Raising the Bar - Christine Bar Noël

Ballroom Chat: Episode #43March 17, 2021

Christine Bar Noël discusses taking up the challenge of finding her own path to success in the ballroom dance industry. Christine and Samantha chat about dance entrepreneurship, and finding life-work balance. The two reflect on the importance of saying no, and explore ways to raise the ceiling for future dancers to flourish.

Christine Bar Noël is a former World Rhythm Champion as part of a Pro-Am father-daughter duo. She is now a certified life balance coach and the host of the Recovering Perfectionist podcast.

Ballroom Chat on Apple PodcastBallroom Chat on Spotify PodcastBallroom Chat on Google PodcastBallroom Chat on Stitcher PodcastBallroom Chat RSS Feed
--:--
--:--

Episode Transcript

Our transcripts are automatically generated from our audio podcast with only small modifications for readability. Since the transcripts are automatically generated from our podcast conversation, they will contain errors.

Samantha: Welcome back to Ballroom Chat, the podcast dedicated to sharing the dance journey. I am your host, Samantha with Love Live Dance. Today, I'm joined by Christine Bar Noël. She is a world rhythm champion dancer. She also hosts the Recovering Perfectionist podcast. She's a life balance coach and an entrepreneur. I got the opportunity to sit down and talk with her today about how to find balance between, your goals, whether those be in ballroom dance business or in life, and being a well-rounded person, about charting your own path, regardless of the confines of the industry that you are currently in, and how she managed to set out on her own in the ballroom dance industry and create her own business and path. So please enjoy this conversation with Christine Bar Noël.

Well, thank you, Christine so much for being a guest on today's podcast.

Christine: Absolutely. Thank you for having me. It's an honor.

Samantha: Yeah. So I mentioned at the beginning that you are a world champion rhythm dancer, specifically a father daughter duo which makes me think that maybe we had a ballroom dancing from a very early age. What was kind of your entry point into the dance world and how has that navigated you to today?

Christine: Yeah, that's a fabulous way to start. I love that. Also kind of cool because we are in the month of March and March 20th this year will be exactly 10 years that my dad and I won our title. So really, really, really cool. We were in Bermuda. And my dad started in in France and Europe where we're from and he started in the Olympics or in ice dancing, Olympic ice dancing, and. Then he transferred into ballroom dancing when he moved to the United States. And I grew up in the industry because he had a dance studio that he opened when I was about 10 years old in Kansas City.

So I basically grew up around dance. I was my, you know, the ballroom studio was my daycare. I mean, it was basically like my after-school activities. But I actually didn't start till late. I was very, very, very shy. So I credit dancing to just helping me open up, becoming more of a better speaker becoming just a more overall well-rounded person. And I started dancing when I was like 16, because, you know, we get to dance with boys and that's awesome. So that was like my end. I was like, I'm in, I'm in. And yeah, we just kind of went from there. My dad You know, we dance, I dance with a lot of different partners and different things like that to start just for fun.

And then when I went off, when I graduated high school, I was about to go off to college. And my dad said I don't want you to leave until you do at least one dance competition with me. And I was like, Oh, I don't want to do it. It's not my thing. You know, whatever. And I ended up doing it and loving, performing. I love the performing aspect of it. The competitive side, wasn't really my jam, but I found the love in the performance of what I was doing and ended up competing for, you know, a short amount of time doing that. But really the performance was my favorite part. And yeah, and then we won our title in 2011, which then yeah, this year we'll make it 10 years.

Samantha: That's amazing. So we do have to do the name drop your father is?

Christine: The name drop? Absolutely. Brad Pitt. No, I'm kidding. Does Brad Pitt ballroom dance? No. My father is Louie Bar. So I am Christine Bar Noël in one month, I will be married adding to my name. Yeah. And it's amazing.

Samantha: Yeah. So was it always American rhythm? Did you dabble in other dance styles? W how did that kind of process evolve for you?

Christine: So I started, first dance I ever learned West coast swing, absolute favorite dance ever. To this day it is my end all be all. It's the dance I can like fall on the floor and make a move out of. It's fantastic. It's very freeing. And that's my personality. I don't really like rules. I'm not really a rule person.

So, but when my dad wanted me to compete that first time, we kind of had to have some structure to things. So I did learn, you know, some basics, Cha-cha, rumble, that stuff I gravitated towards the faster dances. So the rhythm styles salsa was a fun thing. My dad and I, and a bunch of my friends, we would all go out salsa dancing, like once a week, downtown Kansas City, it was like the hot spot.

So really the Latin dances, you know, the, the, or the fun ones, the club styles. And then when we competed, when we started competing, my dad wanted us to be able to have more opportunities to do different things. So then he's like, well, we should really do American Smooth as well. And at first I couldn't stand at Foxtrot was like the death of me.

It was like not doing it. And honestly what after, you know, cut to years and years of me training, competing, teaching I learned to love all of them. I absolutely adore Foxtrot today. I love Viennese waltz is one of my favorites. Actually that's probably one of the dances that my fiancé and I are going to be doing at our wedding. Like, it's it, all the dances really have a special place in my heart now, but I will say I'm a Rhythm girl from the core. So that is what we won our title in is Rhythm, but we also competed in Smooth that weekend and we got second in smooth

Samantha: that's not too shabby. That's awesome. Were you competing Pro-Am then when you were dancing with your dad or were you competing.

Christine: Yes Pro-Am. Yeah, so it was so, and we decided that because I knew I wasn't going to have a long competitive career in ballroom dancing. Just because I didn't want it. Honestly, my brother and I so I have an amazing brother as well, who is phenomenal. He's actually like shooting a TV show today. He's in LA, he's an actor. He's amazing. But he started even younger than me doing ballroom. He started doing hip hop and then ballroom and called it like daddy's dancing and then found out that he could go to like five star hotels and do all these amazing things with ballroom. So he's like, okay, I'll do it.

But we grew up in the dance studio. So if I was 10, he was like six. When my dad opened the studio and we had this amazing opportunity at such a young age. And a lot of people thought we were just going to take over our dad's studio in Kansas city and just make a business out of it and do a whole thing.

And, if I'm being honest, like watching what my dad did in the industry with owning us very successful dance studio for over 15 years in Kansas city, every big event in Kansas city, his performance teams and him and his wife were always invited, you know, the anniversary of Kansas, city's 150th, Bob Dole's birthday, all these big things that happened. They were always there. And so when we saw what he did, we were like, well, he's kind of like reached the market cap. Like, why would we take over, you know what I'm saying? Like, we kind of want to do more. My brother always had big Hollywood dreams and all those things that he wanted to do. And I like to sing as well.

So we were kind of pursuing a lot of that. But what ended up happening is we kind of ventured out a little bit. And so what my dad wanted me to do is get some competitive experience. And that's the best thing he could have done for me. So we did compete in Pro-Am because he's like, there's no reason for you to go pro just yet. Get as many titles as you can pro-Am and then if you decide you want to go pro, then go get a partner, do all of that. But until then, you know what I mean? This was the best option. And I'm glad that we did that because the pro experience is a lot of pressure and it's a, it's like a, it's a full life commitment. It's not just a full-time job.

It's a life commitment. I see tons of my friends doing it and that's it that's their life. And I never would have met my fiancé. I never would have traveled to some of the places I did. I never would have started some of my businesses if I would have kept myself in that space. It just wasn't for me, you know what I mean?

