Ready or Not – I’m Going with Not

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Well it comes down to this.  I’ve got four lessons left next week – doubles on Tuesday and Wednesday and that’s it.  The simple truth is I’m not as ready as I’d like to be.  The funny part is that I’m not all that worked up about it.  There’s a certain sense of inevitability that’s fallen over me.  This is going to happen whether I want it to or not and my choices have shaped my state of readiness and I can’t change those now.  So just go with it and see what happens.  I’ve got my outfits for both nights.  You wouldn’t believe how much I stressed out over finding the right thing to wear on Friday night.  I was on Amazon browsing through things and what I really wanted couldn’t get shipped in time and I went back and forth over what to get.  Here the Famous Franchise is trying to make a fun event and all it does is create additional stress for me.  Its that feeling of being an outside that just doesn’t go away even though I’ve been doing this for a lot of years.

In thinking about my future, it did strike me that if I continue to do these events, I have to do them because I want to.  Not because I think it is what is expected of me at this level.  And, when I go, I have to dance for me and just do the best I can.  I can’t get hung up with others expectations (real or imagined).  Look, I get I’ve got flaws in my game and I’m working on it.  But its my timetable and I can’t get caught up thinking that I should be doing better than I am just because of an off hand comment by a coach.  Or my interpretation of what they were saying when I try to read between the lines.  I’ll get there or I won’t.  But this is my journey and I need to be in control of how it goes and the pace I choose to go at.

I know I have some talent at this.  I know that I can put on a good show and that a lot of people like watching me dance and/or dancing with me.  Had another strong example of that last night.  OwnerGuy and Z have started these “technique workshops” on Fridays (so far, they seem like just a more complicated group class but who I am to judge).  The point is they are open to all students no matter what level.  So last night, I’m dancing with a newer student who I normally don’t get to dance with.  She works her way through the rotation, gets back to me and, out of the blue, says “I love dancing with you”.  (If this were an RPG, you’d probably have seen Ego+5 in a bubble over my head)  Later, we are talking about the upcoming event and she asks whether I’m going to win and I laugh and say “No”.  To which she responds “Why not, you’re a great dancer” (Again Ego+5).  I told her the hard truth.  Posture is something I continue to struggle with and that is the first thing the judges notice.  I haven’t yet gotten in tune with my body to understand when my head is coming forward to feel when I should get it back where it belongs.  Until I can consistently do that, I’m not going to do well in competitions.  That’s just the it is.  All I can do is continue to work on it and try to not beat myself up over it.  Which is all easier said than done but I’m hoping the more times I put words on this digital equivalent of paper, the more real it will become to me.

We banged through all 18 routines and got them all on video.  I don’t have them but Z has them on her IPAD so we can review as needed.  Turns out, she doesn’t quite remember them either (another reason why I shouldn’t be beating myself up since they get rusty when they aren’t used).  One of the new kids, I’m going to call him Y Money for a couple of reasons was doing the videoing.  We nailed the pivot in our Fox Trot and he gave us a little shout out.  (Yes, that would again be Ego +5)  Z is fantastic with pivots and I’m not half bad (when I remember to keep my frame) so I think our pivots kind of stand out.  Yes, I’m pumping myself up a bit here.  Sorry for that but if you don’t promote yourself, it is hard for other to do so.

There’s been other fun stuff happening.  I had a lesson with the Body Double and we finished up our Argentine Tango for Showstoppers.  She wanted to start with a Carousel where I walk around her while she does some crazy foot things.  I’m going to say that all my efforts in the gym probably paid off because the move requires a solid frame that doesn’t move.  She’s relying on me for support and if I push or wobble, then it goes wrong.  But we basically nailed it on the first try which kind of shocked her.  The second surprise for her was when I was pretty much able to start when she wanted me to.  It was easy because I could use the music as a clue.  There’s no singing but I can recognize the music and when it hits “paint it black”, then I know there’s a very short interlude before we have to start.  The third bit of good news was that we did timing by counting numbers rather than “slows” and “quicks” and it was much easier for me to stay on time.  Really excited about where this one is going.

Last night was also the weekly fun party at the studio.  Because they are into their festival, each party has a theme and there is always one game where you can earn extra points.  There’s an element of forced fun here but the studio is a safe environment and everyone is having a good time so it is easier to join in.  Last night’s game was a mix of a three legged race and right light/green light.  So they made us partner up and tied one of our legs together and then you were supposed to make it down the length of the dance floor as Kid T did the Green Light/Red Light.  If you were moving when she turned around, you were out.  Last couple standing got the points.  Well, I was a little slow getting my act together and almost everyone else had partnered up.  I see a young girl (either 17 or 18) who I know from other parties and groups so I ask if she wants to partner up.  Yes, there’s kind of a creepy factor of being tied to a much younger girl – I think in certain states you might get arrested for it.  To facilitate moving, you need to hold each other as well.  She had no problems throwing an arm over my shoulder.  I hesitated for a bit before deciding it would be best to have my arm around her waist and, yes, I asked for permission (I think I would have done well in Victorian times).  But we started out slowly until I decided I could probably almost carry her along so we started moving up.  Right at the end, it was just us and Y Money and his lady.  But we managed to lean across the finish line to take the points.  I was talking with another guy at an earlier party and he was commenting on things he does at the studio that he would never do elsewhere and I think this is a perfect example.  Despite the earlier creepiness, it seemed fine although describing it now just highlights how silly it is.

I don’t know if this is common to other dance studios but it does seem to be something the Famous Franchise specializes in.  I suspect they do it because a lot of us are terribly self-conscious about dancing in general so if you can loosen up at a party and do a three legged race tied to a minor, then you should be able to move your hips without worrying about what other people think.  Or they simply don’t want you to retain any of your dignity.  Who knows?  But it is one of those things that convinces me that this whole organization is run by extroverts and they just assume they can convert all of us introverts.  And, yes, I do participate but only because the studio has become a safe environment and I have some trust in everyone who is there since we are all in the same boat.  But, until you establish a safe environment, you aren’t going to see that side of me which is why I’m dreading the two costume parties next week so much.

Well that was my week.  Just got to hold it together until next week.  One way or another it will all be over soon and then I can start to focus on what comes next.  I’m getting a picture in my head but I need to bring it into a little better focus.

2 comments

  1. Actually, all this sounds pretty positive to me! It occurs to me as a period of growth and also I love how you are owning your innate talent and accepting that you are where you are in the journey right now. Even better, you have declared that it’s YOUR journey and you have the biggest say in how it goes. Congrats!!! Selfishly, I hope you will share some photos/videos, even if they are invite only, password-protected on YouTube. I speak for myself, and, I also suspect that your Ballroom Village community, like me, wants to cheer you on and celebrate the wins.

    I’m going with Ready 😃

    👍

    -Stef

    1. Thank you. I appreciate the support! It helps to see things from a different perspective. As to sharing photos/videos, well I’m not that brave. Maybe in time.

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