Samantha: Welcome back to another episode of Ballroom Chat. I'm your host, Samantha with Love Live Dance. Today I'm joined by an amazing pair. They are US Amateur 10-Dance Champions, World and UK Amateur 10-Dance Finalists, World Amateur Rising Star Latin Finalists, and separately they hold the title of Two-Time US National Youth Latin Champion, Youth National 10-Dance Champion and Two-Time National Amateur Cabaret Champion. Please help me welcome to the episode, Casey and Kayci Treu
Kayci: Thank you so much for having us Samantha. We're looking forward to our conversation.
Casey: Absolutely. Thank you.
Samantha: So, obviously we are enjoying the lovely weather outside its Labor Day weekend. Any fun plans coming up? Any time off or are you right back into the studio?
Kayci: We'll definitely get the studio today for a couple of hours, lessons and practice. But this morning after our conversation with you, we'll have a little bit of family time, spend some time outdoors and it is beautiful weather today.
Samantha: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. I feel like today is the last warm day. Maybe we'll have in Utah, it's supposed to get really cold the next two days. And then maybe it'll warm back up
Kayci: I know.
Samantha: So, so strange.
Kayci: Here's hoping
Samantha: Yeah. Yeah. I guess that's the welcome we're actually in September, it really is fall. Even though this year has not felt like we've had seasons.
Kayci: Yeah, it'll be beautiful. It'll be beautiful. We like weather in Utah.
Samantha: Definitely. Definitely. So, obviously a lot of titles between the two of you, some, as a partnership together, some, some separately, I want to get into the kind of history of how you guys got into dancing. I had your sister Krista on a, in an earlier episode, so we know a little bit about the Treu family dynamics, but, in your own words, I guess, how did each of you get into ballroom dancing?
Kayci: You first
Casey: me first. Okay. I was around six or seven years old. My mother used to, teach at BYU on the ballroom dance, on the ballroom dance company. And, so she had the skill set to be able to teach. I was at an elementary school called the North Ridge Elementary. And, my mother was teaching my younger sister, how to dance, you know, Peewee swing, just a few steps.
And I think I kind of wasn't interested, but my mom said you should try and learn a few steps. So, I learned, you know, the L step, and the basic and like underarm turn or something like that. And, I swore to my grandparents and my parents, I would never dance. It's like, no way, I'm not going to dance. This is, this is stupid, guys don't dance. You know, I'm six years old. Right? Well, just so happened there was a competition, I think a couple months later. Actually no, several months later in December, where my family had traveled to Idaho and there was a competition that was happening there and my sister was competing and she had twins for partners, and both of them got sick and both of them actually dropped out of the competition.
and so, basically my mom walked up to me and said, so Carli doesn't have a partner. You know, my younger sister. And just like, would you be willing to dance with her Peewee swing? Cause it's the only event that you could probably do with her. And I'm like, sure. Cause I was sitting around and watching my older siblings dance.
I was like, this is actually really cool. And there were a lot of kids that were dancing. I mean, there were hundreds of kids, you know, in syllabus attire, white and black, and I was really excited and pumped and I'm like, okay, I'll try it. So that's probably the kid out there who was bouncing up and down, looking ridiculous, just smiling with his sister, like doing the same steps over and over and over, six-year-old, seven year old, something like that.
I don't remember my exact age. and, I couldn't believe it, but there were, I think, seven couples and we won. And from there I was hooked. I was like, this is awesome. This is way too much fun. you know, and I think that my parents told me growing up, I had a decent sense of rhythm. So, I. I think the reason that we did well is because I was probably on rhythm, but that's it, you know, it's a pee wee event
Kayci: knowing you, you probably had a crazy amount of energy
Casey: I probably just jumping up and down, like one of those cute little kids, who's just like "Oh this is awesome!" So that's how I got into it. Never stopped from that point on.
Samantha: And how about you Kayci?
Kayci: Well for me, it's kind of the opposite. I always loved dancing. I started my first class when I was like three and a half, four. It was one of those ballet-tap fusion classes, and never really stopped.
I knew about ballroom because my parents met doing ballroom at BYU. That's how they started their courtship and it was part of their love story. So, I always thought that it would be really awesome to go to BYU, to study there. That was kind of my dream school since I was a kid and I wanted to do ballroom there too, because, you know, I saw those videos when I was a kid, I saw the beautiful costumes.
I thought the dancing was so elegant and lovely and, but I did classical ballet all growing up. So. I was trained in classical Russian Vaganova, really intense training. and then I did a mix of just about everything else. That was the focus, but I had contemporary, I had lyrical, I had Russian character, a little bit of flamenco, but ballet was kind of everything, right? So, I started teaching when I was about 16. I was on scholarship with my company, had some great experiences. Anyway, time comes to go to college. I get into BYU. It's my dream school. I'm like, here we go. I'm very much a kind of an academic. As well, I love school. So, I was super excited.
And I was like, you know, I, I want to major in something other than dance because dance is always going to be part of my life. So, I'll start investigating these classes, but I had to make the decision, like, am I going to try out for the ballroom company or am I going to go into theater ballet? And I decided like the week before school, I was like, I'm not even going to go to the ballet auditions.
