It Takes a Team - Todd Munson and Ricci-Lee Hotz

Samantha StoutAugust 23, 2022Ballroom Chat: Episode #61
todd munson & ricci-lee hotz ballroom chat

Ricci-Lee Hotz and Todd Munson of TM Ballroom Dance Studio discuss how to balance ProAm and Professional competition, their mindset and philosophy when it comes to preparation for competitions and how they set goals and expectations properly both for their students and for themselves. The pair reflect on the importance of finding a good coaching team to support you and guide you, as well as just their take on the Rhythm category and how they navigate their own dancing.

Ricci-Lee Hotz and Todd Munson are a professional Rhythm couple based in Denver, Colorado. Todd is the owner of TM Ballroom Dance Studio, and Ricci-Lee is a registered dietician (Denver's Dancing Dietician). Together they are Rising Star and Open Professional Rhythm finalists, and compete Pro-Am in all styles with their students.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Samantha: Welcome back to another episode of Ballroom Chat, the podcast dedicated to sharing the dance journey. I'm your host, Samantha with Love Live Dance.

Today on the podcast, we have Ricci-Lee Hotz and Todd Munson. They are out of Denver. They are a professional Rhythm couple. Um, Todd is the owner of TM ballroom dance studio, and Ricci-Lee is a registered dietician. You can find her as Denver's dancing dietician. Together, they not only compete professionally in the Rhythm category, but they also compete with students in all styles. And we talked today on the podcast about how to balance ProAm and professional competition, their mindset and philosophy when it comes to, preparation for competitions, setting goals and expectations properly, both for their students and for themselves, the importance of finding a good coaching team to support you and guide you, as well as just their take on the Rhythm category and how they navigate their own dancing.

So please enjoy my conversation with Ricci-Lee and Todd.

Well, thank you, Ricci-Lee and Todd so much for being guests today on the podcast.

[00:01:24] Ricci-Lee: Thanks for having us.

[00:01:25] Todd: Thanks for having us.

[00:01:26] Samantha: So, um, I like to start off the same way with every guest or guests in this case. Um, which is if you could tell us a little bit about kind of your dance journey so far, what got you into ballroom dance and, uh, where you are, right now.

[00:01:42] Ricci-Lee: Awesome. I'll let Todd get started.

[00:01:44] Todd: Oh, okay. So I started, um, dancing as a teenager. My parents were taking lessons at the local franchise school here and, um, I would accompany them to their dance lessons every now and then. And, um, being a teenage boy, I was pretty into the female instructors there. So, um, I decided I would sign up and that was like the, the entire impetus for me starting dance and, um, just liked taking lessons and liked dancing and didn't really have anything else I really wanted to do.

And so I did their training program and taught there for a while, um, and managed a little bit and decided it was time to go out on my own. And I started my own studio, um, kind of just down the street in Lakewood, Colorado. And I've been doing that since 2009. And, um, for the last five years I've been competing with Ricci-Lee here, um, in professional American Rhythm.

[00:02:42] Samantha: Awesome.

[00:02:44] Ricci-Lee: So my story's a little bit different, but kind of similar timelines. So I started dancing when I was 16. I was a gymnast for 11 years prior to that. And when I quit gymnastics, I was trying to figure out what to do with myself. So I was a big, So You Think You Can Dance fan and saw ballroom dancing and thought it looked super cool.

Uh, I also had a lot of my former teammates tell me that they really were not impressed with my dance skills, so I kind of wanted to prove them wrong. Uh, and so I started taking lessons also at a franchise studio and fell in love with dancing. And from there I went, I went a little bit of a different route where I, uh, participated in collegiate.

So I was in the collegiate world for four years, as well as doing ProAm as a student for many years there. And then about nine years into my dance career, I was looking for a professional partner and we tried out at a competition and pretty quickly we decided we were a good match for a partnership. And I picked up from Arizona and moved to Colorado and we've been dancing and competing professional Rhythm ever since.

[00:03:54] Samantha: Awesome. So both starting kind of from the ballroom dance world, as teenagers in a franchise experience, a little bit collegiate, um, as well, and then ultimately kind of just deciding this is something that we wanna do full time in a professional capacity and, and kind of making that, that switch. Um, were you both only trained, only competing, I guess I should say in Rhythm when you were doing your previous experience before turning pro or were you cross training in other disciplines as well?

[00:04:28] Ricci-Lee: So for me, I competed ProAm in, in both Rhythm and Smooth. I didn't really do much Latin and Standard when I initially started just because the area I was in was very Rhythm and Smooth focused. So I did that, but then I pretty much transitioned to Rhythm as I started increasing my level of dancing. So after silver, I kind of switched to just doing Rhythm.

[00:04:52] Todd: Uh, yeah. And then when I was at the franchise school, there was not a very competitive school. So we did just mostly American style, a lot of the nightclub dances. Um, and we would just do like the, the franchise events. We never really did any NDCA events. So, um, when I broke out on my own, I, I decided to try to better my dancing by competing, cause I knew that was gonna sort of motivate me to practice and take it a little more seriously. And I've only ever really competed seriously in American Rhythm.

[00:05:21] Samantha: Um, I wanna kind of dig a little bit deeper there, Todd, so you have this kind of social experience. You're, you're learning the styles and then you say, okay, I wanna do this on my own, and I want to really get the full experience, so let's try this competitive thing and let's focus on Rhythm. What was the internal motivation or was it an external factor for you to say like, it's time for me to step outside of this, this comfort zone that I'm in and see what I can do on a larger scale?

[00:05:51] Todd: Um, wow. Um, just ignorance to what it actually probably took at the time and, and youth and, um, just been like, no, I can compete. I'll I'll be fine. And then just jumping into it and I mean, obviously all competitors have different goals and I think at that point I was just like, let me just see what it's like.

Let me kind of jump into this maybe more independent world of, of. The dancing and the community and meet the other people. And then honestly not until me and Ricci decided to partner up, did it really become more serious.

[00:06:25] Samantha: So, so early competitive was just like, yeah, let's see what this is like, this looks like fun. Maybe, I've got the studio, so I'll take my students and I might as well compete while I'm there.

[00:06:36] Todd: Yep, exactly right.

[00:06:38] Samantha: I understand that. I, I, I feel that, um, and then Ricci, uh, how much of your, um, or sorry, Ricci-Lee, how much of your, um, prior gymnastics experience was that competitive or was that more just exercise? And if it was competitive, do you feel like there was a link to then going into collegiate and pro am pretty early in your dance career?

[00:07:04] Ricci-Lee: Yeah. So for me, I being a competitive gymnast, so I was competitive to a point where I was training up to like, kind of there's 10 levels, I guess you could say I was training level nine when I quit gymnastics. So I was in that track where I was like, well, maybe I'll compete either in college or at one point in time, I wa was aiming for the Olympics, like most young competitive gymnasts, but then I realized, you know, just based on where I was at in the process and my timeline that it just wasn't going to be my path.

