Tara's Take: Rumba and Fringe!

By: Tara Wheeler
By: Tara Wheeler

As you all know, I'm dancing in Charlottesville's version of "Dancing WIth The Stars", The Critter Ball, to raise money for the SPCA. I've been working with my expert partner and our Rumba is coming along nicely! Today, we had a special guest at our rehearsal to make sure we were on point!

As you all know, I'm dancing in Charlottesville's version of "Dancing With The Stars", The Critter Ball, to raise money for the SPCA. I've been working with my expert partner, Gary, and our Rumba is coming along nicely! Today, we had a special guest at our rehearsal to make sure we were on point!

Here's a little bit about Lee Santos:

Lee Santos, coach of the UVa Ballroom Club since 2002 is a former world class professional competitor, champion and instructor.  He has been teaching for well over 30 years in American Style Ballroom, International Latin, International Standard, Salsa and Argentine Tango. Qualified as World Class adjudicator, he and his wife Peggy were the 1977–79 U.S. American Style Champions; U.S. representatives to the 1981 World Latin Championships; Demonstrators at the 1987 Blackpool World Congress; U.S. International Latin Championship Medalist; Eastern U.S. Imperial Standard Champions and Virginia State Ballroom Champions.  Their winning streak brought them to Madison Square Garden and the Oprah Winfrey Show.   Before moving to Virginia, Lee and Peggy Santos were the National Directors of the Fred Astaire franchise that operates over 150 studios worldwide. 

Awesome, huh?! Between Lee, Gary, and his wife Donna, I was in great hands at this morning's lesson!

Right now, the hardest part for me is remembering the routine. We've walked through most of it but it's hard to practice at home by myself... unless I enlist Jessica Jaglois to be my stand-in partner in our living room. I need cues to jog my memory on what the next step is, but I'm getting better slowly but surely.

At this rehearsal Lee focused a lot on details. I don't just want to go through the motions of the dance, I want to hit every line and make sure I've got the proper form. Lee was great at pointing out the places where I could add a little flair and polish to the steps. I can't wait until I have the whole dance memorized and then we can really have fun perfecting it all!

Although it's early, we also talked costuming... I don't want to give away too much but I will say that we've all got our eyes set on FRINGE... and this is why:

Watch how it moves!!.. FRINGE!

Got costume ideas? Send me your suggestions! I was thinking something like this could be fun too:

Must stop looking for dresses... must get back to work... so hard!

Maybe if I practice hard enough, I can look like Yulia... but I have a feeling it will take more than a couple of months to get there! Now, when I work out, not only do I have my Tough Mudder training to motivate me, but I want a body like those ballroom pros too!! Time to hit the gym!

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