Getting My Mojo Back

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Yesterday was a very good day.

It will take me a bit to unpack all of the emotions from yesterday and every Showcase generally requires a couple of posts.  But this one felt good.

The day started like every Sunday with me driving the dogs to the park for a quick walk.  After all, I was home and it wasn’t raining or totally frozen so they expect their walk.  A dog’s got to do what dog’s got to do.  And what mine needs to do is pester me until I break down.

I somehow started thinking about all the people who were in various stages of getting ready for this event and the song Heroes by David Bowie came on.  What struck me was the line the we could be heroes just for one day.  The thought that for a single day, you can rise above the normal parts of your life and do something extraordinary.  (I know, that’s pretty deep for a Sunday morning with the dogs in the car but I can’t control when the deep stuff crosses my mind)  And, you could argue that conquering your own fear and nerves and getting out there and giving it you all is heroic in some fashion.

The next song after that was Faith by George Michael.  We’ll ignore the irony that these two were kind of bookends of musicians who died last year.  The point of noticing that was that Z used to threaten to sing that song to me when I’d start in on the doubt.  That was back in the better days.  Anyway, it kind of struck me that I’ve been focusing way too much on the dancer I think I should be and not enough on the dancer I am.  And that dancer is pretty darn good.  (Told you I can’t control when the deep stuff comes up).

On a lighter note, I got the hotel and ran into the owner of a different Famous Franchise location in our town.  He tells me that I’m world famous since a little video clip of me appears on the Famous Franchise website.  It is of me and another student dancing at the Big Dance Event from last year.  There is a montage of shots from that event and, sure enough, we are featured in a close up with slow motion.  I hate having my picture taken but this isn’t a bad shot.  So, if you are intrigues, you can look it up and try to guess who I am.

Showcases are often chaotic because the Famous Franchise is known for dancing and not event planning.  This is why the Showcase I went to two months ago stood out because that location runs things like clockwork.  Ours, well not so much.  It started from the very beginning when I’ve lugged in all various outfits and there is only one rack which is completely full.  Umm, you know how many guys are coming and you have to know that one rack ain’t going to cut it.  They did bring in a second rack right away but I think we could have used a third since there were garment bags spread out on all the tables by the end of the event.

Oh, and this one ran so far behind schedule.  It started at 10 and it was 1 before we finished the smooth and the first set of solos.  Calculate that out and it would have been a nine hour event.  So they put it in hyperdrive and made sure everyone was lined up and had us changing heats as rapidly as possible.  Managed to shave some time but still finished 90 minutes past the scheduled time so cocktail hour was cut way short and dinner was delayed by about 20 minutes.

Gee, I’ve said all this and I haven’t even discussed the dancing.  Well, in part that is because I want to wait on the feedback.  The one early dance that stood out was our first Peabody.  I guess Kid T had to call all the other studios to find a volunteer to join us since they weren’t going to run heats with just one couple.  So there were just two couples on the floor.  The song they played was one we use all the time and I was just right on the start and the timing.  I could hear people from our studio cheering which just made me want to ham it up a bit so we hit a part where we do horse kicks (yes, it is a legit step) while we were right in front of them so I amped up the kicks just a bit.

No, there were some bobbles but all the routines were essentially clean and most of the open routines went off OK.  The Cha-Cha was problematic but that was also towards the end of the day and I was tired.  Everything just felt good and there was so much positive energy in the room that it was easy to feed off it.

A lot of the credit goes to the DJ.  He’s done a couple of events for us in the past and he’s great at keeping the crowd up and motivated.  He’ll call out numbers and names while people are dancing “Looking good …”  He knows me now since he’s seen me at a couple of Showcases.  (See, I’m memorable)  So, when we did the 2-step routine, Kid T started off the floor and I walked on to claim my spot.  He introduces us by saying “here’s someone who needs no introduction but I’ll give it to him anyway”.  That was just fun.  I was wearing sunglasses to start the routine so I just flipped them his direction as a I ran up to get Kid T to start off.

A couple of other random things about the day.  I know I’m spending all my time on stuff that wasn’t dancing but this it what sticks in my mind right now.

Since this is OwnerGuy and Z’s Showcase, they always bring in someone from a shop that designs and makes dresses and men’s outfits.  So there is a large display of dresses in every color and loaded with bling.  Kid T actually got to borrow a dress for the Rhythm rounds which was nice for her to not have to wear a used dress.  (She did get a dress for smooth which is her first actual ballroom dress)  This place made my smooth vest and my rhythm shirt so I know the lady who always travels with the dresses.  Getting measured by her is a bit of an adventure shall we say.  So I’ve said hello to her and all that and at one point I’m waiting in line to go dance and I swear she grabbed my butt because I felt something and I turn around and she’s right there wanting to adjust my pants for some reason.  I guess they weren’t high enough but since these weren’t custom made, I’m using a belt and they only go up so high.  Well, she’s grabbing the belt loop and trying to hitch them up a bit.  This is the type of thing that would get you fired in most major corporations.  I’m assuming she was just trying to help me get the right look but that is one of those things that only happen at dance events.

After all the dancing for the day, we had dinner and there were some breaks for social dancing in between awards and the pro show.  It is strange to think that after a day of dancing that we’d want to do more but I guess the pressure is off so you can cut loose and just have some fun.  Well, I missed the start of a song and I get back in and I’m standing at our table and one of the instructors from another studio asks me to dance.  It was a Rumba and all I know about the song is the line “Let’s Marvin Gaye and get it on” and I don’t want to know what that means.  But it seems popular because it was played earlier in the day and a number of the ladies were singing and she was singing some of the lines while we were dancing.  I guess there are certain songs that you just have to dance to.

Well, dance is all about creating an illusion, especially with the more romantic dances like Rumba.  At this studio, they seem to have taught the ladies to do this little trick on underarm turns where they trace their hand across the man’s chest as the do the turn.  I saw one of the other instructors from this studio doing that as well.  At one point, I managed to look up and caught the DJ’s eye and he sees who I’m dancing with and just gives me a “yeah”.  I have to admit to feeling some kind of chemistry during this dance so I guess we may have created a good illusion.  At the end, she gives me a hug which didn’t seem necessary but I’m certainly not going to turn down a hug from a young, attractive lady.  I may be a bit Victorian but I’m still a guy.

Anyway, that’s kind of what stuck with me that wasn’t dancing.  The main point is I really enjoyed this Showcase and I walked away feeling really good about my dancing.

Oh, sorry, I lied, one last little anecdote.  We were at dinner and there was a couple there doing their first Showcase.  She asks how long I’ve been dancing and I said it was over 10 years and then she asked if I had danced before that.  She seemed shocked when I said no.  Again, this is where I don’t give myself enough credit.  I walked into a Famous Franchise with no experience in dance or music and with a lot of work and some great teaching, I’ve turned into a pretty good dancer.  Why shouldn’t I be proud of that and not consumed with feeling inferior because I have set unrealistic expectations for myself.

OK, I’m done now.  Going in tonight for a coaching lesson which should be fun since my feet still hurt and my legs are a bit sore.


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