Dance is Ageless

You can dance at any age. It not discriminate based on who you are, your age, or what your goals are...it welcomes you with open arms into its artistry, beauty of movement, and soulful expression.

Don't just take our word for it: we profiled six dancers across the country to show you that no matter when you and dance find each other, it can change your life as soon as you step on the floor.

Allette Heal, 7, Auburn, Washington

Young Ballroom Dancers
Dance Vision: How long have you been dancing?

Allette Heal: 4 years.


DV: Are you a social or competitive dancer?


AH: Competitive (all styles).


DV: Why do you dance?


AH: I get to go on trips with my family and win the awards!


DV: What is your favorite dance and why?


AH: Samba and Jive, because they’re bouncy!


DV: What does a normal practice look like for you?


AH: I try to focus. Sometimes I get distracted. I dance with my brother so he and my mom help me focus. I work on drills and technique, my favorite drill is practicing rise and fall in Waltz!


DV: What is your favorite dance memory?


AH: When I was in a competition, my grandma brought me a special prize! It was a cat stuffed animal.

 

Jiaxin Haslam, 16, Orem, Utah

American Smooth Gold Dress

Dance Vision: How long have you been dancing?

Jiaxin Haslam: 13 years

DV: Are you a social or competitive dancer?

JH: Competitive (American Smooth, International Latin, International Standard)

DV: Why do you dance? 

JH: I love to dance because I get inspired by other dancers, and so I love to dance and inspire people who watch me dance, too!

DV: What is your favorite dance and why?

JH: Smooth VW - it has the best music! And because of the music, you can really feel the emotion and get into it.

DV: What does a normal practice look like for you?

JH: I try to warm my feet up and warm up my body on my own before I put my shoes on. I do basics by myself after I put my shoes on, and then when we [my dance partner and I] come together, we start by going over what we did in lessons. From there, we kind of feel out what dance needs the most work, and then we practice that dance.

DV: What is your favorite dance memory?

JH: At a competition in Utah one November, I was dancing with my team. We did our team medley as a show; as we finished our last dance in the medley, the crowd went wild. There was so much excitement in the audience – knowing how much effort we had put into the medley and how the crowd loved it was a great feeling. 

 

Jacie Yardley, 17, Provo, Utah

Latin Dancing Girl Brown Dress

Dance Vision: How long have you been dancing?

Jacie Yardley: 3.5 years.

DV: Are you a social or competitive dancer?

JY: Competitive (American Smooth and International Latin competitively, I also train in International Standard).

DV: Why do you dance?

JY: I dance because I love everything about it. I love the world of dance, I love the art, I love the expression.

DV: What is your favorite dance and why?

JY: Cha Cha, because it encompasses my personality, it encompasses my love for dance.

DV: What does a normal practice look like for you?

JY: I practice for around four hours. I warm up for the first 30-45 minutes, then begin working with my partner. We focus on the technique and flow of the steps that we are working on. We start with small pieces and then work our way up to dancing with music.

DV: What is your favorite dance memory?

JY: My favorite dance memory would have to be when I was able to go to Disneyland with my entire team before covid, this was with the BYU Youth Dancesport program!

 

Joe Nugent, 27, Richmond, Virginia

Professional American Smooth Dancers

Dance Vision: How long have you been dancing?

Joe Nugent: 17 years.

DV: Are you a social or competitive dancer?

JN: Competitive (Professional American Smooth and International Ballroom). (Joe is also a Dance Vision Certified Instructor. Read more about that here!)

DV: Why do you dance?

JN: I’ve always loved dance. From a young age, I watched the classics and was very inspired – Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly – I had the dancing bug and wanted to dance. I wanted to explore the magic of dance, where you can be anything or do anything. When you put on the suit, you become that character that you’ve always wanted to be, and you’re transported to something ethereal. It can feel like you’re flying when you’re on the dance floor, because there is a sense of synergy with the movement, the music, and your partner. I feel like a superhero when I dance – maybe that’s cheesy. But there is a sense of magic when [an audience] can watch you and you can transport them somewhere else, to a mesmerizing feeling where they are captured by the story of the dance.

