Showcase Wrap Up #1

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As part of my usual plan, I took today off from my day job so I can just rest mind and body after Showcase yesterday.  It is always such an overwhelming day and it is like the impressions sneak into my head and leak out over time.  It takes a few days for it all to settle in.

I think one reason I do like these events so much is that you can put aside the rest of your life and, for one day, go out and live another completely different life.  I mean how often do you get to do that?  Instead of the boring collection of day jobs (editorial note because I’m sure some people have interesting jobs and I certainly used to), we are all dancers for a day.  Its like we all have some secret identity like a collection of super heroes and we are meeting together.  Well probably not like that because most super hero meetings are in some secret place and they are discussing threats to the world and we’re meeting in a hotel ballroom to dance but maybe you get the gist of what I was trying to say.

Maybe the best way to say it is that it is, for me, truly an immersive experience.  Being Sunday, we had to check the scores of the local football team from time to time but I put everything else on hold.  The world could be ending but it won’t matter because there is dancing to do.  Probably comes also with wearing the various outfits because it just adds to the experience.  I know others come for different reasons and not everyone has the same experience as I do.  Which is why it might be hard to truly explain to someone why you’d get up early on a Sunday to dance all day and that you pay money for this experience.  You either get it or you don’t.

As predicted, all of the anxiety and doubt just melts away.  Well maybe not all of the anxiety because there is a lot of nervous energy before the first heat.  Maybe because the atmosphere is so different from the studio where it is work, work, work and I just demand perfection from myself.  For some reason, I’ve reached a point where I can go to an event like this and know that things are going to go wrong and you just adjust on the fly and then try to fix it for the next heat.  Maybe its the only place where I can truly live in the moment.

I was shocked that yesterday’s event only ran about 40 minutes behind schedule given all the heats.  They had to make some last minute adjustments because some people hadn’t shown up when the event was due to start so they moved a round of solos to the beginning.  So some people had to go make quick costume changes and that caused a little delay.  We were scheduled to be in one of the early heats for Viennese Waltz so I had to cool my jets a bit while all the solos were going on.

Another part of this is that it is fun for me to watch other people dance and have fun.  The solos are always a mixed bag.  You’ve got varying levels of technical skill and showmanship and there are always nerves involved.  Saw one person probably doing their first ever routing and you could watch the eyes go from terror at the very beginning to relaxing just a bit as they realized this wasn’t so bad to accomplishment at the end for getting through it.  I do like watching faces at these events.

Well I’ve gone on for quite some time and I haven’t answered the question you may all care about.  “HOW DID YOUR DANCING GO??”  I can hear you mentally screaming at this post.  I feel you out there.  Actually, if you’ve read my ramblings for any period of time, you’ve probably already guessed that answer from the somewhat upbeat and light tone I’m taking here.  If it had been an absolute disaster, I’d be in a darker place.

But, to answer your question, I felt really good about how things went yesterday.  I screwed up the end of the waltz in three of the four heats even though we tried to fix it after each one.  It finally took at the last one.  Skipped steps in places and had to break out of one Fox Trot when a cluster of people suddenly showed up in front of me.  That’s all par for the course though.  On the plus side, I didn’t run into anyone.  I got run into once and of course it was Z.  We were doing a Viennese Waltz and we have a point in our routine where we stop moving down the floor and do something called the butterfly which stays in one place.  Well, we get to the corner and start that part of the routine and the guy dancing with Z told me later that he saw us move into the corner and he thought we’d be moving out so he went for it but we were still there.  I wasn’t looking over my shoulder so I didn’t see it and we kind of bumped butts which is funny in a way.

Was talking with one of the newer couples at dinner.  We ended up in a few heats with them but I can’t remember which one.  She said something about watching us as we moved by them and how she liked how well we moved together.  This is something that other people can do but I can’t.  I’m generally aware of the other couples on the floor but only to know their positions so I can spot for open territory or make some other adjustment.  I’m not really able to process anything about how someone else is dancing.  Not sure how people are able to do that.

OwnerGuy was interesting to watch during the day.  As previously mentioned, he was in a boat load of heats and this guy next me was talking about the difference between him and Z.  Because OwnerGuy is able to pace himself and so he has energy at the end of the day.  Z sometimes burns out and goes brain dead by the end of the day (his words not mine)  But the thing about OwnerGuy is watching him dance to the level of his student which is something I think good instructors are supposed to do.  With the less advanced students he was more in “dance instructor” mode so he was doing his part to lead them into safe spots and wasn’t doing a lot of flashy stuff.  Get to the heats he does with his one competitive student and he shifted into performance mode.  Even in the Rhythm heats after dancing all day, he still flipped a switch and just was a different guy in those heats.

Also, at the end of the day, I was talking with another friend of mine who I see at these events.  We had talked before the day started and explained why I missed the spring Showcase which he fully understood since he has a long term instructor leave on him as well.  At the end of the day, he said something about how he could see that JoNY and I were starting to mesh but that we had a few struggles.  That’s accurate.  As OwnerGuy said, we are a team but it does take time to build an effective team.  This was a good step though.  Of course, now when I think about it, I realize he was watching me at least part of the time.  I don’t know why but I never think about that when I’m dancing heats.  Then, I get done and someone makes a comment and part of me is like “you were watching me?”.  Like they shouldn’t be or something.  Which is stupid because I watch others on the floor.  We’re dancers.  We watch other dancers.  Its a thing.  So it shouldn’t be a shock that people I know watch me on the floor.  Yet there’s always that little part of me that finds it a bit odd.

Tonight, I’m meeting with one of the judges.  They are doing something different this year after Showcase.  For this day, you could sign up for 30 minute block where the instructor would go over your critiques.  I’m not even sure if there will be any dancing.  Should I bring my shoes?  I should have asked more questions about what this was supposed to be before signing up.  OwnerGuy has already said he wants to talk to me afterward.  I know I’m a little light on lessons for the special club of people who spend a lot of money on lessons and he always gets me right after Showcase when I’m fired up about dancing.  Smart guy.  Tuesday, we have a coaching lesson with the other judge.  So it will be a busy early week for dancing.

Showcase is all about little moments and I’m probably not capturing them well.  I would certainly say that I’ve had stronger performances but some of that is due to the partner.  But I think we danced well together given that it was our debut at one of these events and the first time JoNY has had to dance at an event like this.  On balance, it was a very good day.  I’m happy.  Also tired and sore but mostly happy.



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