Samantha: Welcome back to another episode of Ballroom Chat. I'm your host, Samantha with Love Live Dance today. I'm joined by Aaron Pierce. He is a former two-time US National Amateur Rhythm Champion. He was a member of the Utah Valley University tour team and is currently a Professional Rhythm Finalist. Please help me welcome to the podcast, Aaron Pierce.
Well, thank you Aaron so much for being a guest on today's episode.
Aaron: Thank you Samantha. Happy to be here.
Samantha: so how is life treating you? How, how are you adjusting to the craziness that is 2020?
Aaron: So far, it's been good. You know, I know it's been difficult and trying for like many people in many different ways, right. It's, everyone's had a different experience, but I think we've made the best of it during this time with teaching online classes and. Things like that, but I've been loving California and like the heat and the sun. So at least that's been a positive influence, but everything's been great.
Samantha: Awesome. Have you had a lot of success with getting your students to go ahead and continue with zoom lessons while the studio was closed? I know my students, like they want that physical connection. They were like, nah, we'll hold off and wait until we can actually see you in person.
Aaron: Yes. I definitely had the same reaction from some students as you did. You know, people will miss the social aspect, but a lot of the students still continued with zoom.
And I think they realized that they, at first, they were apprehensive. You know, they're like, I'm so used to having my partner there to help me through the steps. But in actuality now that they have been back to the studio, they realize, I know my steps better. I'm more balanced because they had to practice on their own for so many months, you know. It was about four months. So, I think they've actually realized that was a really, really good influence on their dancing, which is nice.
Samantha: Awesome! So, in the introduction, I mentioned, obviously that you were a member of the UVU tour team and then went on to great success as an amateur champion, and now as a professional rising star finalist. How did all of this start for you? How did you get into ballroom dance?
Aaron: Okay. That's a longer story. Right. But that's a good one. so, I was originally theater, right? So, theater was always my, my go to for the longest time. So, I started off with dance with like tap, ballet, and jazz. And, and you would do partner dancing, you know, in some shows, but it wasn't the main focus. I grew up in New Jersey, which people hear in New Jersey and they think, Oh, big hub of ballroom.
But I grew up in the South part of New Jersey where ballroom was basically obsolete, but, that still didn't deter me, you know, like there was some studios about an hour away from where I was, and once I got more and more into the dance for the theater, I realized I enjoyed the partnering side sometimes more just than a solo.
So, I started taking ballroom classes when I was around 14 or 15, so a little later than I think most people, but, but that was okay. So, I started off with classes in New Jersey and quickly then got into the teaching franchise world, at an Arthur Murray in New Jersey. But at the same time, I was going to school to be an art teacher, which, you know, resulted in getting a degree in art history.
But because of my education, I was also looking for a place that I could get my degree in art or art history and focus on ballroom dancing a little bit more. I realized that's where I really wanted to go with it. And I was like, I wish there was a place that had both right? Cause where I was in New Jersey I'm like, I don't know of any places. so, I just did a lot of research, I would say in my like sophomore year of college. And, and that's when I found out about Utah and this like Mecca of ballroom and college ballroom, collegiate ballroom. But, so my second year I applied, and I was like, okay, I'm going to do this.
I'm going to go out to Utah. I want to join their tour team. So, I did the whole process of, you know, auditioning and things like that, and moved out to Utah in 2013 to be a part of their tour team. So that was kind of, before then I wasn't really a big competitive, competitive ballroom dancer, or, you know, I did a lot of social dancing.
I was learning and then teaching, but I wasn't really in the competition scene yet. But then coming to Utah was this flood of information, right? As you said, you know, you live in Utah, like it's its own community of ballroom competitions. coaches, like, and of course it's connected to the larger community, but it's this really great place to learn.
So, I learned a lot during my time at Utah Valley University. It's like, I'm trying to, that's how I started it. Right. Maybe this is going into later.
Samantha: Go for it.
Aaron: Yeah. I'm trying to just maybe set the timeline, then you can ask whatever you like. But so, I was at Utah Valley University for four and a half years.
And a part of their tour team, which, you know, I was able to go to China with them and Blackpool. And I did the Latin and Standard team. But mostly during that time, not only was I learning different styles and, but I was improving that's when I finally started to cultivate like the competition side, I would have to say like, and from that point on, it's been competitive dancing.
And I never thought that's where I would be coming from theater and ballet and jazz. And often I miss my tap dancing, but it's been a great process going from being an amateur in Utah to then moving to professionals still in Utah now being professional rhythm out in California. So that was kind of the linear progression from ballet to get to where I am now.
Samantha: That's awesome. I have just as a quick aside, when I first moved to Utah, you were like a grounding force for me at the studio. I don't think you realized that, but you were like the only other East coast person that was now living in Utah. And I felt like we had so many conversations with like, this is a little bit weird, right?
Like this is different. Like it's not just me. Right?
Aaron: I remember that. Yes. Well, I'm glad. I didn't know. I was a grounding force. That's good. That's good to know. But I agree. It's you start to question like Utah was a great place. I loved my five years there, but you do question all the time. If you're in an outsider per se, coming in, you're like, am I normal?
Or this, because just the culture is so different of, of everything, you know, especially I think versus the East coast, every, every coast is different, but this East coast has this very like, I'm going to tell you how it is, this is it. And not necessarily in a rude way. Right. It's just, it's just very informative.
And in Utah it was, you're just, you know, confronted with this. Extreme friendliness, right? Like people want to know you right away. I remember before joining the team, it was like I found out I was going to be moving in April and I had to move in July. And like right before I moved, I'm getting all these messages from the tour team members.
Like, I can't wait to meet you. I'm so excited to know you. And I'm like, what are these people want? They don't even know me.
Samantha: Yes. Yes. It's immediate suspicion and distrust from an East coast mindset because we're like, We don't make eye contact when we're walking down the street, you got to get somewhere, you're going to say what you need to do, and then you're going to move on with your day. Whereas in Utah, it's like, how are you? How are the kids? Ha you know, what did you have for breakfast? It's just, it's all, encompassing. And it's, it's very disconcerting the first couple of months that you're out here,
Aaron: you really don't trust at first.
Like, not because you don't want to. It's just like. You're so friendly to me. And like, I could be a terrible person and you don't know that, and they see through it. They're like, no, you're a good person, like, okay. But you just used to building a relationship knowing someone first, right. Coming from the East coast, but definitely different.
But, interesting. Right. To say the least.
