6 Types of Instructors I Try to Avoid

"A wise man never knows all. Only a fool knows everything." - African Proverb "True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing." - Socrates I hesitated to write about this, and I put a lot of thought into it so I could carefully get my point across and I'm most likely going to offend someone anyway (I'm sorry if I offend anyone). I’m not saying I know everything, and this isn’t an all-inclusive list since all coaches are different (I know some exist that I don't know about!). Finding a coach for you is as ambiguous as coaching itself. Like professors, some instructors are/were great dancers but they are not necessarily very good teachers. With dance, there are many, many different schools/ideas of thought and ways to approach an aspect of dance to come to the same or similar result. The great thing about dance is that you have a plethora of coaches to choose from and you can choose whoever you believe works for you! A general rule that I always u…

Big Apple Dancesport Challenge 2016

We decided months ago that we wanted to go to big apple. It was a competition that not a lot of midwest people would go to, but we would compete against the same people that will be at USA dance competitions.

After the Ohio competition, Bing was out for blood - he felt that everything we (I) worked for throughout the past two years didn't matter to the (five) judges and he found it insulting. He wanted to prove that we deserved a better placement than what was given to us. I didn't take the Ohio competition results personally- it's a competition that has always had questionable outcomes and I knew we weren't very solid going into it, but Bing would not let it go.

When we arrived in New York, we stayed with our friends Colin and Aya in their beautiful downtown apartment. Bing was so excited to see Colin again and hang out with him- he was talking about it for weeks! Colin and Aya took us to Manhattan Ballroom Dance studio where we practiced for a little bit here and the…

Ohio Collegiate Competition 2016

This year was the first year of the Ohio collegiate competition, formerly the national collegiate competition. This was a competition that we decided to go to towards the end of the registration period. We were hesitant to go, since it was now going to be an NDCA competition and we have developed mixed feelings about the NDCA over the years.

When we arrived on the first day, the first thing I noticed was how cold it was in the venue. The room was the same that it had been in previous years, but it just didn't seem as nice this time around - due to the construction going on around the convention center. I also took note of the floor- which was different from previous years, but similar to the floor used at the Arnold competition. Bing hates the kind of floor that was used this year, he feels that the "tiles" aren't very stable and that the floor texture itself is somewhat sticky.

Throughout the competition there were a few results that I thought were awry and I liste…

Fall 2016

It's been a while since I wrote a post for this blog, and it was mostly because of my inactivity in ballroom dance in the past two year (as you may tell ;)). In the past two years, I was studying at Loyola University Chicago for my Master's degree in software engineering. Life in Chicago wasn't easy for me at all. In fact, it took a toll on me and eventually got me into depression in late 2015. Fortunately, I asked a counselor to help me out and she saved me from committing suicide. In May 2016, I finally moved back to Madison, where I considered as my American hometown. Here, I feel much safer and happier, especially I can start practicing dance regularly again, which helped reducing my depression. Now I am working as an intern and my life gets more stable than before. I can finally be active in competitive ballroom scene again.

So far, I have attended three competitions this semester: Illini Dancesport Invitational, Purdue Ballroom Classic, and Badger Ballroom Classic, an…

DanceInsight: A Recent Breakthrough in Developement

DanceInsight is a desktop application that aims to provide data collection and analysis functions for ballroom dance competitions. I started this project in the late spring of  2014. For the first few months, I made a good amount of progress in this project: 1) set up the basic user interface, 2) developed the essential analysis framework, and 3) set up the internal architecture. However, this software would only thrive if it can collect data for users, but at that time, I could only gather data from O2CM or ZSConcepts was manually, which was time consuming and error-prone. At that moment, I was stuck and couldn't make progress in this project, and this is followed up by one and half year of zero work on this project.

Thank to the software engineering education that I received in Graduate school in the past one and half year, and recently, I started working on DanceInsight again and have made quite a bit progress. Here I am excited to share with you what I have done to this projec…

Michigan State University

This year we attended  Michigan State University's very first ballroom competition!

For me, the major deciding factor  was that I was going to see one of my best friends who attends medical school there. However, what started off as a weekend planned on seeing my friend, with a little dancing in there...turned out to be dancing with a little bit of friends.

It was in a very fancy ballroom! The floor was not slippery (at least when compared to Valpo this year), and the team was very warm and friendly as usual. There were places to hang costumes! Everywhere! There was also lots of tables and seating- and although it was kind of crunched, it seemed like everyone had a place to put their things. The competition went by fast, the music was good (Kevin Guy is a great DJ to have) and there were more standard judges on the panel!

I feel like my standard is mostly judged by people who dance latin or 10-dance and 'specialize' in latin, so it was exhilarating to see 2 'standard s…

Update on how we are :]

In the past 6 months, my partner and I have been going through a whirlwind of changes in our lives and dance.
The main challenge has been the start of a new chapter: going on to grad school in a new place. As anyone knows, moving to a new place can be stressful and overwhelming as you are trying to get situated and you have a hard time focusing on anything due to all the changes occurring.
This has also brought the challenge of having a long distance partnership. We realized in October that it was a challenge, and at first we tried 'cramming' for the competition and practicing together at the welcome dance and before you competition, but that didn't work out well. By then, we had already paid for 2 other competitions and we felt we really needed to take a break, just to adapt to this new chapter in our lives and to rebuild our dance by paying attention to parts that we weren't paying attention to before- parts that needed to improve if we were going to get anywhere fur…