Let’s deal with some truth. I got lost in the open Rumba in the middle and ended up on the wrong foot. I got the open Cha-Cha messed up and had to stop and start up with the closed. I got run into twice in different heats. And yet, I still had a whole lot of fun and those joyous moments that only dance can provide.
I attribute that to a couple of things. First, it was absolutely great to have a little crew of people there. There were five of us students going and we formed our own little team/support group. It was the loud cheering section that other studios sometimes do but I can’t tell you how much of a difference it made to walk off the floor and see some familiar faces smiling and giving you a thumbs up or telling you that you looked good. The whole sense of people having your back and being there for you was great and it certainly helped me just go out and dance and have fun and not worry about the little (and big) screw ups that happened. Look, I knew going in that I didn’t have the open routines down cold and that stuff was going to happen.
In past years, I’ve left the ballroom immediately after my last heat just to escape. Kind of did the same thing on the first day but not the second. Just seeing the others there made me want to stay and watch and support so I did. We all hung together through the day. It was funny because Mrs Tex had the last heat for the group and she looked at all of us one time and said we didn’t have to stay to watch, but we all remained planted. Then, when she was done, we all left as one team.
And I stayed in large part because Kid T remained behind. She stayed at our table the whole time offering encouragement and praise and even some idle chit chat when warranted. OwnerGuy was dancing a lot so he was usually around but Z bugged out shortly after finishing her last dance. To be fair, she wasn’t feeling well but this is also a consistent pattern with her. But having Kid T at the table was just nice.
I believe she’s an introvert and, if I had to guess, I’d peg her as an ISFP. But this trip she actually opened up to us on the drive to and from the event and at the various dinners. I had noticed that she’ll answer questions but doesn’t really like initiating conversations about herself (something we have in common). But I think the shared experience made her more comfortable with us and so we had some nice bonding moments.
Now, this is where I have to be careful. I’ve got that whole connection thing and wanting to have some meaningful connection with people. The student/teacher pro/am relationship is a complicated mess of tangled emotions and mixed expectations. I fell into a trap of thinking there was a connection with Z when most of it was false. Kind of had an instant chemistry with the Body Double but she left and that’s made me gun shy. But, this weekend I think really helped strengthen the relationship with Kid T. I still have nagging concerns about her leaving as well but it now feels like that is still a ways off.
Speaking of Mrs Tex (maybe I’ll try Montana as a name – there is a connection, trust me), she gave it to me good one time during the day. Kid T and I has just practiced our open routines during a break in the action and I was moaning about the Cha-Cha and how much of a mess it was going to be. Yeah, I was being a little childish and silly but fear kind of makes me do that. Anyway, Montana dropped into Mom mode on mode and got all in my face about how I was going to be fine and how she’s danced with me and that I’m always on time and that I can do this and I need to stop being so hard on myself. It was fantastic. And it helped because what can you really do when someone gets all Mom on you and is dead serious about it.
I’ll have to break this into chunks because there is so much to say and so many things to sort though but I had to get to the most unintentionally funny part of the event. At breakfast the day after, we were looking at our photos from the event. OwnerGuy’s advanced student was looking at a photo of the award ceremony for one of the competitions and she said something about how she only cared about people to one side of her (the one’s who finished ahead of her). The people on the other side didn’t matter. Then, she noticed I was one of those people (we were in the same competition and she beat me).
While I have an ego, I’m also realistic and I knew she didn’t mean anything by it and it gave me a chance to do what I do best which is to riff on myself. Another of OwnerGuy’s students (who was doing her first event) said something that just triggered me and I fed off that to say that the two of us were really just there to make the cost manageable for the others. It doesn’t sound funny writing it but, trust me, in the moment, it was funny. So we got into a whole riff on the two of us being “Support Staff” which played out in a lot of ways on the trip home. OwnerGuy and Z missed the original conversation and he was giving us some strange looks when we started in with the Support Staff stuff. Kid T might fill him in – we’ll see. Anyway, it was funny and I was able to use my feelings on not being a true team member in a humorous way. Support staff or not, I still felt like part of something this past weekend. More so than any other Big Dance Event. I’ve danced better at other Big Dance Events but I think this was the most fun I’ve had.