I'm going to throw everything into this ballroom thing. See what comes of it. I can always go back. You know, I have. Tons of experience for ballet under my belt, not taking classes for a couple months, won't kill me. Right. So, I go all in and do the auditions that first Thursday of school, I don't make the company.
I have zero ballroom experience. Yeah. I could like do lead follow with my dad in the kitchen. I don't know any steps. I know the names of a couple of dances. Anyway, I go to a social dance club right before the audition. And I tell them, I'm like, I'm auditioning in two days, teach me some waltz and cha-cha so I'm ready to go.
I was just no holds barred, going all in. And I had a great experience. I loved the audition. I had such a fun time watching everyone afterwards. Took all of the bronze level classes that were available, made the company the next year. And the rest is kind of history. I started competing open. I finished all the syllabus classes, did all my medals exams.
Really started competing, open like competitively. And
Casey: Just right away
Kayci: then I meet this guy pretty shortly afterwards. And the rest is kind of history. I mean, I knew about him before I ever met him and heard the legend of Casey Treu. You know, like a lot of people look up to him and they admired what he had accomplished.
And I was like, man, he worked hard. He did it. I can work hard. I can do it, you know? And anyway, then we ended up meeting and becoming partners and falling in love. And, ta-da, here we are so
Samantha: wonderful. Oh, wonderful. I mean, how, I guess, how was it received when you did walk into that first social dance? And you're like, all right, I've got zero experience, but I'm going to be trying out in two days. Were people, did people react positively to that, or did you.
Get a little bit of pushback.
Kayci: I don't remember anything but positivity.
Casey: It was quite magical.
Kayci: I was, I was on cloud nine. I was at my dream school. I was going to do my dream thing. I was, my parents were on team. And so, I did have a little bit of like understanding, right? Like my dad had, I could follow really quite well. I don't know in my mind back then, I was like, yeah, I'm a decent follower. I just don't know like the details of technique.
Casey: Yeah. Her parents are familiar with ballroom dancing and of course they were on the team years previous and yeah,
Kayci: it was my dad who was like, you got to get
Casey: he would lead her in the kitchen, you know, basic steps. Yeah.
Kayci: But when I walked into that social dance club, like everyone was super receptive.
They're like, Oh, that's so great. Like, that's awesome. And I felt confident too because I had a dance background. Like I'm a dancer. Right. And so, I didn't feel out of my element at all, if anything, I was just really excited, enthusiastic, and yeah, that's how I felt. Other people received me too, that they were all excited, enthusiastic.
I even had a guy helped me for an extra couple of hours the next day to help me feel ready. And I. Everyone was so kind and so receptive. Even at the audition, there's this guy who came up to me, his name is Paul Cave and he became a good friend and he was like, Hey, so are you new, around here. And I told him my background and he's like, well, you should keep doing this. Like it just, everyone was super, super supportive and.
Casey: You definitely dance like a ballerina.
Kayci: I did, I did. I watched those early videos and it is so different. I just kind of laugh at myself. You know, I tell my students, if I could go from where I was to where I am now. You can do anything. You know, I just feel like that's the most positive message I could give.
And so, when I started teaching at BYU, that's when everything kind of came full circle, I was teaching those first bronze classes that I took, and I always told the kids or the students, right. They're not, they're collegiate students. And my, my whole premise to them was like, look, this is my background.
This is where I am now. Like, you never know where this could take you, but don't be afraid of it. You can do anything you want and
Casey: Any BYU's ballroom program. It's fantastic. It really does have a, you know, it really works your way all the way up, you know, bronze, silver, gold, platinum kind of thing. That the way they have it built up is, is extremely well structured.
so, it's, it's a great place to really grow, develop yourself as a dancer. So, it was perfect for you
Kayci: They even had teaching methods classes. So, I got that teacher training. I did theory classes then as I became more advanced to really study the ISTD technique books, we've just recently taken both of our ISTD, Latin and ballroom extension
Casey: exams. Just recently our ballroom.
Kayci: Yeah. We took the ballroom exam this summer. So, thanks COVID for the extra break, I guess. When it's something worthwhile. yeah, it was great, really good foundation for kind of my career to launch from.
Samantha: that's awesome. So, did you both end up on the tour team before you ended up partnering together? Or did those two kind of happen at the same time? Later?
What, what is the timeline? As far as we're touring, we're competing, we're starting to rack up some titles and then the partnership happens.
Kayci: It was all a whirlwind.
Casey: Yeah. It'd be kind, kind of,
Kayci: It was all kind of simultaneous
Casey: definitely all it all definitely came together. the way I remember it was, Because Kayci was such a hard worker on her individual dancing for ballroom.
She progressed through the program a little faster than normal. you know, she was invited up to the, was it back up that you were invited up halfway?
Kayci: Yeah. Their showcase company, which is the tier just below the touring company.
Casey: Yes. Yeah. She was invited up to that team kind of a half a year in advance or almost a whole year in advance.
Kayci: Yeah, I did. I was there within two years. So, I made the premier level team in two years.
Casey: Yeah. So, she, so she made it super quick. And in fact, we should definitely mention this. My, I served LDS mission. So, I had, I've never met her. I came home from my mission and I had a spot on the touring company. So that's where I started when I came home from serving a mission. And
Kayci: He had done a year of school prior, so he had done showcase company already.