So I loved it as an option, but yeah, I love that I got a pro am world title with my dad. You know what I mean? That was like the best gift ever. That was also the only way we would have been able to do that. Because if I was pro we could have done pro pro, but that wouldn't have made sense because of our age difference and we never would have won in that way. So it gave us an opportunity to accomplish something at a high level. You know what I mean, and share that gift with each other and every year we get to celebrate it.

Samantha: Yeah, no, I think that's awesome. And I, and I appreciate the fact that you kind of went through the pros and cons together of like, how, how do we attack this? How do we get the experience of that competitive nature while still building forward to a future career. I think children of successful ballroom dancers often find themselves in the amateur category where they're competing with a partner at a young age, or they go pro very early. It's very kind of that straightforward linear path. So I really liked the fact that it was like, well, let's do the Pro-Am thing. Let's do something that no one else has done before at a very high level, get the same experience. And then that gives you options later on whether you want to turn pro or you want to find a different path within the ballroom industry or out of the ballroom industry. I like it. I think, I think that makes a lot of sense.

Christine: Yeah, honestly, both of our parents, like I do have to say, like they always supported my brother and I, and all the dreams that we had. My dad really wanted us to dance and he gave us the most amazing opportunity of it with the studio and with everything.

And that helped us to kind of get our heads straight and stay focused. And, you know, we learned how to be entertainers and entrepreneurs and everything at a very young age, but he also didn't tell us like, this is it. Like, this is all you have to do. This is like, this is what I have to offer you. And if you have other things that you want to pursue, go pursue them as well.

You know what I mean? And so that was the coolest thing because he, both of our parents really allowed us the opportunity to dream and to be curious and pursue. So we just were that generation that allowed, you know, was allowed to just grow into our own space.

Samantha: Definitely. Let's, let's talk a little bit about that kind of idea of the entrepreneurial spirit or being an entrepreneur. I feel like within the ballroom dance industry, it can feel very boxy. Like you either have a competitive career or you have a teaching career, and you're kind of limited into this very traditional idea of what the business of ballroom dancing can be. But I do feel like there are a lot of us that are coming up in the industry now that are trying to chart our own paths that are, you know, taking a nod and respecting the tradition that is ballroom dancing, but also saying, but this can be so much more.

So how have you kind of taken that charge and taken that challenge to be an entrepreneur in the ballroom industry, but also outside of the ballroom industry?

Christine: Yeah, no, that's a fabulous question. I absolutely love this topic. But if I'm being completely honest to start, cause he said we could be candid here. When I looked around at all of the people that I had connected with in the, in the ballroom industry at a very high level I realized very, very honestly that I didn't want any one of their lives. I did not want to own a dance studio. I did not want to own a competition. I did not want to compete pro for a very long period of time to gain my credentials and do all that stuff.

It was exhausting. I did not want to judge. I did. None of that entertained me at all. So I ended up like I said, my dad gave us a lot of entrepreneurial skills from the start. So I ended up creating a position in the industry for myself, which you're right. A lot of these kids have pros are, that's kind of what's happening is we're taking. The outside world of what's going on and we're meshing it with the ballroom world. And at the time the ballroom world was behind the times when it came to social media and everything was popping up and Facebook and Instagram. And you know, I used to work with Igor and Irina Suvorov who owned the desert classic two of the most incredible people I've ever worked with.

And the desert classic is a huge event. And I remember talking to her and she said, you know, Christine, I was one of the first people on Facebook and she was, she was like the trailblazer for having a page. And that's why her page now has like 5,000, 6,000. I don't even know. It might even be in the 10 thousands at this point of people because they were following her from the start.

And that is why she has had so much success converting from traditional marketing to creating an online brand. And so what I did is I created in 2014, I created a PR company essentially and it was called Bar None productions based on my last name Bar, None, Bar and I was able to pitch myself as a social media specialist and put the competitions on the map because we have over a hundred competitions a year in the circuit.

So you have to stand out. And I think that that transition that we had when social media came up, a lot of people were just lost in that, you know, own competition owners. They didn't really know where to go to stand out at the crowd and be like, come to my event. So I reached out to a few people as I was going from event to event and kind of competing and dancing, and my dad was there. So I would go with him to a few. And, and I ended up getting myself, you know, in Hawaii Star Ball with David Alvarez. I did Desert Classic. I did a few of the one day events, which were great, cause those were like, So needing to get that attention. I also, then, then my dad and Kasia Kozak has business partners started with the Great Gatsby Gala.

And that was a turning point for me because my business went from public relations and social media marketing to event planning, essentially like full event planning and I would do the media side. And then I would do, you know, help them basically construct this event. And it pushed me and challenged me to be like, wow, I have the skills to do this.

And I have the resources and I can push myself. And then when my fiancé joined the bunch, cause you know, that's how we are. We all work together. We all just joined the team. He owns now a digital media business. So he now took the digital media side, photo and video, off my hands and now he runs heads that up. And so we all have just kind of like, everyone knows, like once you get involved with like the Bar-Kozak family, like. You're in it, like, what do you bring it to the table? What's your skill? Where can you best be suited? We'll put you here. Like, it's just kind of how it goes. And it's very, very exciting, cause there's always something to be done.

But yeah, I feel like you're right. The boxing, if we kind of go back to that, it's very limited space of what can be done. And that was what bothered me at the beginning because I was the proud millennial that was like busting out of my box, trying to figure out I told you from the get go, I don't like rules.

Samantha: Yeah.

Christine: And I wanted to kind of do something new and exciting. And I appreciated people like Igor and Irina and David Alvarez. And of course, Kasia and my dad for taking a chance on me and understanding what I could do for their events. You know someone I think we should bring up is Ron Montez, who just recently, you know, rest in peace, just passed away.

I still can't believe I'm saying that. Cause I just worked with him a couple of years ago. And, you know, he had so many events and it was phenomenal. He was one of the easiest, most fun people to work with. He was so complimentary. He was so appreciative of the skills that our generation brought to the table and what an amazing man at such a level, a legend of our industry, an icon, to be able to receive that praise from him when I'm trying something new, you know, and trying to, you know, make someone like that proud of the work that I'm doing to further our industry. Cause we're the future. And he was always so appreciative and, and, and wanting to learn. And I value people in the industry of that caliber to be able to support us like that.

Samantha: Yeah. A hundred percent agreed. Ron was one of my early guests when I started the podcast and the fact that he even said yes to my email is, is still one of those moments where I'm like, Oh my gosh, how's

Christine: That's just the kind of man he is.

Samantha: Exactly. Exactly. And I, and I agree. I think he was very supportive of the idea of like taking risks and going out and trying new things. There are a lot,

Christine: yeah. He loved the evolution of what could be done. Yeah.

Samantha: Yes, yes. And I think it's interesting. It's always interesting to me to see the kind of old guard, right? The established ballroom dancers, the legends of our industry, that fully embrace what our generation is trying to do with the sport. They're like, yes, let's, let's create an app. Let's, you know, try virtual lessons and virtual competitions because we have to do that right now. And okay. What's the social media thing. Do we need to do a Tik TOK challenge? What, what what's going on? And then you have the other side of the industry. That's like, Nope. This is what is tradition? This is the norm. Keep it how it is. It's always fascinating to me to see that struggle.