Samantha: So, so with that, so, When you switched your sophomore year from, going to school in the East coast to now being on the tour team, switching to UVU, what was your first impression of, the tour team itself? Had you with theater, had you been part of, kind of that group performance troupe atmosphere, or was this the first experience of something along those lines?
Aaron: Yeah, I, with theater, I was mostly performed with this one regional slash community theater, in New Jersey. And so, I was used to the sense of community, like they were family, and, but as I went into college, things changed quickly, right? I was more focused on not just studies, but I was starting to teach ballroom.
And that really also limited my time to go do theater. So, I was kind of slowly disconnecting from that theater community. But I was also on a modern company at the university. So, I had gone into modern dance and I was really on the modern company for, for two years at, the university was Rowan. so, I was still used to being a part of a team.
It always been you're part of a company you're part of a team. So that aspect of it wasn't it. I was used to that. Right. And I was looking forward to that. I don't think if I would have had that, coming to Utah. I w I don't know if my experience would have been as, as good as it was. I'm really grateful that I came, and I had a group of people that you kind of had to be around. And you really, you got to know and like. If not, you'd have been, I think I would have been so isolated. The, my first, my first year there. So that aspect of it was actually really good coming onto a team, but it was, I would say it's probably the most intimidating experience I've had of going onto a team because it was not only a different community and state, but so it's like, yes, you're dealing with a culture that you don't necessarily know, but also ballroom was still newer. I think for me in that sense of, I was like used to my jazz crowd or modern crowd or, and I know dancers are dancers, but they really, people do act differently within each sector of dance. So, I think it was also this intimidation of, how are they going to be, and are they going to treat me, like, what do you know?
And I remember when they decided to put me on the tour team, they're like, okay, we're going to send you all these videos. You need to know your routines before you come. And I was like, Whoa, what? You know, it's that immediate fear of like, I have to learn like six or seven minimum routines from a video.
And I have no partner to practice with. And, and if I'm being completely honest, a lot of the stuff was international style and my experience was American style.
Aaron: Which so many people are like, they're the opposite, right? They know international either standard or Latin and then rhythm is something that, or smooth is something that they learn later.
But no, I was opposite. I was American all the way. And then they're like, you need to learn this international dance and. I'm like, okay, I can do this, but it just, it was like pressure after pressure. Right. But I like a good challenge. So, I think that was the scariest part was coming into this team. And I showed up a week late because I was working, and I wanted to finish an event at my job before moving. But I'm like, I knew all these people already knew the routines. They had either been a part of the tour team before. They either compete Latin or standard, so like I'm really going to be an underdog here. So it was, which I think that's grounding and humbling and you need to do that. But at the same time, like they're going to be like, what did we, who do we pick?
Right. But that wasn't the reality, like coming into it, everyone was very nice and welcoming and everyone, I think, felt the same pressure of. I have to learn all these routines from the video before joining. So, I wasn't the only one freaking out, which was a good thing.
Samantha: Yeah. I feel like, and, and you can tell me if you would agree with this or disagree with this. I feel like there's always a little bit of a sense of imposter syndrome in this industry. Like, I feel like until you reach a certain level and maybe even the top teachers and the top professionals still have this, but it's like, you look around occasionally and you're like, I don't belong. There's no way that I've made it into this room.
There's no way that they, they accepted my audition tape. And now I've got to learn six routines on the spot. There. Someone is going to realize that I'm not as good as they think I am. Right?
Aaron: Yes. No, I think that you nailed it right on the head. Like you you're like, okay, I got this opportunity. They gave me a shot, but you're just waiting for like the floor to dropout.
Like when are they going to realize that, like, maybe I'm not prepared for this. But I think a lot of people in this industry realize potential more, right? Like they look for that, you know, and, and understand that I can teach you, you will learn. And, and that's part of it, the growth process, especially being a university.
But as a whole, like it's also, I think it's like, you're, the system is set up for growth, right? If you look at the entire ballroom industry, it's like, it's not like we're just throwing you out into open pro division right away. It's like, no, do your amateur, you know? And then there's even sectors within amateur and then go to rising star and then work, you know, like they, at least they try to give everyone an opportunity to be seen within a crowd that you don't have to be an imposter. Right. Right. But there is the sense of you have to kind of act like you belong somewhere. Which I have to say for me is probably one of the hardest things, because you can see it all over my face. And like, I'm very, like, I am who I am.
I'm here and I'm happy to be here, but I'm not going to pretend to be something I'm not at the same time.
Samantha: So, obviously you survive the first, the first couple weeks and months of being on the tour team. You learn your routines. You been to Blackpool, China, where else on the tour?
Aaron: So, the tour team, yeah, my first year.
So, I moved there in July and then that September, we went to China for, the international folk-art festival. So, there were 13 countries that they brought to this festival and we were touring like just various parts of China, for about two weeks. So that was the first tour and that was immediate, right.
We like that was right away. Which is a good way to start, you know, like start it with a bang, go into it. You can do this. Then the following year, we actually returned to China, not for the same festival, but we went to different parts of China, which was nice. And then the following year we went to Blackpool, which is when we did, we competed in both standard and Latin medleys.
And then that was after that, I had one more, one more year on the tour team and we went to, where did we go? Actually I, I graduated, but then I joined them later on just to see like where they were going, and they went to California. So, they performed that Disney, that was the last one
Samantha: And then from a competitive perspective, obviously BYU nationals I'm assuming you've competed at, a USDC as well. Is that where the titles are from? Or was it BYU?
Aaron: So, BYU. So, all the amateur titles were at BYU. So that's when we that's when we won National Amateur Rhythm like 2014 and 2015. So, when I first moved to Utah, it's like, I was, my dance partner was on the tour team.
And so, we decided to dance together, got along really well. And. Someone had said, you know, they're bringing back rhythm to nationals, I guess it had this like little hiatus though. It wasn't there for a little while. I think for them has like a love loss relationship in Utah sometimes, but it's stronger.
And I, and I'm excited to see that it's growing and building and I want it to keep growing and building cause it is important, you know, and we, there needs to be a stronger amateur community to keep fueling also the program. But. Yeah. There's someone said, you know, they're bringing it back this year. And that's the first time I had heard of nationals again, growing up in little country town in New Jersey.
so that was that we were like, okay, we're going to do it. Like, yeah, we'll get our five dances together and we'll do it. So, yes, that was BYU nationals 2014, 2015, was the U S national amateur rhythm. And then when I was just recently, this past year was USDC. That was my first USDC, and my dance partner she had done USDC, I think two years prior as well, but this was our first one together. And that's when we made the final of rising star rhythm.
