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awedancing

Lauren Arena Student Story

It is the rally cry of DJ’s, wedding emcees, and performing artists everywhere…

It is a call to action – less of a command and more of a motivational plea. It is an encouragement to get on the dance floor and in doing so, to be bold, to take chances, and to make the most of each moment. Admirable as it is, however, such a call makes one innocent but very important assumption: it assumes the listener can get on their feet.

When Lauren Arena was ten years old she began to experience seizures along with an involuntary twitching sensation in her hands and arms. Despite numerous consultations and testings, no diagnosis could be made as to why. The situation worsened. The muscle spasms progressed to her legs and torso. She was eventually bound to a wheelchair. More testing. No results. Her speech began to be affected. Finally, Lauren’s situation led her to take part in a study conducted by scientists from around the globe. In November of 2014, she was diagnosed with a condition known as MEAK.

As Lauren’s mother Angela so aptly mentions, the name MEAK (a homonym for the adjective describing a quiet and gentle nature) is nothing short of ironic. After all, there is nothing “gentle” about Lauren’s condition. MEAK causes myoclonic epileptic seizures (ME) and ataxia (A) in the body as a result of a mutation in the protein coding gene KCNC1, which mediates potassium (K) ion channels that are key components for body movement. The seizures are highly disruptive and often inhibit MEAK sufferers from doing the most common day to day tasks. The disease is also exceedingly rare. To date, there are only twenty people in the world who have MEAK, and only one case has been found in the United States: Lauren.

As one might expect, since there is so little research on MEAK at this time, doctors have yet to discover a cure. So, Lauren continues to be bound to her wheelchair and continues to experience myoclonic seizures. But that is far from all she is doing!

In 2013, Lauren joined the Roll Call Wheelchair Dance program headed by renowned coach, and long-time Dance With Me friend, Mr. John Nymchek. It did not take long for Lauren to realize that she had found a therapy for her condition, even if science had yet to find a cure. Her love of dance eventually led her to continue her training at Dance With Me studios with her new instructor, David Dowding.

David has made good on his promise. In her time since she began at Dance With Me, Lauren has progressed from social dancing, to solo performances (that rarely leave a dry eye in the house), and most recently, to dancing in her first ever competition.

*Writer’s Note: I had the good fortune of being a judge for Lauren’s first competitive dances. If you are picturing a simple performance that is more a moral victory of sorts, think again! Lauren’s routines are well choreographed (not by me) and well rehearsed! From her hair, to her dress, to her arm styling, Lauren takes her dancing very seriously, and we would all do well to mimic her dedication to her craft.

What is next for Lauren? More dancing of course! With each performance she strives to hone her technique, challenge herself, and enjoy the renewed sense of joy, community, and purpose dance has given to her. She wants to bring awareness to MEAK, but she does not want to be defined by it.

There is only one person in the United States who has been diagnosed with MEAK, and she…is a dancer.

Post Script: At her most recent competition, Lauren danced a bachata with her instructor, David – not from her wheelchair, but standing. When the call came from the emcee for everyone to get on their feet, Lauren was there.

Categories
awedancing

To Discover Passion

Do I take this new job?📈 Do I move to this new city? 🏙Do I eat the last doughnut? 😋

As humans, we make decisions in the hopes of creating feelings (immediate or delayed) of passion, excitement, purpose, love, relief, or any other emotion that make us feel, well, happy.

So what actually makes us happy? This question has plagued philosophers for thousands of years, yet happiness holds no secrets for Dance With Me Student, Mary Lou Quinlan.

As her busy career in advertising in New York City came to an end, Mary Lou had a choice to make, she could quietly slip into a life of conformity or she could choose to pursue happiness. And pursue it she did, through dance!

Learning to dance can seem like a daunting task, at any age. The mind naturally comes up with a million reasons why not to do it.

“I’ve got two left feet.” ” I could fall on my face.” “I have no rhythm.” “I’m too tall.” “I’m too big.” “I’m too old.” “People will laugh at me.”

But dance isn’t about nailing every routine, remembering every step, or trying to be perfect. Dance is about moving your body, connecting with another human, learning new skills, listening to great music,  and most importantly letting go and having fun!

The reality is anyone can do it, and everyone can enjoy it. Music, and consequently dance, is inherently human, and has been a part of all cultures for thousands of years.

What started as a casual hobby, something to keep herself busy, has become a lifestyle that keeps her healthy and happy. Who knew that an introductory lesson would turn into dancing with some of the best dancers in the world. Who could’ve imagined she’d be coached by champions and even competing with the likes of Maks & Val Chmerkovskiy? 

Through the transformative power of dance, Mary Lou is able to connect with herself. The wide range of ballroom dances allows her to reconnect with parts of herself she’d set aside over the years, and discover new ones she never knew existed!

Categories
awedancing

Street Dance

A year after being recommended ballroom dance as a fun way to workout, Karin pushed through the initial fear of the unknown and fell in love with it.

Having started out with only latin dances, Karin now dances 3 styles and competes on a regular basis!

