Ruth Trimble’s home office suits her perfectly—tidy, organized, a bookshelf featuring dance anatomy books and physical therapy texts. Flowers add a whimsical touch along with multiple cups of colorful pens and highlighters to the side. A cork board hangs, full of sticky notes depicting the day’s tasks, both work and dance related. It is evident that Ruth cares deeply about all the finite details in her life from her office and profession, all the way to her dancing.
Ruth was raised in Hong Kong and was not a fan of dance during her childhood. She started ballet as a child and dabbled in Chinese traditional dancing, but quit. She was bored. Ruth instead found a passion for long-distance running and continued through junior high and high school, “it was something I was good at, and I was a little impatient and wild as a kid so I liked running or brisk walking!” she laughed.
After graduating from high school, Ruth moved to the United States where she attended Brigham Young University. BYU is known world-wide for its dance programs, so naturally, Ruth gave dance another shot, “I had no idea what I was doing,” Ruth said, “but I liked practicing by myself. I would go into a busy dance room and stand alone, practicing my Cha Cha basic for a half hour every day after class.” Much to Ruth’s surprise, she didn’t have the urge to quit. She wasn’t bored. She wanted more. We know the feeling 😀
Each semester, Ruth signed up for another ballroom class. Her third class was taught by Travis Tuft, a current top World and National Open Professional Smooth Finalist, who was also attending BYU at the time. Talk about inspiring. One day, Ruth’s classmate asked if she was interested in being his partner. Ruth agreed her competitive ballroom journey began. She was resilient through both school and dance—spending hours practicing, feathers in the dance studio, and functions of the human brain in psychology textbooks.
Upon graduating with a psychology degree, Ruth decided that she did not want to pursue a career in clinical psychology. She toured a school to continue her education in New York, but deep down she knew this was not the path for her. Ruth accepted an instructor position at a dance studio in New Jersey, and left Utah in the summer of 2013. She is outstanding in many ways, and her ability to listen to her gut is something we admire her for. This is one decision she does not regret.
Ruth began her teaching career. It made us warm to know a highlight of this journey was preparing for Dance Vision Certifications, “I liked teaching, but I really enjoyed studying the Dance Vision Syllabi [as I prepared for exams].” She said it, not us! 😀 Within 11 months in New Jersey, she completed four Dance Vision Instructor Certifications. As she learned more about the theory and techniques behind dance, Ruth wondered how she could contribute to the dance community beyond instruction.
Ruth moved to Utah where she could pursue a degree in Physical Therapy, in hopes of working with ballroom dancers as a clinician. Her school schedule did not allow her to travel, so she paused her competitive career, but that didn’t keep her away from the dance studio. Ruth practiced solo daily, took lessons from her coach—US Professional Ten Dance Finalist, Adjudicator and Dance Vision Examiner, Michael Johnson, and completed two more certifications with Dance Vision in the meantime. “Ruth is a consummate professional” said Michael, “Whether in her quest to dance professionally or her quest to be a Doctor of Physical Therapy, she demonstrates the highest quality and standard in her crafts. Ruth knows her stuff, inside and out,” he said. A raving review.
As Ruth approached graduation, she began a new professional partnership with fellow studio-goer, Robbie Cromwell. Today they continue to travel and compete professionally in Open Professional American Smooth...on the same floor as Travis Tuft, we might add. The same teacher who inspired her during the beginning of her dance journey at BYU. Talk about full circle.
Today, as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Ruth balances helping patients, while practicing and competing with her professional partner, Robbie. While she is not a full-time instructor, Ruth remains grateful for her instructor certifications—with them she gained a tremendous understanding of dance, which has supported her development as a competitive dancer, and helped her discover new ways to look at human movement in relation to her profession as a Physical Therapist.
Ruth is a shining example which reminds us to pursue our passions, prioritize what makes us tick, and to always follow our gut—her recipe for success.
Who is a dancer that you admire and why?
Ruth had a difficult time choosing just ONE dancer. She's a YouTube fiend, knowing every dance video online, backwards and forwards—every dancer, every dress, every round. After much deliberation (so we know she really meant it when she answered!) Ruth landed on Marzena Stachura. “She inspired me to do the American Smooth Style when I first started dancing and saw her dance at the Desert Classic Dancesport Championships.”
PS—Marzena and her husband Slawek Sochachi, 4-time undefeated US and World Professional American Smooth Champions, are Dance Vision Examiners and our Ambassadors to the country of Poland. They rock!
What tips do you have for a dancer who wants to eventually dance professionally?
“Figure out why you want to dance.” Ruth emphasized that this will be your guiding light when things are difficult because, “hard work is not glamorous—it’s not an easy journey.”
Tell us about your costuming, we hear there is something unique about it?
“Robbie makes my costumes!” Ruth smiled, “we send each other a list of what must be 1,000 costumes, based on what we want to emphasize or present in our dancing, then we sketch designs, change details, Robbie makes the dress, and we stone it together.”
Robbie had some kind words to say about Ruth, “I admire her conviction and her drive to constantly improve. She is a wonderful partner and I'm grateful to dance with her.”
Do you have a fun story about a recent competition?
Ruth laughed, “According to one of our competitors, we ‘got a little too passionate on the dance floor’.” Ruth and Robbie head-butt each other at the Colorado Star Ball ballroom competition, resulting in Ruth’s nose “losing the fight.” Her nose started bleeding profusely, and the Chairman of the competition paused the event.
Ruth and Robbie, with the help of some friends, stuck paper towels in Ruth’s nose and they went back on the floor. The best part? She still managed to perform with joy in her soul shining through and made the cut into the next round, paper towel and all.