Ryan’s Advice: Social and Competitive Dance as a Junior

Hi I’m Ryan Boz, I’m 16, a swing dancer, and a star wars fanatic (that last bit doesn’t matter but oh well). I’ve won the US Open title of Young Adult Champion two years in a row, I’m an All-Star level competitor in Jack and Jills, I’ve won many events dancing my Hip-Hop routines and have competed in a number of Shag competitions.

Dancing has been apart of my life since before I was born! Both my parents are dancers so I grew up with this. Dancing is such a great social activity for many reason: you learn musicality to songs you hear on the radio every day, you hone social skills and you have a great time doing it! I first started dancing a style of swing called “East coast swing”, it’s similar to west coast just a tad easier to start out with, then I went into Shag which equally a fantastic and unique dance. However, I was a stubborn child at 7 and didn’t want to dance West Coast Swing until I got asked by a girl around my age who, at the time, I thought was beyond pretty…but I didn’t know how to dance West Coast Swing! As soon as I finished my dance and thanked her I returned to my mom and begged her to teach me! And so, here I am today, doing something that I love and hope to never give up!
I’ve found that most people are open and friendly and will gladly dance with you in a heartbeat! No matter how old or what their level in competition may be. Don’t ever feel afraid to ask someone to dance, I can say that the only times I’ve EVER been turned down was when someone was sick or were injured (even then most of those people will dance with me).  As a younger dancer it’s hard to pave your way since some people don’t feel comfortable dancing with a younger person, but don’t let that bother you. There will be another person within arms reach who will gladly dance with you!
For me dancing came a little easier since I’ve grown up with it. Both my parents are dancers who have competed and judged for over 30 years, however there’s a point where practice overtakes gifts and talents. If you’ve ever played a sport I’m sure your coach has said that to you. If you’re looking to improve your dancing then definitely take a lot of classes, and I mean A LOT! This gets you into dancing and gives you some moves and technique for your social dancing desires. When you feel like you’re getting better at your craft start taking privates and ask your instructor to brush up on anything they see could need improving. Video taping your social or competitive dancing will help tremendously with this. it gives your teacher and you something to look at and critique. I find this to be one of the most productive ways or learning and improving.
One last thing that helps improve your dancing…creating and performing a routine. Dancing a routine, whether it be with a Pro or someone at your same skill level will teach you cleanliness and precision, which helps a lot in social and competitive dancing.
Dancers are very friendly and can be like a family sometimes. I have had some things that have bothered me and I felt like I needed to be comforted by someone after a competition and I knew people who I had created a bond and friendship through dancing. I knew I could talk to them about what was bothering me. These people are friendly and comforting and want you to be happy, being that we are the up and coming generation of dancers who they are hoping will continue on the legacy of this great and wonderful dance!
I hope this was helpful and you found something interesting from it! If you have any questions or are simply looking for a person to have a social dance with then message me! Save me a dance, and I’ll see you on the dance floor!

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