Bottom line: Coaching as a business tool continues to gain legitimacy, but the fundamentals of the industry are still in flux. In this market, as in so many others today, the old saw still applies: Buyer beware!

There’s no question that future leaders will need constant coaching. As the business environment becomes more complex, they will increasingly turn to coaches for help in understanding how to act. The kind of coaches I am talking about will do more than influence behaviors; they will be an essential part of the leader’s learning process, providing knowledge, opinions, and judgment in critical areas. These coaches will be retired CEOs or other experts from universities, think tanks, and government.

Categories
awedancing

Dance the stress away!

A year after being recommended ballroom dance as a fun way to workout, Karin pushed through the initial fear of the unknown and fell in love with it.

Having started out with only latin dances, Karin now dances 3 styles and competes on a regular basis!

Bottom line: Coaching as a business tool continues to gain legitimacy, but the fundamentals of the industry are still in flux. In this market, as in so many others today, the old saw still applies: Buyer beware!

There’s no question that future leaders will need constant coaching. As the business environment becomes more complex, they will increasingly turn to coaches for help in understanding how to act. The kind of coaches I am talking about will do more than influence behaviors; they will be an essential part of the leader’s learning process, providing knowledge, opinions, and judgment in critical areas. These coaches will be retired CEOs or other experts from universities, think tanks, and government.

Categories
awedancing

5 Reasons Ballroom Dancing Is The Best Date Night Idea!

5 Reasons Ballroom Dancing Is The Best Date Night Idea!

🕺  1. Break the ice!

Whether it’s a first date or not, ballroom dancing is a surefire way to get to know someone and bypass the awkward smalltalk most of us dread!

Think about it, being engaged in a fun activity will keep your mind from wandering and avoid boring or weird moments of silence. Learning something new will keep you grounded in the moment and more importantly, off your phone.

💃 2. Confidence & Self-Esteem!

Learning something new satisfies our sense of achievement, which means you and your date will get a shot of confidence, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t need a little boost on a date? ?

Besides, showing that you’re willing to try new things with an open mind is an attractive quality. 

🕺 3. Teamwork!

Ballroom dancing by definition is partner dancing, which means it’s perfect for date night! The most difficult part of dating is finding common ground, and bonding with the other person in a meaningful way. Learning to ballroom dance automatically gives you and your date a common goal to work towards, an experience that you share.

Ballroom dancing is all about teamwork, an understanding that one of you will lead and the other will follow. It involves trust and respect and is a great stepping stone for a healthy relationship!

🕺 4. Memorable!

Is it just me or is dating in our decade unbelievably boring? Dinner, drinks, maybe a movie… dates tend to be repetitive and kind of blend together.

Break up the routine by surprising your date with a memorable date night. Dancing is an immersive activity where the focus isn’t on you as an individual but rather the partnership between two people. Things are always more fun with someone else!

💃  5. Intimate!

Naturally, ballroom dancing involves physical contact and moving two bodies in rhythm.

The skills you learn dancing transcend beyond the dance floor.

So why not give an excuse to get close, and get to know each other a little better?

——
Have you ever taken a dance lesson as a first date?
What is your idea of a perfect first date? ?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to share!

Categories
awedancing

Quiz: Which Dancing With The Stars Season 24 Cast Member Are You?

Season 24 of Dancing With The Stars is just around the corner…👏🏆

Dancing With The Stars is almost back with what promises to be the most exciting season yet!🎉

Out of the stars alone, this season is jam-packed with athletes! 💪 Let’s tally it up, we have 2 Olympic medalists, a bull riding champion, a professional MLB player, an NFL running back and that’s just half of the cast!

We can hardly wait for the show to kick-off, and if you’re anything like us you’ve imagined yourself on the show, waltzing with ease in front of the cameras as the four judges held up perfect tens! One can dream…💭✨

While we can’t make those dreams come true…we can get you one step closer!

Find out which Season 24 cast member you are by taking our quiz below! 👇

Categories
awedancing

Quiz: Which Dance Matches Your Personality?

Ever wondered which dance truly represents your personality? 🤔

Would you describe yourself as a spicy salsa? 🌶
Maybe you are more of a graceful waltz?✨
No? Ok…then how about the passionate paso doble!💃
Maybe you’re here because you got sucked into the personality quiz rabbit hole and you have no clue what you would be. No worries. We can help!

Take the quiz below 👇 to find out which dance best matches your personality! You just might surprise yourself.

Warning: may cause sudden urges to dance! 💃

Categories
awedancing

Did Next Changed Her Life – Lauren Arena Student Story

It is the rally cry of DJ’s, wedding emcees, and performing artists everywhere…

It is a call to action – less of a command and more of a motivational plea. It is an encouragement to get on the dance floor and in doing so, to be bold, to take chances, and to make the most of each moment. Admirable as it is, however, such a call makes one innocent but very important assumption: it assumes the listener can get on their feet.

