[Giveaway] Take a step closer to your dreams at the Alamo Star Ball

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed.

When you watch ballroom dancing, what thoughts go through your mind? Maybe something like: “That looks beautiful, but I could never do that.”

Maybe it’s time to take a step closer to your dreams. The Alamo Star Ball, on Saturday, January 24, 2015, is a ballroom dance competition with a variety of events. The organizers of the Alamo Star Ball gave me a pair of daytime tickets and a pair of evening tickets to give away. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this blog post no later than Wednesday, January 21. Please let me know if you have a preference between daytime or evening tickets. I’ll randomly choose the winners on Thursday, January 22 and send notice by email. Spectator tickets are also available for purchase.

Giveaway: Pairs of spectator tickets to Alamo Star Ball, January 25, 2015 | San Antonio Charter Moms

Learning to dance has been on my bucket list for a long time, but I had never made it a priority. More recently, it occurred to me that dancing is something that my kids and I could learn together. At Great Hearts high schools in Arizona, the school dances feature live music, and all the students learn ballroom dance; learn more in this earlier postThis inspired visions in my head of F.T. and G.N. learning to ballroom dance. I hope that Great Hearts Monte Vista will adopt the ballroom dance tradition as the campus grows

As a mom, I can see the benefits of ballroom dance for our family. I want to raise my kids to act like ladies and gentleman. We are a bunch of introverts, but dance provides a structured way to interact.  I want my kids to move gracefully, but not in a way that is too suggestive or mature. Dances are a rite of passage, and part of the transition to adulthood.

Dancing has health benefits, too. It’s a fun way to get physical activity, and to build balance and grace.

Also, movement and dance are part of a well-balanced education. Learning to dance—even at a basic level—helps build appreciation for other forms of dance. My kids already appreciate ballet: here is an earlier post about The Nutcracker with Ballet San Antonio, and F.T.’s and G.N.’s review. Dancing to music builds an understanding of rhythm, and an appreciation of musical forms that are based on dance music.

Learning to dance, as a family activity, sounds like a fun, healthy, inspiring habit. But, where should we start?

I was recently invited to a group dance lesson with Esteban Cardenas, one of the organizers of the Alamo Star Ball, at the home of Cathy Burzik, a leader in the health care industry who is also a talented and passionate ballroom dancer.

Cathy Burzik, Inga Cotton, and Esteban Cardenas | San Antonio Charter Moms

Esteban is the owner and director of Studio One, a dance studio with a group of experienced instructors, offering instruction many dance styles, in group or private lessons, for adults and children. As a perk for attending the group lesson, I won six weeks of dance lessons for F.T. and me.

Esteban said that kids pick things up quickly. They are open minded and ready to try anything. As an adult, I have to deal with the mental aspect. As a child, and up through my twenties, I tended to be a perfectionist, and the fear of making mistakes prevented me from trying new things. If I couldn’t get good at something quickly, I would feel ashamed and embarrassed, and then give up.

Becoming a mom has helped me to let go of perfectionism. My relationship with my kids is more important than trying to make things perfect. When you have a limited amount of time, you make trade-offs. Instead of spending a long time making the perfect dinner, I would rather make an efficient dinner and have time left over to read a book together.

Always keep smiling | San Antonio Charter MomsEsteban is a great teacher, upbeat and patient. After just one lesson, I’m not saying I’m a great dancer, but I am proud that I’ve found a way to have fun, even at something that I’m not good at yet.

Cathy offered her advice about making mistakes: “Always keep smiling.” She explained that if you dwell on your mistakes, you become distracted, and then you can’t perform at your best. Instead, when you make a mistake, it’s best to put it out of your mind as quickly as you can, and keep dancing joyfully. Cathy’s advice is an important lesson in resilience that can be applied to many areas of life.

Esteban showed us several smooth dances, including waltz and foxtrot. He also showed us some rhythm dances, but it will take more practice for me to get a handle on the snappier motions.

Esteban Cardenas of Studio One with Inga Cotton | San Antonio Charter Moms

There are different aspects to learning how to dance. Fundamentally, you need to listen to the music. I love music; it lifts my soul. (This earlier post is my to-do list of musical performances to help me beat the winter blues.)

In addition to the music, you need to pay attention to your partner. Esteban is a skillful leader and made my job so much easier. He leads by moving his center of gravity in the right direction, and letting his feet follow.

And, it just takes practice to develop a sense of where your body is. We learned not to look at our feet, or we would get confused. When you make it fun, make it a party, then practice doesn’t feel like a chore—instead, it’s full of joy. I’m looking forward to practicing with my kids, as a family.

According to Esteban, sometimes people say they have too much going on in their lives to make time for dancing. Then they try it, fall it love with it, and it becomes part of their lives. The Alamo Star Ball, on Saturday, January 24, is an opportunity to be inspired by beautiful dancing.

To enter the giveaway for a pair of spectator tickets to the Alamo Star Ball, please leave a comment—letting me know if you prefer daytime or evening tickets—on this blog post no later than Wednesday, January 21. I’ll randomly choose the winners on Thursday, January 22 and send notice by email.

Disclosure: Esteban gave me four tickets to the Alamo Star Ball (two daytime, two evening) to give away to my readers. Also, at the dance lesson, I won six weeks of dance lessons for my son and me.

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