Christine: But what does that remind you of? Isn't that life

Samantha: that's a hundred percent. Yeah.

Christine: I mean, Republican, Democrat. Mask, no mask. Trump, Biden. like it's constantly that way. And the ballroom industry does not spare any note on that. And the, I agree with you that is very frustrating, especially for our generation. We're trying to gain equality for all and rights and all of these things. That's where I feel like the ballroom industry falls short a little bit for me on the creative side because we're artists and we're already breaking a lot of societal norms. So when they tell me tradition and this, that, and the other it's like, listen tradition is great. I'm all about tradition. Let's go. But at the end of the day, the evolution of what needs to happen in order for our industry to move forward and in order for their, our industry to have a successful future, like you said, an app.

Samantha: Yeah.

Christine: Right. These are the things that are necessary, that it's not tradition anymore. You can keep the tradition of what the dances need to look like, but you need to be moving forward on a technological side and how you promote your events.

Samantha: Absolutely.

Christine: That was hard. I had to. That was the hardest part. It didn't, you know, it didn't come easy. Yes. I was Louis' daughter and I was able to kind of create a name for myself. And then I, eventually people knew me that way, but I had to basically explain to people what they were paying for when they were paying me. You know what I mean? Like, what is the service you're providing me and why do I need that service?

Samantha: Right. Yeah, right.

Christine: That's a very new thing to understand and that's okay. I was fine explaining that, but then they have to trust and there's a level of trust in the process that needed to happen in order. And I appreciated the ones who did that

Samantha: well, and I think along with that, you know, the pushback is, well I've had a successful competition for five years, 10 years, 15 years just doing my traditional marketing. So I don't need that social media aspect, that that can be something else. And it's like, okay, but how much more successful can we make this? How much more efficient can we make this? Are there tools out there that can streamline the heat sheet process? That can update everybody when the times change, you know, can we have a board that has the on-deck area for large competition? So, you know, who's made callbacks and who hasn't. Yeah, it's, it's interesting to see kind of the development

Christine: not have a giant program that is already out of date once the on day one when you print it. I don't know if you've talked to them and if you haven't, you absolutely should Dance Comp app. They're just phenomenal.

It's Frederick and Troy they're really good friends of mine and they kind of jumped into the industry. Actually, I jumped in kind of around the same time they did, and they do all of that. They have an amazing app that streamlines everything and does heats and does You know, does updated times and you can find vendors in your area. You can even find local dance studios. They do competitions on the app and like little giveaways and contests. And it's any information you would need, it's basically like your ballroom dance hub. You know what I mean? And they basically run Gatsby. Like I told them, I said, I can't do Gatsby without you.

Like, you have to be the central intelligence of what's happening here. And then any little advertisement sponsored event, whatever they can put it on all the TVs. Like I just go and tell Frederick he's my software guy. Troy is the one that's helping me. He's my marketing with brain. Like I am and. They're just phenomenal. Like it's so innovative what they're doing and the software that they're able to create to upgrade all the time is, I mean, it's limitless, limitless possibilities of what they can do.

Samantha: Yeah. And that, that really takes, I mean, like you said, the software has to continue to upgrade with the times and continue to expand. So it's not just, what is the problem that we can solve in this moment. It's also thinking about what are future problems that we can solve, that we haven't yet solved. Which is always fascinating to me.

Christine: And that's the issue that you were talking about with the people who said, well, I've had a successful competition for 15 years. Why do I need to change? Because they're not thinking 15 years into the future. They're thinking right now. And last year, my competition did pretty well, but they're in this ballroom bubble. I like to call it. And they're not looking like you said, far ahead. And a lot of these competitions are dropping off.

They can't sustain. They're losing money every year. They're throwing money into it, a hundred competitions a year. No, I mean, if we don't continue to grow the consumer side of it and the marketing side, then it's going to die off and some competitions are going to have to fight for their life. And that's such a terrible thing, especially when you have some amazing events that have been going on. That again, tradition. Those are the ones that we want to keep around, you know?

Samantha: Yeah. So let's talk about kind of building that consumer base. You know, we, we've talked a little bit about the struggle with honoring the past and the tradition and the history of these styles, but also making it feel like 2020 or 2021. Now that we're in.

You mentioned earlier that your kind of entry point originally was more in those social styles with West coast swing and salsa. Looking at your social media with your fiancé, it's a lot of bachata and salsa and like fun social dances. Do you think that in order to keep with the times in order to grow our consumer base, we need to take a look at how we are messaging and marketing our traditional lead and follow, strict form, ballroom dances to transition more to that social style where it's partnership, it's communication. It's open it's freestyle. It's more inclusive.

Christine: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, listen, I love the traditional competition, pro high level rhythm to look like rhythm, not Latin dancers doing rhythm.

I can't stand that. I'm a, I'm a, I'm a rhythm core base person. I want my rhythm to look like rhythm and smooth and all of these things beautiful. But I know that some competitions and we are doing it at Gatsby is, you know, Beach Bash is one of the first to do something similar like this is doing a club style night. And that night has become so popular because you have West coast swing, salsa, bachata merengue you know, when they start to throw some of the, again, that's when the ballroom kicks in, when they start to throw some of those, like club Samba

Samantha: American Samba

Christine: Argentine tango, Yeah, it's gets all funky. It's like, just keep it, keep it basic. Like, it doesn't need to be crazy, but they're trying to throw more heats in there. I get it. It's a business. But at the end of the day. Yeah. That's what, people are scared to do this. You're not going to get the, you know, wealthy women who want to get away from their husbands and dance.

You know, like that is few and far between. You're going to get the people who are going to want to join this world that are very excited, but they're very scared. And this is a brand new thing. How do you explain to someone what we do? It's like women trying to explain to men how to have a child. It's not, you can't explain it. It's something you just have to go through. So I try to get people, all my fiancé and I started a Latin event in Las Vegas and became one of the top events. It was called Latin Fix, and we had salsa, bachata, kizomba and Zouk, we were the only ones that did all four styles of kind of like the Caribbean Latin fusion.

And it was fantastic. I mean, and people were, if they were scared, they had never danced ever before. I was like, just come grab a drink at the bar and just observe. And the environment is so intoxicating. But if you go straight into like Saturday night Pro Latin, like, I'm sorry, that's terrifying. Nobody's going to want to join the ballroom industry by looking at that, they're going to say I can't do that. And I'm going to look right at them and say, I can't do that either. That's not what we do. That is a show. And that is phenomenal. And those people are, again, it's a lifestyle, but you can join the ballroom industry at your own pace, at your own commitment level, and feel great and have a hobby that keeps you in shape.

That gets you to meet people. That's exciting that learns a new skill that is musical and creative. And people can do that by doing I've a former client of mine. Who's going this weekend to St. Louis star ball, and he's like, Christina, I'm just going to dance like 50 heats. You know, I just want to get my groove back into it. And he just pops in and pops out and it keeps him going and he loves it, you know? And these are the people that we need to cultivate because these are the ones that are going to keep our industry going, you know,

Samantha: Yeah. The, the students that are passionate about just having the fun in dance, not about achieving a result or achieving a goal, the fun of it. I mean, how often do we

Christine: And some people want the result.

Samantha: Yeah.