Um, and so when I went into dancing, I've always had that competitive spirit. So for me, just dancing for fun only took me so far where I was kind of like, well, I really enjoy dancing, but I need that extra oomph of competition. So for me, the competitive side was very much like I wanna be the best possible dancer I can be. I wanna beat everyone. And that was kind of where I started with that competitive mindset.

[00:08:02] Samantha: So, um, obviously I have watched you guys dance for a little while now, and I think your phenomenal Rhythm dancers. Is the goal, I guess I'll ask Todd, this first has the goal shifted from let's go out there and have fun to like, no, let's actually do this full steam and see how far we can get?

[00:08:20] Todd: Yeah. Yes. Like I would say like when I decided to partner with, with Ricci-Lee, that that's when it got more serious, um, because it was, it was a more of a commitment. Like she was moving to Colorado, we were doing this together. She was gonna work at the studio

[00:08:36] Ricci-Lee: mm-hmm

[00:08:37] Todd: um, and so it became more serious. I mean, it's still, maybe, maybe fun is an interesting word to use sometimes, but sort of the, the drive is what, what kind of keeps me going. And seeing progress and working on my dancing, even through frustrations and stuff is, is really what's important to me right now. And, um, yeah, it's, it's fun in an interesting way.

[00:09:05] Samantha: I, I feel like fun in the dance world is like equal parts. I'm really enjoying this. And also I'm telling myself that I'm really enjoying this.

[00:09:14] Todd: Absolutely.

[00:09:15] Ricci-Lee: Right.

[00:09:15] Todd: Everybody else says it's fun. So, so maybe it is fun, right?

[00:09:19] Samantha: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and, and, and I think there's a certain amount of like, I don't know if it's masochism or sadism, but it's like, I enjoy pushing through the pain. I, and I enjoy trying to see how far I can go and then pushing it a little bit farther to see, okay, what am I capable of at the end of the day?

[00:09:40] Todd: Yeah, I was impressed. Uh, when you guys came to our studio and you were practicing before Colorado star ball, I was like, wow, they're here for hours and hours practicing. I was pretty impressed with that. So,

[00:09:50] Samantha: well, I mean, for context we had to, because we hadn't seen each other in a month. Um, I was coming off of like a two week long head cold. So I hadn't danced in, in two and a half weeks. And you know, I, I wanna get your opinion on this. I feel like everyone freaks out about how intense Denver is going to be, if you're not from Denver. They're like be careful of the altitude. You gotta come in like 24 hours early and get ready for the altitude.

Do you notice that when you go to places other than Denver, that like your stamina or your, your cardio is a little bit better, or do you feel like people are just freaking out over nothing?

[00:10:30] Ricci-Lee: I mean, I definitely feel like when people come here, they do feel it, you know, breathing wise, you can see after a round, a couple that maybe would come off the floor being like, okay, I'm good normally. Or it's like, oh wow. You know, I'm breathing heavy. But I would say for us, in certain situations, we can feel the benefit, but in places where it's still super like humid and has that kind of wet climate, it still feels like a different sort of challenge, I would say in terms of endurance.

[00:11:00] Samantha: Yeah, for sure. For sure. Um, I wanna talk a little bit about competing both ProAm and pro how do you find the balance between, um, at a, at a competition, I guess I should say, how do you balance focusing on your students and making sure your students are having a fantastic experience, but then also making sure that you're ready at, you know, 8, 9, 10, 11 o'clock at night to, to go out and give a hundred percent of your best performance.

[00:11:30] Ricci-Lee: So I'll let Todd go because he has more, more ProAm students than I do. I'm getting into that world, but he definitely has had to work that balance a little more. We do work together with all of our students, but I think he has a little more of a experience, I would say in that realm.

[00:11:46] Todd: Uh, yeah, I mean, so, I mean, when you're going to these competitions dancing ProAm and you're dancing hundreds of entries and, or, you know, not even hundreds, like it doesn't matter how many that, that is the priority. You're waking up at, you know, if you're a male competitor, not, not as early, cuz you're just like your hair back and put on some clothes, and off you go. But you're there and you have to be present and you have to, that is what the priority is. Cuz ultimately this is what keeps the community that I'm building happy is my students are going and they're happy and they're telling everybody else that it's a super good experience and you know, it is competitive.

So it's very easy to get like, come on, you can do this. Like, let's go, like we're here to have fun. slash win. Um, so, and then, you know, we have to communicate clearly to the students that, alright, your last entry is done. We've danced. We've gotten your awards. I am switching gears entirely to pro mode and they understand, and the expectations are set that I'm not gonna go to dinner with you.

Like, I can't go have drinks with you after you're done dancing. I have to like refocus and put myself in the different mindset. I have to feel what my partner feels like after what my pro-am students feel like. Um, I have to change my attitude a little bit. Like it's a little bit more selfish, now it's for me.

Um, and there's just that real clear compartmentalization, I think. And then the other thing that's really helpful is, is Ricci's very good about. Always being there for the students when I'm out there on the floor, making sure that I know where I need to be if I'm doing multiple entries in a row and I have multiple students and that she's sort of managing their feelings and emotions when I can't necessarily be there.

So they know that we're all kind of working together and then they also, you know, the students tend to like to watch us dance and wanna see us do well. So they also understand kind of that process. And I would say the easiest transition is when you have bronze students and they're, they're done hours before the pros go. And the open level students is a little bit trickier, cuz sometimes you're running right off the floor and, and transitioning right into pro. And it's kind of just, you know, figuring that out.

[00:14:05] Ricci-Lee: So, and so I think on my, my side, it is a little bit different because like Todd said, as, as a girl, we have to get up earlier to get ready. Luckily with my short hair, I don't have quite as much process there, but normally I prefer to get, you know, hair or makeup appointments depending on, you know, what I'm doing to get ready. And for me, that decreases stress in getting ready. I'm not trying to be a perfectionist and say, okay, is that eye even to that eye? It's just like, okay, do this for me so I can relax and, you know, get organized. But so normally, you know, with ProAm especially bronze, you know, and getting up at 4:00 AM and then dancing at 11:00 PM can be challenging. Uh, but I would say it's also kind of a similar experience so that when my, my students are dancing, the focus is on them. I'm not thinking about, okay, I have to dance pro tonight at 11 o'clock. I'm thinking about, okay, how am I gonna help my student dance the best that they can dance and how am I gonna make sure that Todd's students are feeling good and they're feeling mentally set and ready to go.

