing till I can't. I've seen many older dancer and they are a true inspiration to me. Hopefully if I dance till I'm 80+ I can be an inspiration to someone else. "
Judy is a very accomplished dancer and has been very successful at many competitions. She was a Zumba Instructor at first and because she wanted to get some good moves for her class, she thought she should take a few lessons from a professional dancer. Judy says : " Once I started taking International Latin Ballroom dancing, I became hooked. Six years later, I'm competing ten times a year in Latin Open with my teacher, Petr Polak. I love it. Dancing shapes and sculpts our muscles in the most beautiful way possible, so they are long, lean and elegant.
Also, I like the mental challenge of learning new ways of moving my body and remembering choreography--this helps and enhances my mental acuity--especially as I get older. Most of all, I think dancing is so much fun, and when I dance, I am filled with joy. My advice for someone who wants to start dancing is to sign up for some lessons right away and begin their dance journey. Learning to dance is not easy and is important to be patient with themselves as they try to learn the steps.
Having a great, experienced professional teacher is key, so I would encourage them to find the most qualified person around. I definitely recommend Petr and Petra because they have the winning combination of years of training, dancing, competing and teaching. "
David is Registered Nurse in the Emergency Room. He loves to travel and ballroom dance. He enjoys spending time with family and friends. He started dancing because of an injury that took a long time to recover from. He needed a new hobby and wanted to meet people and have fun. Plus as he says: "there are really beautiful women in the dance world to meet!" :)
David has been dancing since 2009 and I have been his only dance instructor. He practices about 2-3 times week or whenever he can due to his busy schedule. He thinks the feeling of personal accomplishment is the most important thing. You can measure the degree of accomplishments by the results of competitions, but it is really how you feel and if you are happy with what you accomplished.
So for David the best accomplishment is being able to compete at the open level in International Latin. He never saw himself as a dancer when he was younger, so just being able to do this is a real accomplishment for him.
David says : "Dancing makes me happy because it is a stress relief from my stressful job, and it gives me time for myself instead of caring for others. I learned that dancing doesn't come naturally to someone like me. There are people that have natural talent, however I'm not one of them. Through practice and hours of lessons, I learned that if you put in the effort, it will payoff in the long run.
The most important advice I would give to someone who wants to start dancing is to just stick with it once you start. You will not be a professional dancer overnight. Dancing is great because it allows you to express yourself in your own unique way. It also keeps you healthy and since ballroom is a partnered dance, it allows you the opportunity to try and work with another person to achieve a common goal."
Thank you everyone who contributed to this post!
And thank you for reading.