First the good.
I get to the studio and I find out they’ve done another switcheroo on me. My second lesson with the Body Double was now with Z meaning that I had one lesson with the Body Double and then a double lesson with Z. There is a couple that likes to take separate lessons but OwnerGuy decided they needed to take a joint lesson with him so he could hammer the guy on his technique. So that freed Z up and the Body Double agreed to give up our second lesson so I could get more practice for the upcoming dance adventure. (Two weeks from today, I’ll be waking up in a strange city at the beginning of the adventure)
The Argentine Tango lesson went really well. I told her about the coach wanting me to count rather than try the “slow/quick” thing so we did that and it worked shockingly well. There is also a new intro where I circle around her which sounds easy but there were some tricks to it that we had to work on. It is one of those things that I can “grow into”. We’ll do it one way for Showstoppers but then it can evolve over time to be more dramatic by the time we get to Showcase.
I told Z that the closed routines were like old friends. Well it turns out they were like old friends you haven’t seen in many years and you don’t recognize them at first because they’ve lost hair or gained weight or some other thing. And then there are those you don’t remember at all. Yeah, it was like that. It shouldn’t have shocked me but Z couldn’t remember parts of them either but she had them written down somewhere. So we did the Cha-Cha, Rumba, Swing, Bolero and Waltz. Switched to the smooth dance because neither of us could remember the Mambo. Parts came back easily and other parts were a struggle. It doesn’t help that there are sections in the closed routines that start like sections in the open routines but they end differently. There are rules that must be followed when doing the closed routines because you have to stick with the approved Famous Franchise syllabus steps so I had to unlearn a bit of the muscle memory I’ve built up over the last couple of months working on just the open routines.
It also didn’t help that there were some steps that were just wrong. Turns out Z had taught me certain variations that weren’t officially sanctioned and in going over my routines with the other instructors and OwnerGuy, those parts came out. There was a Rumba step that had to change which had the potential to totally mess up our loop and require some major changes. But they went to the official Famous Franchise rule book and determined that OwnerGuy was only half right and that we could incorporate his change but still end up in a place where we could easily loop the pattern. But it didn’t help my confidence much to think about having to learn new stuff when I’ve only got two weeks left and with that little time you should just be polishing what you’ve got.
And, we didn’t get much into timing so we didn’t get into exploring the counts and I know that is still an issue for Bolero and will be for Mambo and Fox Trot.
Yeah, I’m going to admit I was not in my happy place leaving the studio. The waltz was the last thing we did and I could feel my frame slipping while I was struggling to keep my head back. So I was pretty down on myself and wondering why in the world I even agreed to do this. I should have known better that there really wasn’t enough time between events and taking a vacation took away a lot of that time. Like I said, I have no real illusions about doing well but I also didn’t want to be that guy who everyone looks at and shakes their head and says “yeah, he’s wasting his money”. OK, maybe there really isn’t that guy but you get the general drift. I had resigned myself to the fact that this trip was going to be a complete disaster and there was nothing I could do to fix it.
Normally, when I get into moods like this, the little demons in my head come out to party and send me even deeper into the dark side. For some reason, I heard this little voice telling me to give myself a break. I mean, I had just done three lessons in a row. Plus, I did my treadmill work today and I had been on my feet a lot. And, I’ve been fighting a cold/allergy/sinus thing since coming back. Of course, I was tired and that’s why things got a little off at the end. It doesn’t mean that I suck.
Why do I do these things? Because I want to improve as a dancer. And, you know from previous posts that this type of event causes all sorts of anxiety for me for a whole lot of reasons. But you don’t grow as a person if you stay with what is safe and comfortable. True growth only comes from pushing yourself and then seeing how far you can go. If you choose not to do something because of fear, then you’ve just sown the seeds for regret later in life. I’ve started down this path to see how far I can go as a dancer and the path isn’t always a walk in the sun. Sometimes it is a dark and scary forest but you keep going because eventually you get back to the sun and then you can look back and say “yeah, I did that”.
I still have no illusions about how I’m going to do but screw it. Why should it matter to me what a group of people I don’t know and will probably never see again think of me? I do tend to forget that along with the personal growth angle, this should be a fun activity and it can be as long as I don’t get too twisted inside my own mind. Bring it. All I can do is give it my best effort and be proud of actually putting myself in this situation that is so far outside my comfort zone. Just being there is a victory. Everything else is bonus.