Aaron: And that was exciting.
Samantha: Yeah. That's. I mean kind of unheard of for like first year new professional partnership, like debut. Oh, you're in the finals and you were consistently in the finals.
I was watching the posts come through and it was like, you, you were on that, that top six, pretty much every competition you went to this year, right?
Aaron: Yeah, that it was a whirlwind, but yeah, that is pretty much, we started in that January of that year, of last year. That year it seems so long ago. This is what 2020 does time has no, no frame anymore, but that, yeah, we only started, like we met in November of the year prior.
We started getting routines in December and then that January we did our first competition. It was a Fred Astaire competition. That's run by, Thomas and Isabella Lewandowski and then, yeah, we just went for it from there and we were doing a really good, like, it was, it was surprising, but humbling at the same time.
You're always it's that same feeling of what's going on. You know, you want to enjoy it, but at the same time, you're like, okay, like let's not take this for granted. Let's use this opportunity to start to get known and build a future. Right. But yeah, that, I think the most difficult part is, and maybe some people don't know this is like, we don't live in the same state.
So, we're also a long-distance partnership. And we've been a long-distance partnership the whole time. And I think that was the biggest challenge of. Okay, how are we going to schedule this, that we can see each other and practice and get ready? And that's where a lot of people were like, well, we're surprised you've gotten the results you have with, with, the long distance and being a new partnership.
But I think the biggest thing is that we just had a really good team behind us, you know, like really, really great coaches with Thomas and Iza and I don't know, you never know. And I try not to like analyze it too much cause it's like, everything happens at the right time at the right place. But I do have to say, I think we, without the team we had, we probably wouldn't have been as successful.
Right? Like we had a really good direction. And of course, we're both very driven. Yeah. I think you have to be, if you're going to be a long-distance partnership, you can't just say, Oh, we'll practice when we can. No, you have to really be on top of it. And she mostly travels here so we can do coaching. but.
When she's here, it's, it's, you know, very intense practices for long hours, which I, every competitor I think gets, but yeah, but it was, it was a whirlwind. Before nationals, usually what we would do is she comes like maybe a few weeks a month. But before nationals, like she had been gone to Russia for about a month. The summer before nationals, which, you know, at first, we're like, is that a good idea? But she needed to go to Russia, see family that made sense. But then she came back, and we had a month and a half, and she came and lived in, Southern California, we practiced every day. So, we were like, we're getting ready for this event.
and then we just, it was very surprising and, and people told us like, you know, like this isn't something you should take lightly. And we don't, but it's, it's a, definitely a, it was a surprise. That's all I can say. It was a surprise.
Samantha: That's crazy to me. it's just the idea of being in two separate States and then coming back and just like pounding through like let's practice, practice, practice, practice, and then I'm not going to see you for a week or two weeks.
And then come together and practice, practice, practice, practice. Do you set the routines when you're in the same space and then just essentially go on your own and practice individually when you're apart or do you send choreography back and forth and like make tweaks when you're in your separate home studios?
Aaron: We mostly set choreography when she was here in California. So, like Thomas and Iza would work with us and then sometimes guest coaches and. We would just set the choreography, get as much information as we could. And then we kind of would have like homework to do on our own that we could like do drills with, for foot work or running routines.
we didn't usually tweak choreography. So sometimes I, if I worked with them individually and we tweaked something, I'd like, take a video and send it to her and be like, this is the new change, okay? Because we it'd be like, okay, you're here. And then in two weeks we have another event. So we would try not to change too many things before, but if we did just send a video and then she'd be here, we have a few days to just make sure it's really well rehearsed and then go to the competition.
So it was, yeah, it’s kind of like, you just got to go with the, roll with the punches, but we usually try to set it before. But what I have to say about like this time period, you know, during quarantine. Zoom became, you know, this great aspect and great tool for every studio and every teacher, but as a competitor and for us, I don't know why we didn't think of using this before.
Right. As a way of practice, it's been here all the time. And, you know, since we don't live together, but we started using zoom as a way of let's run through our routines. Let's talk about dynamics here. Like what dynamic do we want during this step? Because it's like, okay, we're not going to see each other for an even longer period of time than we're used to.
So, it's like, we've got to use zoom, so then Zoom did become a part of practice. And now I feel like it will always remain a part. Why not? Like if you're gone, if she's gone for two weeks, why not meet through zoom to practice it. Of course, nothing can beat the real human connection, but there's still so much information that we can go over together. Right?
Samantha: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Well, and if nothing else, it lends you a little bit of accountability, right? Because you, you can't not practice if you know, you have a zoom call coming up the end of the week and you're going to run through everything together that kind of puts you on the clock to make sure that you set that time aside to actually run through the drills or the work or the work that you need to have ready before you meet back up.
So., I think that's, I think that's a smart call. Something that I talked with, Kimberly Mitchell about was, kind of creating spontaneity in a, in a performance. So, making sure that all of the winks and all of the points and all of the head nods and all of like the cheeky little moments, aren't the same, every single time you run the routine.
do you think that having that performance background in theater has allowed you to perform in a way that is different every single time or, or rather, how do you make sure that all of the routines don't hit the same beats at the same moment every single time?
Aaron: No, that makes sense. Like, again, perception is always, it varies for everyone, right? So, what I think I produce, might be different from what other people see. So, I'm just going to speak from what I feel. Right. But it could be something, it could be perceived differently, but I do think performance sometimes. Is where I would like, that was my comfortability.
Right. It's like, I'll do all I'm okay. With the facial expressions or like, I like the emotional side because it did remind me more of theater. But I did think a lot of times, for me, it depended on the song, right? Like, like I could pull from the song, maybe more of the feelings or emotion or interactions with my dance partner.
So, it would change. Like I've actually never been. And neither of us have, like, and I think we're starting to do more of this. Like we've never had the choreographed, like all the winks and all the, of course arm styling, but never like the winks or the nods, I think we're actually getting more into that now.
And that's when I say like dynamics, being a young partnership, I think it was, we just knew we had to get out there. As quick as possible. Right. And look clean. And, what I liked about the process we did with it, with our team and our coaches, was it's like, okay, her and I were completely different styles, even though she had been competing Rhythm for a while, and I've been competing rhythm, we were very different. So their first goal with us was just to let's make you the same, like put you in the same like, not role, but because obviously we want to be the same role, but just give us common ground together that we can speak the same language and dance, the same language together and be clean.
