Let me start by naming one of the new cast of characters – Kid T. She is a new instructor at the studio. She is very young and has been dancing most of her life and has connections to the Famous Franchise world. She will play a small part in the upcoming post so I thought it appropriate to give her a name.
Last night was Showcase rehearsal party. That meant any of us brave enough to do a solo got to perform it in front of the rest of the students. The thought process being if you could do it in a safe place, then doing it for real in front of the judges becomes easier. There were other twists to last night that will be explained later.
I had a lesson planned with Z but I was actually wondering how I was going to fill the time. Despite my lack of confidence, I really can do a reasonable approximation of all of the routines so I wasn’t sure if extra practice was really going to help. Then, I get a text from Z early in the afternoon and she says that she thinks I’m ready and maybe the extra lesson wouldn’t help and that we’d dance our routines at party and then clean up any issues today. Seemed like a good plan so I agreed. My lesson was going to be right before the party so when I got to the studio – I saw her on a lesson with another student. It was a couple who signed up for Showcase but hadn’t been able to make it in to the studio for other reasons. To be honest, I was perfectly fine with that. I mean, I’m not really a bad person and I know this couple and they are nice people so if giving up a lesson helps them get to Showcase, that would really be fine with me. That’s why I scheduled more than I thought I’d need. Just found it funny that she made up a little story rather than just saying “hey, would you give up your lesson so I could work with OwnerGuy and this couple”.
The other twist to last night is that they set up mock heats where we all lined up, walked on to the floor, took a spot and then the music came on. This was a new twist. Normally, I don’t dance with Z at parties – I could give you many good reasons why but since this was really Showcase practice, we ended up doing most of our dances. We have been exclusively working on our open routines which are the ones where you are supposed to include steps above your current level so they are all choreographed little numbers but I haven’t had to do them on a crowded floor so this was the first attempt. Did all go well? Of course not! Got tied up in a few corners but she’d suggest a step to get us out and then we’d move on. They played each song much longer than a normal heat so we got to loop things more than we normally would. I was aware of a couple of people saying “show off” to me as we’d pass them on the floor. Guess it was dual purpose. One, for me to get comfortable weaving through a crowd and two, for them to get comfortable with people getting into their space.
In one of the general dances, Kid T came to grab me and she wanted to know what solos I was doing. She thought I was doing a waltz since that’s what we were working on at my last lesson but I said that was just something for the general heats. Which seemed to impress her. This was a point Z tried to make with me at the end of our last lesson and it didn’t really sink in. I’ve been so focused on what I can’t do that I haven’t looked at the big picture. I’ve got 9 routines (Waltz, Fox Trot, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Cha-Cha, Rumba, Swing, Bolero and Mambo) that could easily be turned into solos and I’m doing them in general heats. Couple that with the three solos I’m actually doing (Shuffle, Quickstep and Hustle) and there’s a lot of random bits of choreography floating around in my head. I’ve been worried about lack of progress but just getting to the point where I can do these is really great progress.
I wish I could say all the solos went well but that wasn’t the case. The shuffle was the only one I messed up and forgot a part but we fixed it. I had some other issues trying to dance a general two-step with 3 of 3. If I can find the beat, I’m OK. If I can’t, I make one up and that never ends well. She’s doing this little humming thing but it isn’t slows and quicks so I had no idea what was going on. Then, because I’m so focused on finding the beat, the steps started to go bad. I will have to tell her she needs to count me in because I’m just not able to find the beat in all cases. Love music but it is in many ways still a foreign language to me. That was really the only part of the night that I felt was a complete disaster. And that was early in the night so I started off a little down. But I ended up rallying. The Quickstep went off pretty much error free (we actually ended up shortening the routines so we could fit them all in so I didn’t get to some of the rougher end parts) and I got to close the night with the hustle and that also went well. OwnerGuy comes up to me afterward and he’s all excited because I was using some arm styling in the hustle. Guess it does make for a little better show.
I did get some nice feedback from the crowd. The footwork in the Quickstep seemed to impress a couple of people. But it gave me more practice at just saying “Thank you very much” instead of deflecting the compliment. Small steps.
So I leave with the decision I have to make tonight. There is larger Famous Franchise event in early June. It is closer to a real comp than Showcase but it still has that patented Famous Franchise touch so it doesn’t run quite like other comps. It was tossed out to me early in the year but there was never any follow up until Wednesday. Turns out OwnerGuy couldn’t quite get his act together and the deadline for entry is today! I don’t make snap decisions very well. I know we haven’t worked on our closed routines but I’m also actually confident that they will come back to me quickly. Z is all “whatever you want” so that’s no help. The funny thing is that the dancing doesn’t scare me as much as the other social parts of the weekend. I’ve written before about the whole introvert thing and feeling like you are all alone even though you are in a room full of people. Always makes me feel like the ultimate outsider and like everyone can just see right through me and knows that I have no business being there. But I had a good time in Houston and the one in Chicago wasn’t all that bad either. This does require another plane trip which is less exciting this time. I have no illusions about how I’ll do. It would just be for the experience and living the dance fantasy for a week end. Chances are good that I will end up deciding to go just for those reasons. But my mind will be totally occupied with that today.
Tonight I’ve got lessons with all three. Have to get the country stuff down and then some final polishing on the rest of it. Showcase is only two days away and now we are in May so I can’t even use the mental “its next month”. At this point, I’m as ready as I’m going to be and I never, ever feel like I’ve prepared enough. But I’m starting to assemble all that I’ll need to take with me (someday I’ll have to do a post on the evolution of my Showcase prep and what I take). It is going to be an interesting week end.