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THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY GALA

Today is a beautiful clear day! It seems almost surreal that last night I performed in the 10thAnniversary Gala for Daza Dance. What an amazing experience to be a part of this vision for the past 3 years and to grow into the person I have become. It was incredibly inspiring to learn how everything began and part of the history of the studio, also to see how things are positioned for the future. 
 I laugh when I think that I almost talked myself out of doing the first showcase 3 years ago, and am so grateful Antonio and Mario encouraged me to fully express what was in my heart. The first Song I danced to was “When You Believe” from the the Movie The Prince of Egypt, and since that I have experienced a miracle in the way I have transformed. I am not only a better dancer but a stronger person who is becoming more and more confident and secure every day. 
Now I that I have completed 6 showcases, I feel a special sense of accomplishment.  I feel fantastic about this showcase because I overcame several obstacles to once again dance the best I ever have. Dancing a Rumba to the song “Chandelier” by Sia became a symbol of the restlessness I feel, and how I want and need to continue to pursue the most out of my life, this caused growth to happen as I continued to learn my steps. My first challenge was difficulty with the timing, I knew the steps, but coordinating them with the Rhythm of Rumba required a lot more work from me. Then there was the step that gave me a fit – those chase turns!  After the fall showcase I would come to the studio and practice chase turns over and over for hours as they were one of my weakest steps.  I remember thinking I hope my choreography will include chase turns since I was practicing them so much, and boy did I get my wish. Every step of my routine was somehow connected or led into a Chase Turn, and while I may not have them perfect after 6 months of practicing them I can see marked improvement!
Another challenge was performing with 2 coaches. Performing with more than one coach makes you the focal point; when you are with two coaches you have to know where you are supposed to be, and who you are dancing with at every moment. There was also the challenge of learning tricks, such as the drag step where Antonio and Maxi drag me across the floor, and of the lift where I had to trust them to carry me over their head. Being able to get to the point where I could execute these moves made me feel incredible. 
The last and greatest obstacle for me was breaking through the limitations in my mind.  As I continued with the process of learning this piece I was encouraged to not be afraid of my voice, to always strive for to be greater and go one step further, and that I am enough. Once I put in the work, got to know my choreography, and built up my confidence I felt like a star with backup dancers! The fact that I was able to feel this way was truly a reflection of how good Antonio and Maxi really are. I was even able to learn from a mistake during my last rehearsal with Antonio and Maxi. I slipped because I was rushing through the Ronde with Antonio, so I came to the studio later that week going over my notes and corrections and polishing those steps. I made sure to focus my energy and listened to the song a few times to make sure I understood the timing. By the Thursday evening before the showcase I stopped rehearsing so I wouldn’t make the mistake of over rehearsing, and trust that I knew what I needed to know.  Anticipation continued to build, I was nervous for dress rehearsal Friday night, but after going through everything as I received encouragement from instructors and students telling me how much I had improved, I was stunned and filled with confidence. 
All of these elements came together last night at the Gala as I gave a performance I didn’t even know I was capable of. Hearing the cheers when Antonio and Maxi l lifted me up filled me with joy, and I felt so proud of that performance upon completion.  That moment symbolized to me that I am my only limitation in life, and as I continue to take steps to move forward the momentum will add people and circumstances that can help me achieve my goals.  I am looking forward to continuing to use the positive impact the Daza Dance has had on me to inspire and impact the world.
By: Kamaria George (05/13/2018)