And then once we're done with, ProAm also having that shift of mindset of, okay, great job. Like, we really appreciate what you guys did and we're proud of what you. The work that you've put on the floor and now it's time for us to go and prepare. So I think something that's been super important about that is we do set those boundaries in advance with our students. So we're not just going to the competition and them expecting one thing. And then all of a sudden we're like, okay, you're done dancing. Bye. We're very much like, okay, this is the day that we're gonna do dinner with you, or this is when we're gonna do something special. And these are the times that we have to set aside for our own practice and our own preparation to make sure that we're at our best when we dance professionally.

[00:15:48] Samantha: Well, and I love, I love the fact that you seem like you're doing this as a team. And I think that's super important. Um, for our listeners, we just came off of a wonderful conversation with Enio and Terryl about that same concept about teaching and coaching and working as a team. So having that balance where, you know, when Todd's on the floor, Ricci-Lee, you can kind of be with the students.

And then when you're on the floor, Todd, you can be supporting her and, and being with the students so that there is a consistency there for, for your clientele. But also that important setting of the boundary and setting expectations and being like, this is your time. And this is my time and we have to make a clear separation.

Um, what's the recovery process like after a big competition, if you have like hundreds of ProAm entries and you're dancing, rising star and open in the evening?

[00:16:40] Todd: Um, well the recovery process.

[00:16:44] Ricci-Lee: He doesn't have much of one

[00:16:45] Todd: I don't, I usually come back home and have family duties and stuff. So I think, I think, you know, when you get to the point and you're dancing that much, you're just conditioned and you're you're you get used to it. And sometimes when you're at competitions and you're there all day, it's, it's easier to dance more than it is to dance less.

[00:17:07] Ricci-Lee: Mm-hmm

[00:17:07] Todd: it keeps your body moving. It keeps everything kind of like loose and going. And, um, and then when you, you know, hopefully you have enough time on the dance floor at the studio that, you know, you're used to being on your feet enough. And I don't know.

[00:17:26] Samantha: Yeah.

[00:17:26] Todd: You just know that there's next week there's another competition, two weeks there's another competition. Your coach is coming into town. You're going to your coach. So there's always, there's always that kind of grind. So, yeah.

[00:17:37] Ricci-Lee: And I think for me, I, in other ways, have a little bit more freedom. So if we get back, for example, on a Sunday morning, for me, I'm definitely that person that takes the day to just sleep and chill and let my body do what it needs to do. And then the next day, get back to whether it's a workout or getting prepared for the week or whatever it is. And we really do our best not to like miss practices for recovery. It's more so just recover with the time that we have. And then when we have a planned practice, we do what we need to do to get back on the floor and make that training happen.

[00:18:13] Samantha: Sure. No, absolutely. I feel like even taking a, an hour or two after an extensive event to just be like, Okay, let me bring everything back down, let me like refocus and reset and then hit the floor the next day kind of feeling like, okay, I know what I need to do, and I know what I need to work on. And I'm back in the right, the right mental place and emotional place to be like, okay, let's put my body back to work.

Um, how much, kind of pivoting to the other side of your life? Uh, Ricci-Lee, um, how much of diet and nutrition has become, I mean, obviously as a registered dietician, it's become part of your life. Um, but, but how do you feel like that's impacted your training regimen? And is that something that is very like set, prescribed, where you're like, this is the, the diet plan that I stick to, and this is what I have to stay with even if I'm traveling or visiting family or on the holidays or, or other things are going on in life.

[00:19:20] Ricci-Lee: Yeah. So for me, the nutrition side of the work I do, I work with a lot of different types of clientele. So I work with eating disorders as well as dancers, as well as weight management and all other medical conditions.

So I work with a bunch of different realms. And so for myself, because of, especially the work that I've done with eating disorders and performance and athletics is, you know, while there is a structure to what I do, like you can ask Todd, I'm pretty straightforward in how I eat at a competition. I kind of have my routine and when I don't have my routine, I always get a little bit mentally whacked out about it.

But for me, I'm very much like, yes, you can be flexible with food, but ultimately the goal is to fuel my body appropriately for what I'm trying to achieve and what I'm trying to do. And then, you know, the occasional yeah. You're at an after party and the food option that you can eat is French fries. I'm gonna have some French fries. I'm not gonna say no, I can't have those because I need to look or feel a certain way.

[00:20:27] Samantha: Yeah. And, and I like the fact that you said, you know, the goal is to fuel your body. I, I feel like, especially for dancers that maybe did have gymnastics growing up or did have, you know, ballet or were in dance programs very young that, that eating disorder, body image, um, thing is something that a lot of us struggle with, even those that are older in life, maybe they're looking at the competition floor and saying, I don't look like that.

And then you put a lot of guilt associated with that. So, um, you mentioned, you know, you have a regimen. So is that something where you are limiting calories or focusing on certain food groups or is it really more tailored to, okay, this is, what's gonna be the best nutrition for what I need to do during the day.

[00:21:18] Ricci-Lee: So for me, you know, I'm, I try to do my best to practice what I preach. For example, like I do have a lot of clients who are in the competitive, a lot of them are ProAm students. So students across the country that are super competitive and they're out there doing over a hundred entries, you know, I'm helping them figure out how to fuel their body for competitions.

And I like to try and stay with as much of a similar process as I can. Uh, for me at an event, generally, I'm eating lighter things like I'm still going to eat, for me my biggest focus is calorie, not necessarily calories, but it's, um, food group balance, I would say. And moderation of the different things I'm having.

So knowing that, for example, my pre dancing meal is gonna be sushi every time, because I know it doesn't make me feel bloated. It doesn't make me feel uncomfortable and I'm getting my carbs for immediate energy. I'm getting a good lean protein, and I'm feeling like I'm ready to go. Um, but during the day I don't necessarily always have the capacity to eat as timed or as balanced as I'd like to.

So I try and utilize things like protein bars, or if I do have access to a meal, then I do like to get something light and fresh that makes me feel good, but also is giving me energy. So I really try and avoid that concept of calorie restriction when I'm going into dancing, because I know ultimately even if, you know, if, if I do that to myself, I'm not gonna have the energy I need to, to put out that solid, full round or two or three rounds on the Pro-floor.

[00:22:54] Samantha: Yeah. And it, and it's definitely both like setting a schedule for yourself and setting a regimen, but also then there's not only the, the food and fuel component. There's also the mental component and the emotional component. Um, Todd, I imagine since you have a lot of ProAm students, they tend to be a little bit older that you have more of the therapist role, um, when it comes to like modulating your students' emotions and kind of mental preparedness. Can you talk a little bit about how that feels and kind of what your process is?

[00:23:27] Todd: Um, well, I get pretty competitive out there, so sometimes, sometimes I don't play the therapist mode, um, at all.

[00:23:37] Samantha: Okay.

