About Us - Instructor Profile
"I am not Emily Post, Letitia Baldridge or the Encyclopedia of Etiquette. I admire them and learn from their example. My guiding and primary goal is to empower people to have strong self- confidence while also demonstrating empathy and kindness toward others at every opportunity." -- Deborah J. Block, Back to Basics Director
Deborah Joy Block, Founder of Back to Basics spent 8 years living overseas while her parents served as diplomats representing the international image of the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Corps where protocol, etiquette and social entertaining skills are a must for diplomatic relations. Mrs. Block has travelled to 16 countries and understands the importance of being able to deftly navigate as a chameleon among different cultures and personalities. Her extensive experience managing a large staff and working with thousands of clients and working as a professional entertainer and event planner over the past 15 years solidified her conviction that kindness and consideration is the "international language" that unites all people.
Mrs. Block’s education:
- Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Business from James Madison University.
- Graduate of the American School of Protocol in Atlanta, Georgia - an etiquette academy which has been profiled by every major TV channel - ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX and the BBC.
- Dance training with several world champions, Olympic Showcase dancers, the star of the movie, The Tango Lesson, and the head choreographer from “Dancing with the Stars”
- Wedding MBA, Las Vegas, Nevada - Entrepreneurship training for the Special Events Industry.
- Fluent in Spanish, basic French
Mrs. Blocks experience:
- Trained celebrities, politicos and the Foreign Service Institute's Diplomatic Corps cadets in ballroom dancing.
- Taught social dance skills, etiquette and special event protocol to over ten thousand students over the past 15 years.
- Teaches group lessons for corporations and organizations, country clubs, community centers, summer camps churches and private and public schools.
- In 2000, Mrs. Block founded the first dance instruction company in the nation to specialize in wedding dance preparation. The Wedding Dance Specialists taught over 10,000 engaged couples and their families how to dance, has attracted celebrity clientele and became the most recommended in the nation.
Founded a talent agency division called Dance Dynamix
which provides professional dancers teachers and party hosts for special events. See DanceDynamix.net
Organized and hosted a bridal showcase for engaged couples to have the opportunity to meet with wedding vendors and have a wedding dance workshop all in one venue.
Host Charm Camps, Princess Party High Teas, Table Manners Workshops, and CEO camps
Mentored 8 interns
Over the past 12 years Mrs. Block has hired and supervised a staff totaling 25 people.
- Swim coaching
- Serial entrepreneur
Offers image, lifestyle, healthy habits, public speaking, entrepreneurship, career and life coaching
- Certified in special event marketing, etiquette and event planning, licensed and insured
- Criminal background check and fingerprints conducted by Alexandria City Police Department
- Authorized Fairfax County vendor
- Virtus ™ certified by the Catholic Archdiocese
- Basic CPR training.
- Expired Top Secret clearance from the U.S. Department of State
- Received one year of training in mixed martial arts self defense.
Mrs. Block’s dance performances and press coverage:
- Arlington's Tango Festival sponsored by the Argentine Embassy
- Fine Arts program at the U.S. Department of State
- Chamber of Commerce Galas and numerous large corporate galas
- Press Coverage: Washingtonian Magazine, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The Mclean Times, Alexandria Gazette, Oprah Winfrey's Oxygen Network (national television wedding reality show), local radio stations HOT 99.5, MIX 107.3, WJFK - 106.7FM and WTNT - 570AM, Old Town Crier Magazine and Washington Jewish Week.