And then we can start adding all those extras and little things that make us us, on top. And I think that's where we are now is finding our niche and what makes us, like, why would people want to watch Aaron and Ksenia? You know? but, and I think those are the moments we're going through now of finding the dynamic changes of like, okay, are even in the smallest step versus over in general.
I'm just trying to like process, like in general, everyone's always like, okay, Cha-cha has flirty. Okay. Rumba's romantic, you know, like we all have that time old adage of like, this is what you have to do, but finding what each individual moment means for us, I feel like is what we do doing now, but trying to keep it more spontaneous, right?
That, yes, this is what we want. This is our umbrella, but it can't just be fake. Right. People can tell. Any dancer, you might fool someone in the audience, maybe, but any dancer or a judge can tell if you're doing it because you were told to do it or because you really feel it. And maybe that's, I think you need to have something that you really practice?
Like, you know, where you look, you know, where your arm goes? You know, if you're adding that wink, but. Just as a foundation, right? So, then you can mix it up and change it and create your own aspect of it. So, but I do think the theater helps, like, I, it. If anything, I think in the beginning it was like, we need to tone that down a little bit, Aaron, like, you know, let's focus a little bit more on the body and this and that and less on the, the face.
But so, then I noticed where I kind of retreated from that. And even someone I think about like eight months ago or so was like, you didn't smile as much today or you didn't do this, and I realized I actually had kind of turned off some expression. Cause I was so focused on, you know, I want to make sure I'm producing volume in my body or trying to use my foot work properly.
Like I wanted to, I wanted to improve the dancer versus the performer. But you also can't get rid of that. Right. That's that's that's yeah. The heart. Right. So, so now I, I would say what we've been doing the most lately is adding that on top of it. And that's what I like is cause it's, it's starting to feel like, okay, people are going to watch us and we won't just be that nice clean couple maybe will be this couple that they're like, Oh yeah, we know them for that. And we liked this. You know, and, and that's what dance is about. Right. Not just being, they had beautiful feet.
Aaron: And that's important, but that can't be the only thing you assume, everyone in the final of open, you assume they all have beautiful feet or beautiful lines. And that's not always true. Right. But we know them each for something. And I think that's, maybe hit's the point of the theater side, which is very different from my dance partner like that wasn't her background. And, but. To be determined, I guess, with the performance.
Like I think that's now coming out and I hope that's what people see when we go back out again, that we have this new aesthetic of not only body, but emotion. Right?
Samantha: Yeah. Well, and I think to your point, like you said, your, you're a new partnership, you just wanted to get out first year and just be seen and just establish, this is the new partnership.
These are our names. This is, you know, this is what we can do. And now that you're working in year two and then year three, you can start to say, okay, who are we as a professional partnership? And what do we want to be, you know, for, the other thing that I want to do kind of mentioned was, you, you were talking about kind of balancing the performance and the emotions of it.
I think something that I am starting to notice, Is that there are different volume levels and performances and the professionals or the dancers at any level that can modulator between, you know, projecting out to the audience and then having a soft moment where it's just between the two people dancing.
Those are the, those are the couples that I feel compelled to watch because I feel like. They bring me into whatever moment they're dancing. And then again, they can balance it with, but this is also a performance and I want to be projecting to the audience. So, I think it's a very much like a theater production in some ways in that you're wanting to project to the back row, but also make it feel like you're the only two people on the stage.
Aaron: Yes, like that, that's a perfect way of describing it. That's the beauty of it, right? It because it is this partnership like in theater, unless you were, you know, the lead or supporting lead and you're singing this love song on the stage, of course. And it's about the audience interacting with you to solely, but there's always that not always, but typically in theaters, there's that fourth wall, right?
Of like you kind of. Don't break the fourth wall, like the interaction between you and the audience, or if you do it is so planned, right? Hey, it's like, let me make this obvious that I'm talking to you audience and with ballroom it, I think it does that same thing, but it's, but subtleness of when they draw you in, you really feel like it's an intimate moment that you're just watching that you're getting to see this couple's private like conversation, right.
Versus. And I, and those are the moments I love too, right. I love it when someone draws your attention. And you like, they lock eyes with you, and you can't look away. But then the beautiful moment between them, even if it's Cha-cha, it could be something just a quick glance or smile, but that's what, that's what we live for, right? That those are the moments that we really want to see. You don't even start to look at the technique anymore, even though of course the person has technique, but it's like, It's so interesting. Like when, when do you cross that line? Right. Of not in a bad way, but of you need to be a clean dancer that has all these qualities, right?
And it's like, you need to show and in anything, right. I'm talking about competition, but it's also, we can talk about it for the tour team. Right? You need to have all these qualities of like a technique or volume or footwork, like showing that I can do all these things. But then when does the performance of the dynamic of that personality?
Like when is that more important? Like when do we fall in love with that? More than the, the technique and when are you allowed to do that? Right. Like, I think that's the question of when do you have the right? When have you like, earned the right to do it? Because sometimes it's like, we might want to do it, but it's like, I think of amateur.
Right? I think when you do amateur, typically. Well, at least like when I was in Utah, sometimes the focus was more about that. Cause half of the, the competitors and people in Utah, we were all on teams and performance companies and it was like, I'm going to do the craziest dance step and the craziest trick to get people's attention.
Versus focusing on is my body doing the right thing, you know, but maybe that's the maturity of it. It's like, okay, now I'm going to go for, I want my body to do the right thing. And then as you feel better later, you can add on all the dynamic performance changes, right?
Samantha: Yeah, absolutely. It's yeah. The balance and the flipping of the switch between, I want to focus on technique and I want to make sure that I'm moving correctly to I want to engage people and I want it to be a performance. It's, it's that hard line. It's, it's a hard line to kind of figure out where it is and how much of one do you want versus how much of the other, and I think you're right. I think there's a little bit, good, bad, or otherwise there's a little bit of a perception in the industry of you have to earn your ability to be a performer. Which is just it's, it's a little weird in my mind, but it is what it is. I wanted to dial back just for a second, because you mentioned something in the very beginning, that I was not aware of, which is you had started out with, Arthur Murray in New Jersey. So, I feel like, and I, I don't want you to do like a pro con list.
I, I won't, I won't have you go under the bus for that, but I do, if you're willing to, to talk about the different experiences that you had, because you're kind of in a unique opportunity to talk about Arthur Murray as a franchise then going independent in Utah and now Fred Astaire in California. So, I guess, yeah, I'll leave it to you to decide where you want to go with that.