[00:23:37] Todd: Or poorly, um, And it depends on the student, if they're a highly competitive student versus somebody who's trying it out for the first couple times. Um, and again, I think most of, most of what I try to do is manage expectations and make sure that expectations are hopefully met and exceeded on everybody's part.

And nobody's feeling, um, basically like let down for any reason. I mean, obviously like we have no control really over how we place per se, but you know, as long as they felt like they did, did they did well, they, they were prepared. They didn't feel rushed. They didn't feel, um, abandoned. Right? Like that's another big thing for me. Um, then everything else I usually just sort of say, go talk to Ricci

[00:24:30] Ricci-Lee: And so with that, I would say, maybe I'm the one that plays a little more of the therapist role.

[00:24:36] Samantha: Yeah.

[00:24:36] Ricci-Lee: Um, a lot of the time we do kind of set those standards where. We want our students to do so well. And we're so invested in every single one of them as an individual that sometimes you can get, you know, worked up and you're like, I know you can dance better than this. Like let's make it happen. And maybe they're getting worked up too. And so I think having that other person to sometimes say, Hey, can you talk to them and kind of see where their head's at and help support them through this? I think is important. And even, even on the opposite end, sometimes, you know, if I'm struggling with my students at that moment, I'll be like, Hey Todd, can you have a quick conversation with them from a guy's perspective?

You know, what's gonna make you feel good out there. And so I think having that role of being able to separate from the immediate involvement , I would say, and have someone that can kind of be that outside perspective of you've got this, you can do this, where can I support you? And I think that that kind of gives us that ability to help keep our students happy, even if they're maybe having a more challenging competition for them.

[00:25:40] Samantha: Yeah. And how much of that happens, um, in the studio before the event itself and or after the event is kind of like a, a pre preset versus a, a debrief.

[00:25:55] Ricci-Lee: I mean, I feel like I I'll see how Todd manages it sometimes. And a lot of the time before the competition also, it's that kind of like, let's go, let's make this happen, but he's also like we're training to do what we can do. And once we've got that, that's all you can do. Right. You're not gonna learn something new when you're on the competition floor.

[00:26:16] Samantha: Yeah.

[00:26:16] Ricci-Lee: So whatever we can put out here in practice is what we're gonna put out on the competition floor. And so I think he does a pretty good job of supporting his students there if they are ever feeling off. Then that is always where I come in, where, you know, if, if he's just like, man, like, I feel like they're not in the right head space. Ricci, can you talk to them? And I'll always make time to sit down with them at the studio or text them or whatever works best to just be able to say, Hey, how are you feeling?

What can we do to make sure that you feel really good? And then after a competition, I know, I feel like both of us tend to go through kind of that sit down at least for a few minutes after a competition, back at the studio to say, how did you feel that went? What did you feel good about? What do you feel like, you know, you'd like more work on and then we also provide our feedback to them as well to kind of keep that process moving forward so that we're all kind of checked in with each other, as opposed to us assuming one thing and them assuming something else and then being on separate pages.

[00:27:17] Todd: Yeah. And I think it's maybe an important thing that we probably don't talk to our students about, but most pro-am students should probably know like. You know, if their teachers are, are doing the, the, the ProAm job and they're dedicated to ProAm, they're, they're agonizing and they're celebrating and you know, we're gonna go to the, the room and, and the elevator on the way up to the room, we're gonna be like, oh my God, my student was like, so amazing today.

She did this. And, and then we'll be like, you know, I'll be like, if my student doesn't hold her arm up in this waltz for this next round, people are going to die. Right. so, but it's like, kind of like, we're like constantly like checking in with like, all right, did it look good? Cause it felt kind of weird or it felt amazing. Did it look kind of weird?

[00:28:04] Samantha: Mm-hmm

[00:28:05] Todd: and you know, like, oh my God, I'm surprised that she, she did this or, you know, whatever. This is like, we are like spending a lot of our time off of the dance floor, like thinking the dance floor. And like what, what everybody's doing and producing and how they're feeling. So like, we don't really necessarily communicate that to our, our students. Right. But I think it's an important thing for like the ProAm students to know that the ProAm teachers are really, really concerned about it and really think about it a lot. So, and, you know, we're not unique in that. I don't think, I think there's a, there's a lot of very, very good teachers that put, put the mental effort into that. So,

[00:28:43] Ricci-Lee: yeah,

[00:28:43] Samantha: definitely.

[00:28:43] Ricci-Lee: And I think that that's, that is a super important thing that he said is a lot of the time we don't share that with our students. We're not gonna tell them we're spending hours after you're done dancing, brainstorming, okay. What can we do to make you better or celebrating that they had a great opportu, you know, a great performance that day.

And, you know, just knowing that we aren't just there leaving them and then going and doing our thing, but we really are committed to their journey and their process.

[00:29:11] Samantha: Absolutely. And I think that goes, that that mindset goes for competition students, absolutely. But also to our social students, our hobby students, our wedding clients. If we come out of a lesson and they've made progress, it's like, yes. Oh my gosh, we had a breakthrough. I'm so proud of them. They're doing awesome. And if we had a frustrating lesson, it's like, Ugh, I've, I've somehow let you down. I've like, I haven't done my part as a teacher to like break through this next level. So we do take a lot of that home with us and we do think about it and figure out, okay, how can I improve this for next time?

How can I, maybe I can say this thing differently and maybe that'll work in the next lesson. Or I love their progress, now let me, let me celebrate it. And then let me bump the bar up the next level and like, see if we can get to that next step.

[00:30:01] Ricci-Lee: Exactly.

[00:30:02] Samantha: So who do you have in your lives? That is that person for the two of you as a pro couple, who do you have? That can be your therapist. That can be the mediator that can kind of set the set, the level that you're wanting to rise to.

[00:30:19] Todd: I actually I'll take this first. We obviously have our coaches

[00:30:23] Ricci-Lee: mm-hmm

[00:30:24] Todd: and we love and adore our coaches. And we have a very main coach who basically is our, is our technical, uh, dancer. And he's our manager on our journey. Like he's in charge of like the look, the dresses, the outfitting, what competitions we should be going to, um, all of that. And he's the one that will in the same conversation, tell us that we absolutely know nothing. And then be like, no, but you guys can do this. You're amazing.

Like, okay, I'm on, we're on a journey now. I'm not sure where I'm at, but I got you. And like we trust each other. And then his partner is also like amazing. And we know that like when we're having a little issue can, we can talk to him and that's amazing. But on the personal side, I think, you know, my wife is also like, I can like bounce things off of her and she obviously knows Ricci super well.

So she can be like, Todd, you need to like, cool your jets on this. Or like, she'll be like, well, Ricci needs to blah, blah, blah or whatever it is.

[00:31:24] Ricci-Lee: Yeah.

