Saving the Best for Last

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On Wednesday, Kid T came out with a plan and then OwnerGuy pulled me into the little room to chat and give me an opportunity to buy more lessons.  As I said before, while I sometimes toy with the idea of quitting, I know I can’t walk away yet so I have officially signed up for another tour with the Famous Franchise.

OwnerGuy was telling me about the coach we worked with on Tuesday.  As he put it, she was singing my praises to them at the end of the night.  Something about how I really know how to move for a guy.  As a female coach, I’m sure she dances with a lot of guys so it seems to be a real positive that I stood out in her mind.  It kind of reinforces something that seems to be a strength of mine and that is continuity and fluidity of movement.

I will admit that in hearing that I did get a small flash of bitterness just because it was confirmation that I’m good at this.  And that means I can be a positive example for the studio and they should want to help me get better.  OwnerGuy seems to find time to work with everyone else but never manages to fit in the Progress Checks that I’m supposed to get.  But that is what is it.  I’m getting to the point where I’m accepting that I’m just a Kid T production and she’s doing better than I give her credit for.

Last night was the last night of the winter tournament of champions and that meant party was going to be dominated by Showstoppers.  We had a record turn out this year with I think 19 different routines to get through.

But, first, I had to get through my lesson.  For some reason, the nerves kicked in and I started screwing up things that had gone smoothly before.  It got so bad that Kid T switched us to Fox Trot for about 10 minutes before coming back to finish up with the routine.  I got a bit too far inside my head and there was a bit of panic and something telling me to just leave and bag the routine.

As the party started, I was still in my somewhat bad place so I danced a few dances but mostly sat and observed the scene.  They broke for the first set of heats which were supposed to be drawn in random order so they didn’t give us an idea of when we were going to go on.  The first dance was one of the stronger students and she did great.  Just watching everyone else dance lifted my spirits a bit.  We’re all putting ourselves out there and supporting each other so why not just have some fun with it.

After that, I started dancing a little more and started to feel more at ease about the whole thing.  The second heat came and went with my name not being called.  My designated Cha-Cha partner said she thought they were holding me back to keep me from leaving the party early.  That’s certainly a possibility and it did seem like the selections were less than truly random since each set had a mix of experienced and inexperienced dancers.  The third set came and went and, again, I still hadn’t been called.  I noticed that one of the brand new couples was also still on the board so I suspect they were also trying to keep them for the entire party.  The Famous Franchise can be sneaky that way.

The downside was that there were all these nice snacks brought in by everyone but I couldn’t eat anything.  Not that I was feeling all that nervous but I just hate eating when I haven’t been on yet.  Of course, I really didn’t need to eat any of the snacks but they were there and they looked pretty good.

Well, we get the last heat right at the end of the party and they call a few people up and then OwnerGuy announces that this is the last routine of the night and then calls my name.  Random selection my you know what!  Still, to be honest with you, my ego felt a little good about being the closing act.  As the title of this post says – save the best for last.

Then, something funny happened.  It was me but it wasn’t me if that makes any sense.  Some little switch in my head flipped and all the doubts and insecurities went away and I was like “Bring it On!”.   I had to remind Kid T to remove her glasses and this long necklace she was wearing since they both caused problems during our practice.  So, we took our places and cue the music (don’t know if I’ve mentioned this or not but our Swing was to Scary Monsters and Super Creeps by David Bowie)

There was a section near the beginning were we are apart and we are both supposed to take four tap/steps while doing little snaps on each one.  Kid T, being a female in her early 20’s and having a lot more body control was putting a lot into those movements.  On one lesson, she says I need to try and amp up what I’m doing because it would look bad for her to be animated for me to be flat and vanilla.  Naturally, I argued with her on this point because, during a lesson, I’m all concerned about how I’m going to look and all the fears and insecurities take over.  But, with the music up and the crowd watching, I went for it.  And I heard people yelling in appreciation.  This is what I meant by it felt like it was not me doing this but like some super entertainer just took over my body for the routine.  I shouldn’t go to far with this because I certainly wasn’t able to match the enthusiasm Kid T had but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t vanilla.  Maybe butter pecan.  No, I hate that flavor.  Let’s call it mint chocolate chip.

So we’re roaring through the thing and we get to the death drop and, I do not even remember feeling her go down.  I know she did because I held her for a four count and then brought her back up.  In practice, there would be times that she would sway just a bit because either we were too far apart or I wasn’t braced enough but this one was rock solid.  It was probably the cleanest run we’ve ever had and it came when everyone was watching.

I’m pretty sure I wasn’t breathing though (that tends to happen) because I was a little out of breath when we finished.  The song is a bit fast but the routine was less than a minute so that shouldn’t have worn me out.  Anyway, I had a lot of the other students coming over to me to tell me how much they liked it.  So, yes, I was basking in the validation and positive vibes.

Oh, and I finished 4th in the contest meaning that I won a brand new Famous Franchise jacket!  Rough beginning but a great ending.

I wish I could fully describe how it felt to be out there.  This is the kind of thing that fascinates me.  I’m a pretty serious introvert.  I know there are plenty of introverts who sing and dance and act so performing isn’t limited to extroverts.  But I could also read faces and you could see that some people were really nervous and some were terrified.  So, what is it that makes me love this so much.  It’s hitting some parts of the brain and I’d love to know which ones because I’m not the kind of person you would think would enjoy dancing in front of a crowd.  And last night just felt a little different.  It really was like some switch in my head flipped from the insecure worrier on the lesson to a confident entertainer during the show.  Maybe with the music and the crowd I have more that I can feel and less to think about.  I don’t know.  It would be nice to dance with that level of confidence all the time because I think the results were great.

Next week is the last studio party of the year.  Kid T and I have some work to do to refine the plan.  I’m pretty sure I want to hang on this routine and see if we can expand it.  Now, I just have to come up with another dance for the Showcase in May.



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