Aaron: Yeah. I, I feel lucky cause I, I did all I had been, I've done all three. I don't, I don't know if that's like a, a checklist right, to have, but I've had good experiences in all three. Right. You know, sometimes you hear people say negative things and that's not what I'm here for.
Right. That's my job, you know? And but I had really positive experiences in all three, but when I think about why were they positive? And I think it's because it connected to what stage in life I was is. And I think that's, what's important for people. Like if you're going to decide what you want to do, I think it really depends on what stage you're in.
And I'll elaborate on that of like, when I started at Arthur Murray, again, I was living in country land, New Jersey, and the Arthur Murray was the closest studio to me, you know? So that was kind of my first attachment. And then, but it had the structure, right. It was willing to bring you in and like throw its structure at you and like really kind of, I was 18 and, and like teach you like, this is how you would teach, or this is how you would present something.
Like, you know, it had the formality and not, and that's not in a negative way. It's like just. Structure. Right. and I think that kind of, because I had that foundation at younger, it helped me become a teacher throughout the rest of my progression. And I've had to change teaching of syllabuses or syllabi, but that same foundation was there of, you know, customer service.
And, and I don't know, just the caring about the client, not because of money, it's not about the money. Right. But like, how do you help someone further their, their interest and passion and dance, right. And in a uniform way. And I think that's very helpful for people, right. And, and not that people don't have that in independents.
So many people will have a really amazing structure and independent as well. You know, like I know we used DVIDA, right. when we were teaching together. And, but what I found for myself, which was important was like, okay, so I was in college and I had the franchise and that was difficult because typically people that were in the franchise weren't, weren't in school that I knew of, they were all like, this was their job. This was, and I was part time, but this was their full-time job. And I couldn't do that. Right. I don't want it to finish my bachelor's degree. So, it was hard to juggle that because at the same time, my degree was going to be an art education.
It's now an art history, but, and many of the times when I'd be at work, they're like, you know, you don't need a degree to do this job. And I was like, I know that, but I want a degree for myself, you know, and I still feel that way. Like right now I'm working on my master's in museum studies. And, but that was difficult, but I, but for me it was always like, I'm finishing my degree.
Like that was not a question. And that's when I moved to Utah and then work at Ballroom Utah. Right. But. Then being independent at that stage in my life was perfect because it had the flexibility, right? I, that I could manage with school. It's like I could do school full time. I was doing sometimes 21 credits and I could still work and teach, which I didn't want to lose because I wanted to continue to cultivate that knowledge and experience of teaching.
So, it was great to have a studio space where, you know, my schedule was flexible. I think the flexibility was the biggest thing, because I was in school, but then once I graduated, I was kind of like, I was ready to move out of Utah. I think the biggest thing, right? I don't want it to get, not that Utah is bad, it's gorgeous, but I wanted to, I love the coast.
I grew up near a coast and I wanted to, and I was turning pro and I realized that it is sometimes hard being pro in Utah. So many, like some couples that made it happen, but I realized that it’s easier to get to resources like coaches and stuff like that in other States. And now it's changing, I even feel like since we, since I've moved now, the Utah dynamic is different. Like
Samantha: it's mainly because of Peak. Oskar and Karolina and, David and Natalie opened Peak Performance, in Utah County. And that studio has made a point of really pushing the amateur competitive scene up a notch, I think, in, in Utah County. So, they're bringing in a lot of coaches from all over the place. so, the access to coaching is a little bit easier, but I still think, I still think you made the right call when you did.
Aaron: Yeah. At the time when I was there, I know it was like, you had to bring in coaches, you know, like there. Or travel, which obviously isn't bad. You can do that. But unlike California is right here.
It's, you know, it's so close and why not? Yeah. Why not go, go, go access that knowledge when you can. And I've always wanted to, of course you compete in California a lot. Every time you come, you're like, well, at least when every time I would come and be like, no, I wouldn't mind living here. And I felt like I wanted to experience that.
So that's when I started looking and I was looking for. I don't want to necessarily even when I think of moving here, it wasn't even about like the job per se. Like of course it is the job. Like I like where I'm at and at Fred Astaire. And I liked that there's that structure that, and I, and I have a, there's a future, right?
Like I can really, and there was a future I was before, again, I'm not trying to pass any judgment calls, but I think for this stage, in my life, it was. It's perfect. I was done school. I wasn't going into my profession of art history and I wanted to still dance. And I was like, okay. But I wanted something full time, you know, and independent, you can be full time, but you kind of have to like, build up that, that clientele or those hours.
And, and that's not a bad thing, but it's like, if you want something that's no, you're, you're here from this time, this time, then, then you go for it. It depends on, I think people's personality, but I think it'd be great if in Utah, People like young amateurs were more aware of that. Cause I do just to touch on this, like I do think sometimes there's this fear of the unknown of, they just hear like independents this, franchise is this and. And I wish there was a little bit more collaboration with that knowledge in Utah. so then people could, you know, venture into the teaching world or professional world or Pro-Am world and not be completely terrified or not know what to do, because I think both are viable options, independent and franchise.
Of course, I'm out a franchise now. So, like, I love, I love where I'm at, but, everyone's different, right? So you need to find what's best for you because if you have this mentality that you just want to do things absolutely your way and you know best, you, you should be independent, right? Because it's like, you're, you're not going to be maybe happy where you are, where you have to have more of a team aspect.
Right. And Ballroom Utah actually felt like we were much like a family and team, so which maybe isn't, I hear other independent studios are like that too, where their families, so, but some aren't, you know, it depends on where you are, but like, we did have that nice little family aspect about it, but yeah, I think each is, each is different, but now I'm trying to think, where was I going with that point?
I was like, But the, yeah, the difference between the both, but I was going to say something about, Oh, why I came here. Right. So I was dancing with Giovanna at the time and we were still, I was still in Utah and we just came out to do a coaching with, with, Thomas and Isabella and, and with Isabella actually, and her and I were just talking all of us afterwards.
And she was telling us about the studio and telling you about what they do. And I knew I was, I wanted to move to California and I really wanted to pursue professional. I don't, I like to think that I don't do anything halfway, like. If I'm going to do it, I'm going to jump all in. And maybe that's not always good because I'm like, don't tell me, that's how I ended up in Utah.
