Not Quite Good Enough

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One thing you should know about me.  When someone it talking, I’m not just listening to the words.  I’m evaluating everything.  The tone, the inflection, the unfinished thoughts, the facial expressions.  This isn’t really a conscious thing because it kind of just happens.  More often than not, I’ll get a flash of insight like a secret decoder ring where I just get a strong sense of what someone is trying to say but can’t.  At times, I don’t trust that part of me and assume I’m reading too much into something and that is possible but I’m starting to take my insights a little more seriously.

I mentioned we had a coaching lesson last night.  Before we got into the Viennese Waltz, he wanted to give me two quick pointers that would improve my dancing.  The first seems relatively easy.  In rhythm, he wanted me to start with both legs straight and then bend the one I’m going to move right before starting.  Sort of on the 8 of the previous count so my 1 hits the beat a little better and then I can push out of the back foot a little more and that should help maintain timing throughout.

For smooth, he talked about keeping my center straight.  He wanted me to stay down more (knees bent) because that would help my balance.  I guess what I was doing at times was falling out and that was causing me to get behind the timing and to be slightly off balance.  Being better balanced would help the connection as well.  The problem for me is figuring out how to do that without further destroying my knee.  I could probably do it during a heat but to do that, I’d need to practice and that’s where the problem starts.  He said I didn’t need to be that low but I’m not sure how I go about finding the right balance.  Pretty sure that part of what I’m doing right now is just subconsciously trying to protect the knee and that will be hard to fight against.

He mentioned my usual issues of posture and timing although he didn’t seem to think timing was that big of a problem.  I still struggle to find the beat at times and a lot of the songs they played yesterday had intros which made it even harder.  Probably what would help is to have Kid T take off the training wheels during lessons.  Let me screw up there where it is relatively safe.

He also said something about me being powerful which I can’t really interpret.  But, in the middle of all this, he said ‘You’re good …..”.  Now you are probably slapping yourself on the forehead as to why I’m taking what appears on the surface to be a very good piece of feedback and turning it into a problem.  Well, the pause was pronounced and there was an unfinished thought there and he went into something right after that just made it kind of click.

I’ve talked before that there are different levels of good.  There’s social dancing good where you basically impress non-dancers.  There’s showcase good where you impress other students and newer instructors.  And then there competition good where you impress the judges.  Different levels of review looking for different things.

Based on the other things he was saying, it was really that “You’re showcase good but really not competition good.”  The holes in my game are just a little too obvious for judges to ignore.  Now, I’m not saying I’m the worst guy out there because that is clearly not the case.  I’m like the football team that is still mathematically alive for the last playoff slot but need the string of unlikely events – usually including a tie or winning by some large margin – to clinch a spot.  So, I’m one of those listed as “still in the hunt” even though everyone knows it is just a matter of time before you are gone for good.

Is all of this stuff fixable.  The dreamy optimist in me wants to say yes.  We’ve just started working on poise and I’ve been able to feel the connection in some dances.  Kid T is great on timing and she should be able to continue to help me improve.  But since I’m not so starry eyed, the realistic part of me says I’ve been doing this for a long time and maybe it just isn’t ever going to take.

If that’s the case, does it even make sense to try another comp?  Or should I just focus my time on the solos and work on the entertainment value.

No decision tonight.  I have a second coaching lesson with the female half of the judging team on Wednesday and I want to read to the feedback to confirm what I’m thinking.  Strangely, the past pattern has been that I’ve gotten better feedback from female judges so I’m curious to see what she has to say.

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