Casey: So, I kind of paid my dues in terms of, in, in that, in that regard. and my sister, Carli was also supposed to be on team my first year of tour team, but Carli actually,
Kayci: she introduced us.
Casey: She introduced us, but man, she did a lot for us. She introduced us, but also, she, you know, she decided that she was going to serve a mission.
So, she put off being on tour team and that opened up a spot for Kayci. So, Kayci was able to join the tour team. That's how I remember it, you know? and that was great. So, our first year on tour team was together. So, I was like, well, that's great.
Kayci: We met in March, we met in March of 2013
Casey: or 12? 13, yeah.
Kayci: And then, and then that following fall was when we both were on the touring company together.
Kayci: So, our partnership started that summer. We worked every day. Worked our butts off. And,
Casey: I remember, I had quite a few auditions. I auditioned with a lot of different girls. But I was on a mission. I wanted to find someone I could marry that I could dance with. So, it was pretty vocal, to some of the girls, I thought I could potentially date and dance, because I didn't want to be hidden. I didn't want to be.
Kayci: So, we had this like process, right? We've met a couple of times to practice. We did an audition with one of his coaches we had sat about and talked about goals and everything. And during one of those, like third or fourth meetings, he's like, you know, I would love to take you on a date. I don't really date my dance partners, but I would be very interested in taking you out.
Right. And then I was like, well, that's a nice guy. I really like his sister. Yeah, what could hurt, right? Like what's one date. So, I'm like, yeah, sure. Whatever. Like, let's just be mature about it. And low and behold, we just really clicked.
We were friends and partners first and then just
Casey: and we actually did, we did, we did ballroom first and then we picked up Latin a little later. I did have a Latin partner. When we first kind of started dancing together,
Kayci: he decided he was like, so if I'm going to date this girl, I better not put all my eggs in one basket. Like maybe let's just start with the ballroom together and then we'll see where things go from there.
Casey: Yeah. And even before that, I was like, you know what, maybe I should just date her and not, and not dance with her. but it just so happened that it worked out with the girls I was auditioning with, you know, the circumstances were just right for me to do ballroom with her.
And then a couple of months later, it worked out to do Latin with her. And so, I was like, this must be meant to be kind of a thing. So
Kayci: It very much felt that way.
Casey: It felt that way. And so, then we did 10 dance kind of right out of the gate
Kayci: and we were still in school. So, we had four years on the touring company. during which time we were both completing our undergrads. We were very busy. It was a lot to juggle at once and to us having that college experience and that college education was really important. I think, especially for me, I really, really valued that and that meant some sacrifices. Like we couldn't do all of the competitions we wanted to do. We had to be really aware of time management.
I would, I would go back into it all the same way though. the experiences we had with the touring company were fantastic. So many people, we got to meet all around the world. we were able to compete at the Blackpool Formation Championships as a team. We won that with everyone, and that was a unique experience.
Casey: It was also great to compete individually there as well.
Kayci: Yeah. We had a wonderful time. It felt like we just had to be really aware of time management.
Casey: It was just a lot on our plate. It was, that's why it kind of felt like a blur, you know, to manage school, responsibilities on team, and two styles that were competing together while our relationship that we are both progressing down.
Casey: And then on top of it, we, you know, Of course we, I was teaching dance. You were teaching ballet
Kayci: We were both teaching.
Casey: and then you, I think you just picked up a couple of students as well as time progressed. I still had a security guard job where I had night shifts. So, I, I, you know, I'd be up the
Kayci: first couple of years of college.
Casey: So, I'd be up all night. I'm watching a certain, this building and I'm making sure no one's doing anything shady. You know, no homeless people come on this private lot. And then I would go from work straight to team rehearsals at 7:00 AM. Having not slept at all that night. Then after I go doing team rehearsals and we have technique class, then you have your biology class and then after that you'd go practice together. Then we get some training and do some lessons and we would work and then do rounds and then do rounds. And that was an exhausting time. And then go to bed after 48 hours of being awake. It was tough.
Samantha: Did you find that once you graduated and left the college experience that you've been able to maintain that work ethic? Or has, have you been able to find a way to prioritize, like, no, I'm going to spend time in this and I'm going to let these other things kind of calm down because I need to breathe? I know for me, I was the same way I was taking like, 24 credits a semester.
I was on ballroom team. I was like, I was, I was crazy. had a part time job one semester. It was just, I look back at it. I'm like, Was I just running on red bull and cocoa puffs, like, how? What was I doing? And now as an adult, I'm like, okay, I've got this amount of time that I can spend teaching. I've got this amount of time that I can spend, you know, on family and social stuff and everything else.
I just want to sit in a quiet room and just not do not move for, you know, X number of hours.
Kayci: Yeah. I think both of us are pretty driven. We're pretty hard workers. And so, it's easy for us to just put our nose to the grinder and go, I think the more we kind of step back and really evaluate. What our lives are and where our priorities are, the more we do try and make really maintain a balance. Family's really important to us. We love spending time outdoors. I'm an avid reader. Like we have all these other interests as well that really help us kind of bring a fresh perspective and new life into our dancing so that we don't get. Too much into one.
