My name is Tom Rail, I am a single, sixty something small business owner, a father of four children and grandfather of two. I have experienced the ups and downs of life like most folks my age, and I am an aspiring ballroom dancer. I met Anna Strojek slightly more than a year and a half ago. I had decided that after a lifetime of dreaming of being able to dance, that it was time to do something about it. After looking through a website called Thumbtack I found three potential dance instructors to contact. After a process about as sophisticated as throwing a dart, I chose a studio in a nearby shopping mall. After making an appointment, I showed up at the appointed hour to find a very quiet studio with no one at the front desk. I did hear music playing, and following the sound I saw a woman who I later learned was Anna, practicing dance and after watching for a few moments it was easy to decide that this was exactly what I wanted to learn. After a brief introduction, during which I explained that I had two left feet, and had been told by prior partners that I had no rhythm, and no chance to ever dance, she addressed my issues and assured me that I could in fact dance, and did have rhythm, and should I choose to do so, I truly could learn to dance. I began private instruction shortly thereafter. I was pleased to find that Annas approach was to layout a plan for success. It involved planning for gradual consistent progress, preparing for dancing in public showcases, and monthly evaluations to track my progress. I have never been much of a planner, but she certainly showed me the value of doing so and that learning has impacted other parts of my life in a positive way. My calendar is now filled with reminders for work, family, and of course, dance. Now I can proudly say I am on the right path to become better ballroom dancer. Some of the other changes that have occurred since I’ve taken up dance are an improvement in my overall health via weight loss, learning breath control, and greater muscle mass and control. Anna is vigilant in keeping me on track, not unlike a physical trainer. She is relentless and I have given her permission to utilize whatever means needed to keep me on track. Shortly I realized how many other benefits of dance I get while taking up on this new endeavor. Through her counseling, and encouraging, I have realized a good measure of emotional well being and confidence. When performance is less than ideal, she uses positive reinforcement to get me back in the game. Like the physical benefits I’ve realized, the emotional benefits carry over into other parts of my life as well. I feel that I am more well rounded, handle stress better, have more patience, and overall more confidence. Anna is a person with dignity and honor. I have personally been witness to decisions she has had to make that while costing her financially have kept her ideals intact. Her business is run in a straightforward and honest manner. The student comes first. She is willing to accommodate student changes in schedule and has often changed her plans to help me meet my schedule. That means a lot to me.
Through the process of teaching me ballroom dancing she has broken down many of my preconceived ideas, and opened my mind to the possibilities if I am willing to think in a positive manner, and of course, put in the hard work required to succeed. She has helped me change my terrible schedule habits, and challenged me to push myself harder to succeed. She has been a substantial help teaching me how to set very specific goals, and then to create a plan to turn those goals to reality. My experience as a student of Anna Strojek has been life changing. She has done nothing short of helping me become a better person, a more success oriented man, a more positive influence in the lives of others around me, a healthier human being, and yes, a ballroom dancer.