Episode 7 - Ballroom

By permanenteditor
Getting a package from home was just what I needed. At times the house can get very stressful and trying to the mind and body. With no outside communication with the world, you sometimes question your reason for being in the house. My mind, body and soul were hurting. I'm such a family oriented person. Family means everything to me and my family is my biggest support system. I needed that package, for it helped me to refocus. I regained a sense of confidence and a drive that I could keep pushing through this competition no matter what obstacles I endured, or what circumstances tried to break my spirit. My mom, aunts, little cousin, boyfriend, step kids, dance teacher and all the students at the Watson-Johnson Dance Theatre sent me heartfelt letters and pictures. Before I came to the house I asked my BFF/God Sister if I could use her sneakers. She had lost over 30 pounds working out in them and could out-run anyone on a track. I knew those sneakers would motivate me when I got tired. I figured they would bring me luck. My mom told that story to my dance teacher and aunt, and they too sent a few things of theirs so that they could be a part of this journey with me. My aunt sent me a pair of her sneakers, she's a fitness instructor, and my dance teacher sent a few pairs of her dance shoes.

My mom, who knows me the best, sent me a pretty "little" dress, and a note that stated that it’s not for now, but for the person she knows I'm destined to be. My mom also sent me several prayer books, smell good products and music that inspired me to keep my dreams alive. That was a great day.

Every week I try to take in everything that the judges tell me. I then work on those things I need to fix in hopes of being better the next time the judges see me on the dance floor. It's really quite hard. We get different styles of dance every week. Some styles I have heard of before, but would have never imagined doing.

I'm so grateful to God for the gifts and talents he has blessed me with. Contrary to what many people think when they see me dance, I've only had 7 total years of dance training. I want to thank my Aunt Rochelle for my very first lesson. She taught me how to dance from within, and this has stayed with me forever. I studied dance at a local dance studio called the "Watson-Johnson Dance Theatre" from when I was 10 years old to about 17 years old. As my dance school closed for the summer, I was blessed to receive a summer intensive scholarship to Philadanco, Alvin Aliey American Dance Theatre, and Dance Theatre of Harlem, which ran from the end of June until the end of August, approximately 7 weeks. I'll be 27 years old, and I have not taken dance class or trained in about 10 years; so this all new to my body.

It was a hard journey and I call it the worst break up in history. I really missed dance when I wasn’t doing it. However, I have been given a second chance and now I'm back! Every week I'm so grateful to be able to pick up on new styles. It really has become my joy in life.

The footwork for my Tango just about killed me! I had never taken a ballroom class before. Tango was a style of dance I admired from a distance. Now faced with the challenge to try and learn this style was difficult. It was very frustrating at times. I remember saying I think this is the week I go home. My professional partner Brandon was so wonderful. He reminded me that it was the wrong attitude to have, and added that the stress doesn't help with weight loss. I therefore pushed harder to make this style of dance work for me. I remember my partner Brandon saying a minute before we faced the judges, "this is not a style either one of us are comfortable doing. We can't rely on technique or footwork because it's not going to happen. We have to just go out there and perform for our lives and create a true connection with each other to pull this off."

I didn’t feel scared. You know me by now and can probably guess what happened next with my eyes…yup the tears came out! LOL! On second thought, I think they came out a couple of times! LOL! What can I say? I'm a strong sister with a big heart and weak eye balls!

I have watched professionals do the tango before, and my favorite movie is actually "Chicago." I love it when they do the 'Cell Block Tango.' When I was told I would be doing the Tango, I thought of the music from "Chicago" and "Nine." I was in utter disbelief when I heard my song and it was "Right Thurr." I was a little confused and wondered how was I going to pull the Tango off to a Hip-Hop song! LOL! That's when I started convincing myself that this was my week to go home. I pulled out those prayer books my mom sent, along with the songs she sent when I thought, 'It aint over until God says it's over!' It was a difficult week physically because I was still dealing with this knee injury, but thank God I got through it!

It felt great to be in the top 3 this week. I was not the winner, but I was one step closer to showing the judges that I belonged in this competition until the end. I'm sure this is the goal of every contestant, however overall it was a great accomplishment and an awesome feeling!

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