Ballroom: Challenge Accepted
Written By Keana Cornelissen
This year, we were offered something new and exciting...
Lacey Schwimmer, an American ballroom dancer known for her appearances on So You Think
You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars, is also faculty for the well known dance
competition and convention NRG DanceProject. Last season we were lucky enough to attend
NRG DanceProject at their Chicago regional as well as the nationals in Scottsdale, Arizona.
When we visited NRG for their regional in Chicago and Nationals in Scottsdale last year, we
took ballroom master classes from Lacey. Soon after, our studio found out Lacey would be
coming to Artistry to work with us and use her expertise to develop our ballroom skills. After
being offered this amazing collaboration, there was no way we could turn down working with
one of the biggest ballroom stars in the country!
Lacey flew out to Chicago in November of 2021 to teach a master class as well as to set a
ballroom piece on our company dancers. Twenty dancers were asked to participate in this
piece, and we were all so excited!
Although we are highly trained dancers in many genres, we did not have ballroom training.
Lacey taught us the foundation skills of ballroom like arm placement, how to wear ballroom
shoes, and how to execute some of the basic footwork. At the end of the day, after the
choreography session and the master class, we were exhausted, (more specifically our feet),
yet thrilled to perform this and try the new style.
The piece consists of remixes from artists like Rhianna, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry,
Justin Bieber and so many more. So, it was entitled Icons, perfect to match the sassy vibes and
costumes. We had rhinestoned pieces that lined our middle parts, and sparkly chokers and
bracelets. With slick black ballroom shoes just a mere inch or 2 off the ground, tight, open
chested tops, and long fringe and salsa-y black skirts, we all felt like professionals.
After weeks and weeks of practice and rehearsing the dance, it was time to hit the stage at Fly
Dance Competition. Even though our scores reflected our hard work, we realized that we had
done the hard part and gotten the steps down. The easiest part was to smile, sing, and embrace
our sassy selves like Lacey, the sassy queen herself. But somehow, that was the hard part for
So, we continued to work hard and try to take inspiration from Lacey. Even though she was
unable to attend NRG in Chicago this year when we went, we still had a great time performing it
for an audience and the judges. Because ballroom dance is a new style emerging in the dance
community, we are all so grateful to take this opportunity and apply the knowledge forward in the
years to come. Maybe one day we will be amazing ballroom stars like Lacey, or it will become
another side skill to have in our back pocket. Either way, I hope we are able to continue this
outstanding honor by working with Lacey and even continuing trying new things like ballroom!