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“Your feelings are valid but they don’t always hold the truth”.  A great line from a fellow dance blogger “The Girl with the Tree Tattoo”.  I’m on vacation but the studio and dance are never far from my thoughts and this line has been bouncing around in my head for awhile.  This is actually the post I wanted to write when I was going on about next steps but just couldn’t do it.

Feelings are difficult for me.  I make jokes about being logical and having no feelings but I read another post about INTP’s that said we aren’t unemotional, it is just that our emotions are super-charged.  But emotions and feelings are alien to the logical processing and we don’t know how to really deal with them so we suppress them as much as possible.  And you know how well that works.  Sooner or later, they surface and usually with shocking power and force.

So I can read way more into simple comments than I should and that can trigger this emotional response.  And that kicks in another aspect of my personality.  I’m extremely difficult to get to know.  Some of that is just being an introvert and being wired to listen.  Put me in a conversation with extroverts and I’m happy to let them ramble on and, at the end of the day, I know all about them and they know nothing of me because I just don’t jump into conversations.  I’ll share information about myself but I’m very careful about who and what to share.  I can be friendly to everyone but friends with very few.  If I sense that you aren’t really that interested in me, then my filters go up and I’ll start parsing my words and blocking your questions and giving you just the bare minimum.

The pro/am relationship with a dance instructor is complicated on so many levels.  There is money exchanged which always makes things different.  But on a lesson, it is just the two of you and there is the physical contact and some real forced emotional connections.  If you go to comp with them, that just adds to it.  It requires a great deal of trust – on both sides.  But as the am half, you need to believe this person has your best interests at heart because you have to trust them enough to do what they want you to do.  And there needs to be communication and openness about how things are going.

I’ve made no secret that I’ve got all kinds of issues with self-confidence.  Dancing is just so far outside my comfort zone that it just triggers all sorts of things in me that can’t always be controlled.  I hate that part of myself but dwelling on it would just lead to more self-loathing and that’s not healthy.  All I can do is try to get it under control but it is difficult and hard to see progress.

Where am I going with all this??  Well, it is a little thing but at the last Showcase, Z made some comment that I overheard.  I mentioned that we were sharing a dressing space.  It was blocked with a curtain but you could hear the conversation going on.  It wasn’t particularly hurtful but it left me with the impression that she’s always going to see me like I was right before my first major comp when the demons were the strongest.  So why does that matter?  Well I spend a lot of money at that studio and she could just be putting up with me to keep the cash coming in and I don’t want that.  I told you this relationship was complicated but, at the end of the day, I think we all want our instructors to like us and care about us as people.  I think she cares but I’m not sure she really likes me.  (Actually, she probably does but I get all tied in knots thinking about this – told you emotions aren’t my strong suit)

So if she doesn’t like me, then there is a part of me that says the only way not to get hurt is to pull back and stop sharing.  If I don’t give her anything, then nothing can come back on me.  You can see this is not a recipe for success as she needs me to tell her things so she can teach effectively.  And it creates some tension and strange vibes during the lesson because she’ll ask me a simple question and my mind will be going over the options of how to answer it without sharing too much.

She’s a great teacher and I’ve learned a lot from her and there is more she can teach me.  But I have to get past the minefields I’ve laid down in my head or things won’t be effective.  I certainly have a lot of incentive.  We’ve spent a lot of time (and I’ve spent a lot of money) on my open routines and there is nobody who could pick those up quickly so if I were to drop her completely, it would feel like I’ve thrown away all that time.  In the end, it might come to that but I would hope that is a last resort.

My feelings are valid but they don’t always hold the truth.  What is the truth?  Do I want to continue to work with her?  Yes, because when it is right, we work really well together and I have fun doing it.  When it is wrong, we feed on the negative emotions and we both read too much into small things and we end up with bad feelings not based on the truth.    The distance I feel is real but the cause is based on more than just a single comment at Showcase and also goes way beyond my relationship with her.  I think my vacation has come at a great time.  I really want this to work because I think there is much more we can do together.  Stay tuned because it could be a bumpy ride.


  1. Complicated is right! If I ever take the leap into writing books, I may come to you for input on the one about pro-am relationships to get the male student perspective. 🙂 That’s a whole other ball of wax!
    I find the best way to deal with the complications is to focus on the dance. It sounds like you dance well together and you’re still learning from her. She wouldn’t put the effort in to teach you and push you if she didn’t think you were worth it.

  2. I’m struggling on what parts to comment on…
    It’s good you’re on vacation. I find that my introverted brain needs a break sometimes. Same for yours. As you’ve said, the pro-am relationship is complicated. Z wouldn’t want to keep you around if she thought as little of you as you seem to think of yourself at times. Maybe she sees you as you could be – a great dancer. Enjoy your vacation. You may come back with a clearer mind. 💃🏻

    1. Thanks. The vacation is definitely helping. I’ve just got to clear out the junk in my head from time to time. The blog helps me with that.

  3. As an instructor myself, I would encourage you to clear the air. Weird feelings can often come between dance partners even at the pro/am level. Simply explain you overheard and “thought” she said “x, y, z” and ask could she explain? Then the words at least will be out in the open and some mutual understanding is possible. I’m sure she does care about you – and probably would be grateful for the opportunity to help keep the pro/am relationship healthy. I would.

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