Christine: So, you know, let's not, let's not forget that some people, the result is important. So I think it's very important to have both sides, but I think by incorporating that clubs club night in there and having a nice fun environment, it kind of blends the two and marries them together beautifully so that we can have a fun, competitive, supportive side, but also the people who were ready or there to compete get there the up there wins.

Samantha: Yeah. There's, there's definitely a balance point. I think though for me, and, and I've had past episodes of guests that have kind of hit the same point, I think even for people that want the results that, that want that championship level, that want the medal, that want the trophy. That's good. But if we're only focusing that on that and we lose the fun aspect of it speaking specifically with Pro-Am, if you hit open gold, where do you go next? Right. If you get the title. Okay. Congratulations. We got the ribbon now, how do you keep that person feeling that was so important to your business that took, you know, five, 10 hours a week training to get to that point? How do you now keep them interested in dance? Cause they've just hit the ceiling

Christine: run out of goals

Samantha: they've run out of goals. Exactly.

Christine: And the ceiling, and that's what I'm trying to explain is that not only in the professional side and then the judging side and the, and the Pro-Am side, the ceiling in our industry is so low. And I think that's why our new generations up and comers are trying to create a higher ceiling. It's the new, the new technology, the new events, the new podcasts, all the things is trying to create new, exciting opportunities to keep people engaged in what it is that we're doing, because you're right.

Once you reach the goal, you've gotten the titles, you've done the things. Or the other side that I thought you were going to say is they're working, working, working towards the goal, and maybe they're not making it. And they get burned out and they're done, right. Burnout is a real thing. And I'm actually doing a webinar on it on Thursday, about burnout in real life.

But burnout happens in dancing too, as creative as it is. It's you, you want to make sure you're keeping your students. Like, why are they dancing in the first place? Why do we all dance to have a good time? We're not curing any incurable disease here. This is a fun time. And we have to remember that and not be so serious about it all the time, but still be working towards our goals and to have something to accomplish, because that feels good too, you know, so I completely agree with you.

Samantha: Absolutely well, and I think and, and your social media with your fiancé, the dance videos that you put up, I think is a great example of this. You can have a lot of skill and be a very accomplished dancer, but dance comfortably and naturally, and just for fun and for ease, right? The two of you put up a side-by-side bachata video with.

Christine: With Francisco and Sabrina. I love them.

Samantha: I was like, I can see, I can picture them in my brain with just a quick bachata combination. And I feel like if I showed that to one of my couples, they'd be like, Oh my gosh, I can totally do that. I'm like, yes, you can totally do that in your kitchen for fun now,

Christine: because everything we did was freestyle, it was on Tik TOK. They did one completely freestyle. We did one to duet them. Literally it was two takes. And we were like, okay, we don't like that one. That wasn't as fun. Let's do another one, but we didn't plan anything. That's just how we dance. My fiancé and I met doing bachata. It was the most fun ever. And that is a style that people can relate to. It's music they can listen to it's music, they can feel good. Some of these like Paso Dobles and Viennese Waltz and stuff, it's not relatable. And those are dances that my clients have become attracted to because they see it. And they're like, Oh, this is such a beautiful song. I want to learn how to dance to that.

That's fantastic. That's a great evolution. And again, better goals. Let's accomplish more. Let's keep them moving forward, but start small. Like give them a bachata, a salsa, a, you know, a Rumba, something that they can relate to and feel good. That's why I, I mean, what, let's go back to the beginning. How did I start? West coast swing. Why? Because all the Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake pop songs on the radio are West coast swing, you can do West coast swing to any song. It's basically a no brainer. And all my friends that were in dancing were doing social West coast. Yeah. Like that's a hopping party. And then you go to a ballroom comp, you see this, like, they call it ballroom West coast and it becomes so stiff and competitive and again, boxy and rules.

And like, we need to be blending. You know what I mean? Like the more the merrier and I totally agree. Like, that's, that's what you need to start. Thank you for saying that, because that is what we feel our audience relates more to. We've done some like, yeah, let's do a chat, Sean, do the crossovers and do all the stuff. And people are like, wow, you guys are so good. But they look at it as like, Oh wow. Like I admire you not, I want to join the party versus the bachata you saw that we did with Francisco and Sabrina, we had a lot of people going, Oh my God, it looks like so much fun. I want to dance in my living room. And that's where you hook people. You know, that's really the, the, the, the ticket right there.

Samantha: Definitely. Well, and I, and I, and I appreciate that you made that point is, is kind of like you have to hook people with something that they can relate to. Something that if they turn on the music in the car, it's the same music that they're listening to on the drive home. Or if they're cooking in the kitchen or, you know, cleaning the living room, whatever the Spotify playlist that you have going on in the background, that's the music that we want to have them start dancing to because then it's everywhere. It's all around them. We're constantly thinking about, okay, like, I can do this, I can do this. I can move this. This is how I naturally move in my, in my living room. And then we can get to the structured stuff later. Right. We can get them in the door with this is natural

Christine: totally because there, and you can always add that to the plate. That's easy, right? Like, Oh, you want to compete in rhythm style? Great. It's Cha-cha, Rumba, swing, Bolero, Mambo. Here's your, you know, we're going to create some sequences or we're going to do some stuff and here we go. Yeah. But to get to hook people, like you said, if that music has already in their soul and every time that song comes on at the club, they're like, yeah, this is my jam. That's the kind of people you want.

So, I mean, that's the easiest way to hook music speaks to everyone's soul. That's a universal language of the world. And that is, that is really how people need to be. I mean, now, I mean, even with dance comp app and all of them, like they're connecting with DJs and making sure the music is updated and you've got people like Brent Mills, that's innovating the music world with all of his stuff and his app that he's doing because he's bringing in real instruments and he's taking, you know, a song from the radio that we just heard come out two days ago and he's making it a Cha-cha and he's got it.

You can hear the cha-cha beat, but it's a song that, you know, and you can dance to it and sing to it. And it's not these old school cha-chas anymore. Like music needs to be updated. And I mean, that's why everyone wants to hire Brent for their event because they know he's the best when it comes to blending those two worlds together.

Samantha: Yeah, absolutely. So I want to kind of talk about the other end of this, which is the students or the performers or the competitors that are very goal oriented, that are very type a, we want everything perfect. I want to be able to check off the box that it, you know, yes.

I, I have done this to its perfection, which we never have in ballroom dance. Cause it's not, you know, it's constantly evolving and constantly changing. I mentioned at the top that you are, you are the host of the Recovering Perfectionist podcast. So what has been your own experience with kind of running up against and butting heads with this idea of, I want to do things correctly, but they're not being a definitive black and white, yes, this is the apex of perfection when it comes to ballroom dance?

Christine: Yeah, totally. And you know, what's interesting. It's a good segue into what I do now is I call myself a life balance coach. I'm also a Libra. So balance has always been a very important part of my life. In order for me to maintain this high level of lifestyle, essentially, of just moving and always, you know, on a plane and always competing and whatever.

And then even when I slowed that down, I just added different entrepreneurial activities to my life. And, and so yeah, the balance of creating this flow Of being type a, like you said, when you say type a and immediate like ding! Like that rings with me so, so effectively, which is why I created my podcast for recovering perfectionist because the ballroom industry really made me a perfectionist, honestly.

