Self described as upbeat, unpredictable and wild, thirty year old Shawna Klein grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, (a surprise to most who know her), then later moved to California for college.
At six years old Shawna did some ballet, jazz and tap, then show choir with a bit of ballet (for PE) in high school. But it wasn’t until college that she truly considers the start of her first real dance class and dance journey, which she’ll commemorate 11 years April 24th, 2020. Shawna, who loves music performance, recalls that she was self-conscious of her movement in her high school show choir and felt like one of the weakest dancers, particularly at solo styles. So when she began partner dancing her freshman year at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, she finally felt like she no longer had two left feet.
She tried salsa, ballroom, and tango, but the only styles she stuck with for some time were lindy, blues, and fusion. Upon graduating college in 2012 her interests shifted. Reminiscing, “As I fell out of love with lindy, I fell in love with West Coast Swing. Then three years ago I started dabbling in zouk, and have been dancing that for about a year.” Shawna’s dabbled and has always been really interested in Argentine Tango, considering it to possess interesting qualities of motion. However, she just hasn’t had the time or mind space for it thus far. Dancing has always been her way to experience music, so if there’s a dance to music she enjoys, it’s likely she’ll want to learn it!
Shawna first came to ATOMIC after newly arriving in Orange County. She initially came on Tuesdays for lindy, but shifted to Thursdays for West Coast Swing, when her interests changed. She really loves that there are so many different dances that one can experience at ATOMIC. Emphasizing, “It really is the Dance Mecca of Southern California.” Shawna typically goes out at least twice a week. She usually has dance team practice once a week, and tries to go out social dancing on weekends.
Dance has impacted Shawna’s life profoundly. She explains that, “Dance for me is really a form of personal expression, as well as a place that I can be myself and not have to hide. I also find that dance is one of the best ways I know to meet new people and create new friendships, both close and far. I know so many people across the country and the world because of dance, and that in and of itself is pretty incredible.” The tremendous benefits don’t stop there. Shawna continued, “Dancing is obviously a great workout. When I first started dancing, I definitely noticed a change in my body. I still remember being in the best shape of my life when I first started lindy hop.”
Dance has helped Shawna (and countless others) in other ways too. “I actually started dancing right when I broke up with a long-term boyfriend in college. It helped me meet new people after I had been shuttered by him, and helped bring me back into the social scene,” she added. Speaking of romantic relationships, on the (often perceived) taboo around dating within ones dance scene Shawna reveals, “For the most part I’m opposed to dating dancers, but I’ve done it before. Some of them turn out okay and we’re still great friends, but there are definitely people out there that dance who I dated, it did not end well, and that’s just awkward.”
Shawna has been lucky in that she hasn’t sustained any major injuries from dancing. But admits that she struggles with the same thing that everyone else does – Dance Plague. Explaining that after big events, it’s really hard not to get sick! Speaking of wellness, to those who don’t consider dance a sport, Shawna surprisingly says, I’ve honestly never run across this because I personally don’t think of it as a sport myself, rather more of a hobby. Beyond dance her other hobbies are crocheting, jigsaw puzzles, and acro-yoga. When asked what she hopes to be remembered for, Shawna humbly replied with a 😊 “I would be flattered if I was remembered at all.”
With all that dance has added to her life, Shawna would encourage a first timer to give dance a try and never to give up on it. Professing, “Keep with it! You never perfect anything on your first try, but you’ll be amazed with how far you can get if you just stick with something. You don’t have to put all your time and money into it, but just keep doing it and eventually you will get where you want to go.”
WOULD YOU HAVE GUESSED?
* Self proclaimed ‘cat in a persons body’. “I actually meow and things!”
* Favorite saying : “I’m not as think as you drunk I am.”
*Couldn’t live without? : Air Conditioning. “I hate the heat!”
*Favorite music to dance to? “Panic! At The Disco.” Loves upbeat music that makes her want to move.
*Guilty pleasure? : Trashy Teen Drama TV Shows.
*Favorite dancer of all time? “Ginger Rogers, because she’s just so classy and wonderful!”