The Offer

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Busy night last night.  So much happening that it is hard to process.  Where to begin …

As I mentioned, OwnerGuy was free and had booked time on our lesson.  To start with, Kid T asks me if there are any of the open routines that need work.  This is not the question to ask a person who is their own worst critic since there are parts of all of them that feel “meh”.  Well, maybe not the Rumba, that one seems to be relatively solid.  But they are all a mixed bag with flashes of competence in between moments of mediocrity.

We settled on Viennese Waltz and Bolero primarily because OwnerGuy developed the Bolero but Kid T was teaching from the video and he’s not seen my interpretation of his vision.  The Viennese Waltz was for a specific part which is the shadow naturals which I did with Z but can’t seem to figure out how to make work with Kid T.  Mostly because she’s smaller and I get to worrying more about finding a good grip so I feel comfortable actually moving.  Since I never feel truly connected, I tend to shorten all the steps because it feels like she’d fly right out of my arms if I didn’t.

The Viennese Waltz was a mistake because we have not worked on that in a bit and there was a significant amount of rust that had to be knocked off.  And it doesn’t help that this felt like I was being judged (which I was) and that kind of pressure always messes with my mind.  So parts of it just left my head and that just started some of the cycle of me feeling useless and stupid since I couldn’t remember a routine we’ve worked on for so long.

But we eventually got through enough of it for OwnerGuy to see the weak parts.  He did start by saying it looked better and then proceeded to slice it into tiny bits.  As I said above, there were moments that looked really good and a whole lot that didn’t.  Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration but that is what it felt like.  Again, I don’t just read his words.  I read his face and what he doesn’t say and it was pretty clear that there was a lot that is still lacking.

We talked a bit about whether I wanted to do this at Showcase and Kid T said ‘no’ and then I said ‘yes’.   (We have to work on our communication)  So he said we should do that but that he wanted to chop out some parts because it is a little long for an open routine at a comp.  And he changed one part which will supposedly help me on the shadow open naturals even though we didn’t touch those because he figured we’d never get to them at a comp so it wasn’t a big concern of his.  Or maybe there was just way too much that needed to be fixed and he wasn’t ready to take that on just yet.

Then we moved into the Bolero which I actually knew because we had been practicing that.  Turns out there were a couple of places where what Kid T saw on the video wasn’t what he wanted and so we had to correct those.  But most of what he started focusing on was shaping and expansion so I hit those poses.  And you know how I feel about that.  Don’t get me wrong, it was all good stuff but I ended up in a bad mental place and it was hard to focus.  I was trying to figure out how much I’m supposed to shape towards her because my first attempt wasn’t enough and the second was too much and he keeps having me try which I hate because if I don’t understand how to do something just having me keep trying and hoping for a better outcome gets a little frustrating.  Just tell me what you want and I’ll see if I can do it.

The real issue though is that it illustrated to me just how much more there is to go before I would be truly ready for another shot at a comp.  OK, I’m never going to feel truly ready but I know I have gaps in my game and so this just showed me how big those gaps are.  And how it would never come together before the end of April and that kind of made me lean even harder towards not wanting to go.

So, we are sitting down after the lesson and Kid T is going over what OwnerGuy went through and he comes over to sit down to talk about this next Big Dance Event.  I know I put a small deposit down on it already but that was back in December when I was in the Christmas giving spirit and it was going to help the studio get points for the challenge.  Plus, OwnerGuy said it could apply to another event so I was fine with it.  Ever since then, I’ve been having second and third thoughts as all the bad stuff comes up and I just feel so far out of my depth that I really didn’t want to spend the money just to prove how far out of my depth I am.  I know there are always things to learn and that dancing is something that can always be improved but why spend a huge amount of money just to have that point drilled home.  I already know I still have a lot more work to do.  At least at Showcase I can hang on to that fantasy dancer I am in my head.

Without going into all that detail, I tell them both that I’m pretty committed to not going to this event because I can’t justify the money given where I am in my dancing.  This kind of took them a bit by surprise.  OwnerGuy comes up with an offer which he was going to make anyway and that is that he could be on our lessons once a week for the entire time leading up to the Big Dance Event.