Like I was always, although my mom says, she goes, Christine, you were always that way when you were in, in kindergarten and in school, you always had like, everything had to be perfect and your projects and everything, you know, no glue on the sides and all that stuff. And you had binders for everything and she's right. I did. But at the same time, the ballroom industry attracted me because of the fact that it was so detail oriented and it was also creative. So I was able to kind of blend this like crazy creative again, West coast swing all, all over the place, kind of style with this, like check a box, like, do your cha cha, do your Rumba, do your, so, you know, like it gave me that balance.

But again, it's creating that with other people, you know, I would be, I would be completely remiss if I didn't mention an incredible Pro-Am student, Lauren LaPointe who danced with my dad for over eight years in the competitive circuit and accomplished things that no Pro-Am student really has ever done. She's a legend in the Pro-Am circuit. And she was, I mean, between her and my dad, they had their stuff figured out. And again, that's a, that's a very specific couple and a very unicorn example, because you don't get people like that a lot. You know what I mean?

Another amazing one on the, on the male side. Cause we don't hear about them a lot is Les Antman, who's phenomenal as well. Good friend of mine love them both. And they're all accomplishing something at a very high level that you have to be type a, you have to be a perfectionist because they know exactly how many entries they need to do in order to get their points in order to do the circuit in order to, I mean, it's a, it's a system and the systems are created for students like them. You know what I'm saying? That allows them to thrive and achieve and accomplish. But again, that's not the norm. That's not what makes up the industry. You can't have a competition with two people on the floor doing 500 heats, boom done. That's a wash. Yeah. You have to have people to fill the space. So you need the 50 heats here and the 10 heats here and the bronze level entry girl here.

And these are what fill your, your ballroom, you know? But the perfectionist side We went a little on a tangent. Sorry.

Samantha: No, I love it.

Christine: But I think for me, when it comes to how I incorporate it into my lifestyle now as well, because what I teach in my life balance coaching is sustainable habits and manifestation, which is the logic and the magic, right?

So the logical side of sustainable habits, which most people, if you think about competitive athletes, right? The come from Olympic sports, or they come from very high level the zoo, the, the Zulia, I can't speak the Yulia Zagoruychenkos of the world. They don't interact with normal people who are burning out, who are on the, you know, the hamster wheel, surviving life.

Those are the people that need to be discussing how to find an integrated balance of like, okay, this is what I do with my life. And these are the sustainable habits that I create in the morning routines and the systems. And if you're not competing at a high level like her, how do I take those habits?

And how do I put them into real life so that I don't burn out and I can have a better quality of life and I can do more and I can accomplish more. And so I'm kind of trying, I feel, I realized that the ballroom industry was a little bit too, too structured for me. And the real world was just a little bit kind of nuts.

Samantha: Yeah, too chaotic.

Christine: So I had to find that middle ground and help people who are very go-getters entrepreneurial, kind of not burning out, but trying to find a way to balance it all because you're doing a lot. And taking the S the habits that I created from competing at a high level and integrating them into normal life. Cause I still have those habits. I just do them differently. I probably don't stretch every day anymore because I don't compete as often. And you know, or if anything anymore, but if I do shows and stuff, I still have, I can jump right back into it because I still have these systems and routines in my body and these muscle memories, you know, that I'm trying to teach to.

I guess we call them normal people because we're not the normal, we're the crazies. But if we the good, the good crazies, I love it. I take it as a term of endearment, but the, we want to integrate that into people's lives. And that's what I call the sustainable habits. It's not the let's set a new year's resolution. And then by February we drop off, right. Pro pro dancers don't do that. They don't drop off. They can't drop off because they will lose their title and their spot. So how do we take that consistency and that intention behind what you're doing and we integrate it into normal life. That allows you to do things at a higher level than the average person who can't even put their card away at a Walmart.

Samantha: Right. Well, and I think you said it's something

Christine: Right, the normal things.

Samantha: Yeah, no. And I think you said something important there, which I want to, I want to circle back to, which is this idea of sustainability, right? It, if, if we shoot for the top goal and we work and we work and we work and we work and we work just to get to that last spot on the, on the goal list, we're going to burn out. We're going to, we're going to lose intensity. We're going to lose focus. We're not going to enjoy the process along the way. And I think the process is so important. We can talk about that

Christine: Its the journey. It's the best part.

Samantha: Exactly. Exactly. We can talk about that as you know, toll on the body. Or we can talk about that as toll on mental health. And I think the two of them go along.

Christine: Yeah.

Samantha: You know, side by side you know. Outside of the dance world, if anyone listening has been working towards a really important project at work or project at school, and you've only been focusing on that and you're like, all right, I can put in 80 hours this week to get this project done, so I'm going to do it. And then the weekend comes around and you have nothing left in the tank. Well, it's probably because we weren't planning that as a sustainable process. You know, it's, it's not a sprint, it's a marathon. So how do you work with clients with your coaching to kind of set those intermediate goals and to, and to create a longevity to the process that outlasts just those mile markers along the way?

Christine: Yeah. I have some incredible clients that are just doing amazing right now. It's all about, you know, one habit change at a time. We talk about going back to the perfectionist concept, we talk about progress, not perfection. So for example, go through your schedule, right? I mean, it's always like you, you think you have more to do and then you write it down. You're like, Oh, I really only have like seven things to do, but it seems like a lot in your head. So we take it out of the head cause you're right. The mental state, I mean, it's very easy to get overwhelmed, anxious, stressed. Like all of that in today's world, we have so many things that we feel committed to. When you write it down, it's a whole different vibe. And then we go through the schedule and we look at what your Monday through Friday looks like and what your weekends look like and where you have time for yourself. And if you do at all have time for yourself and they start to see gaps and they're like, well, yeah. I mean, I guess I'm like, where are the time-wasters? You know what I mean? Where's the time slipping away from you? Cause you're not going to get that time back. Where are we sitting there scrolling on Instagram or where are we going to something that we don't actually need to be at that that could have been right.

There's this funny guy on Instagram that goes that that meeting could have been an email, right? We don't need to be at all of these things. You don't, you are one person and you need to prioritize yourself. And I think the misconception is that we have priorities, which kind of does it make it a lot of sense?

Because a priority is usually one and we as a society now prioritize three or four things that it becomes priorities and it's like, well, then nothing's a priority because it's now just a bunch of things that you need to do. And that that's when we start to like, Oh, like you, I give them permission to say no to things and to cut things out of their life and become more of an essential list.

And the progress is I didn't go to bed at 3:00 AM yesterday. I went to bed at midnight, like progress. Right. And we try to do that a couple of days in a row because what they do is they fill their time with other stuff, you know, or they're not, or the time is not being prioritized correctly and it's just time-wasters and then they're exhausted.

So we, we look at what their goals are and we, we. Match their schedule to fit the habits they need to accomplish those goals. And that's where the sustainability comes in. When you create systems, right? It's like another example I give is we just moved into a new place, right? So one of my friends is like, Oh my gosh, you're not going to be moved in for like a month or so.

I'm like a month. We're like a week in. And we're basically 90% moved in because everything has a place. You have a box that says kitchen, everything goes in the kitchen. You have a box that says, dresser, everything goes in the dresser. Now of course we're creating some new places for things because it's a new home. But once you have a system and a place for it, the keys always go here. Key, shouldn't be on the table and your home is always organized. And that's exactly how it should be in your head. And that's exactly how it should be with your time and your schedule. People don't value their time, the way that they should.

