Ballroom Dancing Continues to Give Elaine Confidence
“My favorites are the lifts,” says Elaine Baltzell talking about ballroom dancing. “You know, where your partner lifts you over his head? Sure, it was little scary at first. But once I decided to do it, I was determined. And I love it. It feels like you are floating on air.”
Strong, courageous, brave, even fearless: these are a few words that just begin to describe Elaine. Though, she would probably shake her head slightly and laugh if she heard these words prescribed to her. Do not let her petite politeness fool you – Elaine is a fighter. She faces challenges tenaciously and chooses to look ahead, while soaring above them on the dance floor.
Meet Elaine Baltzell, our student profile in confidence.
Elaine grew up in rural Maryland, where she met her then high school sweetheart and now husband, Michael.
“He actually asked me to a school dance,” says Elaine. “Though I don’t know why my Mother let me go anywhere with a boy and a car!”
And, oh the places that car would go! A true citizen of the world, Elaine has lived in Australia, Holland and France. She did not speak Dutch, nor French.
“Living in France was probably the biggest adventure of my life,” says Elaine. “Not knowing the language, you just did the best you could, learned as much as possible and figured it out. You took it day by day.”
Oh, and Elaine also has an intense fear of flying.
“I rarely shy away from a challenge,” says Elaine confidently. “It’s true, I do not care for flying, but I love to travel. Michael needed me, and I wanted to see the world. So I just did it.”
See what we mean by courageous?
Elaine continues, “It’s a lot like what happens on the dance floor. At first you are worried about where your feet go, keeping up with time and frame, but then you learn that no one is perfect. If you make a mistake, you just keep right on going and have fun. You try and focus on doing better in the next step.”
“He’s what I am most grateful for,” she says.
The two are in fact best friends. Elaine and Michael are rarely apart and offer each other friendship, companionship and unconditional support. This mutual support was clear from the beginning.
Early in their marriage, Elaine was offered the opportunity to teach pre-school. Unsure if she could be successful, Michael was there to support her and encouraged her to move forward. As is typical Elaine fashion, she was not only successful; she advanced to lead the entire program.
Michael was also supportive when Elaine wanted to begin ballroom dance lessons.
“I lead the charge,” says Elaine. “I always wanted to do it! I love music, and when we went dancing socially, which we did a lot, I wanted to feel better on the dance floor. Also, we had only lived in Tennessee for a little over a year. I wanted to start doing something where we could be social and meet some friends too,” said Elaine.
But while mutual support is key in the couple’s success, Elaine quickly discovered that on the dance floor, she needed a little more.
“We were learning at different levels,” said Elaine. “At first, it was just for fun. I had no intention to perform in shows or go to competitions. However, I fell in love with dancing. I wanted to learn as much as I could! I quickly discovered that performing and competing were exactly what I wanted to do. Michael, well, he just wasn’t there yet. “
So, Elaine and Michael split (only on the dance floor).
Elaine continues, “Turns out, it was the best thing for us. Now, we both are better dancers and can relax on the dance floor, together, and just have fun.”
“In fact, when we attended Michael’s class reunion, we were able to show off some of our stuff! We are now known as ‘the dancers’ to his buddies!” says Elaine, laughing.
So how did ballroom dancing help this already confident and vivacious woman?
“Dancing continues to boost my self-confidence, I prove to my self over and over again that I can still do anything I set my mind to. Also, it helped me to feel good about me! I feel poised and graceful, both on and off the dance floor.”
Elaine continues, “Most of all, dancing gives me an opportunity to give back. Now that I have a little more experience under my belt, I try to dance with new students, as much as I can. I remember what if feels like to be new at this! Because I am more comfortable with me, I can focus my attention on making sure that new students are less frightened and more at ease.”
Strong, courageous, brave, fearless and nurturer: these are just a few words that only being to describe Elaine Baltzell.
When asked about the future, Elaine says that she is looking forward to having more time and freedom to do more things. From daughter, wife, teacher, world traveler and ballroom champion, one has to wonder what else she will find time to do! One thing is certain, Elaine will always have courage behind her to pursue her dreams; Michael beside her and, of course, the dance floor in front of her.