Lizzie McleanLizzie McLean, a former athlete, has been a dance student at Ultimate Ballroom since October 2015. She participates in dance performance showcases and frequently attends social dance parties at the studio. Some of her recent performances included Foxtrot and Viennese Waltz. When you meet Lizzie, you instantly get enveloped in her charismatic personality and an amazing sense of humor. She is always so supportive and encouraging of her fellow dancers, and her healthy competitive spirit is very inspiring. Also, Lizzie loves sharing her dance-class experiences on Facebook, which is highly informative, inspiring and entertaining at the same time:

“Here’s what is cookin’ in the kitchen. Tango is my favorite dance and this routine has been my most frustrating and dynamic to learn. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out by December.

“Ballroom life lessons: partnership building: What is staccato without amputating your instructors toe during tango closed position?

“Thankful to have these people and this studio to come to after a busy and stressful week. They have no idea how much light they shine on a dark day.”

LizzieHow did you discover dance?

I lived around the corner from another Memphis studio. One night we went on a double date to a rumba class just for laughs. I ended up agreeing to the intro offer and the rest was history!

How long have you been dancing?

Since October 2016. I have no previous dance background. Unless you count one tap class when I was 4 years old… which I hated ;).

What do you love about ballroom dance?

I am a very competitive person. My background is in volleyball so I’m used to having a goal to train toward. Dancesport is literally a sport and it is a way to disconnect from the stresses of life. It is a way to invest in myself. Since I have been finished with competitive volleyball, ballroom has filled the void of training, competition, and camaraderie that I miss so much. I have fallen in love with Ultimate Ballroom, the people, and the art and expression of dance.

Who or what is your ballroom dance inspiration?

I follow Izabella Jundzill, Peter Perzhu, Alexandra Perzhu, Tatiana Seliverstova and Max Sinitsa. If I had the chance, I would be Tatiana Seliverstova for a day! She’s so athletic, and, as I am discovering my style, I relate to her and Alexandra.

What is your favorite dance style?

American Smooth. I love the music and the freedom of movement being out of frame and covering a lot of ground.

If you were to describe yourself using a dance-style lingo, what would you say?

To describe my dance style… long? I think that’s how I would use it. My arms can quickly turn into helicopters and take out other students on the floor if my instructor isn’t my rear-view mirror. To describe myself, I take training and preparation seriously, but I don’t take myself seriously. It’s a learning process, and you might as well have fun.

What has been the most challenging thing in learning how to ballroom dance?

I do not come from any dance background at all. I find that my peers have either a dance background or have been doing ballroom for a while to understand some of the mechanics and lingo. It can be frustrating at times because I had to be taught how to count music, what a measure is, how to do a 360-turn on one leg (still on the struggle bus with this), what the heck a “line” is, spotting, etc.

What do you love about Ultimate Ballroom Dance Studio?

There is no pressure. Misha wants the students to form their goals and he activates a support system around the student to help them achieve the goals. My instructor is absolutely fantastic. Ballroom is a very wide range of mechanics, and he does a great job of consolidating the lessons to be learned in bite-sized pieces. There has not been a lesson where I have not witnessed progress in some form. The classes and practice parties are also great resources to get extra practice in. The instructors are so educated in dance and make the information easy to absorb during the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday night classes. The students are very welcoming as well at the practice parties. Ultimate is the most elite ballroom in Memphis, and it has been my best decision to come to this studio.

What benefits has ballroom dancing brought into your life?

Ballroom has taught me a lot about myself. It is so much more than a stress reliever. Being a retired athlete, it gives me purpose.

What advice would you give to an aspiring dancer?

Just do it. Don’t worry about what other people think. Every single student that belongs to the studio has been a beginner and has been in the exact same spot. Embrace the awkwardness and have fun.

What are your personal dance goals?


Do you have other hobbies besides dancing?

If I had to choose something, sleeping and working out are hobbies, right? 🙂

Favorite dance quote?

I don’t know if this is a dance quote, but I love this quote from one of the podcasts I listen to and think it relates: “We are all born with limitless potential, we all have a place in this world, it is part of our journey to be radically curious, radically inspired, and be radically loved.” – Rosie Acosta

by Ballroom Butterfly


1 Comment

  1. Cheryl Prince

    What a great interview. Very inspiring!


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