Casey: Too much tunnel vision, I guess.
Kayci: Yeah. Yeah. But,
Casey: one of the other things we enjoy doing is putting together show dances and I especially love putting together show dances.
So, every time we watch a movie, of course, all dancers listen to the music and go, Ooh, would this be a good show piece? You know? so I guess you could say, yeah, we try to, we try to balance, but also prioritize and then take advantage of those moments where it could turn into an opportunity, like the show dance, I guess you could say.
Kayci: I think we're still, probably just as busy as we were in college. Maybe slightly less, but just in a different way. Right? So, the life of a dancer is a lot of traveling, a lot of training, a lot of teaching and, it's still super rewarding and super fulfilling, but still super busy.
Casey: I don't know if, I don't know if we answered your question necessarily. I hope we did.
Samantha: Yeah, you did. Absolutely. Absolutely. You did. so, I guess shifting now to current priorities and currently what you're working on, why 10 dance? Why not specialize in either standard or Latin? What's the draw for the two of you to continue doing both?
Casey: Speak for myself.
Kayci: There's a couple of things.
Casey: There's a lot of reasons
Kayci: You go, and I'll fill in.
Casey: For me, I just, I can't give up either. I love them both so dang much.
Casey: I love the artistry. I would do. Being able to create something that's beautiful and elegant. Then I also like to create something that's a little bit more flirtatious and fun. And I feel like because the characters of the dance and Latin are so different from the characterization of the dances in standard, I don't want to give either of them up. You know, in fact, I look forward to, we haven't done this as much. We've only done this, like once creating a, an actual 10 dance show dance, where you can transition between styles. You know,
Kayci: We have a lot of fun ideas.
Casey: That's, that's one of the things that's on my agenda that I want to be able to achieve, in the near future.
And, but of course at this point we've done a lot of here's ballroom number for show dance, here's a Latin number for show dance. And it's just, it's just hard to want to give up one or the other. The other thing is our coaches tell us that we're good at both. You know, we can actually pull off both, you know, sometimes some people say, well, you're really good in this, you should probably get the other style because you'll excel in this one specifically, but we've had coaches on both sides, say you're good in both styles. And we found success in both styles to a certain level where it's like they're even. And growing up, it was important for me to try and be balanced as a dancer. My parents were wise in saying, you know, you should probably do more than just one style, although. Kind of around the 16, 17 around 17, 18 years old, including 19, I specialized just in Latin. But before that point I did kind of a mixture of everything. but also, I think that, it's important to us to want to, you know, have a family someday and provide for them.
And I liked the idea of teaching both. You know, I think it's something that we enjoy. you know,
Kayci: we really love both styles. Performing, competing them is one. Also just learning and training where we love being students of this art form. And it's so rewarding, fulfilling to pick the top brains from both and see how many similarities there really are between those styles of how much your ballroom can help your Latin and how much your Latin can help your ballroom.
And we really love embodying that in our teaching as well. there's just so many things about good dancing, you know, that apply both ways.
Casey: Yeah. I mean, a lot of people would say that one of our better dances is Paso Doble. Well, that makes sense because we do ballroom and Paso Doble was originally a ballroom dance, you know, and it's got ballroom figures in it.
so that, that's a, that's a plus, you know? and, I mean, I don't think you can necessarily compare Quickstep to jive.
Samantha: but there are some similarities there. Yep.
Casey: If you want to do some crazy fast, but work. Yeah. There are some similarities, you know? so like some of the things I like to do in our Quickstep that might have faster feet feel a little more comfortable, I guess, for me and for us, because we also like jive, you know?
Cause you have to have quick feet for some of those same, feelings. Not, not that much, but I don’t know, maybe a little
Kayci: I think we also like the challenge. That it is to tackle both. Could we perhaps go a little bit further if like in one specific style, if we specialized? Possibly.
Casey: Oh, no doubt
Kayci: for sure, for sure. We feel lucky to have made like a world rising star Latin final.
Casey: That was great.
Kayci: That was fantastic. And our Latin probably is just a little bit there with our ballroom, we'll go higher. Well, they both, we've worked hard on both styles because we like that challenge. And because we like expanding ourselves in both directions, I think also like personality wise, we find a lot of ourselves in both.
Some people are I've told us some good friends, like, you know, I'm just. Such a Latin dancer. I just such a ballroom dancer.
Casey: You have that personality
Kayci: Yeah. And we just feel so much of ourselves in both, you know, so to give up one, it almost feels like we're missing, we're giving up part of ourselves. So, it's more difficult, but in some ways it's much more rewarding.
Casey: I did have a dream growing up that I could be a world, 10 dance champion of some kind and.
And I thought that was just kind of like, that would be so great. You know, I really, really do have a great respect for people that specialize.
Kayci: people that do both dancers in general, it's such an amazing industry,
Casey: but it seemed like more feasible with what our priorities are to also do 10 dance. I would say because, you know, specialists, that are competing around the world scene, you know, they might not have as much time to be around family.
They might not have as much time to put towards the things that, we would want to have important in our lives. So, for us, we do care about family quite a bit, and we want to be able to support and see, you know, your sister go to a soccer game if we can.
Kayci: And we feel very supported by our families too. They're very supportive of our goals and that's really helpful.