MY FIRST COMPETITION

When I first mentioned to Maxi that I wanted to enter a dance competition, I had no idea what I was signing up for. Like most crazy ideas, it sounded like a good idea at the time. You see, as a teen I had taken a few lessons in my home country, South Africa. I had even entered a couple of competitions. It had been no big deal: there were no costumes or hair and make-up. You literally showed up at a town hall wearing a leotard and skirt, paid your entrance fee, and danced with about 50 other beginner couples in a social, amateur-amateur format. No one even asked if you had an instructor. It lasted a couple of hours, and you were on your way home again. No prizes or medals. If you made it to the top 4 of the competition, you might get a mention, but it was really just a chance to dance and meet other couples. The real experts showed up after all the novice sessions were over in their costumes and full make-up doing their amazingly technical routines, but I never even imagined ever doing that. Reflecting back, I realize that what I thought was a competition, was more of a social dance party than a competition at all. The competition I was about to enter was in an entirely different class to the one I had in mind.
Although, I am a decidedly social and outgoing person, I’ve never really loved being the center of attention. I’m happy being “at” the party, I just don’t want to “be” the party. I’m most comfortable supporting and cheering for the natural performers in the world from the sidelines. 
So why then would I sign up for this? Frankly, my drive for personal development and my competitive and impulsive spirit often overshadows my desire for anonymity. I love the fear and adrenalin of a challenge.  After years of being a lawyer routinely dealing with crisis after crisis daily, in a practiced, cool and calm demeanor, I need to find new (safe) ways to get my adrenalin fix and push my boundaries. 
When I made the decision to enter, I had just performed in my first ever dance showcase and it had been one of the best experiences of my life. There were so many firsts: my first real dance costume, my first time performing in front of an audience as an adult, and even my first set of false eyelashes  – ever. Mostly, I’d enjoyed the camaraderie and support of my fellow performers backstage at the showcase and the challenge of trying something new and overcoming my fears. My drive to constantly challenge my beliefs about what I think I can do, has this inexplicable habit of getting in the way of my rational thought process: kind of like the time I thought that bungee jumping would be a good way to overcome my fear of heights. So when I signed up to do my first competition here in the States, still reveling in the afterglow of the showcase and all the precious friendships I’d made, I simply didn’t think it through at all. By the time the reality of what I’d gotten myself into started to dawn, it was too late! Besides, quitting is even more scary to me than performing. 
To compete, I had to learn 3 new dances in 3 months: the Bolero, West Coast Swing, and the Hustle. I’d been dancing for less than a year, was only beginning to remember the basic steps of my other dances (and learning more steps at the same time), so it was definitely pushing me well beyond my comfort zone. I was dancing more often, too and an old knee injury started acting up, which eventually contributed to a foot injury which stopped me dancing for a while – all this at a time when the competition date was quickly approaching. In hindsight, the injury was a good thing for my mental state: I was under no illusion that I was as prepared as I should be, and didn’t expect to be a serious contender, so I decided to simply do my best, relax, and have fun.
I loved preparing for the competition. Until then, I had taken most of my lessons with Maxi. Maxi is not only a talented dancer and teacher, but he is so much fun to be around. My week doesn’t seem complete without a lesson with Maxi in it. Just 10 minutes dancing with him, and the stresses of life seem a million miles away.   Even on days when steps just don’t seem to come easily, I always leave my lessons much happier than when I arrived at the studio. 
Now that I was preparing for the competition, I needed a full time secondary instructor. Each instructor has a slightly different focus, so having two points of view really helps you improve more quickly. At that point I had taken a few lessons with Antonio in addition to my lessons with Maxi. Antonio is not only a great instructor, but as owner of the studio he oversees the business in addition to studying toward a degree. Getting our two busy schedules to synchronize was a challenge, so Mario became my secondary instructor. Mario is an experienced instructor with an eye for technique, so he is the perfect complement to Maxi’s artistic flair and passion. Mario has the patience of a saint, and can break steps down into movements that make sense to me.  Although he seems quiet at first, I’ve learned that he has a wicked sense of humor and we laugh all the time. Maxi and Mario both worked so hard to prepare me for my first real competition. I am so glad I had them along for the journey.
Before I knew it, the preparation was behind me and competition weekend had arrived. From the moment we arrived in Tampa, Florida for the competition, I didn’t stop having fun. Maxi and Mario treated me like royalty all weekend. They went above and beyond all expectations to ensure that my every need was taken care of. I didn’t have to think or plan. If I wanted anything, it would magically materialize – even when I asked for the seemingly impossible breakfast (cold, cooked oatmeal). Maxi and Mario even showed up at my room to escort me, unexpectedly serenading me with “We wish you a Merry Christmas”-- in March! They accompanied me to my hair and make-up appointment at the crack of dawn when every other instructor was probably still sound asleep. I haven’t felt so taken care of in years (if ever). I didn’t want the weekend to end! And I hadn’t even started dancing yet.
Not only were Maxi and Mario attentive and fun companions and hosts, but the event itself was fantastic. Flawlessly arranged.
Dinner the night before the competition, with our hosts Anna and Andrew Smart at an enchanting restaurant nearby (where we even ran into Patrick Dempsey from Grey’s Anatomy  -- yes, he is as dreamy in real life!!!!) gave me the opportunity to get some advice from other more seasoned competitors. My favorite piece of admittedly terrifying advice was from Andrew. He said "Whatever you do, just don’t fall”. Until then, it had never occurred to me that I might. Eek!
Happily I managed to dance over 50 dances and stay on my feet. An achievement in itself when you consider it was my first time dancing in costume in front of a packed audience who were watching my every move.
Maxi is the consummate professional. He did an expert job of leading me, keeping me calm and quiet. I babble when I’m nervous and I was under strict instructions not to talk during the competition. Before I knew it, I relaxed and was loving it! I learned so much from watching other couples. The whole experience was fabulous, but it was also great getting recognized for all the practice and preparation at the awards ceremony. Maxi and I placed second in both the smooth and rhythm challenges we entered. 
I was also overwhelmed by all the support from our friends back at the studio. I loved reading the words of encouragement on the pictures and videos Mario posted.  Although I still find it slightly traumatic watching myself dance in videos, I’m glad I have a video record of all the things I want to work on and improve. The visions in my head of how I look are far more romantic, and I’ll cling to the memories of how I thought I looked for my next competition. Yes, that’s right – I’ve signed up for another competition in Scottsdale, Arizona in December. 
You should sign up too. Enjoy the ultimate dance experience at the same time as deflecting some of the attention from me. I can highly recommend it!
By: Heidi Braniff (04/18/2018)

FINAL ROUND OF SHOWCASE VIDEOS!

