Grace Brott – Growing with Ballroom Dancing

My STEP Project focused primarily on improving my skills of ballroom dancing. This was done by taking private lessons throughout the summer and fall semester and serving as a student mentor on DanceSport, the ballroom dancing club at Ohio State.

As this project took place, I soon realized just how little I actually knew about ballroom dancing going into the project. I ended up going back to much of the fundamental basics of the various ballroom dance styles. Learning the fundamentals in a way I had previously overlooked allowed me to understand more complex moves or technical aspects of dance I struggled with in the past. Furthermore, this allowed me to learn more complex moves that were beyond my prediction going into the STEP project. As I grew in skill level, I also found myself more equipped and able to teach others in a coherent way during mentoring sessions in which I helped incoming members to the team.

I now also feel much more confident dancing with others I may not know as well during classes or competitions because I have gained confidence in myself and a greater understanding of what is expected of me as a follow in a ballroom dancing partnership. Additionally to this I have learned how to practice efficiently in a way that retains and can be implemented into the next lesson or practice session. I also grew closer and more comfortable with my dance coach Jeff Goltiao who I also took lessons from, and found it easier to ask questions that were actually impactful for me to grow and learn from.

Throughout my time dancing before my STEP project, I rarely attended events held by the club or even classes if my close friends were not able to make it. Despite wanting to dance, my struggles with personal body image have also impacted my participation and attendance. This STEP project forced me to contact my coach, one of our team’s professional dancers, for a private lesson. My first lesson I was extremely nervous and unconfident with every step I took. Jeff was always supportive and willing to slow things down enough that I could understand, but always made sure to keep pushing the borders of my comfort zone. By the end of the project I looked forward to the lessons and learning new moves and styles of dance. I also felt much more comfortable with myself and being in the mindset of dancing and not worrying about my body while I danced. I also felt more encouraged to attend events outside of DanceSport sanctioned events on my own time to continue learning and dancing.

 

Growing as a dancer encouraged me to attend group dancing events out of my comfort zone, and not only has that strengthened my presence in the club, it has also showed me that I can be a capable mentor to others in the club! Through my STEP project I applied to be a student mentor to newcomers in the club. I primarily taught rhythm dances to others, but also taught smooth and standard dances as well. Serving as a student mentor was a cool experience because not only did it allow me to practice and better my skills through teaching, but I felt that it helped strengthen my relationship as an older club member and as Vice President with DanceSport with younger members. Creating relationships with older, experienced members with newer members has always been a topic of discussion for our executive board, so I feel that it is impactful that my STEP project could help bridge that gap between members. I also went to an event put on by Dance Edge Studio that connected Columbus high schoolers interested in dancing with college students. It was really impactful to interact with high schoolers and learn from their perspective while serving as a role model as well.

 

I chose to participate in Level Testing on our DanceSport team to check for improvement throughout the duration of my STEP Project. Before my STEP project, I had attempted to test into the Bronze class level three times and was not successful each time. However, this time during my STEP project I was successful and tested into the Bronze level! I feel like this moment was impactful in my transformative experience because up until that point I did not feel like it would be possible for me to successfully test into Bronze classes. However, the amount of practice over the summer and into the fall semester showed and was demonstrated through this successful testing experience. Moving forward past my project, I now feel inspired to keep working and eventually test into silver classes and continue to grow as a dancer.

 

Practicing Rumba in Lesson

I feel that my STEP project will impact me down the road because the entire project was not anything I would have considered to attempt on my own, but has taught me several lessons on healthy independence, confidence, and how hard work and practice pays off to grow with a skillset. Learning how to practice a little at a time over the course of a period of time through repetition has reflected in the way I do classwork or prepare for examinations or other noteworthy events. My STEP Project has instilled healthy habits that has impacted much of my daily life. Additionally, my STEP project has given me independence and confidence to learn things or attend events because I am interested in the material, not necessarily if my close friends are attending. I also would like to note that my STEP project has helped better my body image with myself because I discovered that my body type isn’t necessarily what was previously preventing me from growing as a dancer, it was more the way I was practicing and how I was learning. I believe that my STEP project has allowed me to grow more confident of a person and more determined to put in the work to grow better in whatever I hope to do, and to continue growing to be a better person along the way.

The videos posted below are my first and last lessons that show my progress over the course of the project.