And when you value your time, that's when the sustainability comes in.

Samantha: So two things that I want to hit on there. But the first is just that last statement that you said, which is value your time. That is something that I definitely did not do until I became an independent business woman. When I started working for myself, I started doing the mental calculus on, what am I, what, how much time am I working?

And what am I actually taking home at the end of the day? Okay. And am I paying myself $5 an hour? Or am I paying myself $50 an hour? And if I'm paying myself $5 an hour, how can I make this more efficient? And how can I save some of my time? So a project that takes me five hours has only taken me one hour.

Christine: Totally.

Samantha: And I think that's a hard thing to do is like, what, what am I worth? What, what am I the person worth? What is my knowledge worse? What is my time worth? What is my effort worth? Whether you're working for yourself and setting your own, your own pay rate and your own schedule or whether you're working for someone else.

I think the other thing that you, you said that was incredibly important that I want to dive a little bit deeper is the power of no. And knowing when to say, I don't have time to do this, or I can't do this, or the investment is not going to be worth the reward at the end of the day. So how do we as individuals figure out when it's okay to say no? And on the other side, if someone that is either a client or an employee or a friend says, no, how do we learn to respect the no?

Christine: Yeah, powerful, powerful things. First of all, you're totally right. When you become, if you're in the nine to five sector, you are on your own version of a hamster wheel of society's hamster wheel. And then eventually you become an entrepreneur. Like, yes, I don't work for the man anymore. And you've just created your own new hamster wheel and it's sometimes even worse. And that's, those are the, usually the clients in my wheelhouse, is I work with those people who think they got out of society's hamster wheel, when in reality, they created their own monster.

And now we kind of unpack all of that and become, like you said, more of an essential list and what are the things that are going to be more efficiency with my time? It's all about time management versus energy management. Something that should take you an hour. If it takes you three hours, you just wasted two hours.

And that is because you did it at the wrong time because you're sitting here and you're maybe crunching to the last minute. You're procrastinating, whatever. And now you have to get it done and it's taking you longer. Or I work on the opposite sometimes if I wait until the last minute, which is very rare, then I, I knock it out in the shorter amount of time, instead of just sitting there in front of my computer, trying to write something.

But it's all about knowing, are you more productive in the morning or you're more productive in the evening? When is your energy at its height? And that's when you do the things that are most important, don't use your high energy to empty the dishwasher or to clean a house. These are pro these are projects that take no and no mental, you know, strain from you.

If you need to do something, that's like writing a report or preparing a presentation or doing something that really needs your time, and your, and your focus, those are the things you do when your energy is at its peak. So then you get it done very quick. You're in and out, right? And then when you're kind of drained at the end of the day, you can empty the dishwasher and it shouldn't take you that much longer, right?

Maybe five extra minutes. So when it comes to saying, no, this is the, this is the kicker. No is something that our society shames us for saying. And I will tell you that when you first start a business, I did the exact same thing. I was bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to go. I was like, I'm going to change the ballroom industry with this social media and all this stuff. And I created these packages and it was great. And honestly, I was very successful, but I was successful for two reasons. One, because I, I just didn't take no for an answer. I grinded and, and, and chased the business. And I didn't really give myself a break. Now that created success in my business, but it created decline in my personal life.

I had no personal life. I was not dating at all. I was on a plane all the time. I was, was kind of moving mood up and down because if something would fall through or I would go to an event and I didn't get booked for something, I was like, I was kind of frustrated, you know, like you just kind of go through all the cycles.

So saying no, like you said, an understanding, like, like you said, the risk versus the reward, just because it may be another gig and you're going to make some money. Okay. But what are you putting in the time and effort that you're putting in? And I noticed that a lot with my fiancé. Cause he, when I go in and do my job, my job is done. I D you know, I do the job there. I'm posting the whole week, and then I'm producing a highlight reel and that usually gets done the next day. And then we're done and done. He has to do photo and video and he has to go in and do hours of editing afterwards. So the amount of money that he's spending, just being physically there and then editing afterwards, I was like, babe, like we got to either up your package prices or you need to be taking less of these gigs or you need to be offering less or whatever, because this is insane.

And when you look at the amount of work that you're doing, just to get the gig or just to work with the big guy in the industry, you know, sometimes the exposure can be worth it, but again, it's weighing it and people don't weigh things and do self-evaluations and self-awareness before they take, before they say yes, and then they get themselves stuck into it. And now you can't back out because now you're committed.

Samantha: Right.

Christine: And it's like, Oh no, what did I just do?

Samantha: Yep.

Christine: And that's a very scary place to be. So saying no before and trusting your instinct and your intuition to say that that was the right decision for me and honoring yourself. We don't honor ourselves.

We'll go and we'll take care of we'll make sure the kids, the parents that this, the, that everyone has money, everyone has with their taken care of. And we don't invest in ourselves and we don't take care of ourselves and saying no is very important. And then just on the part two, cause you said, how do you, how do you expect the know for someone who is receiving a no, if you really want this person, anyone that's I've asked to work with and they say, listen, I can't do that.

I already respect the fact that they would say, no. You have to go into that knowing that there is two choices, not, I'm going to convince this person to say yes, like that's not a good place to be. I recently actually a good example of this quickly is I had a friend of mine who provided a service for me. And she was, she did the service for me for four years. And it was amazing even longer than that. And her a member of her family got sick. And so she had to pull back and take less clients. And I couldn't find anyone that did the services that as well, you know? And so I kind of said, Hey, you know, can we just do one last one or whatever, anything.

And then I thought, and I, and then when she kind of said, you know, let me see what I can do. And I stopped her and I said, you know what, no. I said, you do what you need to do. I said, your family is most important. I don't want you to, I don't want to put you in a position to have to say yes to me when you know that you shouldn't be just because you, because we like hanging out because we, you know, you're good at she does. She did my hair so good at doing my hair and all this stuff and whatever, but she had to say that to a lot of clients and I felt bad and she felt bad. And so I said, I'm not going to put you in that position. I'm going to find someone else. And Yeah. I think people need to be respectful that when someone says no, like nine times out of 10, it should be because they're respecting and honoring their time.

Samantha: Absolutely, absolutely. Well, and I think especially kind of looping it back to the ballroom world, we have very transactional relationships. Whether it's student, teacher, or competition organizer and competitors, or vendor and clients, it's, it's very much this transactional business relationship that we're always running into.

And I feel like there are two places where. We need to really emphasize the amount of time and effort that goes into the thing that we're doing. So whether that's, you know, setting your pricing for, for lessons at a place where you genuinely feel comfortable so that you don't say you don't feel like you have to say yes to every single client, right.

If you're working 50 hours a week, you're in a phys, you are doing a physical job. There's only so much toll that you can put on your body before your body stops working. And if you are literally selling your body for these lessons, you know, you have to prioritize that. So maybe saying, okay, I'm only going to teach 25 or 30 hours a week, so what is my cost of living? What is my price per lesson? Subtract marketing, cause nobody factors in marketing into their prices or, or overhead,

Christine: They just assume they walk around and they're a walking billboard and they're always, you know, but I, you know, here's the thing, there's a part two to that, because this is where I really have kind of like a pet peeve with the way our industry functions is that nobody teaches that.

