Well my personal journey towards a more positive outlook is going to take some twists and turns. Last night’s lesson was a slight back step because OwnerGuy changed the beginning of the Tango routine and it felt much harder and all the self-doubt and criticism just bubbled to the surface. I was going to talk about that but then something else came along that is even better. Besides, why dwell on the negative. The potential good news is that I really want to get back to the studio and keep working. Get thrown off the horse, get right back on. Of course, when I have a good lesson, I want to get right back into the studio so maybe this is just another sign of the ballroom addiction.
I stumbled onto a Famous Franchise site that had an article about 5 resolutions for anyone wanting to be a better leader on the dance floor. I suppose I should give you the entire citation but just know this didn’t come from me. I did want to share them and talk about my reactions. They are basically spot on and capture a lot of what I need to do. There are a few other guys in the village so this might be of interest to them as well. I’m paraphrasing some of what was there just to be clear.
1. Developing Leaders are Fearless – resolve to take bigger more assertive steps. (They then add the caveat “even if it seems to put my life, or the people around me, in danger” Not entirely sure about the caveat except for the word “seems” since there all collisions in dance but they are rarely fatal. This echos something Z was saying to me in Texas and something she wanted to work on but we’ve put on the back burner to focus on the new Tango and Mambo routines. She told me once that everyone compliments their Viennese Waltz and she tells me it is because they don’t stop so others have to get out their way. This kind of makes leading sound like a giant game of chicken with two people wanting the same space and who backs down first. Having been on the floor in comps with lots of male pros, I was the one who backed down. Not saying I’m going to start throwing elbows and turning this into full contact ballroom but fearless is a good image. This is clearly one resolution I need to make and work on. This one will present some challenges to keep.
2. Developing Leaders Stand Tall. Yep, that one’s obvious. I’ve had posture drilled into so much that this is clearly one I need to keep focusing on and working towards. Last night in group class, I would catch myself starting to slump and I’d force myself to stand up as tall as possible. At one point, one of the ladies thought I was being a little silly but it was no joke. This should probably have been the first one since posture is the first thing judges see. Posture, posture, posture. Got it. And will continue to focus on it. This one’s easy to keep.
3. Developing Leaders are Flexible: First mind, then body. They actually then add the resolution “I will not roll my eyes at the thought of moving my hips, using my arms … on my dance lessons” Hey, who was watching my lessons? Did Z suggest this one? Yes, I am GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY of this. And it isn’t just the eye roll. I go through all kinds of things to keep from doing moves the make me feel awkward and uncomfortable. In my own mind, I have valid reasons why I shouldn’t be asked to do any hip movements or arm styling. In the irony of all ironies, I was going to complain about Viennese Waltz group class cause OwnerGuy made us do a move to create a pretty shape and I hate trying to create pretty shapes. I’d rather show off by moving around the floor. But to paraphrase another quote “Make excuses or make progress, those are your options”. Or, to put it another way “how are those excuses working out for you?” OK, to get to my potential, this is one I have to resolve to do. But it ain’t going to be easy.
4. Developing Leaders Multi-Task, or Die Trying with the statement “As a developing leader, I will talk while dancing”. Well the “die trying” seems a bit extreme although it fits with the tone of the first one. Seriously, ballroom is not life or death so I wouldn’t have phrased it that way but who I am to quibble. Not quite sure I understand the point behind this one other than talking is social and if you are dancing for social purposes, then it makes sense. A couple of years ago, I was at a Showcase and was doing a Tango with Z and we were chatting during the dance and the critique I got was “Don’t Talk While Dancing”. Probably loses a little visual impact if you’re doing it so, the talking may only apply in certain situations. The Multi-Tasking makes sense since the guy has to keep timing and plot out his position on the floor and think several steps ahead so you don’t end up in a corner without a move to get you out of it. That part I can resolve to do and it doesn’t present a lot of challenges.
5. Developing Leaders Fight Against the Current Comfort Zone. The tag line is “I will not get overwhelmed, gripe, complain or threaten to revert back to my former self if my body and brain don’t instantly connect with new materials”. Again, I have to ask, WHO IS WATCHING MY LESSONS? Yes, the second bit of irony is that is exactly what I went through last night because I didn’t instantly connect with the new materials. While I never threatened to revert back, I did get overwhelmed and I might have complained just a tiny bit. I will have to resolve to do this because the Bachata, Mambo, Tango and Bolero are going to change and force me even farther out of my comfort zone. Not getting overwhelmed is a challenge but I can control my reactions and avoid complaining. This one also presents some challenges but I will resolve to do it.
Now, having read these, I want to hop in a time machine, go back 24 hours and retake my lesson. Too bad I don’t have a flux capacitor and, even if I did, I don’t know how to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity I’d need. Guess I just settle for using these going forward. Do have a lesson tonight with the Body Double so no time like right now to start.