No matter what life throws your way, Dana Being Dana host, Dana Michelle, believes you should “always hear the music and allow yourself to catch the beat. Just keep dancing.”
On this Dana Being Dana episode, talented professionals from two local studios perform dances in various styles. After their performances, Dana joins them onstage to learn some of their groovy moves. Up first, Vic Ocasio and Samantha Kotrba from Xtreme Dance Center Naperville perform and teach a fast paced hip-hop routine titled “Buss It.” The fun continues as James Dutton and Bonnie Coleman of Arthur Murray Naperville and Oakbrook Terrace take the stage to dance & instruct a smooth cha-cha. Later in the program, Dana sits down with some of her guests to learn more about who they are outside of the lights, costumes, and high energy routines and hear their advice to people who are nervous to take that first step.
Why be a dance instructor?
All the teachers agreed that the main reason they became instructors was to share their passion for dance. Being a dance teacher requires a lot of dedication, effort, and patience. Xtreme Dance Center Naperville Instructor, Vic Ocasio, tries to put himself in his students’ shoes as a teacher saying, “It’s funny sometimes for me, because I see things that they do and I’m like, I used to do that. Just being a teenager and being young like that. I think it’s also very rewarding being on the other side.”
Life lessons through dance
The instructors admitted that sometimes rejection, failure, disappointment and challenges are part of not only dance, but life in general. Samantha Kotrba reflected on some of those challenges and how she overcame them saying;
“During my run on Extreme years ago, we had been national champions for, I want to say seven, eight years consecutively. The summer before my senior year before I was going to graduate, we actually lost at Nationals and it was a very difficult and eye opening experience. I think that we had kind of gotten to a point where we were feeling comfortable. It was kind of just a learning lesson that there’s always going to be talent and there’s never a time where you should stop working hard. So yeah, it was it was kind of a devastating season for us. We lost. We still bonded, you know, loved each other and had fun dancing. But then we came back the next season and it was like a totally different environment. Like we had our thinking caps on and we were like we really need to focus and rehearse differently and be a little bit more dedicated to our team. Which obviously our directors were trying to tell us at the time. And now we see it with our kids. Sometimes when they fall off, they’re teenagers, they’ve got social lives, they’ve got homework, they’ve got this. But when you’re in the studio, you got to hone it in and really focus on that. So then we ended up winning my senior year, which was really cool and was a really good learning experience.“
Just getting started is often the hardest part of dancing
Dana asked Arthur Murray’s James Dutton what advice he had for people who are afraid to take that first step, James replied, “the hardest thing is walking through the door. Katherine Murray, Arthur Murray’s wife, her slogan on the Arthur Murray show was always “Walk in, dance out.” And that’s the hardest thing for people, to get in the door, once they’re in, we can teach anybody.”