Mind is Willing, Knee is Weak

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Got the rest of my feedback last night.  For the rhythm dances, it was all about sharper footwork and accentuating different things to make it look better.  And Kid T is showing me what they want and making it look easy and effortless.   All I see is some rapid fire bending/straightening of the legs.  And my spirit just sinks.

It is not that I’m unwilling to try.  I’ve tried many times.  I’ve gone to master classes where the focus was on that kind of movement and I’ve had to drop out each time.  I remember a long time ago that Sunny was trying to teach me something like that and it just started to make my knee ache like crazy.

I have no idea why that particular movement does that.  And it isn’t a sharp pain but it is a  dull ache that just grows and swells the more I do it.  Also, it doesn’t go away that easily.  Sometimes it is a day or two with ice before things start to feel “normal” again.  At least as normal as one can be with knees that don’t really function the way they should.

Not wanting to start a pity party for myself but it is just so frustrating to feel that I’m never going to be able to be the dancer I could be because my body won’t allow it.  To the judges and pros, I’ll always just be a pale shadow.  Somebody who just isn’t quite doing it right and just not creating the right look or motion.  This will always be something they can pick on and focus on and it will likely always dominate any feedback I receive.  There seems to be no way to move on from this.

So I’m watching Kid T demonstrate what they want and telling me how we need to work on it and I’m just sinking lower and lower into myself.  I did manage to tell her that I can’t just spend an entire lesson doing that.  I’m not even sure I can spend 10 minutes practicing.  And I know that getting the motion right takes repetition and practice and yet I dread the very thought of trying to do it.

She mentioned that my Cha-Cha tends to “float” as I stay up in my toes more than I should.  And I don’t doubt that is true.  There is going to be some subconscious part of me that says “if I do this, it will hurt so I’m not going to do it”.  And then try to accommodate and move in a way that minimizes knee swelling.  Not eliminate it because it never does.  Of course, I also have the arthritis in my big toe so if I get too up in the toes or stay on them too long, then I trade the ache in my knee for the ache in my toes.

We have already tried to make accommodations for the bolero because it is just too hard right now to really lower and push out of the right knee.  Naturally, that is about all the judges saw.  And I can understand why.  From the outside, it probably looks like I’m capable of doing a lot and so they naturally want more.

Well, I said I’m not going to turn this into a pity party and I’m not.  I just feel a little deflated right now.  I know what it takes to make my rhythm dances better.  I just don’t know if I’m really physically capable of doing it.  So I could simply be doomed to endless critiques about my leg and foot action which will just make it feel so much more like I’m not advancing at all.

Some days, I hate that dance means so much to me.


  1. I completely understand this, dealing with knee issues myself right now. I know you have arthritis, but if it is a specific movement that tends to start an ache, I wonder if that might actually be more muscular or the tendons? Have you asked a physio or shown them the movements you need to do? Perhaps it won’t help, but what if it does? I have recently had an experience where I was sure my issue was related to something I have dealt with long term, but turned out it wasn’t that at all, it was something easily fixable.

    1. That’s a good idea. The ache is in the spot on the x-ray where the arthritis is but I suppose the motion could be causing something to pull the knee into position where I get the friction. I’ll have to talk to someone about that.

  2. I’m waiting for my critiques later this week which probably won’t be very good. I’ve only been dancing for 3 years and this was my first showcase at full bronze but I empathize with you…it wouldn’t bother me so much if it didn’t mean so much… . Just found your site today BTW… .

    1. Welcome and thanks for the comment. Always great to hear from fellow dancers. I suspect you’ll have some good news in your critiques. We all have things we can work on but we all have some things that we can do well.

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