The Importance of Finding Your Passion

Happy Saturday everyone! I just came back from another private lesson with Natalja, which I will write about on another date. Right now, I want to talk about the importance of finding your passion and working towards your dreams. I know, it sounds cliche, but the importance of finding something you love cannot be understated.

From age five to fifteen, I dedicated myself to gymnastics. Gymnastics was my passion for those ten years. It was all I ever wanted to do.  However, my parents emphasized the importance of finding balance in life- in my case, I had to maintain straight A’s in school, otherwise no more gymnastics. With my busy training schedule, I was forced to be extremely efficient with my schoolwork. There was no such thing as fooling around and getting distracted by electronics while studying. At school, I couldn’t afford to zone out in class- I had to give the teacher 150% of my attention during lectures, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to keep up with academics.

When I got injured two years ago and had to quit the sport, my life changed completely. I lost my passion. And with that, I lost my fire, my drive, my motivation. Going from training nearly every day to nothing was especially difficult. I was lost. I didn’t know what to do with my time. I used to put in all my energy and focus to whatever I did- be it school, piano, flute, you name it. Without gymnastics, I slacked off. I got distracted by my phone when studying. I no longer woke up early before school to exercise. For my whole life, everybody- my family, my coaches, my teachers, my friends- all knew me as the hard worker. I was blessed with an incredible work ethic. However, after gymnastics, I was no longer this person that everyone knew me to be, and because of that, I suffered an identity crisis.

Thankfully, one week ago, I finally jumped out of that low point in my life. Why? Because I found a new passion- ballroom dance. I have found my fire that lay dormant for the last two years. For the past week, I haven’t even looked at my phone while doing homework and studying. For the past week, I’ve practiced ballroom whenever time allowed- before school, at lunchtime, right after school, and late at night after studying. I have found myself again. And I am forever grateful to our Father in Heaven for helping me through a rough patch and emerge stronger than ever.

Moral of the story: You must find your passion, but it is only when you truly love something that you can excel at it. When you have a passion, nobody forces you to pursue it- you are your own driving force. This is how people become successful at what they do. More than that, though, having a passion gives you a purpose in life. Words cannot describe what it feels like to have a passion. I’ve never fallen in love with a person, but I can imagine that having a passion for something is, in many ways, similar. All you ever think about is your passion. Working at your passion doesn’t feel like work- you lose yourself in it. Of course, there are perils to devoting your life to one particular thing- you lack balance. Putting all your eggs in one basket can either make you or break you. I learned this the hard way with gymnastics- I dedicated my life to the sport, only to get injured and lose it all. With my new passion for ballroom dance, I will learn from the past. I will devote myself to ballroom and work hard as hell to reach my best personal potential, but this time around, I will also make sure to maintain balance in life. This doesn’t mean simply keeping up good grades- it means having friends both at school and ballroom; having other side interests besides ballroom; making time for family.

I have to go eat lunch now, but I hope this post was inspiring and thought-provoking to at least one person 🙂

Talk to you guys soon!

First Official Ballroom Class!


Hey everyone! So today I had my first “official” ballroom lesson with Natasha. The class I had two days ago was a half hour free trial, so I could dip my foot into the vast ocean of ballroom dance. Today was when the real deal started.

Before starting the lesson, Natasha introduced me to her professional partner, Arkadiy, who was also giving a private lesson at the time. Natasha and Arkadiy are world renown latin dancers, which is pretty awesome.

For the next 45 minutes, Natasha taught me the basics of rumba, also known as the slow, romantic, sensual dance. Rumba has the fundamental elements prevalent in all latin dances, which is why I learned this dance first.

Initially, I was a bit disappointed that we were doing rumba, because I had really been hoping that I could learn more upbeat party dances, like samba, cha-cha or jive. When I watch rumba videos on youtube, I always think that this dance is so simple. Boy was I mistaken. There are so many technicalities that go into this dance: the smooth, flowing hip movements, the latin style footwork, the arms, the balancing of body weight. While gymnastics does help me pick up choreography very quickly, it became apparent today that gymnastics also works to my disadvantage, as there were many bad habits that needed breaking. For instance, I have a tendency to stand with my back slightly arched, because of gymnastics. Natasha told me that in ballroom, you don’t want an arched back. Rather, your entire spine has to be straight- neither arched nor hunched. As for my footwork, my ballet training has taught me to always step with a turned out foot. In latin dances, you don’t want this.

Natasha then introduced me to my first ballroom dance partner: a chair! The chair, whom I nicknamed Mr. Chair, is a great partner because with him, I don’t have to worry about balancing body weight and all the other stuff that sucks about dealing with another person 😉 The majority of the class consisted of me and Mr. Chair doing the rumba footwork across the waxed hard-wood floor. It’s funny because the majority of rumba is walking, but you have to walk in a smooth, elegant, graceful way with the proper hip movements. Then there’s the added difficulty of keeping up with the music. Each dance has its own distinct counting sequence, and your movements have to match these sequences. Thankfully, my background in piano and flute made this much easier.

All in all, my first ballroom lesson went very well. I have a lot of practicing to do, because I’m practically learning a new language right now- the language of ballroom dance. Natasha said that with my body, there are no limits whatsoever as to what I can do. I just have to learn the language.

My next lesson with Natasha will be on Saturday, I believe. Meanwhile, I will practice daily all of the homework Natasha has assigned me, and hopefully I can compete soon!

Until next time,

Belicia XOXO

Ballroom Dance!!!!

Hi everyone! I have not posted in SO long. Man, I’ve missed blogging. School’s been insanely hectic, and there are many new things going on in my life that I have been dying to share with you guys!

I’ve been getting more serious with ballroom dance after quitting diving. I’m currently attending a month-long cha-cha group class every Monday. I also take salsa classes every Friday night. Both are going very well, my gymnastics background helps me pick up ballroom dance very quickly. Yesterday, I took my first private lesson from a professional ballroom dancer, Natasha. Natasha is a world champion ballroom dancer specializing in latin dance. Taking a lesson from her was truly a great experience.

She taught me a couple of dance styles: samba and cha-cha. I picked up the steps very quickly, and she asked if I had former dance experience. I told her I was a gymnast for ten years, which explains my good coordination and body kinesthetics. I told Natasha that I really wanted to do ballroom competitively, and Natasha said I have great potential. I expressed my concern over my age, since I assumed starting anything competitively at sixteen is too late, but Natasha said I’m a “baby” in the ballroom world 🙂 She told me about a ten time German world champion ballroom dancer, Carmen, who started dancing at age 18. Obviously, Carmen had to work very hard for such achievements, but this still gave me a lot of hope. Natasha said I radiate the passion for dance, and my personality is like that of a “party girl”. She concluded that my body, dance style and personality are suited for latin dance, rather than international standard. This surprised me initially, since latin is known as a “sexy” style of dance, and I’m generally shy around people, but I guess when I dance I’m able to break out of my shell and let loose. I gained more confidence in my ability to dance latin when, after the lesson, I went to a store to buy ballroom dance shoes. The lady running the store is a professional ballroom dancer. She told me that as I was testing out the shoes on the hardwood floor, she could immediately tell that I was a latin dancer.

Tomorrow I have a 45 minute private with Natasha, which I am SUPER excited about! I love ballroom dance so much. After getting injured and not being able to do rhythmic gymnastics, I felt completely lost, as I didn’t know who I was or what I would do without gymnastics. Now, with ballroom, I feel that I have found something that fills the void that losing gymnastics has left in me. While nothing can replace gymnastics, I’m really looking forward to creating new memories and venturing down a new path with ballroom.