[00:31:25] Todd: And then, you know, another great thing too, with competing a lot with students is the students are kind of part of that too. So they can kind of like help. They can see when we're upset or they can see when we're happy and. You know, all of our students are super smart. They're very accomplished. They are,

[00:31:41] Ricci-Lee: mm-hmm

[00:31:42] Todd: they're in a place where they can like do something leisurely, like as much as they want and they have their life experiences and they're usually older than us, so they can kind of help us through it too. So, you know, it really is. You know, a team and it kind of takes the village sometimes to, to keep us all on track. So

[00:32:01] Ricci-Lee: definitely, and I think, you know, we, we're lucky to have such a dedicated coaching team basically. Um, and that's something that I know some pros don't always get a lot of the time we jump around from coach to coach and we're just trying to find our support system and we have a great support system there.

And we also, like Todd said, both have someone that we can come home to and just say, you know, I'm frustrated. I don't know what to do, how to manage this and be able to kind of bounce those ideas off so that when we come back together, we're like, okay, like let's reset. Let's figure out how we're gonna make this happen and let's push forward.

And then I think also, as Todd said, our students are pretty intuitive and pretty insightful. So if we are having a challenging time or anything like that, they're, they're always open to just kind of be there for us as a mental support, which is great.

[00:32:51] Todd: Students are also great too, cuz no matter how bad you do, they just think you're the best. And so you come off the floor and you're like, woo. And they're like, it was awesome. And you guys are gonna be the winners and we're like, okay,

[00:33:03] Ricci-Lee: thank you.

[00:33:04] Todd: I love that. So

[00:33:05] Samantha: I have a love, hate relationship with that because, uh, part of me is like, I, I appreciate the support and the unwavering, like trust and, and, and faith that students have in you. But at the same time, I'm like, no, I know that that didn't look as good as the other couple on the floor.

[00:33:24] Todd: Yes.

[00:33:24] Ricci-Lee: And we do have one student that we can generally trust to be pretty real with us, which is kind of nice because they, they come to all the different events with us. So they've seen us enough and they've been exposed enough to be able to say, well, you know, I think you're maybe like this dance was good, this dance not as good. And we're like, okay, we'll take, we'll take your opinion. You know, we appreciate it.

[00:33:47] Samantha: yeah. Um, so, so what is obviously the focus is dancing the best you can dance and improving every time and seeing how far you can go. But for the two of you, are you trying to tell a certain story with your dancing? Are you exploring different colors or variations of your dancing as a couple?

What, what is the journey looking like right now for you?

[00:34:10] Ricci-Lee: so for us, it's kind of an interesting journey because we're both, I would say very analytically minded people. And so we're very much like, okay, let's make the technique the best we can make it. And that's always where both of us start. We're like, let's be technically as great as we can possibly be.

And then I would say on kind of the emotional story side, that's something where as you can see by his face can be a little bit of a challenge. So for us, we're, we're very good at having someone tell us what to do and making it happen. But when it comes to having your own feeling and kind of touching in with that own experience of, you know, this is what I need to do to create a feeling or an emotion, or that's something that I think we're definitely trying to tap into, but I think is maybe one of our weaker sides where maybe you see some other competitors that that's like the thing that they get, but maybe the technique is not the strongest aspect.

And so for us, we kind of have that technical foundation and we're continuing to grow and build that. But we also, you know, are working to explore that emotional story connection side of our dancing.

[00:35:20] Samantha: Yeah. Because we're just coming off of the conversation with, with Tony Nunez about authenticity and dancing and exploring different relationships and portraying that, obviously the two of you are not together.

You have your own relationships. Um, so are you trying to portray in like a Rumba or a Bolero that you are a couple and it's acting, or are you trying to navigate the fact that it is a friendship and a business partnership and, and kind of coloring within different lines so to speak?

[00:35:57] Ricci-Lee: I think that can sometimes be the challenge where we are trying, you know, In the world of dance, you have to, in my perspective, need to provide what the most amount of people wanna see. And as much as you can kind of focus on what your own authentic self is, and it would be great if all we did was express authenticity. In some of those dances, there is a theme, you know, when you're dancing a Bolero, it's not, Hey, we're friends, let's go have a drink. It's a romantic dance and a romantic experience.

So it is tapping into maybe, instead of it being that thought process of we're trying to pretend that we have this emotional connection between us maybe utilizing emotional connections we have in other aspects of our life to try and present that within working with each other. So it's not necessarily a fake experience, but it's taking outside experiences to create the best we can a real experience within that dancing, which I think can be a challenge. But you know, when you see a couple who loves each other dancing together, and they're not fighting, you can generally see that. Whereas some of those couples that are in a relationship when they're dancing together, you know, when they're not happy with each other, because they're not portraying that same emotional connection.

So I think we can have some positives and some negatives in that end where, because we're not actually in that relationship, it might be easier to take those outside experiences and portray them on the floor than someone who's really in it with the person that they're dancing with.

[00:37:32] Samantha: Yeah. Having a little bit of a barrier or a separation from what you're actually feeling for the other person.

[00:37:38] Ricci-Lee: Yes, exactly.

[00:37:40] Samantha: Yeah.

[00:37:40] Todd: Yeah. I agree with all that. I think the, the hardest part for my life is probably like that emotional expression side of things. Cuz I'm. I'm pretty, pretty closed off about what I feel about most things.

[00:37:56] Ricci-Lee: So we'll call it stoic.

[00:37:58] Todd: stoic. Yeah. Yeah. So I don't let a lot of people like know what's going on very well. And when somebody asks me, so what are you trying to do here? I'm like, I'm trying to win Chacha. That's what I'm trying to do. Like, no, it needs to be more. And like, I, I definitely like know that that's the super like weak, if non-existent spot in my dancing, along with all the technical things, we're always trying to make better.

Right. There's always like the very like material conditions of dance and like the tangible things of dance that are, you can train and work for and try to be faster or slower or more, uh, clear with direction. And then. Just that emotional connection to the audience too even. My God, that's the hardest thing. I'm just

[00:38:45] Ricci-Lee: mm-hmm

[00:38:46] Todd: cause it's easy to get. It's easy for me to get distracted by the audience too. Like, oh look, they're looking at me. Oh wait. So, um, so that is definitely like my weak point. So

[00:38:58] Samantha: yeah. Wa walk, talk, talk and chew bubble gum. Okay. I've gotta remember my choreo. I have to remember my technique. I have to look a certain way. I have to act a certain way. I need to engage with the audience, but not so much that I lose where I am at at the dance and yeah.

[00:39:11] Ricci-Lee: Right.

[00:39:12] Samantha: Lot, lot of things that you're juggling at once when you're on the competition floor. Um, Todd, I'm gonna, I'm gonna go full like therapist mode, just, just for a second, if that's all right.