Right. My family was like, don't go, don't leave New Jersey. And I'm like, no, I'm going to go. I'm going to do it. You know? So, it's like, if you're afraid you got to take a leap, right. If you really want to like, get to your ultimate goal. And I knew I was like; I want to do ballroom seriously. I don't want to just say that I tried. And I gave half effort. So, and I was like, I'm not, I'm not training the way I should be when I was in Utah for me, you know? And there are couples that are training, I think very well. And like you said, now there's this like more coaches are coming in, but I was like, I'm not training the way I should be.
And I was like, I am not going to get where I want to be. It would take much longer unless I like, if I want this, I need to take the step to go. And then talking to Isabella. And then I was like, you know, I feel really comfortable here and they were great people. And I was like, they would be a good team and it's been the truth.
Like it's, you know, it's been proven, like they've been really good direction, for, for my professional dancing and just as a career and as a person. But when the, between the weighing the scales of independent to franchise, I think every person should just look at where am I at in my life? What do I want?
Right. Like, what's the long-term goal because so many. We're artists, right? Everyone's an artist. Well, dancers are artists and such, but it's always about so much is about now, right? So, it's like, what do I need right now? And how do I feel right now? But we have to think about the future. And what do you want in the future?
Like do you want, and I think that will determine at what you want to be in, but like what route you want to go or like for a college student, you know, like working. Like a college student at UVU who's on tour team who maybe wants to get experience teaching. Why not go to one of the independent studios?
Right? Like they could start teaching, even if it's just a few lessons a week and just gaining that experience, you know, and they don't have to be somewhere for a certain amount of hours. So, it's like, you got to do what you got to do, right.
Samantha: Yeah. something that, that I kind of was thinking about as you were going through, that is the fact that you mentioned that kind of the franchise system gives you a little bit more of a structure.
Like, you know, you have to be onsite for X number of hours, that that is your nine to five workday. and as someone who is starting their professional career, I feel like that gives you again, that structure of I have to be in the studio for 40 hours, right. I might not be teaching the full 40 hours, but I'm onsite that 40 hours.
So, I know I'm in the building so I can work on practice routines that I need to for my professional career. Whereas I feel like, especially the Ballroom Utah atmosphere that we were both in, you set your own schedule. So, it was very easy, and I've certainly found myself in the situation where like, all right, well, I'm not teaching until five o'clock in the evening.
And then I'm teaching a five, six, seven, eight. I'm just going to hang out and, and, you know, doodle on Facebook until I have to leave the house at four o'clock. I don't want to; I don't want to drive to the studio if I'm not teaching. So for a while before I put a structure in place for myself, I was not practicing nearly as often as I probably should have been, because it was so easy for me to find other things to fill that time.
Samantha: Yeah. So, so if you were at a stage in your life where you need that structure and you need, you know, a construct around in which it forces you to go and put in the work. I think a franchise system, 100% makes sense. If you are, if you're someone, like you said, a student where, you know, you've got classes that you have to work around and you need a little bit more flexibility in your schedule or you're someone that has a family, or this is a part time, you know, whatever, having the independence of a flow of having the independence.
Having the flexibility of being independent. There we go. makes, makes sense for that person. So, yeah. something that also struck me and I'm wondering if you've had this experience either in New Jersey or, or in California. When I was starting in Pittsburgh, USA dance, which I know people have some strong feelings on USA dance at the moment.
USA dance had a chapter in Pittsburgh and as part of that chapter, they had monthly socials that went to all the different studios. So, one week it was at the Arthur Murray the next week it was at Art and Style, the next week it was at Absolute, the next week it was at Fred Astaire. So, it encouraged people in the community that were taking lessons to go to all the different studios and meet all of the staff.
And, and I feel like in Pittsburgh, there was much less of a, Oh, well, I'm a, I'm a franchise student or, Oh, I'm an independent student. It was much more; I'm just a student of dance and I'm going to go to each individual studio that has expertise in the thing that I want to learn at that time. So, one studio was much better at international, from a competitive perspective.
One was much more American, smooth social perspective. One had a really great Argentine program. Like it was less, cliquey, I guess to say. When I moved to Utah and it was because we didn't have any franchises for a long time. Now we do have one that's in the Valley. I feel like everyone was very much like.
If I go to the studio, that is the only studio that I will step foot in and I will immediately be ostracized if I even think about taking a class or a lesson at this other studio at this other studio, with this other instructor. What has your experience been outside of Utah with, with kind of studio loyalty?
Aaron: Yeah. I like hearing you talk about this Pittsburgh environment, like or Pittsburgh, right? Yeah. Yeah, that, that I'm like, wow, that sounds so different. Like I've never experienced that. Typically, I do think where you usually go, it's more of that competitive atmosphere of like your either here or you're there, if there's a little bit more of lines drawn.
Right. You know, like, so my experience has definitely been more on the side of, like you said, in Utah, where it was like, if you're a part of this camp, this is your camp, you know? And not that the I think all of like the nice thing is everyone knows each other, right? The community is only so big. And what I love is there's no hostility there.
Right. Everyone is very supportive of each other, but I do feel like there's a little bit more of ownership of like, okay, well, these people are with me or these people are with, or not in teachers, but I mean, just like in studio atmosphere. And I don't even know if that's necessarily something that the studios cultivate always, or is it also the clients, you know, like, cause you do get attached to people and it's a family.
Right. And it's like, I know at Ballroom Utah where we were like, the people that came, they were very much like you saw them every week and they were, they were the family that came and but that's interesting to hear that perspective in Pittsburgh. Yeah. Like I haven't run into that before and in New Jersey, we were kind of the only studio around the area.
So there really wasn't another one to connect to. the I'm trying to think the only places you could, you could go at like salsa dancing, but it was more just like a venue. It wasn't a dance studio. So that's a very inter, what? I'm going to ask you a question. What did you, did you like that environment in Pittsburgh?
Samantha: I, yeah, I loved it. I thought it was really smart. it takes a lot of buy in on the part, I believe of the studios and of the instructors to kind of play that game. and since I left, I've now heard that that's maybe no longer the case. Maybe there was a little bit of studio politics and things are a little bit different, but when I was there, I really liked it because I felt like it gave, kind of going along with that imposter syndrome, like.
It gave you as an instructor or you as a studio, as a whole, the ability to really put your foot on the line and say like, we want to be known as the studio that does this one thing really well. And we don't have to pretend like we can do everything evenly. Yes. You know, the studio that I was at was as an independent studio, And I feel like they were really known for high quality American dancing, so American smooth and American rhythm. Art and Style, which, was owned, I believe it's still owned by Rozana and Terry Sweeney, they were known as the international studio. Like if you wanted to learn standard and Latin. And especially if you wanted to compete, that's where you went. The Arthur Murray and the Fred Astaire were social. Like if you were a beginner and you were looking to just figure out what, what it was, to be in this ballroom world, you started out as a franchise, more often than not.
