Well the progress check was not as bad as I thought. Then again, I came in kind of expecting the worst so anything was likely to be better than my expectations. It was momentarily awkward working with Z again but she was all about the teaching and observing so that was good.
The problem was that she started asking questions about what I like about my dancing and what I want to see improved and things in that vein. These are tough questions for me to answer. I have this habit of just considering the overall “feel” of something and so it is much harder to pick out specific high and low points. And, as I told them, it is hard for me to differentiate between something that is a real problem and something that is just due to the new partnership and will resolve itself with more repetition.
This is the upside and downside of pro/am (or am/am) when the main goal is competitive stuff. And, here, I’m counting the Famous Franchise Showcases as competitive events even though there were no placements. But the set up and prep work is basically the same. You generally are working on set routines in a limited number of dances and you practice those over and over again. For me, that meant you learned not only the steps but the timing and how your partner moved and how you could move together. The end result was something close to a flow state or where you’d be on the floor and be totally in the zone. And, I found that was the addictive part. That was when every part just felt alive (and probably why someone once told me I light up on the dance floor).
But it takes a significant amount of time and effort to get to that point and when you have to start over with a new partner, it is difficult to not compare to where you were and feel like you’ve taken a step backwards. It also made social dancing at the studio parties feel a little more awkward and, frankly, not as fun.
So where are we now after the progress check? Well, Z did make a couple of changes to the Cha-Cha to make some of the more difficult transitions and steps a little easier. She flat out told me that she knows I’m capable of doing more than I was in the Waltz – specifically with upper body rotation. So she made us do some of the routine with me more focused on that and it did help with the transition because we were sort of wound up which allowed for some energy to build up and then be expended when you unwound into the next step.
Showcase was brought up and I found myself unconsciously reacting to that and not in a good way (lesson for me is that I’d never make it as a poker player). Guess because I hadn’t really thought about it and in a lot of ways, I still don’t feel that JoNY and I are at a place where Showcase makes sense.
I guess what some of this forced me to do was think about where I am and I’ve kind of just been passive like something floating in the ocean and just letting the currents carry me to wherever. I’ve been in this “let’s see how this goes” mode. The reality is I’m not going to quit dancing and I’m not going to leave the Famous Franchise so what I really got out of the progress check was a need to throw myself back into it a little more and start coming up with some goals and a plan.
And the group class kind of also helped to convince me of that. It was Tango and there were lots of people in the studio and we had a balance between men and women in the advanced group which was good. But, more importantly, we were laughing and having a good time. I know I’m an introvert but I’m not the type of introvert who wants to be totally isolated. And the dance studio gives me an environment where I don’t have to be under the same restrictions I am at work. We don’t have a rigid hierarchy at work but there are still “bosses” and “workers” and I’m one of the “bosses” which automatically limits interactions with some people. At the studio, we’re all just there spending a lot of money to try and learn to dance and, since most of the students are in my age bracket (or older) we get to laugh at the fact that we aren’t in our 20’s anymore.
So I guess there was a lot of progress made.