When Lauren Arena was ten years old she began to experience seizures along with an involuntary twitching sensation in her hands and arms. Despite numerous consultations and testings, no diagnosis could be made as to why. The situation worsened. The muscle spasms progressed to her legs and torso. She was eventually bound to a wheelchair. More testing. No results. Her speech began to be affected. Finally, Lauren’s situation led her to take part in a study conducted by scientists from around the globe. In November of 2014, she was diagnosed with a condition known as MEAK.

As Lauren’s mother Angela so aptly mentions, the name MEAK (a homonym for the adjective describing a quiet and gentle nature) is nothing short of ironic. After all, there is nothing “gentle” about Lauren’s condition. MEAK causes myoclonic epileptic seizures (ME) and ataxia (A) in the body as a result of a mutation in the protein coding gene KCNC1, which mediates potassium (K) ion channels that are key components for body movement. The seizures are highly disruptive and often inhibit MEAK sufferers from doing the most common day to day tasks. The disease is also exceedingly rare. To date, there are only twenty people in the world who have MEAK, and only one case has been found in the United States: Lauren.

As one might expect, since there is so little research on MEAK at this time, doctors have yet to discover a cure. So, Lauren continues to be bound to her wheelchair and continues to experience myoclonic seizures. But that is far from all she is doing!

In 2013, Lauren joined the Roll Call Wheelchair Dance program headed by renowned coach, and long-time Dance With Me friend, Mr. John Nymchek. It did not take long for Lauren to realize that she had found a therapy for her condition, even if science had yet to find a cure. Her love of dance eventually led her to continue her training at Dance With Me studios with her new instructor, David Dowding.

David has made good on his promise. In her time since she began at Dance With Me, Lauren has progressed from social dancing, to solo performances (that rarely leave a dry eye in the house), and most recently, to dancing in her first ever competition.

*Writer’s Note: I had the good fortune of being a judge for Lauren’s first competitive dances. If you are picturing a simple performance that is more a moral victory of sorts, think again! Lauren’s routines are well choreographed (not by me) and well rehearsed! From her hair, to her dress, to her arm styling, Lauren takes her dancing very seriously, and we would all do well to mimic her dedication to her craft.

What is next for Lauren? More dancing of course! With each performance she strives to hone her technique, challenge herself, and enjoy the renewed sense of joy, community, and purpose dance has given to her. She wants to bring awareness to MEAK, but she does not want to be defined by it.

There is only one person in the United States who has been diagnosed with MEAK, and she…is a dancer.

Post Script: At her most recent competition, Lauren danced a bachata with her instructor, David – not from her wheelchair, but standing. When the call came from the emcee for everyone to get on their feet, Lauren was there.

Categories
awedancing

How To Discover Passion

Do I take this new job?📈 Do I move to this new city? 🏙Do I eat the last doughnut? 😋

As humans, we make decisions in the hopes of creating feelings (immediate or delayed) of passion, excitement, purpose, love, relief, or any other emotion that make us feel, well, happy.

So what actually makes us happy? This question has plagued philosophers for thousands of years, yet happiness holds no secrets for Dance With Me Student, Mary Lou Quinlan.

As her busy career in advertising in New York City came to an end, Mary Lou had a choice to make, she could quietly slip into a life of conformity or she could choose to pursue happiness. And pursue it she did, through dance!

Learning to dance can seem like a daunting task, at any age. The mind naturally comes up with a million reasons why not to do it.

“I’ve got two left feet.” ” I could fall on my face.” “I have no rhythm.” “I’m too tall.” “I’m too big.” “I’m too old.” “People will laugh at me.”

But dance isn’t about nailing every routine, remembering every step, or trying to be perfect. Dance is about moving your body, connecting with another human, learning new skills, listening to great music,  and most importantly letting go and having fun!

The reality is anyone can do it, and everyone can enjoy it. Music, and consequently dance, is inherently human, and has been a part of all cultures for thousands of years.

What started as a casual hobby, something to keep herself busy, has become a lifestyle that keeps her healthy and happy. Who knew that an introductory lesson would turn into dancing with some of the best dancers in the world. Who could’ve imagined she’d be coached by champions and even competing with the likes of Maks & Val Chmerkovskiy? 

Through the transformative power of dance, Mary Lou is able to connect with herself. The wide range of ballroom dances allows her to reconnect with parts of herself she’d set aside over the years, and discover new ones she never knew existed!

Categories
awedancing

Dance the stress away! – Eva Markeh

A year after being recommended ballroom dance as a fun way to workout, Karin pushed through the initial fear of the unknown and fell in love with it.

Having started out with only latin dances, Karin now dances 3 styles and competes on a regular basis!

Bottom line: Coaching as a business tool continues to gain legitimacy, but the fundamentals of the industry are still in flux. In this market, as in so many others today, the old saw still applies: Buyer beware!

There’s no question that future leaders will need constant coaching. As the business environment becomes more complex, they will increasingly turn to coaches for help in understanding how to act. The kind of coaches I am talking about will do more than influence behaviors; they will be an essential part of the leader’s learning process, providing knowledge, opinions, and judgment in critical areas. These coaches will be retired CEOs or other experts from universities, think tanks, and government.