And I think, I think it allowed each studio to kind of take a focus and, and really create a persona that said, if you're interested in this, come to us, if you're not interested in this, here are your other options. And we're okay with that because eventually you're going to come to us. And we kind of know that,
Aaron: that sounds like they were just very aware of like their strengths.
Right. Which is, which was smart. I think for that group, like I, I'm trying to like think of it in like, in terms of like where I am now in being at Fred Astaire, Redondo, I think it's like. We, I think we don't have that as much in the area because it's like, okay, we do, like, you mentioned the social aspect of like, when you said, like Arthur Fred's and I think sometimes, and that was the perception of the social, but then my coming to Fred Astaire Redondo, like, we have the social dancers we have, but we have actually like really, really like great competitive students too.
Like, you know, and many, many competitive, like, I. it's just cool to see that like in any area around the country or whatever, like everything varies. Right. So, cause we're definitely a very like focused on competition and social, you know, and I think that's partially cause also like the people who are there, right.
We have a lot of competitive teachers that are doing, I think, well, and then the owners are great competitors, but we're able to like kind of nicely. What's the word accommodate for anyone. Like, depending on like if you want social or if you want competitive, but that's it. I have never heard of that, like environment, at least in my experience throughout the years, like, I, I haven't had that experience, you know, of people like saying, Oh, I go here for this or here for this.
Samantha: Well, I think, I think at least in my opinion, Ballroom Utah was kind of like a microcosm of that. So where in Pittsburgh. We had different studios that had different strengths. I feel like our team at Ballroom Utah for the couple years that we were all there at the same time, we had different strengths.
Right? If you wanted American, if you wanted American smooth, you probably were a student of David. If you wanted American rhythm, you were probably, you know, your student, if you were a wedding student, you came to me, if you were international, Latin, you went to Christian. Like we all kind of had our, our niches and it wasn't to say that we didn't all teach everything.
It was just, we all well had a reputation for like, if you want this thing, you're probably going to focus most of your time with this instructor. And I don't, at least I didn't feel like any of us were precious about our students at the time. I felt like it was very much, we wanted the best for our clients. And if that meant spending a week or two with a different instructor, that was okay.
Aaron: Yeah. No, I agree. Like there was never that like ownership and I think that's dangerous to think that. I'm like, these are people, right? Like they, you have to do what's best for them and what's best for like they're learning.
And if they're going to learn something really well from someone, I think that's, that's ultimately the goal, you know? And I guess this is, this is going to sound like the plug for the studio I'm at. But like that, just talking about my experience, like about being at the Fred Astaire, like, and having, and this buddy system, like, it’s kind of produces that same thing.
It's like, you can go to anyone, you know, like all of us are. Like you said even where we were like, all of us are capable of teaching you anything, but if you feel like you want to learn this from this person or this, like go for it, right. Like you've got to, it's like in any education system, you don't learn from one person.
Right. Like, it's like, if you go to university, you don't have one teacher your entire time, you learn from different teachers and it doesn't mean that you don't have someone that is like that grounds you, right. That like keeps you like, yes, I know your whole history of dance and, and I'm going to you even like a coach, like Thomas and Iza are my coach.
And they like, know my, my history, my capability. But they know they also bring in people to add to that experience. And I think as a teacher, you have to do that too, right? Like, yes. You know, them, you, you know, maybe how to guide them the best, but they can definitely benefit from someone else's knowledge, whether it's in the studio or, you know what I mean?
So, I think it's better to have that atmosphere versus like, don't touch it. Sure. That can, that can cause a lot of anxiety that I don't think is necessary.
Samantha: Oh, definitely. And yeah, I think, the motivation for someone that's like, no, you are my student. You're not allowed like earmuffs. You're not allowed to take any other lessons from any other, instructors.
I think you're right. I think it's a it's fear. It's anxiety. it's also just like a sense of, I don't want to be proven wrong. Like, I don't want you to go to a different instructor and get a different piece of information and then come back to me and be like, well, you taught me this incorrectly. I think, I think there's a little bit of ego or again, going back to imposter syndrome where we're like, if I'm the only voice that you hear, then I'm a hundred percent absolutely correct.
Aaron: Yeah, no, I can see that. And that's a dangerous place to be because it's like we all, we would be then ignoring our entire experience, even as a professional to think, like I've learned everything from one person and that is it. And I've kept my ears deaf to anyone else. It's like, no, we know it takes a community, right.
It's to literally train people. It takes a community and it's like, That's the same thing in our, in, in each studio, it should be that, right? Like, it's like, this is your community to learn from not, you come here for this one individual person, like, Oh, it's great to have that source of like, of, of kind of like guidance, right?
Like I can go to you and you're going to tell me as my main teacher, like, please like, tell me what's the best way for me to get here. Right. And it's like, that's. But then it takes the involvement of others. Yeah. I agree with that.
Samantha: Well, and how many times, to kind of go back to, to the franchise independent franchise discussion about it depends on where you are in life.
I mean, I know in my own experience and I'm sure that you've had this experience as well. I've gotten a piece of information from a coach when I was at a certain point, and then I moved onto a different. A stage in my own understanding as a student and got a conflicting piece of information. So, in the moment I was like, Oh, well that instructor didn't know what they were talking about.
I'm going to go ahead and switch my mindset and do this. And then later on down the road, you're at a different stage in your career. And you're like, Oh wait, no, that works so much better for my body and what I'm trying to do now, then this middle piece of information ever was going to, now that I'm here, You know, for me, With LA with my, my Latin rumba walks, the first instruction that I had was very soft.
Like, I just want you to get onto your leg and then roll through the hip. It was very, very flow. Like don't worry about hitting any extreme lines, just get on the foot and move through it. And then I had a coach that was all about the extreme shape. and now that I'm 30 and starting to feel a little bit of the aches and pains in my body that I'm only certain will get worse over time.
I'm definitely going back to that. Nope. Just get on the foot, make it easy on your joints, like move through it. so, I think, I think different coaches at different stages in your career are also going to move you in a direction.
Aaron: And I think it's to add to that. It's like, where are you mentally? Like, are you ready to hear what you've been given?
