Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dance Diaries: Learning Ballroom Dance: What I Wish I Had Known (Review and Giveaway)

The first book Dance Diaries: Learning Ballroom Dance: What I Wish I Had Known is a short nonfiction resource for anyone interested in or contemplating ballroom dance. 

Book Details:

Book Title:  Dance Diaries: Learning Ballroom Dance: What I Wish I Had Known by The Girl With the Tree Tattoo
Category:  Non-Fiction,  43 pages
GenrePerforming Arts, Dance, Hobbies
Publisher:  BookBaby
Release date:  April 2016
Content Rating: G 

Book Description:

Why didn't anyone tell me? Ballroom dancing is fun, magical and, most of all, life-changing. When I first started learning ballroom though, I fumbled around awkwardly and sometimes painfully, figuring things out as I went along. Certain things weren't explained or just never came up in conversation. From what to expect in class to how to find the right teacher or dance partner to how much ballroom really costs, Dance Diaries: Learning Ballroom Dance covers the things that I wish I had known when I first started learning ballroom. This quick read is your cheat sheet to help you get the most out of your ballroom experience.

Buy the Book:  BookBaby  ~  Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble 

My Review
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

I love to dance. I learned how to dance at Italian weddings when my dad would whisk me away in his arms and I would put my small feel on his to follow his steps.​ I also took ballroom dance lessons with my husband once and we had a lot of fun. It was also a workout! When I learned about the Dance Diaries, I knew I wanted to read them. Its author, The Girl With the Tree Tattoo began taking dance lessons in 2012 and two years later was competing in pro-am ballroom competitions.

The first book Dance Diaries: Learning Ballroom Dance: What I Wish I Had Known is a short nonfiction resource for anyone interested in or contemplating ballroom dance. Written in first person and with a mix of her own experiences, The Girl With a Tree Tattoo succeeds in relating pertinent and useful information. She does this with humor and concise language. I learned the pros and cons of a dance class versus private lessons and also what the ballroom social context is like.

She seems to cover all the basics that a person would need to know when entering the ballroom dance scene whether one wants to do it for exercise, for fun or for the dream of entering dance competitions. She even addresses the teacher/student relationship which I found quite interesting as I always like to learn psychological aspects to things.

The Girl With the Tree Tattoo writes well, in a friendly tone and at times with self-deprecating humor. This is not a dry nonfiction book but an easily read guidebook, perfect for the starting dancer.

I'll be posting my review of the second book Dance Diaries: Ballroom Budgeting: How I Afford to Dance on Thursday, Sept 29. To win a copy, enter the giveaway below!

To read more reviews, please visit The Girl With the Tree Tattoo's page on iRead Book Tours.

Watch The Girl With the Tree Tattoo dance gracefully in competition!

My Interview with The Girl With the Tree Tattoo

LCR: Can you describe what the Dance Diaries are in 20 words or less?

The Dance Diaries books are quick, easy-to-read guides on different aspects of being a ballroom student, based on my personal experiences. The first book covers getting started as a ballroom student and the second book covers how to afford being a ballroom student.

LCR: Have you read any books on ballroom dancing before or during the time you've been dancing? If yes, were they helpful?

I recently read and reviewed Patrice Tanaka’s Becoming Ginger Rogers and I’m currently reading Marian Condon’s Thinner, Fitter, Happier: Dancing Will Change Your Life! I also follow several other ballroom dancers’ blogs. I love reading about other students’ experiences because it makes me feel connected to them and less isolated in my own experiences. Knowing others have gone through similar challenges helps give me the courage to work through and share my own.

LCR: Can you describe what it's like to be part of a dance competition?

It’s like entering another world, full of glitz and glamour! Men are dressed in elegant suits, and women are in brightly colored gowns covered in rhinestones, fringe and feathers. Couples wait for their heat number to be called so they can walk out onto the dancefloor and perform for the judges and spectators. You only get 60-90 seconds to show them what you can do with each dance. When you’re not on the dancefloor, you get to watch and cheer on fellow students. As a competitor, the experience is a combination of thrills, anxiety and camaraderie.

LCR: What's the funniest thing that's happened to you when dancing?

I’m not sure what takes the number one spot, but there have been countless moments during lessons that I can’t do anything but laugh at. I’ve accidentally hit a partner on more than one occasion while attempting a dance move, including once right in the family jewels! Teachers are also famous for saying things that sound ridiculous when taken out of context, such as “you should be inside me” and “get your head in your butt.”

LCR: Best advice to give someone contemplating taking dancing lessons?

Is it wrong to say “read my first Dance Diaries book, Learning Ballroom Dance”? I put all of my best advice in there, including options for taking lessons, what to expect in group classes or private lessons, and insight to the more awkward aspects of learning ballroom. Personally, I would tell someone contemplating taking dance lessons to go for it! Keep in mind though that ballroom is a business. Studios will lavish you with attention and flattery partly because they want you as their customer.

LCR: If you could travel back in time, where would you go?

I would travel back to the night of the premiere of Singin’ in the Rain in 1952! It is one of my favorite movies, and I would love to have the chance to meet Gene Kelly, one of my favorite dancers of all time, in person!

LCR: Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

I’ll be honest; this question was always my least favorite on job interviews! But I’ll do my best to answer it. I want to be able to transition to being a full-time writer/dancer and not need a separate day job to support those passions. I definitely plan on publishing a couple more books in the next five years, including at least one in print. I am currently in search of an amateur partner to compete with, so in five years, I would hope we’d have a few championships under our belts! Another option for me is to turn professional and become a ballroom teacher myself in the next five years. At this point, I haven’t decided if becoming a teacher is the right path for me, but I’m keeping my options open.

Meet the Author:

Katie is known as the Girl with the Tree Tattoo because of the tree of life tattoo that covers her entire back. She has been taking ballroom dancing lessons since December 2012 and competing in pro-am ballroom competitions since April 2014. It was through ballroom dance that Katie started to discover who she really was and what she was capable of, despite the demons of fear, self-doubt, and anxiety that live in her head. Through sharing her own experiences, Katie hopes to lead others to experience the amazing effect ballroom dancing can have on a life.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~ Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!

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Share this:


  1. I'd like to read this because I'm a big fan of Dancing with the Stars and find ballroom dancing fascinating!

  2. This sounds very interesting and entertaining.

  3. I want to win because I love to watch Ballroom dancing.

  4. I have two left feet, but I can dream.

  5. I have a friend who loves ballroom dance that I would give this to (after I read it) ;)

  6. I am a big fan of ballroom dancing myself. So elegant, isn't it? :)
    We were glad to review both the books of Katie's. You can check them on our website's blog!



Thank you for commenting! I appreciate your feedback.

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