The Competitive Dancers

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Last night was the open house at the studio.  There were only two new couples which was a bit of a disappointment.  We need new bodies to keep the studio alive.  Hilde came back and she wanted to try out a few of the new moves we’ve learned at the other studio but she could only stay for a short period of time and they devoted the first 30 minutes to a meet and greet with the music kept low so we never got to flash our new moves.

I guess they have a script at the Famous Franchise and they must follow it to the letter.  You must start off with the cocktail party and meet and greet.  Which works a little bit.  We have some extroverts in the studio who are happy to introduce themselves to the newbies.  But most, like me, hang back a bit and stay with the people we know.  If the newbies aren’t big on socializing, the time is not effective but I guess you follow the script and make them feel comfortable with the people so they can start to get a sense of what the studio is like.

There is always the giant group class where they teach you basic steps to several dances (Fox Trot, Rumba and Swing) so you can at least try something out when the party starts for real.  I’ll admit that when it came to swing, my partner and I ditched the basic and went back to triple steps.  She’s still new and I think just got into the triple steps and, when it is new, it is fun and exciting and who wants to go back.  We were on the far end of the group class so I figured we didn’t stand out that much.

After the general dancing comes the student demonstrations where they go through the various levels and explain what they are all about and have some students demonstrate so the audience can see where dancing can go.  When it came time for Silver, Z was doing the canned introduction of that level and went on about how it is for dancers who like to be showy and like to have people look at them.  Then she said something like it was ironic that I was then being introduced.  Can’t capture the exact words but it was clear in her mind that I don’t like being looked at.

But it just tells me that she still sees me as the student I was.  There were reasons why I used to get nervous before doing these.

(oh no, don’t tell me you are going into the self-analysis again.  Don’t you ever get tired of that?  Of course not, that’s who I am.  Besides, you come to this blog for the angst-ridden introspection.  And these little asides which you probably find either slightly amusing or terribly annoying.  Just imagine what it would be like to be me and have all these thoughts pinging around in your head all the time.  It is a wonder I don’t get off topic more than I do …)

Where was I?   Oh yeah.  When I danced with my wife and we were out socially with others from the studio (the original kool kidz) I didn’t care what I looked like.  Back at that time, we were all just social dancers and we had the flashy moves and life was good.  Once I started dancing with Z, I just got super self-conscious both about my size and my dancing ability.  Then, there was this whole dynamic where I wanted to get some positive feedback (yes, I can be a little needy about that).  But not the casual “nice job” stuff.  I can tell when someone is seriously being complementary vs when they are just saying something because they have to.  And she was much more into the “tough love” school of coaching.  So, when we first started doing Showcases and even in studio performances, I was always afraid of messing up and letting her down so it made me super nervous and prone to freak outs.

But, people can change and grow.  I asked Kid T on our lesson what we were dancing and she didn’t know, so I just put it out of my mind and figured we’d just do whatever came on which turned out to be swing.  It also helps that I know these closed routines pretty darn well by now so we just knocked it out.  (There were two other couples with us)

As we’re leaving the floor, Z says that you could see us hamming it up but that we’d all deny it if asked.  Funny but not true.  I’ll freely admit to throwing in some arm styling and trying to be more flashy than I usually am.  I mean I said I was a star in a previous post so I have to live up to that.  I know that I still need to “dance bigger” but I’ve got no problems with people watching what I do – especially in the studio.  Got to keep my spot at the top of the pyramid.

They finished the evening with Tex and Mrs Tex and OwnerGuy and his competitive student.  Z gave them the big introduction about how once you get past Silver, these “are the true hobby dancers” who travel all over to competitions and how they all just got back from Hawaii.  And how these are people who really want the attention and want people to stop and get off the floor and watch them.  All the while, I’m thinking that I’m just one comp behind Tex and even with the other two.  Well, I guess they spent thousands of dollars to go to Hawaii so they have to get something out of it.  Yeah, I’ll hold the ego in check here and just leave it alone.

At the end of the night, Mrs Texas came up to tell me that I looked great as usual.  (Told you I’m a star)

I was sitting with the other couple who had gone to Hawaii but I guess they didn’t rate as competitive dancers since they weren’t on stage.  She told me I should have a sign on my back to say something like “if you want to look like this, it will only cost you $$$$$”.  I do try not to think about how much I’ve spent over the years because it would probably be depressing.  On the other hand, I really don’t buy a lot of stuff so I might as well use the money for something I like.

Got a lesson with Kid T tonight.  Last night, we brought back the Rumba open routine.  Still feel like I’m flailing my arms about but she says we have to get feet first and then we’ll worry about arms.  We added another piece to it last night that is actually a step from the syllabus so I already knew it.  Tonight we are supposed to work on swing some more.

Speaking of swing, I told TrainerGuy about the dip we are doing in the swing and his mind started working so he had me do some Romanian deadlifts today.  I know nothing about weight training or why something got called Romanian but deadlift sounds pretty tough.  My knee is a little upset at me for those but, hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.  If I’m going to do these things, I want to do them well and if TrainerGuy can help me build up what I need to, then let’s go for it.

And just one week from today, I’ll be on vacation and traveling to a sunny island!  Can’t wait.



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