I didn’t get the critiques last night so I didn’t see them until today right before my lesson with the male judge. I had one with the lady the night before and we made some subtle changes in the cha-cha routine to take out some of the craziness. In retrospect, I wish I had seen the critiques because there is one in particular that I would have loved to discuss with her. But more on that later.
I was actually feeling a little down about my performance going into the lesson last night but I didn’t express that to my instructor. Unintentionally, she slapped me back to reality by talking about how we did six new routines that hadn’t been tested before and there were no major glitches and that overall there weren’t any other male dancers at the event who were doing as much choreography as I was. And nobody was on the floor as much as I was. And she’s absolutely right. This one was especially challenging for those reasons and it actually went pretty well. When I take that perspective, I really have a lot to proud about for Sunday. (OK, that seems a bit arrogant to me so I hope you’ll indulge me in a little bit of chest thumping).
I’ll go into more detail on some of the dances later as it wasn’t all puppies and rainbows but I got several critiques that just said “good job” or “nice”. Part of me was disappointed because I was looking for constructive feedback but then some other part of me just said “shut up and accept the compliment”. It just means that for the limited time they were looking at you, they didn’t see anything wrong. Had this been an actual competition, those likely would have translated into good marks so just accept the flipping compliment. Note to self: I am capable of dancing well across multiple dances.
So then he comes over to talk about the critiques a bit. One theme was arm styling (remember that from some time ago). And we had an amazing lesson on arm styling. We took the open fox trot routine and he broke it down piece by piece and showed me where I could put my arm and how I should be holding it so that I don’t look “pretty”. It’s about stretching the middle finger and thumb as far apart as possible to really extend. One of the things he said to me was “we need to see more of you” and something to the effect that I was too good to be hiding and I needed to be more visible and part of that is extending the arms but there were a couple of other tweaks he added to make the routine more fun and to give me more of a chance to draw attention to me. This goes against my introverted nature so I’ll be even farther outside my comfort zone but so be it.
He also talked about how well I knew the choreography and that is was obvious we had practiced a lot (oh boy was that true). He said that he never saw me make a mistake so if I messed something up, I was able to just move past it. This means that I dance differently at showcase than I do during practice since I’m all about making faces and stopping when something goes wrong in practice. Note to self (2): If you can do it at showcase, then you have to apply it to practice. If there is any knowledge I could impart to other dancers it is to just smile and keep moving if something goes wrong. I know he wasn’t watching me all the time and I know I made some mistakes but somehow they weren’t detectable.
Then he said some really mind blowing, ego boosting things that I’m still processing. I think it was safe to say that I made an impression.
Some highlights from the individual critiques. I still have issues with timing especially in the Fox Trot but it is inconsistent because I had two critiques tell me to watch timing and two that said I had good timing. Note to self (3): It is possible for me to dance on time but the issue is working on doing it consistently. There was one comment about the Viennese Waltz that ended with “I can tell you really love this dance”. That is certainly true because I do love that dance but I was shocked it came through given that I was so focused on the steps and maneuvering through the crowd and timing. It is kind of nice to know you can actually communicate some emotion even if you aren’t trying to do so. I was basically pleased with the Tango comments because a couple of times they talked about how sharp it looked which has been something I’ve been working on.
Timing is also a problem in the bolero so I have to focus on holding the slows a little longer. There was a comment in the hustle that also talked about how much fun I was clearly having. And then there were the Cuban motion comments in Rumba and Cha-Cha. We’ve already discussed that so I won’t say anything else.
I will leave you with the particular critique from the west coast swing. I guess when you do so many heats, the judges have to have a little fun as well.