Hey everyone, I am Michalis and I have been a Latin dancer since 2009. I had my first few lessons in Latin and Ballroom dancing in Athens, Greece where I was first introduced to Latin dancing. When I moved in Bristol, UK to continue my studies, I joined BULABDS, the Bristol University Latin American and Ballroom Dance Society.
“Shoot for the Stars” Attitude
I remember, when I joined BULABDS I wanted to enter at the highest dancing level possible. That is me trying to challenge myself and shoot for the stars with little to no knowledge. One thing that this taught me is this: “When you know very little you think you know everything and the more you learn the more you realize how little you know”. I started learning novice and intermediate level routines but I soon gave up on intermediate as I couldn’t handle it.
Social or Competitive Dancing
At the time I was doing it more for social fun than competitively and I did not put much effort into it. That first year I went to only one competition at Blackpool. Danced there for few rounds at Novice Latin before getting disqualified. However, I loved the atmosphere and the energy there. Competing is a great way to challenge yourself, measure your progress, and push yourself to higher standards.
Disappointment and Frustration
In the following years dancing at Intermediate level I was going to classes, learning my routines and practice. However, my results were disappointing. In competitions I could not go through a single round and I could not understand why. I was doing everything I was told to do! On one competition I was almost in tears, I just wanted to go at least through a round, I wanted to feel progress and success. That is when I made a promise to myself: I will figure out what is not working and find a way to become a better dancer so I can have better results at the competitions.
“If you do what you always did you will get what you always got”. Based on this principle I started changing things. I made the decision to create my own choreographies. The good thing about this is that you can dance what feels most comfortable to you and what expresses you the best. And in the end if you are going to fail or succeed doing this you only have yourself to blame. Doing this led me to watch dancing videos from professionals to get ideas and this led me to get better results. Now I was consistently doing better on competitions but there was still something missing.
Knowledge + Practice = Results. The source for knowledge for dancing can be your coaches who possess much more experience and knowledge than you do on dancing. Another source of knowledge, which played significant role for me is teaching videos, most of them free on YouTube from Blackpool Dance Congress and other events where top professional dancers teach and share their knowledge on dancing as well as other teaching products/courses from top professional dancers that you can purchase.
The fruitful results
Step forward to 2013. I was finally getting the results I was aiming for, being a finalist in every competition, winning most of them, including the most prestigious Blackpool IVDC 2014 competition. An ecstatic day where I enjoyed every second of it brought me celebrating on the 1st place of Intermediate Latin. You can see on the photo below my reaction after the announcement of the results.
Onwards and Upwards
From that point on based on my experience and knowledge I furthered improved my dancing and competed in Advanced Level Latin competitions winning many of them.
How can I help you
As we live in the “information age”, the amount of information that you can find out there can often be overwhelming. Not everything can help you and you can waste much time going through teaching and training videos that have little to offer to you. As I have been through this journey myself I can give you structured steps on how to go forward and improve your dancing based on the level that you are now. And this is my goal on creating this Site.
Founder of latindancetraining.com