Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster

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Hello there dancers and others who stumble across this blog.  Allow me to introduce myself.  I’m the doubt monster and I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.  I’ve taken over this little blog and I plan to have a good time here.  Did you really think he could keep me at bay forever.  HAH!  Not a chance.  A couple of bad lessons with Kid T and OwnerGuy and I’ve got him convinced that it will never work and that he’s made the biggest mistake of his laugh.  Oh, does it feel good to be out in the sun again and in control.  I’m never going back.  You might ask why would I torment him so much.  Simple answer.  It’s fun and I am evil – what part of monster did you not get.  So let me tell you what I’ve got planned next to just get inside his little head and totally screw up the next Showcase.  It’s going to be epic!  Wait, what’s that noise? Hold on, I’ll be right back………….  (sounds of a struggle and door being locked).  Noooo, not the closet!  I’ll be back……

Sorry about that folks.  You let your mind wander for a bit and that happens.  I’ll try to keep a tighter reign on him in the future (good luck with that.  HA HA HA) 

OK, so now you know where my head has been the last two days.  We had a progress check with OwnerGuy last night and he redid the Rumba and started on the Tango.  The Rumba isn’t new and it is all stuff I know and have done before but it all just feels WRONG and I just get so far inside my head that I can’t make it work.  And then it feels awkward and that just sends even more signals to my brain that it is all wrong and on we go.

Part of my problem is learning style.  If all I have to worry about is feet, then I can usually get there by watching someone do it.  But when you’ve got weight changes (which should be easy) and arms and other moves and you really aren’t going anywhere but kind of working off each other, then I can’t pick up those nuances just by watching.  I have to do it and feel how it is supposed to feel and then lock that in.  But, if I don’t get good direction or feedback, then I’ve got nothing to anchor to and it all just feels wrong no matter whether it is really right.  OK, now I’m kicking myself because I just outlined my problem here where I couldn’t come up with on the lesson to explain why I wasn’t getting what they were trying to say.

The tango starts with the same step Z and I used in our open routine.  Shockingly, that actually didn’t go so bad.  Kid T seems to be easier to move than Z but the rest of the routine just was a jumbled mass of stuff that didn’t make sense when I saw it and wasn’t much better when we tried to do it today.  She’s got these little flairs which I’m supposed to make happen but I need guidance in how to make it happen and I can’t always figure out what she’s asking me to do.  And that sets off additional panic and a whole lot of frustration because I know I’ve done a lot of this stuff before but somehow my mind is blanking on how to get it done with Kid T.

We also did Quickstep tonight. I will have to be honest and say it was better than the first time we did and she even got me to admit that.  I know that a lot of this is my own unrealistic expectations on how quickly we should be picking stuff up so I have to work on that.

OwnerGuy also changed our Tango frame.  He wants us in what he calls the advanced frame with her arm locked around my elbow.  This is an adjustment for both of us and makes things feel even more different than they did before.

I wasn’t prepared for how big the adjustment was going to be.  I had done these routines so many times that I thought I had them locked in but I’m finding there are just parts I don’t quite get when I do them on my own but they make perfect sense when I do them with a partner.  I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing and that leads to some more anxiety.  Shouldn’t I be able to dance the parts on my own?  But it doesn’t feel right and I need the partner there because that triggers my brain as to what I need to do next.  But then Kid T feels so different that all my wires get crossed and I can’t do steps I’ve done 1000 times.  What I have to do is try to just relax and let my muscle memory take over because it is in there and even though she moves and feels different, I’ve been able to pull things out but it is slow and awkward and I hate it!

I guess it just shows that I was extremely lucky with the Body Double.  We had some adjustments as there were things she did differently from Z but Kid T is in a whole different neighborhood.  And none of the landmarks are there and things don’t move the same way and it is some bizzaro world that doesn’t make sense.

Look, I know we’ll work through this and eventually I’ll get used to how she feels and adapt to it.  I never in a million years dreamed that it would be this hard though.

The other bit of good news is that she is truly supportive through all this.  And it means that I’ve been able to come most of the way out of my funk by the end of the lesson.  That helps a great deal.

I want to make a random observation here.  OwnerGuy is working with one of his students and has her scheduled to be in her first scholarship coming up in a couple of weeks.  I’ve overheard bits and pieces of their conversations while they’ve been on their lesson and he’s coaching her in all aspects – including how to get on and off the floor.  I know she’s nervous (who wouldn’t be) and I see him taking the time to be there and to be supportive.  Sorry, I still have some lingering bitterness because I never really had that.  Part of the reason for continuing on is I want to see how things go with a partner who is actually there for me.

I wanted to explain my beginning here.  I took a survey on signature strengths.  Not entirely convinced that I could answer correctly because there were a lot of questions like “my friends would describe me as xx”.  Well, I frankly don’t know how people would describe me so I was just making guesses based on the bits and pieces I’ve heard.  So, for what it is worth, humor came out to be one of my top strengths meaning that I like to make people smile and laugh (strangely, this is true) and that I try to see the lighter side of things (I struggle with this).  So I was reading something about using these strengths and finding different ways to use them and I figured why not experiment a little bit with this blog since it doubles as therapy for me from time to time.

And it did help my regain some focus.  I am a dancer and I do have the ability to do this.  Right now, working with Kid T just feels awkward but there are a couple of dances that feel good and that means the rest will get there.  It will just take time and I need to give the process time to work.  But I also know me and know that I want it to happen faster so there will be more ups and downs along the way.  As long as I can keep that doubt monster locked away (GOOD LUCK WITH THAT), I’ll be fine. 

Got a couple days off to take a little mini vacation.  Back to dancing next week.  Have added an extra lesson this week to try and prep for the first Showcase.  Again, not expecting perfection there but we need to test our partnership in a real environment so that’s what this is.  This will work.

3 comments

  1. Great post, and sometimes it’s ok to let the doubt monster out. I am wondering, reading your text, if perhaps you are focusing a little too much on how it used to feel? You established with two previous partners what feels ‘right’, but now that seems to no longer apply with Kid T. Now, you need to develop a new ‘feeling right’. Perhaps to do that you need to take it back to what it feels like doing it on your own, then do it with Kid T keeping that in mind–not how it felt with a previous partner. I guess I am saying start with your own feelings and let things develop from there with Kid T, instead of trying to apply the sensations from Z and the Body Double to Kid T. Easier said then done, but perhaps a small change in the approach in the mind might help??

    I wish you the best of luck, and can empathize with the learning pains and doubt!

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