Casey: So, we just want to be balanced in that area, you know, and I felt like 10 dance, even though some people say it's twice the work. And in some cases, I could see that's true, but everyone has the same amount of time in a day, you know? So if you've got eight hours in a day and then we do so many hours of that in Latin, so many in Ballroom, well, the person who's doing just one style is going to do all those hours for that one style.
So, yeah. Anyway.
Samantha: Yeah. Well, and, and I think you made a good point there in the middle, which was. You're currently teaching you have an eye to teach in the future. So, having a really strong foundation in both styles is going to make you more marketable as, as an instructor, you can meet the needs of more students.
You can speak with authority on both topics. Have you cross-trained at all in the American styles or have you made a decision, no, we really were passionate about international. That's where our background is. So, we want to kind of stay on the international side of, of the dance world?
Casey: So, I grew up having some American experience. I did compete American rhythm when I was 14, 15, which was really nice to be able to say I've dabbled in it. as well as American smooth, I, I don't, I didn't do American smooth for that long. I did it for a very brief period of time.
Kayci: I did it for probably a year and a half.
Casey: but of course, that's, that's just a good enough experience to kind of, Gain respect for it, but also if it's needed, I'm, we're not afraid to choreograph for a smooth couple. You know, we could point them if they want, I want to become super serious, maybe in a different direction.
with teachers that, are specializing in that particular category, but we're not afraid to be able to offer those services to people if they want them. And sometimes our opinion is kind of. Almost developed for say this smooth category, because like, yeah, we move like this in Latin and this is the arm technique and you put those two together and you're a 10 dancer and sorry, the 10 dancers work well for smooth.
Kayci: We're very passionate about the international styles. we thrive in that realm and really, really love it. we have so much respect for the American styles as well. We have really great friends in both categories for us personally. I think that. We prefer the international and in our personal training and our personal teaching.
but you know, when you're a student of dance, you're student of all dance and you just have to kind of decide where to spend most of your time. Most of our time is spent in international, but we do enjoy studying and learning from the Smooth and Rhythm categories as well. Everything has something to offer.
Casey: We have gotten lessons from those teachers and we wanted them to give us their opinion on our Latin or on our standard, because.
Kayci: so many of them have so many of them have 10-dance background too
Casey: but, but because they're dancers and they're good and they're proficient and they're specialized field, then of course it helps us, you know, like it was fun to have a smooth lesson on our Paso Doble, you know. That was really quite interesting, you know?
Samantha: Well, and, and I feel like, you know, the, the sport and the artistry of DanceSport is constantly evolving and constantly changing.
And if you go back and you watch videos from even 10, 20, 30 years ago, it looks dramatically different. so, having an understanding and a grounding and a foundation in. In all styles, you can then tailor. What do we want to look like in our standard? Do we want to go for, you know, the extreme stretch and the extreme shape?
Do we want to go for sharpness? Do we want to add in some of those more, Fluid, maybe like cheeky elements that you get in your American Foxtrot? Like how, how do we want to incorporate that? Right. so, I think that makes you, you know, powerhouse dancers if you have the ability to train from everyone and learn from everyone and then incorporate it into your own dancing.
Casey: So true, Yeah.
Samantha: obviously 2020 has just kind of been an interesting question Mark of a year. Were you at nationals this year, before it came to a complete halt or were your events scheduled for after everything got shut down?
Kayci: yeah. So, we were scheduled to dance Latin on Friday night and ballroom on Saturday night and the competition came to a halt Thursday.
It was a really interesting process because, we were there with our students Tuesday through Thursday and doing a lot with them. And we're at the competition, Thursday afternoon. And we received the announcement that there we're going to be canceling the rest of the event. And there was so much, kind of back and forth. It was a whole, it was a totally new experience for everyone. I just thought the officials did such a great job trying to do that the very best they could to make it a wonderful experience,
Casey: the stress they must've been under
Kayci: so much props to the organizers and officials. They just did a wonderful job.
It ended up coming to a point on Thursday where they're like, okay, Amateur Latin, you're competing tonight. Get ready. And they're like, okay, amateur Ballroom and Latin you're competing tonight, get ready. And then I was like, never mind, you're not competing. Never mind. Just Latin, never mind. Nothing at all.
And so, it was a little back and forth. And so, we were just trying to okay. Get in the zone. Okay. Never mind. Let's go to
Casey: go home. We have to get food, get ready because you know, that means we're competing in two hours. Let's go we can do this!
Kayci: So, it was a little bit of a rollercoaster emotionally for us. at the end of the day, I thought they did a wonderful job doing what they could with the situation
Casey: they made the right decisions.
Kayci: And it was great to be able to watch all of the younger categories, have their chance to dance and compete. And it ends up going until about two 30 in the morning. We were there until the bitter end, just screaming and cheering for all these preteens out on the floor. Some of them are from New Jersey. So, it probably feels like four in the morning to them.
Casey: Yeah, it was. I'm so glad that they were still able to dance.
Kayci: There was a wonderful energy
Casey: To travel that far distance. Yeah,
Kayci: it ended up not being the championship events for most of the categories. I think they finished out smooth and cabaret. and I think those were the only two amateur events I could be wrong.
