Meet Dance Instructor, Anna
Meet Your Dance Instructor, Anna
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in Tustin. I got my B.S. in developmental psychology from UC San Diego in 2002 and my J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 2005. I currently work half time as an attorney and half time as a dancer (and I’ve never been happier, career-wise).
What made you start dancing?
I’m pretty sure my mom just thought it would be cute to put some tap shoes on me when I was 2.
What style of dance do you do?
I do all four styles of ballroom: American smooth and rhythm, and International standard and Latin.
Do you do any other type of dance other than Ballroom?
I do ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, you name it! It’s amazing how many styles you can pick up in over 30 years of dancing. Aside from ballroom I currently teach hip hop and Jazzercise.
What is the hardest part about dancing?
I think the hardest part is that the more you know, the more you know you don’t know. Every time you think you’ve nailed something, you realize that there’s another nuance you hadn’t yet learned or incorporated. But that’s also the thing that makes dance a wonderful life-long pursuit. It’s never completely mastered.
What is your favorite type of dance?
In ballroom, my favorite style is standard (waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz, and quickstep, where you never break your frame). I think coming from a ballet background, the technical aspects appeal to me – it’s how my mind already works. But outside of ballroom, I love jazz. Particularly the Fosse era type of choreography.
How would you describe your dance style?
It varies depending on the dance. I always like to give my routines a little backstory. When I’m doing foxtrot, I’m Ginger Rogers auditioning for the nightclub opening. When I’m doing rumba, I’m a girl on the brink of a great romance. When I’m doing jazz, I’m a kid slinking in the alley and then breaking into dance at the sight of a police officer. I love embodying all these different personas.
How would you describe your teaching style?
I like to have my students pay attention to physiology when they dance. I want people to know which muscles they need to use to achieve certain shapes and to make moves more functional. But I also love to kid around with my students and make sure they remember that dance is supposed to be fun and a release from stress, life, etc.
What benefits has dancing given you?
The biggest one for me is when I’m dancing, everything else in my life just floats away. It’s really the only time that I can just shut everything else off and give 100% of myself to something. It’s very freeing. Dance also is a great way to stay in shape (while still having fun!). I also love the people I come across. There’s a certain kinship among dancers that I really enjoy. Walking into a studio or a ballroom or onto a stage feels like coming home.
What is your most memorable moment? (While teaching or just in general, you can choose)
I’d have to say riding an elephant bareback in Nepal while it was getting its bath in the river.
What have you accomplished?
I’m assuming you don’t want a copy of my resume, so I guess I’ll say I have accomplished a really good balance between my career and doing the things I love to do. Most of the people I know have given up their hobbies and avocations as they’ve gotten older, and it’s all job and family. I’ve been able to do a stressful job but also dance, sing, read, and travel all the time. The only thing I don’t really do is sleep.
What is it that drives you?
I’ve just always had this inner competitive streak with myself. I hate competition with other people (which is pretty ridiculous for someone who’s a ballroom dancer and an attorney), but I’m always after myself to get better at work and at my hobbies. I’ve been like that since I was a little kid.
What is important to you?
My family, my dog, my friends, justice, the arts, good food and wine…
What other interest do you have other than dancing? (Hobbies, interests)
I’ve been a singer all my life. I currently sing in an 80s cover band and a country band. I’m a voracious reader. I love to write. I travel as much as I can, though not nearly as much as I’d like. I really enjoy baking. I never get to do this anymore, but I practically grew up on a ski boat, so any chance to waterski I’ll take. I have a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Giselle (named partly after the ballet), who doesn’t like to watch TV unless there’s a dance show on – and then her eyes are glued to the screen.
If money didn’t matter, what would you be doing?
I would travel the world until I was ready to come home.
What is your favorite:
Movie? Top Hat
Song? Wow, that’s a hard one. Our Love is Here to Stay.
Band/Group/Music Artist? Ella Fitzgerald.
Do you watch any sports? If so which ones and whose your favorite team(s)? What are sports?
What are your favorite pizza toppings?
Tomatoes, basil, artichoke hearts.
What is your favorite thing about yourself?
I’m a really good listener – people tell me EVERYthing. Also, I can sunscreen my entire back without help.
Why are you sooo Coool??
Um…do you really have to ask?
Anything you want to add?
“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” – Friedrich Nietzsche