Samantha: Yes.

Christine: Like nobody teaches you how to do that. And you get people that are plucked, cause we talked about the amateur side, but the professional side, especially in the franchises were Fred Astaire and Arthur Murray. I mean, what they do is amazing. I mean, these are like multimillion billion dollar companies that have created such a name for ballroom dancing in the world, but people get plucked from the street and they're like, I'm going to make you a ballroom dance instructor.

Like great. Okay. We did the same thing at our studio. And then what happens is that they get some training and they, and then all of a sudden it's like, okay, great. You're going to teach your first class. And really, you just know a little bit more than the student, right. So everyone's kind of just thrown into it and like, Oh, there's a competition next month.

You're going to do it with your student. Right. And it's like, I mean, I don't even know what I'm doing. Like, what are we talking about? Like, I'm already nervous. They're nervous just talking about it. And, and some of them, they are gung ho and that's when there's like, again, there, then an ego gets built and it's like, well, now I know what I'm doing.

And dah, dah, dah. And then they want to go open their own thing. And what's happening is nobody is being cultivated. Nobody is being created. They're just being thrown and shoved. There are a few studios and I'm not going to list anything now because I, I'm not saying one's good or bad. I know that there are a few that really cultivate and develop people into this industry.

That then those are the ones that shine. Those are the ones that treat their clients with respect, the ones that have a successful business that know how to market themselves. That don't stress out when, you know, you have some low dip months and things like that because they understand the ebb and flow of it. But the people who are not prepared I wanted to create something like that. I actually like I had all these dreams and plans and things like that. And I just thought, you know, I don't know. It, my heart wasn't pulling me to feel like the reception was going to be there. I was trying to create something with another amazing man in our industry as Michael Reeves, who is funny enough, we both are from Kansas city and he is he's not even a main dancer.

He's just an amazing business person. And he knows how to take studios and cultivate them and create a very healthy work environment and sales training. And I created sales training programs at my dad's studio. So we kind of had a mutual understanding and I wanted to help him, you know, so we can market our program.

And again, you know, some of it just didn't feel like the reception would have been there or the, or the work because people don't realize they need that. Again, it's a service you have to tell them they need. And then, and then on the flip side, you get all these pros that are making a lot of money and they don't know what to do with it. And then the students drop off and then all of a sudden they have nothing and they just came from another country and they're not prepared. And it's a very, again it's and this is, this is why I use the word sustainable, because I realized at a very young age that the industry, the way it's structured, there was no sustainability to it. It was kind of like, hang on for dear life, get what you get. And then when you're done, you're going to drop and you got to figure out your life, you know? And, and I don't, I want to say it that aggressively because I love the industry. It did. I mean, it created me. I mean, I did, I did everything for me, but there are definitely some flaws in some ways that we can improve to help people be better equipped with some more tools and resources of how to go into it.

And create something that then at the end of it, you can actually have a nest egg, or you can actually have something that you can invest. There should be an investment program of like you make all this money, let's invest it somewhere. Or do you want to open a studio here? Let's figure out how you can do that. What are your goals in the industry? Nobody kind of walks you through the goals. You kind of have to figure it out on your own. And I really think there should be some kind of like ballroom program, you know, like,

Samantha: absolutely. I mean I think you make a great point in there, which is like the business aspect is not talked about or trained enough in young dancers or students. We pick up pieces and we kind of learn, okay, well, this business went out because of X, Y, and Z, or this person's being successful. So what are they doing? But we're kind of left to our own devices to find the path and the path that is, that everyone else is walking is not necessarily the correct path. Oftentimes it's very much not, but it's the only thing that people know how to do.

I was having a very interesting conversation with a fellow instructor who also kind of teaches in the same space that I do, which is mostly wedding dance and social dance. And she was saying, you know, I'm, I am concerned because most of my businesses built on the wedding dance industry. And there are not 50 year old women that are still in the wedding dance industry. And I don't know if that's because clients want to work with someone that they see as their own age, or if people hit a certain age and they decide to move on to different things. I don't know why I'm not seeing anyone past a certain age, but I'm getting older and I'm worried that there's going to be an abrupt end where clients stop booking with me. And I don't know why.

You know, if you look at the traditional retirement options for ballroom dancers, it's either judge and coach until you can no longer do that or it's open a studio and cross your fingers that the studio doesn't bust. Well, those aren't really good options. So, so how do we start

Christine: no they're not, there's nothing sustainable about any of those options,

Samantha: right? So, so how do we start a conversation where those of us that are coming up in the industry can be like, okay, let's, let's make a plan. Let's figure out what is the sustainable option and then disseminate this information to as many people as possible.

Or do you think there's a, or do you think there's pushback against disseminating the information because it's so much you know, who, who can be on top, who can survive? It's not a community that we're building together. It's, I'm going to look out for me and if I can find the secret to success, then I'm going to keep it to myself.

Christine: Yeah, I have nothing to say to that because I, you said it, I agree. I mean, listen, I, I am not, I told you the ballroom industry gave me so much amazing things, but that is really my pet peeve with it. And when the pandemic hit, I had a lot of people calling Noël and I going, what are you doing now? Like, how are you surviving?

And I'm like, I've been out of the ballroom industry, you know, venturing into other avenues for at least a year before the pandemic even started. So we were not worried. We were not thriving on dancing. It's a very unsustainable, it's the first industry to go, you know? So I think right now the answer to your question, how do you start the conversation?

I think we're doing it. I am happy to participate when I feel the need be. You reached out to me and I love having these types of conversations. I think they're very needed. I've talked to people high up in the industry, that, again, there's a traditional side of it that they feel like there's two, there's a two-part. It's exactly what you said. It's, you know, this works for me. I have a name. I don't know what to tell you kind of fend for yourself or they're just working really hard. And I think millennials are like, wow, I want to work more smart, not hard. There's got to be an easier way to do it. You know, like we're just not, we're cutting through the bullshit, excuse my French. And we're just like, I think we're doing that in so many areas of life and I don't think the ballroom industry is. Is any different. I think that we're all just like, wow, really? That's, that's your solution to that? Like, there's got to be a better way and we're out finding solutions. That's what I did with my brother.

And so I think the conversation needs to be had, but I, if, if I'm being completely honest, I think the best way to do it for people who really want to commit. I have a lot of friends who compete pro and my advice to them all the time is do what you want to do and compete and get your titles and win and be the best and make it your life. I said, but when you're making this money with your clients, or you're doing all this stuff, be putting your nose into real estate, be putting your nose into cryptocurrency, be putting your nose into Tesla and electric, all these things that are happening behind you, like throw some, throw 50 bucks a month into some stocks. Like do something, get yourself a little business coach or someone that can help you that.

I spent like $10,000 at least last year on myself in business coaches, it was the best investment I ever made. I learned things from this coach that I've never learned from anywhere. And the ballroom industry taught me a lot, taught me a lot about life, but this was like, yeah, you have all these pro dances that are like, I have a world champion, this I'm going to open up a dance studio and everyone's going to want to take lessons with me.