Samantha: Well, and part of that was,
Kayci: they're still wonderful energy.
Samantha: Sorry, part, part of that if I'm remembering correctly is behind the scenes. They, the discussion was, I think we can get all of the championships and we can still get the titles. And then they realized that there were entrants that hadn't made it yet to Utah, that they were either coming internationally or farther States.
Casey: Yeah. The people that landed and got a text on their phone, right when they landed, oh it's canceled, what? Oh, Yeah,
Kayci: I thought they did a wonderful job doing everything they could. They really made the best of a tricky situation.
Kayci: But it was sad. It was sad not competing.
Casey: It was really sad. It was really sad.
Samantha: so currently all of the titles are amateur. We've kind of talked about the fact that you're also teaching, currently the rule in the NDCA, at least as far as NDCA goes is you can do both to a certain point. is there a plan eventually to go professional?
Kayci: well first just addressing the amateur point.
I think we feel very blessed because we, we make dance our full-time gig. We are really lucky to have students that we love and love working with, and that we can be involved in this full time. So of course, it's just a natural progression from that point to really. You know, make it an official title change and say, okay, yeah, we are going to be competing in the professional category now. to be honest with you, we had plans.
Casey: We had plans
Kayci: We had plans and then COVID. Train wrecked.
Casey: Changed them. and, and we feel comfortable sharing this, but we were going to turn professional right after the national championships. So, we were in compete the national championships as amateurs. Yeah.
Kayci: We were going to do probably one more Blackpool is amateurs as well.
Casey: Yeah. One more black pool because of the success we had had that season in rising star at the world championships. That was, that was a great. Great opportunity. just to make it back round after round, after round, after round after round, like sweet. Yeah. I made the final. It's awesome.
But, but, yeah, so we had plans to turn professional, right after the national championships, and kind of make it our last national championships.
Try to try to fight for that 10 dancing and that title one more time. Try to make it into the both, Latin final and the Ballroom final. We have been very close to that Latin final
Kayci: two marks away,
Casey: two marks away, over a three-year period. And it's like, my gosh, if we just get two more marks, two more, we've been in that final the previous year instead of a whole year of continuing to train and work on our dancing and like, wow, we were, it took a whole year to just change two marks, you know?
And so that was kind of our plan. Like we're going to try and fight for it if it doesn't happen. That's okay. But we did our best this last season and we're, and we're going to try and make the Latin final, make the Ballroom final, then win 10 dance and move on, you know, that was the plan. But of course, plans changed when something like COVID happens.
So, we, you know, I feel bad. I do, I do feel bad kind of, you know, in that regard that, yeah, it was going to be kind of our last kind of a thing, but I also feel bad for everybody else. You know, who was there their last year of junior, then they're moving to youth or was their last year of youth or moving to adults.
Sure. In 21, you know, everyone had got everyone missed out on something. And so, it was difficult for everybody in the end.
Samantha: So is the plan then to, to essentially push it back a year and have, assuming we all get through this, and March comes around and nationals are, are in 2021, which I guess is still kind of up in the air at this point.
But if they're able to hold nationals and they, they have the titles and the championships still, still there. Are you planning on doing one more event as amateurs or has the discussion shifted to, well, maybe we just come out with the first event in 2021, one where things can get back to normal as professionals? TBD?
Kayci: No, we've thought lot of, and of course everything is subject to change with the nature of the world right now. that amateur championship means a lot to us. It's a dream Casey's had since he was very, very young. It's one we've been so close to. I think there's a perception in today's world, which is different from what it was.
20 years ago.
Casey: I mean there. There's truth to a lot of different opinions
Kayci: where like 10 dancers tend to not be as proficient in a specialized category, which is an interesting perception because I, we see. Some of our colleagues in the 10-Dance category, UK making Blackpool finals and semifinals in their individual categories.
And that's really what we wanted to set out to accomplish this last year was really push 10-Dance on a world stage and do are our very best in all of the individual categories as well, because. I think there's so much to be gained. And I really pushing those individual styles as well as the 10-dance style.
And so, we really, really are pushing and have been pushing all summer as well to continue improving in both our Latin and in our Ballroom. And it would be fantastic to do another championship and to make both finals and to do 10 dance and hopefully win that again. that's what we're aiming towards.
Casey: So, in answer to your question, we, we have spent a lot of time thinking about it.
We've talked to a few of our coaches and, we've also prayed about it and like, you know what, we're, we're going to hold on to six more months. And cause that's how far we are from March where the national championship is hold. And I don't want to let go of being able to make either of those finals and if it doesn't happen, that's okay.
We're still probably going to, we're just going to turn pro you know, when the time is right afterwards. but we want to have one last shot. We'd like to get that one last chance, you know, and I don't want to think that we may, cause if we made this decision to turn pro now, then it would be difficult to live with that thought process that we never kind of got our last.
Our last chance, you know, and I think I wouldn't want to live with that kind of regret being like, Hey, we didn't get a try, you know, whereas it would be easier to say this is going to be our last try. We're going to try and accept no matter what happens, happens. That that seems like a little bit easier of a scenario to follow through with
Samantha: yeah, you don't
Kayci: for us, we're constantly working on our dancing.
