This has been mostly a down week. I was tempted to post earlier but held off in the hopes that more time would give me some additional perspective. And, also because other posts in the village have been mostly positive and I didn’t want to be the total buzz kill. Let’s just start by saying that my last post was clearly the results of a steroid induced euphoric haze which was dissipated like early morning fog. I no longer feel poised on the edge of anything.
It started with the coaching lesson on Tuesday. I’ve told you before how much I hate the “show me what you’ve got” that starts every coaching lesson. I do much better with coaches who see me at a showcase where they get a much better perspective on what I can and can’t do. Jumping into something cold and knowing the coach is solely focused on me can sometimes lead to panic and I fail at things I know. Making it worse was that Z and I somehow decided that we should have the coach look at our closed Viennese Waltz which is the newest closed routine. Our lesson was right after the hustle master class so I had to jump right into a Viennese Waltz routine that I don’t have down yet. To make matters even worse, as I blanked out, Z tried to help me through the blank spots but my inner six year old jumped right in and said “NO I WANT TO DO IT MYSELF”. Which I wasn’t capable of so I was fighting her as she’s trying to help me. The lesson wasn’t a complete failure and we did get one tip on how to change our frame in shadow position so I create the right kind of line. But the confidence took a hit because I looked like a complete idiot the first time through.
And, as we get closer to the event, I’m finding new and creative ways to screw up steps that I know. Somehow, a step I’ve done thousands of times doesn’t feel right and I change it and make it wrong. Then, I over think everything and can’t get the step back to where it needs to be. While this was happening on one lesson, OwnerGuy walks by and casually asks Z how things are going. She says “well it’s a week before Dance-o-rama” and he then says “so it’s the normal freak out then”. (Or something similar) Yes, I get that my freak outs are the stuff of legend at our little studio but I guess this is one label that I will never shed.
Well, she eventually decided that my brain can’t take anymore real instruction so the last two days have just been rounds. The first day was closed smooth and today was closed rhythm. So she’ll start with Waltz and we’ll loop the routine 3 times but if something gets messed up, we stop, she fixes it and we have to complete 3 good loops before moving on to the next. All the time, she is also giving me gentle corrections while we dance. And by gently, I mean screaming “HEAD” or “ARMS UP” at me at strategic points in the dance. This does create some additional anxiety as I become convinced that I’m the only dancer in the world who can keep his head up or his frame strong so all the others on the floor are going to be dancing perfectly and I’m going to be cannon fodder. I’ll be the Star Trek extra who is the first member of the away team to die and typically never gets to say anything. Which leads to the normal “why am I doing this” self doubt and questioning.
Truth be told, I’m probably a little burned out and this is also part of the cycle. I always feel the need for all this extra practice so I book lots of extra lessons and then it just gets to be too much. And, I distinctly remember feeling this way right before Showcase in May and thinking that Showcase was not going to go well which only once again proved that almost every instinct I have about my dancing is just plain wrong. Maybe I need to do like George from Seinfeld and just do the opposite of whatever my first thought is. Well, I still think I’m going to get killed up there but I’ll take it as a small victory if I don’t finish dead last.
We have spent so much time on my arms that my shoulders ache a bit as I type this. My neck is somewhat stiff as well. My trainer’s been working on the shoulders but just trying to keep a big frame with arms up convinces me that I need to get him to spend more time there. I know I drop the frame because it is tiring to have to hold it as big as you need to for an entire lesson.
For better or worse, this will all be over in a 8 days. It is actually a plus that it took until the week before the event before the self-doubting demons came out in full force.