The Awkward Phase

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“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”

My day started with this pithy motivational quote showing up as I scanned through my Facebook page.  It was from a link someone else had made to a Famous Franchise site so there’s a loose relationship to dancing.  But it has kind of been ricocheting in my head all day so I’m starting there in a post that will dive off into my first real lesson with Kid T.  That is the reason for the title of this post by the way.

To me, this quote speaks to something I’ve always needed and that is an emotional connection to the instructor.  Now, that is a very esoteric concept and one that I can’t put into words except that I can feel when it isn’t there.  I suppose it could be the whole introvert thing since we tend to like deeper relationships (however we choose to define that).  I suspect part of it is because this is such a wonderful experience and I want to feel that the instructor is sharing it with me.  I want someone who is committed to my growth and someone I can let my guard down with.  Someone who can create a safe environment within the studio so I can push myself without real fear of failing. I’m not asking for much here, am I?

I suspect this isn’t a universal truth like most of these quotes.  There are certainly going to be those who are fine with it just being a business relationship.  After all, I don’t need an emotional connection to my mechanic – I just expect him to fix my car when it needs it.

For me, this process of creating a connection is usually difficult.  I was spoiled in a way by working with the Body Double because we just clicked on so many levels.  I do remember having a slightly different opinion when I first started with her and we were just doing Argentine Tango but when she took over full time, it was like we had been working together for years.  Not only that, I really felt like we fit together well as dancers.

Now, I’m trying to start all over again with a much younger instructor with a much different personality and a much different style of dance.  She talks fast and her points aren’t always clear so I know the lesson came with a lot of blank stares from me because I just didn’t know how to respond.  I remember asking a couple of times “What do you want me to do” because I couldn’t interpret that from her comments.  So we need to find a common language because right now, we are not on the same page.

And, she is so different from the Body Double that I’m messing up in places I never did before.  We do a spin whip at the end of our swing routine and I was having trouble getting her arm when it was behind her back.  Could be the height difference, could be that she moves differently and is positioned differently.  Could be I’m still not comfortable reaching around her (age difference and all).  Who knows?  But I’m struggling in places that were always rock solid with the Body Double.

Despite all that, we did manage to get through both the swing and the cha-cha routines and they felt good so that’s a start.

I know I need to give her a break as well.  I was talking with OwnerGuy after the lesson and was talking about how different she felt and how I couldn’t feel as strong of a connection as I did with the Body Double.  He totally agreed with me because he had noticed it too but just basically said that’s part of the deal when you change partners.  He also said that Kid T was a little intimidated and I did get a sense of her being a little nervous.  Now, this always throws me for a loop because I don’t think of myself as intimidating.  Maybe it is just the brooding, introversion and blank stares that pop up from time to time.

I guess I can’t expect this to happen right away.  I just have so little experience with new partnerships that I’ve forgotten that it isn’t always easy to forge an effective one.  Especially when I feel so awkward and tongue tied at times.

I decided not to do the dance road trip at the end of September.  I wavered a lot.  I started to give in to his pitch about just getting back on the floor as soon as possible and just putting yourself in the uncomfortable position because that’s how you learn and grow.  True but I also know how those events are for me and I could only imagine the stress of the next month trying to learn not only the routines but how to be an effective partnership.  And then diving into that experience when I know how it impacts me.  I know I need to do this to prove something to myself but I decided the time wasn’t right.

Then, he brings up another option.  There is another Showcase at a Famous Franchise that is not in our area but is only a short drive away.  We’ve been to their Showcase two other times before so it wouldn’t be a total unknown.  It wouldn’t be as big as the comps and hence less stressful.  And it would be a great warm up for our Showcase in November.  Put me in coach, I’m ready to play.

I do need to talk with Kid T and see if we can both just relax a little bit and figure out a way to just talk to each other on lessons.  And, assuming OwnerGuy is serious, I will get another dance road trip this year.  That’s something to look forward to.

3 comments

  1. If it helps, I completely understand what you mean about needing an emotional relationship with your instructor–I am exactly the same way. It just doesn’t work otherwise. I need to feel like my instructor and partner is as invested in my dancing as I am, in order to really trust the relationship and be able to work at the level I need to. I am a ‘pleaser’ and have to be emotionally invested in order to care enough to want to please my instructor. You are definitely not alone in how you feel.

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