[00:39:21] Todd: Mm-hmm

[00:39:21] Samantha: um, so. If I'm looking at, okay, you've got this background in more American styles. Typically we think of American as a nine dance experience with Rhythm and Smooth. Do you think the fact that you are not as comfortable going there emotionally or thinking about the story of the dance led you to Rhythm versus Smooth? Not saying that Rhythm is less storytelling, but you can kind of get away with not focusing on that as much in dances, like Chacha and swing and Mambo as opposed to, for very story focused dances and Smooth, at least in my opinion.

[00:40:04] Todd: Um, yeah, so not to be too contentious maybe, but like I do like all the dances

[00:40:10] Ricci-Lee: mm-hmm

[00:40:11] Todd: I enjoy like when I'm dancing them, I enjoy them. Sometimes it takes me a little bit of like, All right today, I gotta get my drive going. And I'm like, once, once the engine's going, I'm like, okay, I like jive, but you know, if I'm at home thinking about having to do jive, I'm like, oh no, I have to do jive today as an example. Um, so I do like all the dances and I enjoy all the dances, but in general, I enjoy the, the music a lot more for American Rhythm.

Like a ChaCha's gonna do more for me than a Waltz. Right. And I mean, and then, you know, Bolero, music's not my favorite. Right? So that's sort of where I get my like, feelings of like Smooth dancing out in the, in the Rhythm field. But I think a lot of it has to do with music. I think a lot of it has to do with, um, what I feel like I'm more interested in working at a pro level on is more of like the Rhythm type stuff than the Smooth type stuff.

So, but some of my favorite dancers are Smooth dancers, so I mean, or Standard dancers. Right. So some of the people I watch the most, aren't the Rhythm dancers. They're every other style

[00:41:24] Samantha: mm-hmm

[00:41:24] Todd: or they're nightclub dancers. Sometimes you see somebody, this amazing thing in hustle and you're like, well, how can I do that in what I'm trying to do? So I try to look at everything, but for my own personal body and mentality and, um, and where I, where I think I could have like done the most, I thought I thought Rhythm was the best track for me.

[00:41:43] Ricci-Lee: Mm-hmm .

[00:41:45] Samantha: And Ricci-Lee, how about you?

[00:41:46] Todd: Oh, was that good?

[00:41:47] Samantha: No, that was awesome. That was awesome.

[00:41:49] Todd: Okay. Yeah. Um, Ricci-Lee, how about you? So, so obviously you're also dancing in all of the styles, but you've chosen to focus on Rhythm. Is it the music? Is it the movement? Is it the speed?

[00:42:03] Ricci-Lee: It's kind of a mix of a few different things. I know. Um, maybe fortunately, or unfortunately, when I was a bit younger in my dancing career, I kind of got that feedback of, well you're short, you're kind of stocky, Smooth is not necessarily where your body fits in

[00:42:21] Samantha: mm-hmm

[00:42:22] Ricci-Lee: And so that was something that I, I definitely took to heart, which maybe I didn't need to, but it was something where I like the feeling of Smooth. I like that different type of movement, but I was kind of pushed away from it to some extent I would say. And so, you know, I also have a similar feeling about the music, where for me, Smooth music is not as enticing as Rhythm music, but, you know, there is such a great quality to Smooth. So it's something that, you know, I, I wouldn't ever be opposed to exploring potentially in the future. Although sometimes as a short person, you look at that Smooth floor and you see those arms flying everywhere and you're like, I'm just gonna get knocked out if I go out on that floor.

Um, but for me, I really have always loved kind of what the feeling of Rhythm presents, you know, because it has that, that cheekiness, that musicality to a point where you can work on such tiny little technical aspects and it's can provide such a compact internal response that then presents something so large. So I think that is kind of one of the things that's enticing about Rhythm.

And I do like the emotion that Rhythm presents. So it, I feel like it's something different than Smooth where we have maybe more of a range of story

[00:43:43] Samantha: mm-hmm

[00:43:43] Ricci-Lee: than you might find in Smooth. So coming from that kind of cheekiness of Chacha to that romance of Bolero to that like playful, fun aspect of a Swing or a Mambo and I like the challenge, I would say of kind of transitioning through all of those different emotions and experiences.

[00:44:01] Samantha: Yeah, definitely. I, I would agree with you that I feel like Rhythm and Latin have a much broader range of story that you're trying to tell versus Smooth and, and Standard. I think Smooth it's like very clear everyone has universally agreed. Like this is what a Waltz should be, and this is what a tango should be.

[00:44:19] Todd: Right.

[00:44:20] Samantha: Whereas I feel like you've got a little bit more room to play with, like, what do you want your swing to be? What do you want the story of your Mambo to be? Because it hasn't been as codified in American Rhythm.

[00:44:34] Ricci-Lee: Yeah. And I think that that's something that's also, I mean, I guess branching out a little bit, it can be a great thing about Rhythm, but also a challenge because even Latin, I mean, there's expectations, you know, we're like, this is what Latin should look like. Whereas when we come to Rhythm, depending on who you ask, they're gonna tell you what they think Rhythm should look like. Someone wants rhythm to just be good dancing. Someone wants Rhythm to be authentically Rhythm with bent knee action and you know, more authentic Rhythm movements. Whereas some people will say they want that, but then when you look at judging or marks, they really just want the best possible dancing. What's gonna create the best speed what's gonna create the best movement. So I think that's a challenge of the Rhythm field, especially as more Latin couples move over to the Rhythm field is that is kind of understanding what the expectation is as a Rhythm dancer from the most amount of people, because you're never gonna please everyone. So what can we do to make sure that we are presenting what is wanted by the majority?

[00:45:42] Samantha: Well, and I wanna go a little bit farther with that too, because I think, to your point, Rhythm is still sort of this style that is finding its way. And to your point, depending on who you ask, it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people and the expectations can be different.

So for a couple, who has said technique first, storytelling second mm-hmm where the technique is a little, I mean, there's technique, but it's ever changing and ever growing. Um, I know woman to woman, two and a half inch heels to three inch heels. There's a changing technique with American Rhythm because a lot of older dancers are now having some foot foot issues based on what was taught previously, um, about Rhythm techniques.

So how do you navigate what the judging panel wants to see, what your coach wants to see, and what feels good for your body?

[00:46:45] Ricci-Lee: I think that that's an ever changing challenge. You know, I think for us, our priority is kind of like we chose the coach and the coaching team that we work with for a reason. So our focus is to trust them and their opinion to get us as far as possible, as well as obviously doing the work to get there.

So I think being able to kind of say, we're trusting that this is the route that we're going to go with our dancing and we're taking that on. And hopefully that will create the results that we're looking for, I think is maybe our biggest priority. It can be a challenge for, you know, your own body. I think sometimes as well, you know, I think we've, we've both had our fair share of body challenges, but I think it's, it's something where it's learning both on the physical, like keeping yourself healthy side, and where you're gonna just push past that.

