Pre-Thanksgiving Randomness

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Just time for some random thoughts on few topics.  Most will be about dancing.

We decorated the house for Christmas.  Yes, we are that kind of people.  Not really trying to jump the gun on Thanksgiving but you do things when you can.  Besides, my brothers and families are coming over for dinner and it just makes the house look more festive to have the various decorations up.  No tree though.  That comes later.

Not doing any cooking for Thanksgiving.  My brother found a place that caters and so we are doing a heat and serve kind of meal.  I actually enjoy cooking and have made Thanksgiving dinner before.  (We get a fresh turkey – yes, I’m that kind of person) But it is a lot of work and you don’t get to spend as much time talking so this will be better.

I think we have kind of a strange family relationship.  My brother actually lives about 40 minutes away but we rarely see each other.  A lot of that is because I spend my entire week working and at the dance studio.  That leaves Saturday for errands and then Sunday my introvert/homebody takes over.  But, we can get together and it will be like no time has passed.  My older brother and his family are coming in from out of town so it will be great to see them as well.

Tonight is the annual studio Thanksgiving party so I get to have a Thanksgiving dinner with my studio family.  Are they family?  Does that count?  Yeah, it does.  Again, I don’t see these people outside the studio and have little contact outside of Facebook with most of them but, after many years, there are bonds that have been created.  I’m sure other studios do the same type of thing but I have to give the Famous Franchise props for this type of thing.  You see the same people over and over again and it becomes like a home away from home.

Speaking of dancing, I’m less on the fence about continuing.  I realize that it was always music that came first.  Dance and music are so intertwined and I wonder if not really liking music would hinder your ability to dance.  I suppose everyone likes some kind of music but there are those of us who are into it and have it on at almost every opportunity and those that don’t.  I think being in the first category is part of the reason ballroom has such an attraction.  I hear certain songs and then I connect it to a dance and then I want to just go dance.  As long as  I still want to do that, then going forward makes sense.

The hard part is not really having any defined goals and not really driving towards any real competition.  It is six months before the next Showcase and the next opportunity to pull the dancing outfits from the closest and go perform.  That means it is six months of practice, practice, practice and that does get to be a bit monotonous for me.  It is probably why I think about leaving after every Showcase.

I know one thing that would help but is hard and that is getting over my self-consciousness at the studio.  It is so funny because, at the studio, nobody is really watching and, yet, I find myself holding back because I think I’m going to look silly.  Put me on the floor at a Showcase and I’m generally going to dance all out.  For example, we had this silly little air guitar solo in our Two Step routine.  I hated doing it in the studio because it seemed silly.  On the day of, I found myself getting into a serious guitar pose and cranking away.  My brother even said something about liking the air guitar solo.  Yes, I’m a ham and I need an audience.  But if I can find a way to do that in front of people, then it should be easier to do it in the studio when nobody is watching.

I do kind of wish that pro/am kind of ruins social dancing for me.  Not always.  Get the right crowd and the right music and I can still have a good time.  But it doesn’t feel the same.  I’m all about the whole feel of a good dance when you are moving in sync and the moves just flow easily from one to the next to the next.  Part of that is because we’ve practiced all these amalgamations hundreds of times and that we’ve developed a relationship and that she can anticipate without making it obvious.  Too often, social dancing is a bit choppy if you are fighting for control.  There’s a balance in leading that I’m still learning.  You need to do enough to make it clear what you are suggesting but if you use too much force, you knock someone off balance and that can also create the herky/jerky motion.  So, yes, I can and have used more force to get someone through a step (mostly at group class) but it doesn’t feel very good.

Ballroom has been a series of ups and downs for me over the years.  I remember the old sports show that promised “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”.  That has certainly been the case.  For me it has mostly been the extreme emotional roller coaster.  But I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’ve met some great people.  And it lead me to start this little blog and that’s lead to some additional connections.  All in all, there are far more pluses than minuses in the dance ledger.  No reason to give it up now.

One last little observation about ballroom.  I go over and over in my head as to whether this is a natural skill or a learned skill.  I hear people say all the time “I could never dance”.  Mostly because they’ve never tried.  But then I don’t like thinking that I’m just the product of a franchise school’s system.  (See I’ve got to be an individual)  So I kind of see it as both.  I think we all have different levels of natural ability but, at the same time, anyone can be taught to dance.  The difference is how far you can take it.  Now, hard work will beat talent when talent doesn’t work hard but, eventually, your talent is a big factor in how far you can go.  All of this is just a very roundabout way of saying that it continues to dawn on me that I’ve got a fair amount of natural ability for this.  I just don’t always do what it takes to maximize what I can do.  So that’s another reason to keep going – just to find out how far I can really take this.

OK, that’s enough on dancing.  Wanted to close with a bit of pet peeve about Christmas.  I love Christmas lights and decorations.  There is nothing better than having bright lights all over the place when it is cold and dark.  It is one of the things that gets me through the early winter.

But I really hate the ads.  What I’m really tired of are the big ticket ones for jewelry and, especially, cars.  Christmas isn’t about how much money you spend.  You love for family and friends shouldn’t be measured by the size and/or price of the gifts.  It is like if you don’t give your wife/girlfriend/significant other some kind of shiny thing for Christmas, then you really don’t love them very much.  And, who the heck gets a CAR for Christmas.  All of those commercials are exactly the same.  Someone jumping up and down on Christmas morning on a clear driveway with snow all around and some stupid giant red bow on top of whatever model of car is being sold.  Never mind the whole “how did they sneak a car in overnight” and “where’d they get the giant bow”.  So the goal of Christmas is to buy something you’ll be paying off for years?  Encourage spending of money you don’t have because if you can’t make a grand gesture, then you really aren’t doing all that should be doing?  No, I absolutely hate when it veers into this type of gaudy consumerism.  Now, if you are going to be a car or jewelry for someone for Christmas, more power to you.  I’m not judging.  I just hate that companies push this kind of stuff.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got for now.  Hope you all have a good Thanksgiving and I’ll see you after.  (Unless something really exciting happens tonight.  Then I might have to sneak another post in)

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