Cheryl Burke opened up a dance studio, right. From dancing with the stars. Her studio is no longer there because it was not successful. And she's Cheryl Burke. Nobody even knew who Cheryl Burke was. They were like, Oh, Cheryl Burke studios. Okay, great. Awesome. You know, like, Hey, you're from dancing with the stars. Oh yeah. That didn't matter. Like the normal people you have to, you're fighting against travel and casinos in Vegas and all the things like you're just a dance studio. It doesn't matter who you are. Nobody knows that you won all these titles. That's a whole industry. Nobody knows about. So they go in with this ego of like, I'm going to be, and I did the same thing.

I won a world title. And I went straight to California and I was like, everyone's going to want to hire me. I just won a world title. And all they wanted was boys. They wanted to hire my brother who he's like, I don't even teach, like what the heck? And he's like, I don't even like to teach. And they're like, hire my sister. She's totally qualified. And they didn't care. So that was a real, like knock of the knees for me. And I was like, Oh, okay, Whoa. Like, this is like, we got to kind of cut it down the size here. And so going into it, knowing that, like, it doesn't matter what your titles are and all this stuff. If you want to create a business, business is business. It doesn't matter what industry you're in. You're an accountant, you're a lawyer, you're a doctor, you're a dancer. You're a, you know, an artist, whatever, if you know how to sell yourself and market yourself and be a business person that is a completely different skill from being a dancer. And that's why someone like Michael Reeves, who is not a dancer and claims that he's not a dancer, is a very successful. He runs studios that are worth millions of dollars every year because he understands business. It's about business. You're running a business, you're not running a dance studio and we don't teach that. And I wanted to kind of create some kind of something that could cultivate a lot of successful business people to bring that into the industry.

And that can still be done. I mean, this is not the end of the conversation, but this is something that needs to be accepted and needs to be well-received and wanting. And I think as the generations grow up, I think it is, it's just like the regular world, like gay marriage and equal rights. And women's this and women's that and race this and race that it's all going to be moved along as the older generations kind of like start to retire and do their things because we're going to want to do things differently and I'm excited for where things can go.

But yeah, my biggest advice is. Make dancing a part of your life, but not your whole life. You need to be having side hustles of investments and real estates and things that you're doing. And what's crazy is that the people that we teach usually that's what they do, because why do you think you can pay for all these dance lessons?

Samantha: Exactly. Exactly. Yes.

Christine: You should be talking to your student, talking to these people and saying, what do you do? How can I get involved? What can I do with you? How can I help? How can I get a license doing this, whatever, like educate yourself with these clients that are so excited that you've brought this new sport into their life and they're enamored by you.

And now you have them eating out of the palm of your hand. So why not? I'm sure that most of them will be happy to share the knowledge that they have. Oh,

Samantha: well, and I think it goes

Christine: but talk to them, you know?

Samantha: Absolutely. Well, and I think it goes back to the concept that we talked about in the beginning, right. That the industry is very boxed and square, and you're only going to be successful if you're willing to ask the right questions to break out of it. Because if, if you are not someone that is you know, listening to the topic that we're talking about with business, and you're like, yes, I want to, I want to dive into that. I'm ready to go for it. Well then being an independent instructor or being a studio owner is probably not the right path for you and that's okay.

Christine: That's okay. That doesn't mean you failed at the ballroom industry, that just means that that's not your path and there are other options, but it's a matter of understanding what your options are. And if I'm being honest, a lot of people that are coming from other countries. English is not their first language. They're just excited to be here. They're maybe still on a visa or a green card, and they're trying to get citizenship, like having a studio and doing all these things. Like it's exciting for them.

And they don't know anything else different, but if you educate yourself and try to find answers, the ones, like you said, that's just life in general. You don't have to be in the ballroom industry to be doing that. Either the ones who search for answers and search for new and opportunities and growth are the ones that are going to lead the pack. They're going to be the ones that just soar.

Samantha: Yep. Absolutely. And, and again, just, you know, there are many different paths that you can take in this, whether it's amateur or pro am or pro. You can be an instructor, you can be a studio owner, you can be a business owner. Whatever it is, find something that you are passionate about, that you find the fun or the challenge in that you can make it a sustainable part of your life. That you're not going to be burnt out on, and then create balance where that's not the only thing that you do. That is not your identity, that you are a well-rounded person that has everything too

Christine: that's a whole nother podcast episode. When I stripped myself a feeling like if I didn't have the ballroom industry, my identity was gone. Like, who am I? Who is Christine without the ballroom industry and Louie's daughter? Like I was completely lost, so yeah, you're totally right, Joe, make it your identity. You can be a dancer and you can hold yourself in a way that you are a dancer and, and, you know, and, and be proud of that. I'm very proud of that.

But at the end of the day, I'm also an entrepreneur and a host and BA a coach and a fiancé. And you know, all of these things that make me who I am and a proud woman, we had international women's day yesterday. You know, like these are all things that when you are a dancer, a lot of times we just identify as I'm a dancer.

And you're right, it's not the end all be all. Like search for other options. And maybe it's just like, you know, some people just have a really good gig. They don't want to like work at McDonald's or work at Best Buy, you know? And so this makes them their money and this can be their job that they do while they're getting a degree in something, or while they're getting coaching in something or a license or investing until something else comes through and then they're able to pool their money together.

Like that's an option too. You don't have to stay. And I think for me, that was the biggest lesson I learned is my dad was and still is one of the big guys in the Pro-Am circuit. And in our ballroom industry and everyone assumed I was either going to take over his studio, run Gatsby with, you know, later or, or, you know, be a pro dancer because that just made sense. And I was like, Oh, but those are not my only three options of life. I actually have like a myriad of options. And my brother was like, yeah, none of those are options for me. I'm running the other direction. So like he helped me kind of realize that at a very early age and then together, we were like, yeah, we have so many other options.

Like take that into consideration and really like, look at your scope and look at what the internet can do for you. The way we can make money these days is just phenomenal and be open, be open to that.

Samantha: Yep. Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, awesome. Well, thank you, Christine so much for chatting with me today. I feel like, I feel like there's a follow-up episode in the works. We'll have to schedule something for later down the road.

Christine: I know when you started getting into it, I was like, girl, I can get in to it if you want to get into it, but yeah, I also just want the people to know that, like, again, I'm going to say it probably for the third or fourth time. Like the ballroom industry is phenomenal. It's an industry unlike any other that allowed me to not be shy anymore, to be more outgoing, to win titles, to feel accomplished, to have great posture, to have a great lifestyle. And what I do in my life, coaching now is based off of the habits and systems I created from my competitive years.

And I wouldn't trade it for the world, but I also am excited of all the opportunities that I feel like it catapulted me to that didn't it, it didn't allow me to feel limited because I felt like I had options, you know?

Samantha: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, awesome. Thank you so much for this.

Christine: You are so welcome. Thank you for asking it's an honor.

Samantha: Thank you once again, to Christine for being a guest on today's podcast. If you are interested in following along with her dance journey and where you are interested in getting life coaching tips from her, you can do so using the links in the description box below.

As always I'm Samantha, I'm your host with Love Live Dance. You can follow the podcast versions of these episodes at ballroomchat.com or you can follow us across social media at Ballroom Chat. You have not already done, so please do make sure that you continue hitting that subscribe button, hit the thumbs up to let us know that you like these types of videos, and if you are not already make sure that you have turned on the bell to get notified every single time we post.

As always stay safe, stay positive, and we hope to see you dancing very soon.