I sit here on a Sunday night and realize that in two short weeks, the Big Dance Event will be over and I’ll be back here. Not sure what my mental state will be but it gives a little perspective. I do build these events up because they do push me out of my comfort zone and create a great deal of stress. But it is really just 48 hours out of my life and, of that 48 hours, only a short time is spent on the dance floor. Absent a meteor striking the earth, life will go on after the Big Dance Event regardless of how I do.
Well, let’s recap Friday and close out the week. I had a double lesson with Kid T after group class. This was the first Friday group class I’ve been to since OwnerGuy implemented a new thing so that Friday classes focus on technique. This one was Tango and we went back in time to some basic Bronze stuff but tried to dance them with more advanced technique. It was really interesting because when you first start out it is just the steps that matter and what you do isn’t “wrong” but it can be made so much better with changes in technique. But it gets to that whole “dance is an onion” thing with endless layers that can only be revealed when you are ready. (Sorry but I just flashed to Kung Fu and the whole “grab the pebble from my hand”. In dancing, you never get to truly grab the pebble because there is always more than can be done)
The double lesson with Kid T was more of the ups and downs of dancing. We started with the closed and just did rounds. Waltz, Tango, Fox Trot and Viennese Waltz and then switched to Cha-Cha, Rumba, Swing, Bolero and Mambo. Nine dances in an hour with each one looped multiple times. Sounds like a lot but, to gain some perspective, at the comp, the smooth round is probably no more than 8-10 minutes and the rhythm is just a little longer because of the extra dance. So our 45 minute lesson was actually longer than I’m actually going to be on the floor.
The closed routines are solid. There are things that needed to be tweaked and things that I slip up on from time to time but I’m ready with those. I don’t like the fact that the Bolero seems to continually drift towards a corner so I may have to figure out how to rotate a different section to keep that from happening. The best thing for me was that I started to make little posture corrections during the dances so I may finally be reaching a point where I can feel it start to go and actually correct for it.
Tex and Z were on the floor with us as well. Funniest moment of the night was when she was trying to show him something at the same time Kid T and I were doing a pivot close to him. Guess his eyes strayed to us because Z starts going off about how he wasn’t watching her. Made some comment about him have a bro crush on me (or something similar, I can’t remember the exact words). To be fair, we did execute a nice pivot so I don’t blame him.
The second lesson was not as good. It was the open Fox Trot which just has some spots that are rough because I don’t fully know how I’m supposed to move around Kid T. And we hadn’t worked on in for awhile and it was getting very frustrating. Kid T did manage to talk me off the ledge and also reminded me that it was later on Friday than I normally stay and we had done a lot of work already and we still had time to get it to work and that I could do this. As I think on it now, I do get a little embarrassed with that kind of outburst and it is also a little strange to think that this young, young lady is essentially being the parent calming down the kid (that’s me) throwing a tantrum. Maybe someday I’ll be able to get myself under control sooner.
This weekend was the start of our State Fair. I think a lot of places have these but I also think that in my part of the country they take on an extra bit of significance. It can be overwhelming with the crowds but it is also a great opportunity to eat bad food (which can be justified because it is the fair) and interact with farm animals. Why buying a bag of carrots and feeding some goats appeals to me is hard to say but it does. Yes, there is the irony of walking through the pig barn and seeing the cute little baby pigs and then going to the pork tent to have a pork burger. I do think if I was around animals more that it would be easier to become a vegetarian although I think I would still eat chicken, fish and especially shellfish because they just aren’t as cute as pigs and cows.
But, I’m walking through the cow barn (hang with me, I am going to connect the dots here) and there are the various families prepping their cows for show. And it isn’t just the trimming and brushing. They actually have touch up paint for the cows. I assume it isn’t Krylon but we walked by someone spraying black color on this cow. There was the strong smell of propellant which was kind of like hair spray. I also saw something called tail glue which I just looked up online and it is a real thing to get the cow’s tail to form some nice little shape.
At first, I thought it was a little silly. Does it really matter that the cow’s tail is formed into some kind of neat little ball that isn’t real. Do the judges really want to see the color touched up? Then, I started to wonder how tail glue would work on my hair. And I realized that those of us who dance in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones at another hobby where visual appeal is very important.
And then another thought jumped into my head. I was thinking about the kids who do the show cattle (and other animals). The State Fair is clearly the big event. Think about how much time they spend with an animal to prep them for the show and they get one shot. One person gets the grand champion or blue ribbon and everyone else goes home to try and do better next year. Some people get other ribbons which probably helps but there is only one winner.
That’s the thing about a dance comp. Unless you are independently wealthy and can afford to do these every weekend, you’ll probably get just a handful of opportunities in a year. And the actual time you get on the floor is likely to be very limited as well – unless you are, as previously mentioned, independently wealthy. But if you do things like scholarship or all-around (which may be a Famous Franchise thing), you do get just the one shot. The ratio of time spent practicing to time spent in the show would probably astound a lot of people. Why do you spend so much time and money for just a few minutes of glory? Its not a bad question and I’m sure we all have our own reasons and answers to it. But it is part of the cruel reality that is dancing. It can be very unforgiving.
Well, I’ve got another intense week of preparation ahead of me and then a couple of additional days before the Big Dance Event. First, we have to get that Fox Trot down. Then, we have to keep working on the Viennese Waltz routine. It is a good thing that closed routines are pretty solid because there is at least part of the event that doesn’t worry me as much.