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Ballroom Kids: Jaryd and Cara

By It's My Life on June 21, 2010 5:07 PM | No TrackBacks

To round out our series on tweens who are also competitive ballroom dancers, meet Jaryd and Cara!

At this point you may be asking, "IML, why are you doing THREE different interviews on this topic?" Well, when we met all these kids, we couldn't decide who would best represent their sport on our website, so we figured, why not introduce all of them? They're all awesome! We enjoyed getting familiar with this whole world we knew very little about, and helping IML'ers discover it too...especially if someone out there tries ballroom dancing as a result and finds it to be their "thing"!

jaryd&cara.jpgJaryd, who is 12 years old, and Cara, who is 10, have been dancing together for 3 years and have won numerous awards, as well as the honor of appearing on TV's "Good Morning America," "The Today Show," and "Dancing with the Stars." 

IML: How did you two first become ballroom dancing partners?

Jaryd: I've been dancing ballet, tap, lyrical, jazz, and gymnastics since I was 3 1/2 years old, and I started dancing ballroom when I was 8 or 9. One day at a party, my family and Cara's family were sitting at the same table. Cara's mom asked me if I was interested in us being partners. We tried it, and it worked.

Cara: Jaryd did a jazz tap dance and I was like, "Wow!" He was really nice and we felt we could be partners.

IML: You've been partners for 3 years and but soon you're each going to move on to other partnerships, right?

Jaryd: Yes. I really want to start doing 10-dance, which means you dance Latin and Standard dances, and Cara wants to focus just on Latin dancing.

IML: What made yours a successful dance partnership?

Jaryd: We really had fun, and Latin ballroom was a good fit for both of us.

Cara: It's been an excellent experience to be with a partner. The first partner I had was my brother, and he was too tall for me. We kept arguing because we couldn't get the steps right! That never happened with Jaryd. And he does so many different dances, which is so amazing. He was a great partner to have.

IML: Did you ever have any disagreements or conflicts when learning a routine?

Jaryd: Sometimes you trip or fall. You just have to keep working it out until it works.

IML: What's a typical day been like for you, balancing school and life and dance?

Cara: First I go to school, then Jaryd and I would practice together three days a week. We'd be rushing to the car and change and go to the dance studio. It was a little stressful.

Jaryd: I have something to do each day; I don't have a lot of free time. Because I have ballroom some days, and on other days I have ballet or hip-hop. I just made the Lil Torches (a junior cheer-dance team) for the New York Liberty basketball team. So I have to be at Madison Square Garden every week, and it's like a job because I get paid.

IML: Do you miss having free time, or do you feel like it's all worth it?

Jaryd: No, because it's always fun. I really enjoy it. At least I have time to do my homework, and that's important!

IML: Cara, how long does it usually take you to learn a new routine?

Cara: My teacher says I'm a sponge! Because I absorb things very fast. I can usually learn something new in an hour.

IML: Jaryd, your parents also compete in ballroom. Do you and they ever compete at the same event?

Jaryd: Yes! My grandparents and our friends come to watch and cheer all of us. Sometimes I'm waiting to dance right after them and cheering them on while I'm on deck.

IML: That must be a cool thing to share as a family. What have you learned from your parents as dancers?

Jaryd: Sometimes they give me some advice, like to not push my partner off her balance. They help, and it's good to have them around!

IML: Do each of you have a favorite dance style?

Cara: I like Cha Cha and Jive in Latin. In Rhythm, I like Mambo, Swing, and Bolero. I love the beats and the dance steps.

Jaryd: I don't really have a favorite. They're all equal for me. They're all fun!

2010Jaryd_n_Cara_Nationals.jpgIML: What are the judges looking for when they're scoring you?

Jaryd: Sometimes it's not all about the nice moves. It's about all the qualities you have. You should look like you're relaxed and having fun, and not dancing too upright.

IML: In general, what has dance added to your life?

Jaryd: It's given me strength and courage, and it makes me want to keep dancing. It's given me great opportunities because I've met so many people and been taught by so many people.

Cara: It gives me confidence. I think I've grown more because of dance.

IML: How do you prepare yourself mentally before you go out on a competition dance floor?

Jaryd: My teacher says he wants "first place" all the time. Which you can't always get, but he wants to put that in our minds. So before I go on, I think about that and try my best. You have to have confidence and not think, "I'm going to lose," because then you probably will.

IML: When you're dancing, are you aware of what other couples are doing and the audience watching you?

Jaryd: I go pretty much into my zone. I concentrate but also have fun. You can't dance without fun!

IML: What's your happiest or proudest moment from dancing so far?

Cara: When me and Jaryd went on "Dancing with the Stars". Everything was so exciting!

Jaryd: Winning is good, but then if you lose, it makes you want to try harder. You learn from losing.

IML: What's the funniest thing that's ever happened since you've been dancing together?

Cara: Me and Jaryd were practicing once and both of us fell because we tripped on each other's feet.

Jaryd: I slipped once and got up. When I spin sometimes, my snot comes out!

IML: That's hilarious! What advice do you have for other kids and teens who might want to get involved in ballroom dancing?

Cara: Never give up on yourself. If you think you can't do something, you really can...Anybody can do anything!

Jaryd: Keep dancing, or at least try it. If you think you're not good, just keep trying. Don't stop. Keep your confidence up.

IML: Thanks, guys! Good luck to both of you!

Watch Jaryd and Cara dancing their way to 3rd place at the recent USA Dance Nationals:

One thing we noticed is that even though all six of these "Ballroom Kids" work really hard and have to be super-committed to their sport, there's no doubt they love it passionately and truly enjoy themselves. We hope you enjoyed this peek into the world of ballroom dancing, and we hope to delve deeper into other lesser-known sports for kids in the future on this blog!

Do you know of a a cool sport or hobby that other tweens might not know about, and think we should investigate? Let us know!

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