Placements and Beyond

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One good thing for me is that these events certainly give me a lot to talk about.  But then I know there is at least one of you who likes to binge read so I’ve got to make it worth your while.

Let’s talk placements which I got yesterday.  At first, I thought these were a good measure of something but I’ve come to believe that they really are more confusing than anything else.  I mean, if you got all firsts (which I didn’t), it would be less confusing but I would still have my doubts.

I suppose this may be true everywhere but at a Famous Franchise event, they seem to have an endless number of heats because most people dance in multiple age groups.  But, to keep things moving, they can’t have each age and level in a separate heat so you’ll typically hear things like “8 couples in 3 events.”  So it could be 3-3-2 or it could be 6-1-1 or any other permutation in between.  And, you only get your heat sheet which doesn’t tell you who else is in your heat.  There are masters that are huge but those don’t go to students and they are kept under lock and key.

So, say you get a second.  Well is that second out of two which doesn’t seem impressive.  Or is it second out of six or even eight which seems more impressive?  Who knows. But, even if you knew how many dancers were going against you, it still is only half the picture.  On the surface, second out of four is more impressive than fourth out of four.  But what if in the one you finished fourth, the other dancers were all at a more advanced level and just dancing down because you can do that.  So maybe the deck was already stacked against you going in.  And if the second of four was three other people who were competing for the first time and had just gotten into that level, then maybe it isn’t as impressive.

Even if you do multiple dances in a row and get better marks in one, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that you actually did better.  There are people who don’t do dances like Viennese Waltz or Bolero or Mambo so maybe the field just got reduced.  These are the things that I come up with and it lead to the beginning of the end with Z since I couldn’t reconcile the difference between the two rounds and she didn’t follow what I was saying.  Since then, I’ve just learned to take the placements and just nod.  So when Kid T goes on about how well I did, I just smile and nod and agree because that’s what she wants to hear.

I don’t mean to sound overly cynical here because they do mean something and they do tell me that I’ve got things I need to work on.  For whatever it is worth, I got my best placements in Mambo (?!?) and actually did better than I expected in the open rhythm routines.

Not that this is a shock to anyone who’s read this but I do struggle with a lot of insecurities.  And I have this strong need for validation and there are times where I think I’ve been waiting for some magic dance fairy to tap me on the shoulder and tell me that I’m a good dancer.  That must be what I’m waiting for because I can find reasons to discount it whenever anyone else tells me that.  When I first did a comp, I thought that the placements would do that but I’ve realized that isn’t the case either.  Confidence comes from within (sigh!) so I must continue the struggle to believe in myself.

The feedback on our solo was interesting.  One judge said something positive about my “musicality” and something about characterization.  Not really sure I totally get what musicality is but I did find this definition:  Musicality in dance then might be considered a measure or degree to which a dancer is receptive and creative in his translation or rendering of music through movement. It is a key ingredient in a dancer’s display of artistry.
That all seems like good stuff so that makes me happy.

They did still complain a little about my top line so we went through the routine and practiced that.  Kid T did finally explain what it meant so it was easier for me to keep my arms aligned when I needed to.

Since posture was still a problem, she picked Bolero and we worked on that.  Did have something of a breakthrough.  In the smooth dances, I am being trained not to look at my partner but to keep my head looking up and to the left which helps keep it back.  In the rhythm dances, I tend to make more eye contact.  It just seems nicer and more social but, given the height difference, it means my head comes down.  To keep it up, I have to look over Kid T at points on the wall above her head which keeps my head level.  Have to learn to look down with just the eyes which may come in time.

This is potentially the last little note on the Big Dance Event.  One thing that really disappointed me is that OwnerGuy really didn’t seem to prep Kid T at all.  We did an all around which is two smooth and two rhythm dances and I figured she knew all about it but found out that she had no idea what it was.  This is also part personality as I really think both of them are “P” on the Myers Briggs scale so planning is not a strong suit and both just kind of live for the moment and see what happens.  It could also be that he was doing some kind of management trick to see if she would ask since I would assume being prepared is kind of important at these things.  But she didn’t ask and he didn’t tell.

It was funny because at check in, she thought she’d be sharing a room with them since that has happened before and it saves money.  But OwnerGuy tells her that she’s got her own room – again a fact he neglected to mention in all the weeks leading up to the event.  It was just a little weird to me.

Well Kid T is off until a week from today.  Got a Quickstep lesson with Sunny and that’s really it for the week.  May go to party tomorrow so dancing may be a little slow.  I’m sure I can come up with other things to talk about though.

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