And so, we're going to continue pushing our dancing as amateurs. We continue pushing our dances as professionals, and we try to hold ourselves to the highest standard we can. Right. So, in one sense, obviously your co competitive field shifts quite a bit as you turn professional. but another sense of the word it's the same.
It's the same thing. You're constantly improving. You're constantly working on your dancing. So that's, that's really our main plan. Next year, we will never stop working on our dancing and that's. The main goal.
Samantha: Yeah. Well, and you don't want to make a, a significant transition in your career with unfinished business, right?
You want to be able to close it out on your terms and feel comfortable moving into that next stage. I want to ask a question and you can absolutely opt to not answer it if you don't feel comfortable with it, but I would be remiss since you, since you've mentioned the importance of nationals and the importance of, of kind of pushing for those, you know, placements in those titles.
there was a brief moment, last year where it was unclear whether BYU was actually going to be able to award titles because of, the non-gendered partnership rule change and whether or not they were going to allow it. In the moment, did that impact your decision or would that have impacted your decision to compete at BYU that year?
Casey: No, we still would've competed.
Kayci: I think it's very important that as a dance community, we all support one another and that we try to make sure that everything is fair and equitable for everyone as it can be. with. The volatile situation of last year, obviously everything was quite complex. To us, we stand for fairness.
We stand for everyone to have an equal playing field. We feel very strongly that we should all support and love one another in this industry, which is interesting because we're all competing against each other too. Right. But we really believe in that mutual respect for everyone. But at the end of the day, we really also want to be on the floor and to dance.
And for us, dancing is an important parallel to life, but we also don't want to make it a political battleground for us personally. And so. We try to make everything as much about the dancing as possible. Is that always possible? No. but I think with the situation, as it was unfolding, we, we were still probably going to compete and just try to show our love and our support in every way we can, for all dancers,
Casey: We've competed on the floor with that, with that scenario before it hasn't been a problem in the past.
the only thing is we've talked to some of our coaches. And there are a lot of questions, you know, about making something like that work. in fact, we have a lot of, people that we've talked to, they're very respectable in the dance community that also have questions, being how you compare. Cause you know, when you compare a couple, a traditional couple, you have a man and a man compare man to man and you compare lady to lady, right?
How has her heel turn? How has the other girl's heel turn? Then same when you compare man in Latin, he's got a nice build. He's built his body nice. And he can represent the, the, you know, the masculine character of Paso Doble. And then you compare that to another man who's representing Paso Doble. And some of the, some of our judges who, some of our excuse me, some of our teachers who are, how do I say this?
Who is a part of that, that different community? they've expressed, it's hard to judge. It's hard to judge an event where if you have two women dancing together and you have, a traditional couple, that's hard to compare, you know, how do you, how do you compare that? That's, that's something that's kind of difficult.
That's one of the questions I think people have, or the judges have. in terms of how to make it happen. and that's something that we've kind of heard from our, from our friends. There's like, yeah, there's a lot of questions that are unanswered in order to satisfy that demand that people have or the requests that they have to be able to compete kind of the way they want to compete.
Kayci: I think for us, it's all about, okay, what can we do as a community to make sure that we're all listening to each other and trying to find the best situation that helps everyone in the best possible way. And hopefully we're able to find ways for everyone to be able to compete and everyone to have a wonderful experience in this art form that we all love so much.
Samantha: So, I had, Tony Nunez on, several episodes ago and we talked about the rule change itself,
Kayci: We love Tony,
Samantha: yeah, he's, he's amazing. And I think he had a fantastic perspective, on it, which, if those of you watching or listening to this right now, they have not had a chance. Please go check it out.
Cause I think he talked about it in a lot of detail and I, I agree with a lot of his opinions on, kind of the fallacy behind that. It's, it's hard to judge because it's apples and apples or apples and oranges. you know, with, with the cabaret background, you know, firsthand that we judge apples and oranges all the time.
So, as far as the rule change goes specifically, if you want to hear his opinions and my opinions on it, I would, I would direct people to that episode. My question was more directed as if, if they had stripped the titles and it was just another competition, would you still have found value in, in competing on that floor?
Casey: Oh, I misunderstood.
Kayci: of course, we love competing on that floor.
Casey: Yeah, I think we still would have.
Kayci: It's a beautiful environment.
Casey: It's our home, you know?
Casey: I've been going to that competition since I was six, seven years old.
Kayci: Of course, we're in this to be able to compete and to be able to win championships. And that's part of our, our goal system, but to us getting on the floor and being able to dance is such a big part of why we do this.
Casey: And I think we had a lot of trust in the people that were in charge, you know, the right decisions would be made, and they were, so it worked out great. You know, so I don't think we were too concerned necessarily probably about those potential problems. I think we were just kind of like, Oh, interesting.
Kayci: If we have the titles, great. We'll dance. If there's no titles,
Casey: great we'll dance. That's you know, But, yeah. Anyway,
Samantha: fair, fair enough. last, question before we go, and then I want to open it up just in case you guys have anything that you want to talk about, that we haven't yet talked about. Obviously, I'm currently in Salt Lake City. You guys are in Utah as well. We've passed each other at a couple of events and then a couple of studio coaching sessions before. With your teaching independent, I'm assuming, are you tied to either Strictly Ballroom or Peak or do you kind of go wherever the students need you to go at this point?
