Southern Soul is a women owned and operated dance instruction business located in South Florida. This duo started their individual dance journey at Round Up Nightclub where their paths crossed in the summer of 2021. They discovered that there was a huge gap between the bar level dances and the higher level competitive organizations.
Southern Soul was their answer to bridging that gap. They love the camaraderie that is felt and the experiences that are shared weekly with friends at the bar, but also desired to grow as dancers and push beyond the limits of their current capabilities to challenge themselves. Their primary focus was to help facilitate bringing Country Swing and other Freestyle types of dance to the area.
In 2022 they set out to accomplish their goals and have since started multiple Country Nights at varios venues throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties. They have partnered with other companies within the industry to bring multiple Country Swing and Line Dance events within the state of Florida, as well as hosting many out-of- state instructors from all over the US.
Their primary goal is still to to reach people that may have never had the opportunity to share in the fun that Line and Partner dancing brings. They hope to be able to encourage, grow, and share a dance floor with you!.
My love for Country Line and Couples dancing began in 2014 while attending a Clogging exhibition for a close family friend. It was held at Round Up Country Western Nightclub in Davie, Fl. We decided to stay and hang out for awhile afterwards and I was in awe. The way the dancers floated across the floor, the high-energy songs, and the fun they were having captivated me. I dove in head first-going three nights a week, taking group lessons, line dance lessons, and privates.
None of it came natural to me. Growing up I didn't play sports or take dance classes. I didn't play an instrument. I had a hard time trying to learn line dances on the floor and letting go to allow someone to lead me in a couples dance was practically impossible! I loved it and I was hooked! I began to eat, sleep, and breathe dancing. I immediately created playlists with every song I learned and listened to them constantly so that I could tie the dances to the music. I practiced steps and couples patterns every chance I got- in the kitchen cooking or in line at the grocery store.
The hard work was starting to pay off and things began to click. Syncopated weaves and turns started to happen effortlessly. I was able to keep the patterns of two-step without having to think so hard about it and if I messed up I could recover. The smalls signs of growth were encouraging! In 2017 I attended my first USLDCC Line Dance Convention. That weekend exposed me to a whole new world...again! Everything became hard and my brain hurt at the end of the day, but I knew this was just what I was looking for. I was ready to be challenged and this is where I began to dive deeper not only as a dancer, but within myself.
My whole life I shied away from anything that made me uncomfortable. I just wouldn't try. Better to not try than fail, right? (So glad I don't think like that anymore!) These last few years have been all about MAKING myself uncomfortable-continuing to try new styles of dance that don't come natural to me, learning new styles, and dancing with people who are way more advanced than I am. All of these things help me to grow.
This theme was prevalent in my personal life as well. I had recently closed a business that I loved running. Running this company was the first time in my life that I had no choice but to TRY. There was no one else that could come and save me from being uncomfortable. Much to my surprise I didn't fail- I actually thrived in the position. Closing it was the right decision, but I also found myself still ready to see what I was capable of achieving. I was finally in a place in my life where I had found my confidence and I wasn't afraid to make a decision. I was ready to do everything that scared me.
The idea for Southern Soul was born in the midst of this shift. I knew that I wanted to start something like this, however I knew that it was not to be mine alone. Tamara and I had become friends over the summer and I admired the way she carried herself. She is kind, smart, and intentional. She is fun, outgoing, and thoughtful. We share the same passion and drive for dancing and learning. We wanted to learn Country Swing but no one on our coast danced it. We wanted to start dancing more advanced line dances and we don't have a place to consistently do so. We wanted to start competing. It made sense and it felt right.
It was important for me to start teaching others what I've learned along the way because that's what people did for me. There are a handful of individuals that I think of often that have been pivotal in my dance journey. Support and encouragement like that are essential for growth. I know that others in my community want some of the same things. I love to see others grow and succeed. I love to watch those "light bulb" moments happen and I love to see full dance floors and feel the energy shared with friends during our favorite songs!
When I am not dancing, you can find me at home with Matt, our three kids, and two dogs. Most often we'll be at the beach, in the mountains of Asheville, or at a CrossFit gym.
Tamara is a born and raised Floridian. She grew up taking classes in various styles such as Tap, Ballet, Hip Hop, and Jazz. Tamara's passion for Country music morphed in to something that would change her life forever the night she was invited to Round Up Country Western Nightclub. Tamara quickly became a regular and would spend all her Sunday's there for family night. She spent countless hours on the Dance floor learning every dance she could and when she was at home you could find her in her bedroom studying line dance choreography.
Tamara went off to college at Florida State University and spent every Friday night dancing at Stetsons on the Moon, making friends who shared the same passion for dance. Tamara began traveling to Honky Tonks across Florida, learning new styles of line and partner dances. She couldn't wait to come back home and teach her friends what she had learned.
While COVID imposed difficulties for everyone, it is the time where Tamara learned how to partner dance, specifically Two Step. Her eyes were opened to a whole new world. She loved the pattern of the dance and the new song choices it offered. Since many people still weren't comfortable coming out because of the pandemic- we experienced a lack of leads to dance with. Tamara's desire to learn Two-Step put her on the leaders side so that she could lead her friends and continue to dance this new (to her) style.
Throughout 2021 Tamara had been following different dancers on social media to try and learn new moves. Somewhere along the way she came across the Country Nomads and Adia Dance. She was instantly enthralled with their styling and knew she had to share these groups with her friends. In January of 2022 the Nomads and Adia were hosting a Country Swing and Bar Competition at the UCWDC Worlds Event in Orlando, Fl. She knew she had to go and quickly began rallying her friends to plan the trip. Tamara and Stefanie dove in head first and spent two weekends at that convention learning and being exposed to higher levels of dance and competition. That weekend was the beginning of a new path for them. When Tamara got home she began practicing during the week with a small group of friends eager to learn the new style of dance that was sweeping the western half of the country. Never before had she seen a style of dance that was so playful and she was determined to learn it! They knew the Nomads were coming back to Florida for an event in February and the duo quickly organized a group to host them for a workshop. They were hooked!
Stefanie invited Tamara to join her on yet another dance trip that same month and it was there that they decided to start Southern Soul-bridging their established love for line dancing, new infatuation with country swing, and passion for growing the dance community while being inclusive.
When Tamara is not dancing, she works as a nurse. She loves to travel to new places and spend time with her family.