DV: What is your favorite dance and why?

JN: Smooth Foxtrot. It has a lot of the cinematic and jazzy elements that inspired me to dance from the get-go. It’s jazzy, playful, fun, and dynamic. It’s the quintessential dance that represents the fun of ballroom. To me, especially as an African American dancer, Foxtrot also represents rhythm and blues, and I feel very connected to this feeling.

DV: What does a normal practice look like for you?

JN: I start with basic exercises to warm up, like closed changes across the floor or working on central position [in Standard], warming up my muscles. This is all so that when I get connected with my dance partner, I am connected to my own body first and I have my mindset in the right frame. I like to talk to my dance partner and hear about her day, we like to make sure we are on the same page so that we can focus and have fun when we dance. Then we will start with a round and later break down concepts and technical aspects of the dance we are working on. We can’t focus on everything at once, so we work by inches, trying to get to that next inch to keep getting better.

DV: What is your favorite dance memory?

JN: I love those moments that are not planned and then something happens in the moment. Its spontaneous! That’s when memorable things come out out of your dancing. There was a year at Amateur Nationals where my dance partner and I were just engaging with the crows – we were doing things that were unexpected but it just felt right.

 

Brian Burt, 58, Federal Way, Washington

Social Dance Couple

Dance Vision: How long have you been dancing?

Brian Burt: 10 years.

DV: Are you a social or competitive dancer?

BB: Social, but I’ve competed twice!

DV: Why do you dance?

BB: For many reasons - enjoyment, physical health, mental health, social interaction, music.

DV: What is your favorite dance and why?

BB: Rumba, because it is the most romantic!

DV: What does a normal practice look like for you?

BB: I’m retired, so Joan (Brian’s wife) and I try to go to two or three social dances per week. There are lots of social dances in the Seattle area. Last week, we went to a social dance at someone’s home - the dance was held on a large deck overlooking a lake and there was a live band!

DV: What is your favorite dance memory?

BB: Dancing at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom with my wife. Beautiful old ballroom!

 

Linda Morse Bourgeois, 72, Richmond, VA

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Dance Vision: How long have you been dancing?

Linda Morse Bourgeois: 3 years...one was the COVID year! Fortunately the world’s renown professionals and respected online learning resources like Dance Vision offered a smorgasbord of lessons and advice for all levels of dancers.

DV: Are you a social or competitive dancer?

LMB: Competitive (International Latin and Standard).

DV: Why do you dance?

LMB: I adore music, enjoy learning new skills and when I saw my first live ballroom performance I was mesmerized. After a few group classes I began looking for the best Professional Teacher/Partner in the Mid-Atlantic region. Dancing inspires, enriches, enables your life and promotes both physical and mental health. It also fosters new friendships with other dancers.

DV: What is your favorite dance?

LMB: This is not an easy question to answer since each dance has its own character or “flavor”. I dance International Standard and Latin which have a strong emphasis on techniques, therefore you become very committed to dancing each dance in a unique style. However, I must say, Paso Doble is my favorite dance. The passion, fire, contra-body positions, skirt caping and interaction with your partner makes this dance exciting and an audience pleaser. In other dances, a lady’s partner showcases her to the audience and judges, but in Paso Doble the lady protects her partner and is “the flower within the frame he provides for her”, a quote from my teacher Ina Jeliazkova.

DV: What does a normal practice look like for you?

LMB: I totally believe practice is second only to choosing expert teachers for attaining my goals as a dancer. It is possible to spend hours practicing without improving at all. My practices do not focus on things I know, but challenging myself. Only by working at what I can't do well, or can not do at all, will I reach my goals.My teacher, Riccardo Pacini, tells me each practice should focus on one aspect of our routines or solos. It may be timing and dancing to the music, working on beat value, completing actions, brushing and keeping legs under body or leg speed. He says, “this is the bridge between knowing something mentally and being able to do it physically”.


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