Our speaker on July 9th, 2021, was our newest member Ms. Ariana Garrett who gave the club her classification talk. Ariana started her talk by discussing her background. She is currently employed at Fred Astaire Dance Studio where she is a dance instructor and coordinates their special events and programs. Ariana is the oldest of three children. She has two younger sisters. Both Ariana’s parents are “badass!” (A point of author’s privilege. I asked Ariana for her notes to prepare this summary. In her notes, she indicated that both her parents are “badass” and I thought that was the perfect description and had to be quoted.) Ariana’s mother is an anesthesiologist and her father is a firefighter and paramedic.
Growing up, partly based on her parent’s occupations, Ariana developed a strong sense of love for people and culture. When she was younger she was a “show-choir nerd” and later began to channel this passion into dance and a deep love of the arts. Although she had a love for the arts and dance, Ariana stated that she developed her strong discipline through her participation in organized sports. Unfortunately, while playing basketball, she tore her ACL. Although this experience would be detrimental for many individuals, Ariana used this experience as an opportunity to grow and learn. She felt as if this was her first failure in life because she wasn’t able to compete and felt she had let the team down, but it was also during this experience that she learned truly how blessed she was in life to have the love and support of her parents.
When thinking about careers, Ariana first thought she wanted to follow her mother’s footsteps and practice medicine. She initially went to school to obtain a nursing degree. During her education for nursing, she decided that direction wasn’t the best fit for her and changed course and decided to lean into her passion of dancing. Although, as Ariana pointed out, dancing alone is difficult to pay the bills, especially as a new professional dancer so she also bartended for eight years. It was during this period though where she met a gentlemen named Pi’erre who ran Fred Astaire Dance Studio. He first asked Ariana to participate in a showcase with him, which she gladly did and then their professional relationship continued to incubate. Now she is a full-time employee for Fred Astaire Dance Studio and loves to help individuals realize they ARE good enough and they can continue to accomplish more.
Lastly, as a helpful tip, Ariana let us know that for those couples who may be too nervous to seek out a class at Fred Astaire, a good start is for them to begin dancing in the comfort of their home, then slowly incorporate more public dancing options. Time for all of us to follow Ariana’s lead and get our dancing shoes on!