We are finalizing the last few details of our “10 Year Anniversary Gala” Showcase to be celebrated on Saturday,  May 12th. Here are just a few pictures of some of our participant students doing their interviews, conducted by the amazing team of Espeuté Productions (@danielespeut and @justin_vc ). At Daza Dance, we look forward to continuing bringing love, fun, peace, and more dance to our #atlanta community for many more years to come.


    

   

CONGRATULATION HEIDI BRANIFF!

Congratulations to our student and friend Heidi Braniff for her amazing performance at the #SpringFlingCompetition in Tampa, FL, last weekend with her dance instructors Maximiliano Panesi and Mario Recoba. At #DazaDance, we are extremely proud of you guys and thankful for your great representation at this prestigious event. We value, respect and appreciate all the hard work that Maximiliano PanesiMario Nicolas and Heidi have put into their dance journey... You guys have made us so proud! As always, spacial thanks to Andrew and Anna Smart, as well as the rest of the #WorldPromotionsTeam for putting together such fun, entertaining and personally enriching experiences. We look forward to continue bring #peace#unity#happiness and more #BallroomDance to all of our #Atlanta-home-community!



10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY GALA - SAVE THE DATE!

Is that time of the year again when we’ll have the opportunity to perform with our students and instructors at our #SpringShowcase. However, this time around is EXTRA SPECIAL because we will be celebrating our 10 YEAR #ANNIVERSARY!!!! We are working on making this event a memorable one and we would love to have all of our friends, family, students, and everyone that have made this #DazaDance dream come true. Save the date as we continue to give you more details about our celebration gala!
#daza #atlanta#makingmydreamscometrue #changingtheworld #ibelieveinmiracles #unitingthroughdance #celebration


"NEW" YOGA CLASSES BY SUSAN ROBERSON @ DAZA DANCE

We are so happy to announce that after many years in the works, our very own student and friend Susan Roberson will be sharing her passion, love, and experience as a yoga instructor with all of our community of dancers during our new #YOGA class at #DazaDance. What a wonderful way to begin 2018 with Dancing and Yoga! Every Thursday morning from 7:30AM TO 8:30AM. Drop-in rate $15 or 4 classes for $50. For more information call us at (404)5375222, email us at info@dazadance.com or visit our website at www.dazadance.com!
#daza #atlantayoga #atlanta #ibelieveinmiracles #2018resolutions #changingtheworld


THIRD AND FINAL VIDEO FILMING!

Third and final round of filming at Daza Dance as we continue to get ready for our upcoming “FAIRY TALES AND FANTASY” Showcase on Saturday, November 11. This time it was our turn to get our instructor’s video done. We can hardly believe we are only 4 weeks away from show time. A showcase is an event we host in our facility twice at year, with the intention of bringing our dance community together under one common goal. In addition, the showcase provides an opportunity to our professional instructors to set and accomplish short-time goals with their students. Also, the showcase is a great time for our students to perform what they have worked on and gain some of the benefits of Ballroom Dancing. If you need more information about tickets cost, visit us at www.dazadance.com, email us at info@dazadance.com or call us at (404)5375222.
#daza #atlanta#iloveballroomdancing #dazadanceshowcase #ibelieveinmiracles#atlantadance


SECOND ROUND OF SHOWCASE VIDEOS!

Second Round of filming at Daza Dance as we continue to get ready for our upcoming “FAIRY TALES AND FANTASY” Showcase on Saturday, November 11. We can hardly believe we are only 4 weeks away from show time. All of our students and instructors have been working very hard to put on a wonderful show to entertained their family and friends. A showcase is an event we host in our facility twice at year, with the intention of bringing our dance community together under one common goal. In addition, the showcase provides an opportunity to our professional instructors to set and accomplish short-time goals with their students. Also, the showcase is a great time for our students to perform what they have worked on and gain some of the benefits of Ballroom Dancing. If you need more information about tickets cost, visit us at www.dazadance.com, email us at info@dazadance.com or call us at (404)5375222. #daza #atlanta#iloveballroomdancing #dazadanceshowcase #ibelieveinmiracles #atlantadance #DazaDance








FIRST ROUND OF SHOWCASE VIDEOS!

Let the #countdown begin... first round of interview videos is done! We can’t believe we are only five weeks before our “FAIRY TALES AND FANTASY” Showcase here at #DazaDance on November 11, 2017. All of our students and instructors have been working very hard to put on a wonderful show to entertained their family and friends. A showcase is an event we host in our facility twice at year, with the intention of bringing our dance community together under one common goal. In addition, the showcase provides an opportunity to our professional instructors to set and accomplish short-time goals with their students. Also, the showcase is a great time for our students to perform what they have worked on and gain some of the benefits of Ballroom Dancing. If you need more information about tickets cost, visit us at www.dazadance.com, email us at info@dazadance.com or call us at (404)5375222.


THANK YOU SEBASTIAN COLAVITA!

It is always such a pleasure to have Sebastian Colavita coming to Atlanta and share with us, his extensive dance knowledge and charisma. Having him here in our studio always brings a great positive energy and we can't wait to have him back in the near future. He has become such an important part of our Daza Dance family and we appreciate all the effort he puts into bringing our respective schools together. 
Thank you, Sebastian, for everything you did for and with us during your time in our city this past month.