International Dance Day – This One Goes to the Ones Who Built Me…


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A dancer is not just born… Legendary dancers come from hard work, faith, and an ineffable passion. Great dancers also fuel that faith from supporters who cheer them on with every step. I wanted to focus on some really special people to me in dance: my coaches.

I cannot deny that my Phamily and friends have been such a really outstanding source of support. However, these are not merely coaches to me. The contribution they have given  my life goes far beyond instruction. These people keep my passion going, so that my enthusiasm for my “reality’s escape” never dies out.

When I talk about coaches I have to start with home. The refinement process needs a guide. Enter Ben Clemons. This man showed me what the hell connection meant. haha #ConnectionKing Thanks to him, I was able to communicate through my movement much more effectively. No matter if I am on my crappiest day or if I am totally feeling the groove that night, Clemons challenges me. No other leader puts so much faith in me. Ben’s personable charm has lead him not only to be my home coach, but the older brother I never had. They say, your dance coach should not be your life coach. Well, screw them! haha Clemons puts so much care into not only his students’ learning, but making sure they enjoy every part of dancing. He is truly in a league of his own.

Speaking of home coaches… I cannot forget Miss Tracy Staten. I only worked with her twice. I had this resistance… There would be moments where I would stop myself or not be comfortable in certain patterns. Tracy’s sass, humor, and warmth brought out my inner diva in West Coast Swing. The lessons I had were easy-going, super helpful with ladies styling, and gave me more confidence – something I lacked for a long time. Staten is going to go far not only in dance, but in all aspects of her life – with that sassy, determined, and witty personality. Oh… and Tracy, #DeborahSzekelyForever #DontTakeYourEyesOffYaPartnersChestYouUnderstandMe

The coach that I always look forward to working with even if it is once or twice a year. 😉 Michael Kielbasa Do not stop being 100% real! Dance needs someone who is not afraid to sugar coat things, because they see that potential. The fact you go beyond the lesson, and answer my questions off the floor is something I do not take for granted. Your infectious zeal and devotion to your students is rare for someone of your caliber. Michael, you never cease to amaze me. #KeepGoingAboveAndBeyonce 😉

To Ben, Tracy, and Michael, I am still at the very beginning… but I feel so thankful. Your encouragement, knowledge, and “life-coaching” affirmations help me more on this journey than you will ever know. This whimsical westie’s fire keeps burning bright thanks to coaches like you.

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