Breakthrough

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So I was at the studio last night.  I guess there was some other newsworthy thing that happened yesterday but so many people have already discussed that to death.  Besides, if you are like me, you may need a break from all that stuff.

Remember me saying that I’ve always thought of myself as the person who gets on Dancing with the Stars and ends up plateauing at mostly 8’s with an occasional 9 and gets voted off midway through the show.  Um….yeah….have to rethink that.

While I was waiting for group class to start, I was looking at some of the critiques from Sunday.  Sunny had put the comments from the dances I did with her into my book.  Kid T was planning on typing them up so she hadn’t put them in the book yet.  I may have mentioned this before, but, in case I didn’t, the judges rate you in four categories (technique, poise, showmanship and something else I can’t remember right now) with 25 possible points for each for a possible total of 100.

Now, I know that they have dual purposes with the scores.  First, they want to make sure that you always have room for improvement so you aren’t going to get a perfect score.  Secondly, they don’t want to totally deflate you so they probably aren’t going to give you a score lower than something in the upper 80’s (maybe even 90).  So you have to keep that in mind when evaluating the scores.

I’m looking at the scores from the Quickstep routine Sunny and I did and the overall scores were in that range.  Basically, in the average range so it was kind of “meh”.  But one of the judges said that I was so much fun to watch!  OK, I could take that in a negative way and assume it means my dancing was so technically flawed that all they cared about was the entertainment value.  For now, I won’t go there because my technique scores weren’t terrible.

This is part of a dichotomy that I can’t always wrap my head around.  I get very self-conscious when they tell me I need to dance bigger and take up more space.  But, you put me in a costume and give me a solo and I’m all “Look at Me!!”.  There is probably some simple reason why I enjoy the performance part so much because I never would have predicted that.  Anyway, I’m not sure I have a point other than it made me happy to have someone say I was fun to watch.

Also got a look at the critiques from the heats I did with Sunny which were the Quickstep and Argentine Tango if you remember.  I think I mentioned in my rambling post from the other day that we were the only couple on the floor for the three Quickstep heats and for two of the Argentine Tango heats.  Guess nobody really likes those dances which is a shame.  In one of the Quickstep heats, the judge writes “This is your dance”.  ?!?  On the Argentine Tango, one of them wrote about how “confident and handsome” I looked.  ???!!!?  Yeah, that’s not really an adjective that gets tossed my way too often.

And, all I’m thinking about is that we cobbled together the Argentine Tango at the beginning of October which means we’ve only worked on it for parts of four lessons.  And all the issues I’ve had working with Sunny on the Quickstep which I’ve detailed in other posts.  There is no way I expected to get such positive reviews for those dances.  So now I’m rethinking the whole thing with Sunny.  Maybe I’m just missing something by focusing on some of the negative stuff.  Again, I’m probably too close to it and the worst judge of my own abilities.  Clearly, these judges saw something.  Of course, I know if I sucked, they would still be saying good things but it would be little things like “nice job” and not these specific compliments.

I think I started babbling a little bit because I was honestly stunned at the amount of positivity in the comments.  But I asked if I could at least see my critiques from the solos I did with Kid T.  I was on a roll and my ego wanted more.

The Viennese Waltz got the same type of scores but I can’t quite remember because of what I saw on the Peabody.  Remember, OwnerGuy told me I nailed that one.  The judges split on their reviews.  One gave me marks in the range of the other dances but the other one gave me a 98.   That was 25 on two aspects and 24 on the other two.  I’ll have to track down the actual details because I saw the 98 and my brain kind of stopped functioning.  That is probably as close to perfect as you can get.  To go back to my Dancing with the Stars analogy, it was probably like getting a 9 from Len and a 10 from either Bruno or Carrie Ann (I don’t watch the show anymore but I think judges have changed).  Probably not perfect technique but good enough when coupled with the entertainment value for one judge to give me what I’m going to call my first 10.  I know it wasn’t really 100 out of 100 but it is close enough for me.

I’m pretty sure I was incoherent for a minute or two trying to wrap my brain around this.  Sunny is all “why are you so shocked” and I just started babbling some more things about not expecting it.  There was a part of me that wanted to jump up and down like a kid who got the gift he’s always wanted.  The other part of me was all about the “don’t brag” and just take it in stride.  The two parts collided with each other which left me sputtering half sentences and walking around in a daze for a minute or two.

I know this may sound a little silly but I was totally not expecting it.  I thought I had hit a ceiling and, at least for this one dance, I punched through it.

Of course, I only got about 10 minutes to bask in that before my lesson started and Kid T was cracking the whip on the Waltz and my posture.  I guess there are a few comments about posture scattered throughout the critiques from the dances I did with her.  Sigh….

The night ended with a coaching lesson with one of the judges.  He developed a nice open Waltz routine since all OwnerGuy did was tack a beginning on to our closed routine.  There are some tricky steps but nothing I can’t do.  And it did move much better than other one.

I’d get into more details about the lesson but it was so much information that my brain is a bit fried.  There was a bit of unintentional inappropriate touching though.  There is one part where I’m behind Kid T and we do a step where she turns around to get into shadow position while we stay connected.  I had my arm on her back when we started and when she moved around to get into shadow position, her back suddenly became her front.  The coach just calmly said “yeah, you need to have your arm around her waist”.  Didn’t quite pick that up when he was demonstrating it.

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