As well as being able to say what looks good on my body. And I think that taking a coach that has enough invested in you to be able to say, I'm gonna push you in this realm, but based on your body, I think maybe will bring in this person to help give you guidance, to adjust your movement and adjust your style to provide what looks best on you. I think is something that can be super helpful. And that's why sometimes, you know, having someone that is connected in those ways, that cares about what you do and cares about you as an authentic dancer, on top of just what dancing should be, I think is really important and something that we've been lucky enough to find, um, and begin to really work on and process.

[00:48:37] Todd: Yeah, I think it's, as far as that is concerned, When you're dancing something well, and you're dancing something right, you're probably less prone to injury. Mm-hmm right. If your weight transfers are appropriate and you're using appropriate ranges of motion, um, you're connecting properly, you're standing up properly, you're engaging core, whatever it is. Um, you're, you're probably gonna avoid most injury. Right. And obviously we lose our balance. We twist our ankles. I mean, that's that's life, but, um, and I think the coaches in general, I think a lot of coaches too, are trying to keep in mind, like what's kinesthetic. What is the, what is the human body really designed to do?

Like, what is this muscle gonna do? Like, are we trying to put our hip way out to the side or is that just gonna create issues? And is it like create imbalance and does it put us on weird parts of our feet and it affect our direction and then affects our balance. And are we trying to like, be very clear about where our weight is how we're managing that. And I think a lot of coaches, I mean, not just our coach, but I see a lot of people working on the same things. And when I hear lectures and I hear your interviews with people, um, they're concerned about good dancing

[00:49:54] Ricci-Lee: mm-hmm

[00:49:54] Todd: but longevity and good dancing too. And not just like, right. Not like other professional sports where, you know, you're gonna be a football player. You're gonna have two good years maybe. Yeah. Before you're on injured reserve.

[00:50:05] Ricci-Lee: Right.

[00:50:05] Todd: So, and I think that's a really nice thing that, that the industry's trying to do in general.

[00:50:09] Ricci-Lee: Mm-hmm

[00:50:09] Todd: um, and you know, I think you start to see champion dancers demonstrating that.

[00:50:18] Samantha: definitely

[00:50:19] Todd: not like a facade, if that makes sense.

[00:50:21] Samantha: No, absolutely. I, I think it goes back to kind of a passing comment that you made earlier, Todd, which was okay. That looked good, but it didn't feel right. Or that felt right, did it look weird? Like you have to chase the, the feeling in your body of like, okay, this feels good now, does it match the look that I'm trying to get to?

And if it, if I'm getting the look, but it's not feeling right, well, that's your body telling you something's wrong and if it feels good, but it's not the look that you're going for. It's like, okay, how do I, how far can I push this to get the look that I want without sacrificing the kinesthetic balance that I've kind of found.

[00:51:05] Todd: Yeah. And I think that's where, you know, the coaches can really help you and, you know, the, the coaches will be, you know, you can say like, wow, this hurts. Or like, I am just, I don't understand how to get my body to do this. And

[00:51:17] Ricci-Lee: mm-hmm

[00:51:18] Todd: you know, they'll, they'll help you work through it. Or, you know, sometimes we just need to practice. Sometimes you just need to condition your body to, to build that muscle. That's gonna do the right thing or be able to keep your core while you're trying to do other things. Right. So, and sometimes they're like, no, this is right. And it will be fine. You're not gonna hurt yourself. You just need to, to practice and put in the time. So.

[00:51:41] Ricci-Lee: Right.

[00:51:41] Todd: Um, yeah. And then, you know, we're lucky as guys, we don't have to dance in, in high heels and stuff like that. So,

[00:51:48] Ricci-Lee: yeah.

[00:51:48] Todd: Good on you.

[00:51:50] Samantha: but you still have the Cuban heels, which a lot of like first time male dancers totally freak out about, and it's like, oh, it, it pushes your. weight a little bit more towards the front of the foot. There's a reason why the guys are wearing Cuban heels when they're dancing. There's a, there's a purpose. We promise there's a purpose.

[00:52:09] Todd: exactly.

[00:52:11] Samantha: Um, so I, I wanna, if, if we can, I would love for you to provide a specific kind of experience or, or situation, just for our listeners to have a little bit more context of like, okay, I have a coaching team behind me that I trust implicitly. Like I know that they have my best interests in, at heart. I've worked with them long enough to really trust their voice experience. But they're asking me to do this move or this series of movements and it just is not clicking or it's not feeling right. And I'm worried that we're at the point where I need to say no. Versus, okay, I'm gonna trust them. I'm gonna keep working through it. And suddenly it clicks and it's like, aha. I see the other side of, of the challenge.

[00:53:05] Ricci-Lee: So I would say with our current setup that we have, I feel like we tend to both be people and correct me if I'm wrong, but that are going to push ourselves to do it to the point, like, if there's any possibility of us making it happen, we're gonna push. I think the nice thing about our coaching team is that they're also willing to see, you know, maybe this isn't the best move for you, or maybe this isn't the best thing for you. So they're also willing to help us draw that line. I feel like, you know, if it's something where we feel like, you know, say they told Todd to do a knee spin and stand back up. He's probably gonna tell them, Hey, I know my knees are not gonna like that. You know, I'd prefer not to, if there's something we can do to create as good of an effect with out doing that type of movement.

Um, so I think we, if we feel we absolutely need to kind of make that set that boundary of like my body, my body's not gonna do that. We will. And I think we're both, we're both kind of good at knowing what that max point is, but we haven't really had to, had to do that without our coach kind of making, making that call first, I would say. So we've, we've been lucky in that experience where our coaches are intuitive in that way, where they're really paying attention to what we are capable of, and we're gonna push ourselves to get there as much as possible. And if it's something that's just not the right fit them as well as us are going to make that call to shift something and make that change.

[00:54:57] Samantha: Yeah. That

[00:54:57] Todd: I, yeah, I agree with that. I,

[00:55:00] Samantha: I think that really speaks to the fact that you have found yourselves. I mean, it's clear from, from the, the conversation that we've had, you've found someone from a coaching perspective that is is right there with you. Um, and I think that's incredibly special and I'm incredibly jealous of that.

Um, I think that's awesome. And I think in, in talking with other professionals like that is the key, right? Regardless of what level you're at, if you're an amateur couple, if you're training in pro am, if you're a professional trying to, to make, you know, your, your pro name, finding coaches and surrounding yourself with people where you're like, I know that they are putting me first. It's not just a transactional relationship. Like they have my best interests and I can trust them to say like, this is too far, or you can go a little bit farther.

[00:55:51] Ricci-Lee: Absolutely.

