Stage Fright

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Yesterday, Kid T shows me the page in my folder where she’s laid out all the goals we talked about and added a few more.  There was one about checking out of associate silver in time for Medal Ball in the fall.  Boston in June was on the list which was not one we had talked about.  The three routines (Peabody, Quickstep and West Coast Swing) were there for Showcase in May.  Seeing it on  paper did freak me out a bit.  I kind of hinted that we weren’t likely to meet all of these goals.  The open routines are very slow in coming and I don’t see that we’d be ready by June and it would be hard to justify flying to Boston to just do closed routines.  I don’t know how I’d feel about going back there.  I had fun at the end but it wasn’t a lot of fun until then.  Maybe going back provides some closure – different instructor, different group, different dynamics.  But I have to wonder if this is really my goal or OwnerGuy’s goal.  They like the owner of Boston and have already talked Tex and Mrs. Tex into going.  I figure the more students they get, the lower the cost so is that the driver.  I know if I raised the objections that the open routines weren’t ready, OwnerGuy would just tell me that I’ll never feel ready and I should just go and dance them.  There is truth in that but there is only thing about going to a local showcase to do things that aren’t polished.  It is a whole different thing to spend a lot of money to fly to an event where you know you aren’t ready.

We spent the last two days on the Swing open routine which OwnerGuy finally finished except that it really isn’t finished.  He lost two beats in there somewhere so we have to make that work.  And, he got us to a point where we can loop it but the loop starts at a different place, so, to make it work, the dip we do has to be quicker.  I guess with enough practice, I can sort that out.

Kid T kept asking how I felt about the routine and I couldn’t come up with the right words.  She’s told me that OwnerGuy wants me to be more visible and take up more space and use my height so they are intentionally having us dance apart for a lot of these routines.  The choreography isn’t hard but I feel exposed in all the parts that we are apart.  She tells me they want to see more of me and I hear that I just want to shrink into myself during these routines.  It has brought back some unpleasant things because we are first working on the feet and my arms are just flailing about as I try to figure out what I should be doing.  There are a couple of times when I’m essentially stationary and keeping time while she’s doing something but I have to be ready to pick her up and get to the next part and those are also problematic because I’m standing there but I need to look like I’m not just standing there.  I know this is what I want – to be dancing and not just doing steps but when faced with the fact that I actually have to do it, I get scared and start thinking “what the hell are you thinking?”.  I see OwnerGuy with his student and there doing all this fancy stuff and she’s never really had a lot of success at these comps so I think about being out there trying to look like I know how to swing or Rumba and the whole impostor thing comes back.

It is funny because the solos don’t really freak me out as much but I think that’s because I’m in costume and I can sort of lose myself in the part.  I’m doing a west coast swing or a Peabody, but I’m in a costume and playing a part so it becomes a little easier to relax into the dance.  With these, I have to channel what a swing should look like or what a Rumba should look like.  When I try, all I see are professional dancers and that’s just not a good thing.  On the other hand, B-Tech was watching the swing and, when we did it to music at the end of the lesson, she came out to give us high fives.  OK, she likes what we are doing. Of course, she’s not an expert.  No, wait, just accept the compliment and move on.  I’m not falling into the pit of despair just yet and I find myself loosening up in a couple of places.  Basically, I just need to stop thinking and try to feel the music and hope the stuff comes naturally.  Yeah, that’s easier said than done.

Oh, and in the last part of the swing, OwnerGuy has Kid T draped on me for four counts before I bump her off.  Yeah, that seems to be a pattern.  It’s just a dance and Kid T is much better at dealing with my discomfort than Z ever was.

I did get some side comments from Kid T.  The group on Monday was the first one I had attended in a bit and she noted that – by saying it was good that I was back.  Tried to lay on how people want to know where I am when I’m not at group or party.  Then, she found out I wasn’t going to Medal Ball.  I know that this is also part of the drill.  A student who used to be active takes a step back and they spring into action to figure out why.  And this is just me feeling something that probably isn’t there.  I get positive vibes from all the other students and the new instructors but I still sometimes feel like an afterthought which doesn’t really encourage attendance.  Of course, I can’t really talk about a vague feeling especially since I can’t offer a concrete way to fix it.  But I don’t really feel the need to live at the studio like I used to so they may have to get used to this.

Last thing was the Peabody.  We took the routine we did for Showstoppers and removed the ending and then she added something to allow us to keep going.  Still need to find about 30 seconds of material to make it a real routine.  We were doing that on Tuesday and, again, I had an audience as the other three instructors were watching.  This does give me mixed feelings.  Yes, it is nice that they want to watch.  But it is also practice and I’m going to screw things up and I don’t need an audience to watch me mess up.

I’ve got another song for you but I need to give you a little back story.  I am a fan of what you would call the Dystopian genre which generally come in trilogies.  Hunger Games, Divergent and several others.  Reading is a form of escape for me and my introverted mind is a great playground so, despite the dark nature, I tend to like to put myself into those worlds and think about what it would be like.  I know the truth is I’d trust the wrong person and end up getting offed rather quickly.  I guess I like the whole concept of the unlikely hero pushed to do something they didn’t they could do.  Something about the potential that exists but hasn’t been realized.  The violence isn’t pleasant but I can more easily tell myself it is just a story.  I don’t really like crime/mystery stories set in present day because the violence is just a little too real.  And, I tend to like these stories because the heroes aren’t perfect but they usually follow some kind of internal code that makes you root for them.

This song always reminds me of those books.  I first heard this in the gym and I grabbed my IPhone to Shazam it and got it on ITunes right after that.  Another one with a strong opening hook with the drums and vaguely electronic sound that just grabs you.  The funny thing is that I found a you tube video of a swing routine done to this song.  Well, I find it funny because the lyrics are so dark but it has this bouncy swing beat which just seems ironic.  If you search for “uprising west coast swing”, you’ll find the video.

Yes, it is Uprising by Muse.  In this case, the video better matches the feel of the song except the Teddy Bears are a little strange.  But there is a dark edge to the music despite the peppy beat that just fits with the lyrics.  I don’t know what these guy want to rebel against – some vague notion that those in power need to be tossed out.  Of course, the tone of the song is not about a successful uprising but one that eventually gets put down but does enough damage to solidify the power elite and create a situation like the Hunger Games.  Yeah, I can read that much into this song.  This is how my mind works at times.

In case you’re wondering, I do like a lot of upbeat empty songs so it isn’t all dark like this.  There are just times when experiencing this type of emotion is what I feel like doing.  My wardrobe is too filled with bright colors for me to wallow in the darkness for too long.  But I like to visit from time to time.



  1. I had a thought about what you said about showcases being easier because you are in costume. I may be over-simplifying, or maybe it’s different for a guy–but couldn’t you consider your competition outfit as a costume as well? I know for me, when I have my dress on, make-up and hair done, it’s really easier to slip into a ‘character’ (even if it’s something like a really good dancer 🙂 ), than to try and go out on the floor as myself. In fact, I refer to my dresses as my ‘costume’ more so than my ‘dress’.

    1. You are right and it does feel different when I’ve got my dance outfit on. In the studio, during practice, I’ve just got more time to think and that’s usually not a good thing.

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