Kayci: We focus on our students and their needs. Primarily both spaces have great things to offer. And, Utah's a unique situation in that we do have quite a lot of independent opportunities and we do freelance and we're grateful to both of those spaces for hosting such beautiful ballrooms. And we just look towards our students to what can best serve their needs.
Casey: Yeah. I mean, we've, I think that we've probably taught at most, every ballroom dance studio there is in Utah. at least once, you know, so I think we definitely hop around, to, to help the students' needs, you know, cause some students don't, they want to travel an hour and a half or. An hour from this place to that place.
And if there's enough interest, we'll, we'll make a trip out somewhere. You know, we even taught up in Idaho once a month for a whole year, you know, I'm making a drive up there, you know, to one of those little towns, like we taught in Preston and Ammon. you know, we've taught, where is,
Kayci: we just feel really lucky. There's lots of great opportunities out here and
Casey: yeah, it's just like anybody else, you know, if you're going to go where the work is and try to do your best to provide your services for those students that are interested in becoming better in their craft. So
Samantha: Definitely. Yeah. I had Aaron Pierce on last week. Who's obviously a graduate of UVU ballroom. He was competing in Salt Lake for some time.
Kayci: We love Aaron.
Samantha: And he had mentioned, and that since he, had moved to California, he started seeing more, more coaches and more opportunity for amateur dancers in Utah. I attributed that to what Oskar and Karolina and David and Natalie are doing with Peak Performance.
What would you like to see the future of Utah DanceSport be? Do you want to see a, I mean, obviously we would all of more opportunities for students to grow and, and more opportunity to interact with the top level coaches, but what is something that you would like to see either changed or improved in the next five years as a way to grow the amateur program here in the state?
Casey: I think that we need a little more, we need some more competitions. I think we need that. You know, sometimes you look at some States and how many competitions they have per year and I'm like, wow, 45 comps a year. My gosh, that's one state. Wait, how many weekends are there in a year? You know? And you look at Utah it’s like how many NDCA sanctioned competitions do we have?
Well, not that many. and so, by comparison. So, I think that'd be a great thing to see more NDCA sanctioned competitions in Utah. That'd be a wonderful. A wonderful blessing for a lot of dancers. So, they didn't feel pressured to have to spend money to travel. You know, a lot of competitions like on the East coast are within driving distance.
So, you can drive. Whereas in Utah, you want to go to the East coast, you have to fly, you know, of course you can drive to California. So, some students do. but again, that's still a 13-hour, 12-hour drive. Yeah. You know? Compared to the East Coast, it could be a four-hour drive, which is a lot less. so, I think that'd be a great thing to make, dancing, grow and flourish in Utah is more opportunities,
Casey: competitions. I think that would be a great thing to have happen next couple of years.
Samantha: Love it. Love it. Well, I know you guys have a busy day ahead of you, so I don't want to keep you too terribly long. but is there anything that you wanted to talk about that we didn't get a chance to or anything that you want our listeners or viewers to know about what you guys are doing right now?
Casey: I'll say something, keep dancing, even though COVID's happening,
Kayci: there's always ways to make your dreams come true.
Casey: Don't stop working
Kayci: where there's a will. There's a way, and this is a great opportunity to really focus in on why we love the process. You know, what about the process really invigorates us as dancers and kind of enjoying that journey without the maybe such frequent competitions is a different experience, but it's no less valuable. There's so much we can learn. And so many ways we can still grow and develop.
Casey: And then a lot of our friends and some of our teachers have had some wise advice and counsel saying, you know what, take advantage of this time to see your friends.
If you know, you have a little more time on your hands or
Kayci: diversify your interests.
Casey: Spend time with family, you know, try to be balanced. You know, this is an advantage and opportunity that the whole dance community kind of gets at once. And once it's gone, it's gone, you know, you're going to get right back to competing every weekend,
Kayci: right back to the grind.
Casey: Right back to the grind. So, take advantage of that time, you know, but also, it's been time to study to just improve yourself. So, yeah, that's what I would say. That's what we would say.
Kayci: Yeah. It's given us a fun chance for some side projects. one of which we just completed our exams
Casey: that was really nice to get done
Kayci: the ISTD licentiate in ballroom. So now I completed that in Latin and ballroom both.
we worked on finishing our website.
Casey: That was nice.
Kayci: so, it, it gives you a chance to really tackle those, the side projects and finish them up.
Casey: Yeah. If you don't mind me saying this, if anyone's listening and wants to visit our website, go to treudancing.com T-R-E-U. Not U-E. I wish it was spelled correct, but it's not because my last name is German.
So, I've got German ancestry in my, the last German, correct? It is German. It's correct. And actually, it means the same thing in German, which is cool. So
Samantha: there you go. Yeah. For anybody that wants to follow Casey and Kayci on their journey, a treudancing.com is in the description box below. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram at Treu Dancing as well.
And I think they've got personal pages, but the business pages at least are, listed in the description box below. So, go check them out after that. Well, thank you both so much for being guests on today's episode. hopefully, we can chat again in the future.
Kayci: Let's do it!
Samantha: 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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