A Life of Illusion

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I’m seriously thinking that I shouldn’t be left alone the day after one of these event.  Ballroom just continues to stir up stuff in me.  It is like poking the embers of a dying fire and you never know when it is going to blaze back into life.

It is just further confirmation that I need something like this in my life.  An outlet for some type of expression of whatever it is – art, emotion, feeling, creativity.  Something I just don’t get as often from practices.  The hardest part sometimes is coming back to reality.  Or crashing back to reality as the case may be.

Maybe the perfect metaphor was checking out of the hotel this morning.  Putting all the fancy dance clothes back into the suitcase where they will end up back in my closet until the next chance I get.  Then, I get out of the elevator and see where the ballroom had been.  Yesterday and through last night, it was decked out in things following the theme of the Showcase and there were people in various costumes with lots of glitter and all the dancing and displays.  This morning, it had all been swept aside and there were chairs set up and a table of coffee and typical breakfast pastries and a sign for some corporate meeting of some sort where something of some importance will be discussed.  I almost got side swiped coming out of the parking garage by some harried person who must have been running late to that most important conference.

When I left my room, I ran into another student from one of the other studios.  I saw him several times during the day but don’t remember him on the floor.  Partly because I was on the floor a lot and partly because I’m mostly watching our studio when I’m not.  Anyway, he says to me “dancing is over”.  I came back with the “yep, back to the real world”.  Thinking about it now, I should have said “dancing is never over”.  The passion is always there just waiting for another fissure to open up so it can explode onto the world.

So, you are wondering how the day went, aren’t you?  Nah, you aren’t going to get the whole story right now.  Need to let things simmer a bit.  But I can give you one highlight/lowlight.  We were doing the Country Waltz – you know the one dance I thought I knew backwards and forwards.  So, naturally, that’s the one I blanked on right in the middle of the routine.  Oh, and in case you want some additional irony, when I was talking with Kid T before Showcase and she asked what I was afraid of, I said forgetting my routine and looking like an idiot in front of the entire room.

I’m pretty sure I skipped a step because something was totally off and wrong and I just couldn’t get back to where we were.  We struggled for control a bit because Kid T was trying to help me.  She’s a good teacher but I never relinquish control in those moment.  We did a couple of steps that I couldn’t tell you what they were and then I just broke back into the last part of the routine and we actually ended up finishing it.  I think the music clip ran longer than it was supposed to so, lucky for me, it didn’t end abruptly.  But we hit the line we were supposed to at the end and took a bow and left the stage.  I think I managed to keep smiling so maybe the panic didn’t show.

Now, here’s the funny part.  I’m going back into the changing room to get back into my rhythm outfit and there was a student from another studio and he shakes my hand and says “That was amazing”.   WTF…  Seriously, I’m not making this up.  I literally blanked and forgot where I was and made some stuff up to get back to where I was supposed to be and this guy thought it was amazing.  And this is the Country Waltz which I didn’t think had a low of “wow” factor to it.

Now, in my little head, I’m working through the two possible karmic lessons of this event.  Is life trying to teach me something?

  1. Was this some punishment for starting to feel over confident about the Country Waltz.  After all, I started to tell myself I really knew that dance and I wasn’t worried about it.  So is this what happens when you start to boast.  Try and pump yourself up and you get a bitch slap from Karma?  “Think you know this routine?  Not so fast, here’s some fun for you to deal with”.
  2. Or was this supposed to be the lesson that you never give up.  That it isn’t the mistakes that kill you but how you react to them?  That maybe all the focus on the little things and wanting to get the choreography perfect is not as important as I think.  I think myself a lesser dancer with each mistake but I lose focus on the picture that others see.

Could be a combination of both.  Not sure yet.  I did also make the mistake of ordering a video of those two routines.  Can I bear to watch the Country Waltz?  Time will tell.

Lesson 2 is important because there were lots of little technical glitches during the dances.  The routines didn’t flow like they had in the past.  I hit unfamiliar spots in the floor and couldn’t find my way back.  Probably too much doing the dances in one spot during practice.

I also had the 100 mile drive home this morning all by myself.  Way too much time to think.  As I watched the one city fade into the back to be replaced by the seemingly endless fields of corn and beans that are drying towards harvest.  And the small woodlots with trees starting to turn.  Past exits leading to small towns that I’ve never been – some exits complete with the assortment of gas, food and lodging that you’d expect.  Not sure how they determine which exits get those.  Then, you pick up the beginnings of the sprawl that is the outer boundaries of my city and the road widens and you’ve got constant construction to make the roads wider or fix part that keep breaking.

I’m driving through all that trying to sort out my place in the dance world.  They finished the Showcase as they always do by having the judges do a pro show.   I guess we all see different things.  Yes, you could focus on their perfect frames and wonderful technique and maybe that does add to it but it was the emotion that comes through.  The stories they tell with the dance and how they can draw you in and how you can’t turn your eyes away.

By the way, if you are curious, enter what you see below into a search engine.  It will call up a You Tube video of the two of them doing a Quickstep to Black Betty.  The video is from an earlier show I don’t want to link to it but imagine being on the edge of the floor as they zoom by.

Cowboy Quickstep Show- Anton Lebedev & Anna Borsch

Another comment that was made to me by one of the other students at the studio.  I guess she was talking with OwnerGuy while I was doing my other solo and she tells me that they both agreed that they see different sides of me when I do these things.  I think she said something about being a ham but she meant it in a nice way.

How is that related to the judges?  I don’t know.  All of my emotions and thoughts just got put in a big blender on the drive home and I’m still sorting them out.  I don’t think it is anything new.  In my own way, I want my dancing to reach people.  I like to perform and entertain.  And, I know technique and practice are important – I truly know that.  But I can get so lost in that and then I forget why I dance.  I forget to sometimes just reach in try to let what I’m feeling come out through the dance.  I still struggle with a lot of that because – well introvert and the whole INFP thing about my feelings being mine and mine alone and sharing them with anyone else is strictly against the rules.  Maybe there is something about dancing where I can push that aside and become someone different – wear a different mask, so to speak.

I look at some of the students and there is kind of a sameness to some of them.  The ladies with the hair pulled back just so and with the eye makeup just right and making the same type of arm movement.  And the guys trying to do their arm styling and focusing real hard on how to extend in just the right way.  Not saying they aren’t good but I want to know if there is any of them in the dancing.  (Does that concept even make sense)

There are just times I want to say “screw the rules” and just dance the way I feel.  Well, then I realize that I’d look silly and I just put that away.  But it explains why doing unexpected stuff like dancing a country dance to a Billy Idol remake of a Doors song appeals to me.

I’m still not any closer to figuring out where I belong in all of this though.  I do know that come Tuesday, I’ll be back in the studio grinding towards our Showcase in November.  When you don’t have a plan, you just get swept along with the current.   So, until I can better articulate where I fit in, we just keep doing the Showcases and working towards the next one.

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