[00:55:55] Todd: Yeah. And like everybody has a coach they're gonna click with. Right. So like, and all of our, all of my coaches I've had in the past, I like, and I've learned a lot of stuff from 'em and I feel like I'm on super good terms with 'em and, you know, I think they also were competitors at one point and they're like, realize like, no, sometimes just need to change. Or sometimes, you know, there's, you know, things, nothing changes if nothing changes, right. Like not to use that sort of basic statement, but, um, and then finding the coaches that can motivate you and then also give you like, your, your material needs.

Like great, like, yes, we're talking about feelings, but I'm not sure how to make more speed happen. Or I watched the videos and like, I just don't like what I see. And so there's lots of different aspects and like, you know, a coach needs, like our coaches are super good, cuz we're like, we, we're not sure what to do with you guys here. You're gonna work with this coach now for like these three lessons.

And then generally those, our coaches attend those lessons with us.

[00:56:55] Ricci-Lee: Mm-hmm

[00:56:56] Todd: so that way the, the two coaches can talk and help us all figure it out. So, yeah. And I, and that took a long time for us to find this team, right. It's not, you know, and

[00:57:08] Ricci-Lee: right. And I think that important thing that Todd was kind of mentioning there is that we've had, I mean, we've had a variety of coaches throughout our professional partnership and they've all given us something that was crucial as part of our journey. So if we hadn't worked with some of our previous coaches. Maybe our current coaching team wouldn't be the right fit for us. So I think the fact that we've kind of gone through that journey of these coaches are the right coaches for us in this time. And now we maybe need something different to create different motivation or to create a different switch in the way that we're approaching our dancing, I think has been an important part of our journey because I think if we just started with this coaching team, it may have not, we may have not been ready for that.

[00:57:53] Todd: Mm-hmm .

And so I think that we needed those different things at the different stages in our dancing.

[00:57:58] Samantha: Yeah. You don't know what you don't know and you're not ready for the information until you're ready for it.

[00:58:04] Ricci-Lee: exactly. Exactly.

[00:58:05] Samantha: Yeah. Awesome. And I'm sure that you both play that role then for your students, right? I, when, when Christian and I were in the studio ahead of, um, Colorado star ball, you had coaches in, so it's, it's one of those where like, okay, I can take you to this point and then we're struggling on this level. So who can I bring in to take you to that next point? Or I don't really know what to do with this choreography. So let me bring in outside help and, and we can learn together, um, from someone else's experience point.

[00:58:38] Todd: Yeah.

[00:58:38] Ricci-Lee: Yeah. And I think we, like, I mean, I think one of the greatest things about doing coachings with your students and not just on a professional level is that you're giving a different insight to your students, but also in a selfish way, I would say it's helping you develop as a teacher, as well as a dancer to be able to say, well, what I never thought about doing that in that way, now I can apply that to my students, which I can also then apply to my own dancing.

[00:59:07] Samantha: Absolutely.

[00:59:08] Todd: Yeah. And the nice thing with the higher level students, especially is it's interesting to see when the coach tends to turn their instruction more towards what the instructor is

[00:59:19] Ricci-Lee: yes.

[00:59:20] Todd: And possibly lacking in or needs a little bit more direction with. And ultimately the students, when they get to that level can understand that that's only gonna make their dancing better. Right. Cause I mean, if, if, if any of the three of us or any of the other interviews you've done, these people think they know everything, then, you know, like it's, it's tough to learn. And none of us know that we're like, no, no, you can fix me. Like if my, a alignments are wrong and you need me to go here or whatever, this is good, I need to know this. So, so, and the students understand that and it's, it's really, really nice that, that they can be a part of that too.

[00:59:56] Ricci-Lee: Mm-hmm

[00:59:56] Samantha: absolutely because at the end of the day, what we do is a partnership, right? Dance ballroom dancing is a 50 50 partnership. That doesn't mean we're always 50, 50, sometimes we're, you know, 70, 30 or 60 40, but it takes sometimes that third set of eyes to be like, okay, I know this is about the student, but I need you to do this differently so that your student can do the thing that you're trying to get the student to do.

[01:00:20] Ricci-Lee: Exactly.

[01:00:21] Todd: Yes, exactly.

[01:00:23] Samantha: Yeah. Well, awesome. Well, is there anything else that you guys would like to share with our listeners? Anything else that you want to kind of put in their brains as they go throughout the rest of their week?

[01:00:37] Ricci-Lee: Do you have anything?

[01:00:39] Todd: No. If you're ever in Colorado come visit us. That's that, we'd love to have anybody here at the studio, whether it's to practice before a competition or come to one of our parties on a Friday nights and always like meeting people in the community. So,

[01:00:52] Samantha: yep. And I can say the first, second then I would say on my end its a very nice studio.

[01:00:58] Ricci-Lee: awesome. And then on my end, I would say like, for me, I just, as, as someone who does kinda have that other field that I have in my life as a nutrition, like professional and a dietician, I think just knowing as a dancer, that there are those aspects, even as a ProAm student, that a lot of people do get into their heads about maybe not looking the right way or feeling the right way or fueling their body properly.

And just knowing that the dance community, while it can be challenging, you know, first and foremost is making sure that you're treating your body with respect and care so that you're giving your body what it needs. Because if you don't do that, just to look a certain way, then it can really, it can be a detriment to your dancing and your movement and your ability to do what you wanna do.

So I think, you know, yes, we wanna look a certain way or we wanna feel a certain way on the floor, but first and foremost, you need to take care of your body. And if that helps you get to the way you look great, but don't sacrifice the way that you need to take care of yourself in order to get there.

[01:02:08] Samantha: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, awesome. Well, thank you so much. Uh, Ricci-Lee and Todd for being guests on today's podcast.

[01:02:18] Todd: Thank you.

[01:02:18] Ricci-Lee: Thanks for having us.

[01:02:18] Todd: I, I really appreciate your podcast. I, I think it's amazing what you're doing, so

[01:02:22] Samantha: thank you. Thank you. Thank you once again, to Ricci-Lee and Todd for being guests on today's episode, if you want to follow their dance journey or find out more about how you can either become a dancer at TM ballroom dance studio or join Ricci's, uh, dietician program over at Denver's dancing dietician, links are in the description box below

As always I've been Samantha, your host with Love Live Dance. You can follow the Ballroom Chat podcast on Instagram and Facebook at Ballroom Chat. You can also support us on Patreon. Uh, just find the Ballroom Chat Patreon page, where we post exclusive clips, uh, post interview with our guests. There's one from Ricci-Lee, and Todd's conversation today over there as well.

If you have not already done so, please do make sure that you hit the subscribe button, follow button, like button, whatever the proper button is for the platform that you are listening or watching the podcast on.

And as always stay safe, stay positive. And I hope to see you dancing very soon.