Should I be excited?  Isn’t this what I’ve wanted?  Haven’t I complained long and loud enough about being pushed to the corner while he and Z spend their time with the more serious dancers?  Yes, yes and yes but I didn’t jump at the opportunity.  Confidence is a funny thing and I know I went through this last year at roughly the exact same time.  It is not that Kid T is a bad teacher because she isn’t and there is a lot she has helped me with.  But it is all the little things that OwnerGuy was doing that make the difference.  What I do know is something that looks good and people respond to but it isn’t going to draw the eyes of the judges who have witnessed far better dancers and have far greater expectations.  It is the shaping and moving and the things you do between steps that catch their eye.  This is what OwnerGuy could help me with and it would be a great opportunity so why didn’t I jump at the chance?

Partly because I know that working with him would just expose all the stuff I feel I don’t know but can’t put words to.  He would make it much more obvious that there are significant gaps in my body of work.  And there’s nothing wrong with that except that there are about 8 weeks before this next Big Dance Event and eight weeks of having my flaws exposed and trying to fix them would probably not serve me well going into a comp.  And these things are too darned expensive to use as a learning experience.

There is the other part of me that starts to wonder about the timing of all this as well.  Why is he all of sudden showing this much interest in me?  Any time someone acts outside of what the norm has been, it makes my mind start going at high speed rolling over all the possible reasons for the change.  Should it matter?  Probably not but I do tend to get hung up on the why because motivations are important to me.

He left us to go to his lesson and I promised I’d think about it.  Kid T and I had a little talk afterward.  It does really come down to two things.  The money and my feeling that I don’t really belong on a floor at a comp like that.  I know if I went that I’d have some fun even if the routines got messed up.  But is it worth spending that amount of money?  I can find other ways to have fun that aren’t as expensive.

The other thing that is currently rolling around my head is that these comps seem to be for (a) people who are extremely serious about their dancing or (b) people who have way too much disposable income.  I don’t really fit into either category.  Yes, I’m serious and work hard on my lessons but I don’t find a lot of time to work on things outside the studio because there are always plenty of other distractions.

One last thing is that I know myself and I know the grind of trying to focus just on technique can really suck all the fun out of dancing.  If I do this, it will be an eight week boot camp one night a week.  Well, probably all nights since I could see the pattern where OwnerGuy drills us on one day and she spends the next two lessons reinforcing what he drilled.  All work and no play drive DWall up the wall.  Could I handle that?  I don’t really know.

So I’ve got all this rattling around inside my head and yet I’m still strongly leaning towards not going.  That just feels like the right course of action for me but is that really because it is the right action or is it because it is the easy course of action.

But I also know I’m not in a mental place where I’m thinking I could do well at a Big Dance Event.  If nothing changes that, then it will become reality.

I don’t know what to do at this point.



  1. My .2 – Comps can help motivate, but you know that already. You’ve done all this before. You’ve been jerked around by the studio and don’t feel you’ll be an acceptable amount of “not ready” by the time comp rolls around. Skip it. It’s not like they won’t be asking in another month for something else. There are so many events to choose from. Plus you may get a bit more attention when they realize they can’t assume you’ll be their cash cow. Sorry so cynical but I’m in a mood today.

  2. I have to agree as well. There is nothing worse than spending a lot of money on a comp to realize you didn’t really want to do it. I think from reading many of your posts lately, that perhaps this is part of a bigger problem of not knowing what you want from dance, and you also seem to be quite frustrated with the franchise system–but continue out of loyalty (I am paraphrasing I know). Perhaps this is the signal you need to give bigger thinking to your dance and figure out what you want to do with it–perform, social dance, just learn, compete. Any option is ok, but you won’t feel ok with any of them until you decide (and stick to your guns) what you want to do and how you would like your program to look. It’s your dance, but others seem to be deciding what’s best for you right now.

    (I hope that is not too harsh–not meant to be!)

    1. Not harsh at all. You’ve pretty much nailed where I am. I do have a tendency to let others decide things for me without expressing what I want to do. Thank you for the comment. It helps.

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