Well, I am now officially in Silver III – at least in the seven dances I did today. Moving on up! Funny, I don’t think I look any different.
As always, I end up kind of kicking myself for letting the nerves get the better of me the last week or so. There was another couple that was in about the same boat. They were supposed to dance together but ended up splitting up so OwnerGuy danced with her and Kid T danced with him. They were checking out of Bronze I so it was probably the first time they’ve gone through this and that can be a little nerve wracking. Although, my experience would tell you that some of us never really get used to do this type of thing.
We gathered in the studio and, like most Famous Franchise events, it did not start on time. To be fair, that was because one couple hadn’t shown up yet and they did want to wait for them. The smooth rounds were first – Waltz, Fox Trot, Tango and Viennese Waltz. Not all levels do Viennese Waltz so the number of dances varied.
I did do some warm up dances with Kid T before the official start which was good. It didn’t really calm my nerves too much though. I noticed that my hands were a little shaky. That might also have been the Grande Americano I had right before. Maybe caffeine loading wasn’t the best idea.
Once the event started, I was left to cool my heels for quite some time since the Silver II was the last level to check out. So I watched the various others and cheered for everyone (dance studios are very supportive). Near the end of the Silver I, I had to get up just to move. Kind of felt like a nervous racehorse in the starting gate. Let’s just get this on already!
Finally, it was our turn. Two other couples were with us although one was just doing waltz. Not going to lie – the waltz was a tad rough. Had some timing things and got slightly off on the footwork at one point. Blame the nerves. Kind of hard to dance when the adrenaline is pumping. Got it calmed down for the Fox Trot and that went better. When we started the Tango, I heard an instructor from the other studio talk about getting your Tango face on – so I did what I could. By the time we got to Tango, I had pretty much managed to shift into Performance Mode. One time we came around the DJ booth where OwnerGuy was watching (he is the Eye of Sauron, remember). But he actually said something like “good, keep it up”. For the Viennese Waltz, I got a little trapped behind Z and her student towards the end so I just repeated the fans we were doing rather than trying to force the next figure. It was near the end so it was all good. Told Kid T afterward that I did it on purpose since we were blocked and she said she knew and that’s why she didn’t make a big deal out of it.
One thing I did notice about this time was that I was able to look out into the audience more during the smooth dances rather than just focusing on Kid T. Which was good because you could kind of make a little mini connection with people when you caught their eye. There was a time in the Waltz and we were coming up the side of the dance floor where everyone was sitting and I noticed the guy I mentioned earlier and he had the big smile on his face. Really hadn’t seen him smile before so it was a little weird but nice in that he was clearly enjoying what we were doing.
So we finished the smooth and the broke to give the judge a rest and did a couple of general dances before starting the rhythm dances. That gave me a chance to calm down a bit. I swear I just forget to breathe when I’m out there so I’m always out of breath when I get done with a round. Well, I probably don’t forget since I can’t hold my breath that long but I think I’m not breathing as normally as I should. Either that or the nerves makes the dances that much more strenuous.
The Rhythm round when the same way. Start with the Bronze I and work forward. The Rhythm round didn’t last as long and soon it was our turn. For the Cha-Cha, I was with one other couple but then Kid T and I were a solo for the dreaded Rumba and the Swing. The Cha-Cha was a bit messed up. I got my feet messed up in a couple of places and I actually just skipped a part of the pattern – and it just happened to be a step the judge needed to see. Kid T tried to warn me but I just plowed forward. We started laughing a bit on the floor and looped it and then I did what I was supposed to do. This happens to me from time to time where I’ll just take a shortcut in a routine and leave out part of the pattern. Weird that it happened in Cha-Cha which is the one dance that was unchanged.
Then we got to the Rumba and I’m glad I ended up doing it. It wasn’t nearly as problematic as I expected. The Swing was next and that was going to be the last dance of the check out session and everyone was then ready to go to the honor dinner. Since I’m writing this, you may have guessed that I skipped the honor dinner. I’ll explain later. Since it was just me and Kid T, OwnerGuy picked a song just for us – Sharp Dressed Man by ZZTop. Yeah, I’m all about the 80’s and we had previously done a routine to Cheap Sunglasses so bring on the Top. Since I was mostly just glad it was over, I hammed it up a bit. Hey, you’ve got to give the audience what they want.
Walked off to some nice feedback from the students at our studio. The one guy who might have a slight non romantic dance crush on me was the first one to offer congratulations and to talk about the things he liked. Had another guy tell me that I looked calm out there even though he knew I was nervous about things. I kind of get that from several people. Guess in Performance Mode, I can push down the nerves just a bit. Got a little hug and high 5 from Kid T who was really genuinely happy about how we performed. I suppose I shouldn’t be too cynical. While this is a moment for the students, it is also something for the teachers as well. The good ones obviously want to see their students succeed and do well and it must make them feel good to see it. There might also be a bigger sigh of relief from the teachers who’ve had to put up with our freak outs leading up to events like this.
All in all, it went well. There were some bobbles but I think I danced pretty well and we put on a strong performance. So now we are on to bigger and better things.
The thing about the honor dinner is that it was also near the studio and starting right after the check out. Since I live 25-35 minutes away, I had four options:
1. Wear something more normal to check out and then drive home to change and drive back. Not feasible because it was too much driving.
2. Wear something more appropriate for a dinner event to the check out so I wouldn’t have to change. Also not really a good option because I don’t like wearing that kind of stuff and dancing in it would have felt odd and off.
3. Wear something normal for check out but bring clothes to change at the studio. Also not a great option. Changing in the bathroom didn’t really appear to me.
4. Wear something normal for check out and then spruce it up a bit with a tie for the dinner. Considered this as an option even though the cargo pants might have stood out against the people wearing more dressier options. In the end, decided to just skip the event.
At some point, I will get feedback from the judge and we have another coaching lesson on Tuesday so it could be an interesting first week as a Silver III dancer.