Because I know throughout the, the, I guess I've been teaching for nine, nine years. Like if I started when I was 18, so I'm 27. So, it's like everyone else do the math. but. It was I'm sure throughout this entire time people have been, you know, giving me, even if we talk about business, like, like, like how to, how to run a proper studio or how like this knowledge.
Right. And was my, was I listening or was I like, was I ready for that information to like accept it and then use it? And it's like, depending on. And I don't even think that was determined by, Oh, where am I at, am I at a franchise. Am I an independent? It wasn't even about that. It was like, where was I as an individual?
Like maturing, right? Cause like now I would say like, I want to hear so much about like, I want a future in the dance business and, and I want to own a Fred Astaire and I want to, you know, I want to have this. This future. So, like, we, luckily, I love where I'm at, but they do a lot of business training. Isabella will do a lot of business training with us and, and how to be a good, you know, studio owner one day. And it's like, I'm sure people have told me some of this information before, and she's saying it in a different way, which is great, but it's like, I'm so much more receptive to it now and want to absorb it.
So, it's like, okay, now I'm in the place where I deserve. Like I need to be. Because I want to absorb that information where maybe where I was prior was probably trying to give me some information as well. And maybe I just wasn't maybe our minds aren't ready for something. Right. You know? And like you said, like, then you came back to it and you're like, Oh, I remember this Like I remember someone saying that. Yeah. It's but it's like where you are. Like, I can only think it all determines of. Instead of putting a, like a stamp on, I know this is good or this is bad, or this is, you know, like, it's literally just a, where are you as an individual? Like, are you ready to hear this information or not hear this information because you might hear it and then you're not going to use it because you don't want to internalize it versus like, If you're at that point, then you're like, yes, give it to me, give it to me.
You know? So, it just depends, right? Like, like you said, just where you are,
Samantha: where, where you are, and often who's giving you the information, a, your regular coach or your regular instructor can give you the same piece of information that a master level coach gives, but depending on where, where you are mentally, where you are emotionally, what your mindset is.
You may pay attention to it a lot more when it comes from that master level workshop than when it's your regular instructor.
Aaron: Even though you've heard your instructor say, like, turn your foot or yeah. Like turn your foot out. And someone else doesn't know, like I've never heard that. Yeah. But that's all of us.
Right. It's like, it, it just takes that change to make it apparent, you know, or yeah. I agree. I agree with that.
Samantha: Awesome. Well, before we wrap up today, anything else that you want to talk about that you want to share? Any tips or tricks that you want to make sure that our listeners are aware of?
Aaron: I'm still learning, so tips and tricks to be determined, right?
It's like I'm in that process waiting for the outcome, but I think we're always there, but there is something that I came upon, like. In these past few months, my degree was in art history and art, and I'm a painter and I've, I've done art for a long time, but I stopped doing it. Right. And, but I came back to painting and I've been reading a lot about it.
And like I found these three questions, like someone was talking to this artist and, and they, they asked them these three questions. It's about their art and. And maybe it will mean nothing to some people, but for me, like helped guide my process in only painting, but even I think about it with dance and I think it's, it can relate to many of the topics we've talked about today of like, dynamics or performance or stages of life.
But I just it's these three things and I'll like, say the questions, but it's, So it's like when you look at your art, so let's say you look at your art, your dance, and it's like, did you create this to show off your skills? So that's the first question. did you create this to relate to others? Or did you create this to reveal something about yourself?
And yeah. So, the question is, did you create this to show off your skills? Did you create this to relate to others? Or did you create this to reveal something about yourself? And I think they all kind of relate. Right. You know, but I think if you really decide your purpose for doing something, it can reach one of those questions.
Like, is this painting. About revealing something about myself maybe emotionally, or is this dance step and move, is this is this pattern I'm doing with my professional partner to reveal something about ourselves, maybe that people don't think of, or, or it's just, just to show off, look what I can do, you know, like, which is part of the industry.
And I think it's important. Like it's dance it's meant to be, it's a performance you're meant to draw attention, right. Especially in a competition. In a positive way, but then, or is it, or is this for someone else? Is this purely like I'm, this is for you to see, you know, and I, and I think for me trying to answer those questions will help guide not only my art, but my dance in a way of why am I really doing something versus just going out there?
And I do my Cha-Cha because I have to do my Cha-Cha. Okay. That's a little robotic, but is this piece for me to let something out? You know, or is this piece for them or is it just to show off? You know? And, and I think each of them has a viable part in, in our creation of art or dance or choosing what stage of life you're going to be in.
Right. So, but that, I just recently came upon that and like, I'm obsessed, like, like I, I want to use these questions often and I'm sure there's other ways people have processed. Like everyone has their own, but for me, this is, this is worked the most when I think of these three. So, if that's not necessarily a tip, but just a thought.
Samantha: Yeah. I love that. because I think depending on the context you could have just one answer you could have two, you could have all three. Thinking of like putting together choreography like you could have your performance be aimed at being a cathartic experience for you where you're trying to reveal something about yourself.
But make sure that, you know, a certain move or a certain pattern is there because you can hit it every single time and it looks awesome. So that's it, that's it showing off your skill and your share and maybe you want it to also be thought provoking or meaningful to the audience? Yeah, I like that. I like those,
Aaron: it’s kind of determines it's something more internal or external.
Right. And of course, dance is an external experience. And so is art. Like you see the final product, but, but like you said earlier, you can feel, if you're watching a moment, that's more like, this is for the two of us, you know, and, but you're getting to see it, you know, and I think that can, I think having all three of those things probably makes the best combination overall, like, within one piece, but it's deciding which where to show it, but it's still contemplating these questions for myself, but I, I think there's a lot of truth in them, you know?
Samantha: Yeah, definitely. Awesome. Well, thank you Aaron so much for being a guest on today's podcast.
Aaron: Thank you for inviting me. I had fun talking to you and seeing you it's been awhile.
Samantha: It's been a very long time and I feel like with 2020, it's only been longer. Yeah.
Samantha: well, we will have to catch up again soon, either on podcast or just like in real life.
Aaron: I like this plan. Sounds good.
Samantha: I'd like to thank Aaron Pierce for being a guest on today's episode. If you'd like to follow his dance journey, you can do so using the links in the description box below.
I've been your host, Samantha with Love Live Dance. You can find this and all of our podcast episodes at ballroomchat.com and you can find us across social media at Ballroom Chat on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you've not already done so, please do consider subscribing or following this podcast and even giving us a review on your favorite podcast platform of choice.
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