Down in the Valley – Day 2

Posted by

Funny thing happened when I got to the studio.  When I left the house, I had every intention of attending the group class and party after my private lesson.  For some reason, when I got there, I only checked myself off for the private lesson.  Foreshadowing?  Yes, we have a sign in sheet at the studio – not sure why but we do.  I think that set the tone for the evening.

So, yes, it is another day in the grips of a down mood.

We went back to work on the open Mambo routine.  Did you watch the original Star Trek?  Have you seen the episode “Spock’s Brain”.  Short plot synopsis.  Some group of aliens takes Spock’s brain to replace the brain that is currently failing in their controller.  These aliens are not smart so they need a controller to run their life.  In an absurd plot twist, Spock can survive for 24 hours without a brain and they rig up some kind of contraption so his body can move while they go off in search of the people who took the brain.  They find the aliens but they’ve lost the knowledge they gained and can’t help restore Spock.  McCoy ends up getting a session with the controller and he gains the knowledge to reattach Spock’s brain.  Part way through the operation, the knowledge starts to fade and he reverts back to normal McCoy where he starts in by saying he can’t do this and that it is impossible to reattach a brain.  Of course, they solve the problem but that’s not the point.

Alright, that wasn’t a short synopsis but there was a reason for starting there.  When the coach was working with me on the Mambo, he made certain things just flow and so I was like McCoy with the knowledge.  Well, now, we are back after a couple of weeks and I’m back to normal and even though I wrote some things down, the knowledge of how to do the moves seemed to have left.  Which just set me up for frustration and the fun part where I become my own harshest critic and always find something to pick at no matter how well it went.

And, then that spiraled out of control because I started thinking about all the things I wasn’t doing.  Was my posture OK?  Was I doing the proper amount of forward poise.  Why wasn’t my connection to Kid T stronger?  Were my arms in the right place for certain moves?  What was I supposed to do with my free arm?  And so on.  All of the insecurities just bubbled up and boiled over.

I can think of lots of reasons why this is happening.  In no particular order:

  1. Post Christmas downer.  I’ve mentioned before that I love Christmas and how the lights just make everything look so special.  Today was a cold and snowy day which is just the type of day to bring out my “I hate Winter side” and coming so soon after all the Christmas stuff came down, it leaves me vulnerable to slipping into a sad place.
  2. Getting back to work.  I had close to two weeks off with minimal human contact.  It was great.  I wasn’t the boss.  I didn’t have 800 emails to go through and several reports to review and people asking for me help within the 800 emails.  And all the noise, noise, noise (channeling the Grinch for a bit).  Just a little frayed at the edges which also brings some of the emotions close to the surface.
  3. My Studio B experience.  I know this is still a distorted picture because I’m not as bad as I think I am.  But, until I can really process and accept that, it still feels like I’ve spent all my time at the Famous Franchise spinning my wheels.  So, that probably explains the hyper focus on technique.

There’s more for sure but these are the things off the top of my head.  Kid T brought up the Team Match again and I do hate it that they just assume I’m going.  So I was a little non-committal and opened up the possibility that I wouldn’t do it.  I did tell her that I really didn’t understand the point.  It is kind of hard for me to justify spending the money and taking the time for something that just seems more like forced fun to me.

She also brought up the next Big Dance Event at the end of April.  I’ve expressed interest but I’m in my wavering mode.  Well, I’m really in my lack of confidence mode which is why go to an event to have my ego destroyed.  I have to get a clearer picture on who else is going because if we don’t have a squad, then there it just won’t be fun and I won’t be able to justify the cost.

Like I said yesterday, I’m just at a point where my mind is wondering if I’m really more a part of the studio’s past and not really a part of their future.  Just stuff I have to work out.

But what I can do to end this post is to give you the perfect song for how I’m feeling right now.  How do I know this is the perfect song?  Because it just popped into my head on the way home.  I haven’t heard this one in years but somehow my mind linked to it.



  1. Wall – Love the song! Had not heard it before, believe it or not. Appreciate the video clips you’ve been adding of late.

    It may help you to know I went through a rather serious crisis at my studio a while ago. It was over my leading. Being stuck somewhere in the 1950s – along with Ballroom in general – my teacher disapproved of a female student learning to lead. It hurt me deeply that he could not be enthusiast about my new passion and we eventually had something of a showdown about it. I’m still leading, if only at parties, but the confrontation left a very bad taste in my mouth. I thought seriously about quitting A.M. for good. Went back and forth about it for a while. Although I have other options, leaving would have been a seismic shift for me. As I’ve written, my life changed at that studio, and I have many friends there. Also I really adore my teacher and would miss him terribly. So I hung in… and suddenly, the wind changed. Now, teach is having me lead him occasionally during lessons so he can show me how certain follower sins affect the leader. He even admitted my following has improved tremendously since I started leading. I’m back to being happy at my studio – as happy as I ever was.

    All relationships go through rough patches from time to time. Of course it’s also true that some just peter out. Will continue to follow your saga with interest.

  2. When the Thespian and I switched from a franchise to an independent studio, it was a rough transition for about 6 months. It suddenly felt we couldn’t do anything right–seriously, we were repeatedly made to practice New Yorkers/crossover breaks as apparently we were doing them wrong. New Yorkers! The most basic move there is! It certainly felt for awhile that we had wasted a tremendous amount of time and money. There were a few instances where I felt close to tears because I was so frustrated.

    It’s ended up okay–more than okay, honestly. Slowly but surely, everything just started to click, and it’s made me a much better dancer. Looking back, I don’t regret my time at a franchise–I have a foundation in all of the major ballroom dance styles, and I formed a lot of lasting friendships.

    At this point, I’ve visited enough ballrooms/had enough lessons from various instructors to realize that jumping to a new studio (ANY studio, regardless of your skill level) is going to be painful. All instructors have specific things they focus on, and unless they’ve personally taught it to you, you’re probably doing it wrong in their eyes. Be open to what they have to say, and remember it’s your choice how much weight you put in what they’re showing you. You have your own individual style that’s an amalgamation of all the things you’ve learned–this is just another layer to add to it. Just know you’re not alone in the whole “apparently-I’m-a-terrible-dancer-who-learned-everything-wrong” transition thing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s