Humble Hero Spotlight: Live Love Dance

Samantha Stout has nearly a decade of experience teaching ballroom dance. For the last 18 months, she has instructed students of all skill levels at her personal studio, called Live.Love.Dance. Learning to dance brings out unique elements of her students personalities and life experience, which leads her to joke, “Dance lessons are 90% therapy and 10% instruction.” 

That’s why Samantha’s direct, hands on, personal approach to dance instructions is so beneficial to her students. Teaching all styles of ballroom dance, from waltzes, to swing, to the foxtrot, and the tango to name just few, Samantha provides clients of Live.Love.Dance with a private, tailored, high-end dance instruction experience.

The majority of her clients are engaged couples, looking to translate their love for one another into an elegant and memorable first dance. Samantha recommends as least six weeks of lessons prior to the big day, explaining that dance is as much a mental activity as is its a physical activity. Plus, with several weeks of lessons, the muscle memory created during a series of lessons will kick in, helping to overcome those wedding day jitters. 

Recognizing that dance can be both rewarding and frustrating, Samantha works to build programs where her clients can succeed. It’s the “light bulb” moment that inspires her in her work. Whether it occurs 45 minutes into a lesson, or five weeks into lessons, the moment when she sees things click for her students, when she can see them recognize, “I get it. I can do it. I can see a path forward,” is especially rewarding for her. 

But dance is not only for lovebirds. There are plenty of opportunities through what is known as “pro/am dancing,” where a professional dancer is matched with an amateur dancer to participate in competitive dance events. Perhaps not so unsurprisingly so, since Utah has two highly acclaimed dance programs through UVU and BYU, there is a thriving competitive dance culture along the Wasatch Front. 

For those who are less competitive, Samantha highlighted the many therapeutic elements of dance. A number of studies have shown that dance has a positive impact on patients suffering from dementia. As well, it is helpful for those in recovery from other physical injuries, and those battling social anxiety. Plus, Love.Live.Dance is certified by the American Dance Wheels Foundation to offer dance lessons to individuals in wheelchairs, and offering private lessons and group classes in all of the dance styles they teach.

Kristen Lavelett