Take the Compliment

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I’m working on this.  I’m getting better at just saying a simple “thank you” to compliments.  What I’m still working on is the second guessing that goes on in my mind.  At first, something feels good but then I look for ways to diminish the impact.

Yesterday, I had a 30 minute session with one of the judges.  Basically, she went over all my critiques and gave a little feedback on the ones she wrote.  This is a good thing because with 200+ heats, they were very busy writing during the day and sometimes when you get a critique, you’re not really sure what they meant or what they saw.  So this was a better way to do things.

At first, she tells me that she enjoyed watching me.  I’m trying to remember all the exact words but they escape me now.  Something about how calm and confidence I appeared and there might even have been something about charisma.  I know she said it but I can’t remember the context.  Anyway, it was all good stuff about how I looked and that was great.  Then, I’m walking away and thinking “well, she has to say that to everyone”.   I mean she’s not going to say I suck.  Take the compliment.  Believe the compliment.

I’ve run across variations of this quote from time to time:  “Practice like you’ve never won, perform like you’ve never lost”.  I could probably adapt that to talking about freaking out and doubting yourself on lessons but just dancing at Showcase.  I suppose that’s a good problem to have.  I don’t really understand it myself.  I’m totally mean to myself on lessons.  Every little mistake or misstep is just a further sign that I’m just fooling myself and that I have no business being on the floor.  At Showcase, I can just laugh off the screw ups and keep moving on.  Why?  I don’t know.

She tells me I project confidence and I want to say “no, I’m a rolling ball of insecurities”.  Except that I wasn’t.  I was having a good time out there.  And maybe that just reflected in how I presented myself.  I guess being hard on yourself at practice is somewhat of a good thing if it pushes you to do better but I’m thinking I take it to the extreme.  Maybe I should dial that back a bit.

So give myself a little credit here.  JoNY and I went from never dancing together to doing 40ish heats in nine dances in about six months.  And we kind of nailed it.  No, it isn’t perfect.  Nothing ever is.  But we danced well and people like watching us and that’s a good thing.

There was an overall theme towards the comments and we peel the proverbial dance onion to reveal the next layer of stuff to work on.  The good news was there were only scattered comments about posture and she said I had good posture for most of the day.  (Sound of loud applause!!).  One comment on watching timing but she again said my timing was fine for most of the day.  So the things I was worried about backsliding on didn’t happen.

I’m struggling to remember the exact wording of what she said.  The time flew by and I wasn’t taking notes but it seems like the next big thing is moving my spine around the dance floor.  Or doing a better job of getting my head and body over the correct foot.  This is something OwnerGuy has mentioned and so it becomes the theme for the next couple of months since it applies to both smooth and rhythm.

I did get a couple of comments about lowering which is totally expected and so I pulled out the arthritis card.  She then started talking about how there are ways to compensate for that and still give the illusion.  It involves pushing more out of the back leg so you get more lateral movement and also trying to relax the hips into the movement.  Turns out I’ve got some flexibility there so we can use that.  We practiced that briefly with the Rumba and Cha-Cha so it gives me something to work towards.  The coordination will be a bit difficult moving different parts in different ways but we’ll just find a way to make it work.

She had a comment on the Cha-Cha because we do a surprise break where I rock away from her.  I guess I was doing a little tiny lunge and some arm styling that kind of accented the move.  She said it was great but that she wanted more.  Again, this is better than having totally dead arms all the time.  They are slowly waking up so we just have to keep finding things for them to do.

So at the end of the session, JoNY gives me her dream sheet for the next six months with lots of lessons and then I get shuffled into the little office to meet with OwnerGuy.  This is the reminded that it is a business and I know you had fun at Showcase and now we have things to work on but we need more of your money.  I joke just a little about this because we all do.  We want to learn to dance and you pay someone to help you get there.  I did end up signing up for another tour of duty.  OwnerGuy said he would still be helping us from time to time and I mentioned styling and said I’d really benefit from having a guy to work with on that and he agreed.

Oh, and we are going to be putting together an Argentine Tango routine for the next Showcase.  JoNY is very into Argentine Tango and I’ve done it with multiple instructors and always found it fun.  And, for the last couple of Showcases, the comments were always of the form “this is your dance”.  Which is odd because I have no connection to Argentina anywhere but maybe I can tango just a little bit.

Tonight we have a single lesson and then we get a coaching lesson with the second judge.  I should have more to say about that tomorrow.

One last little non dance note.  My trainer decided to leave and go work with another company.  They aren’t really employees of our company – we contract with someone to staff the fitness center but there are other options than teaching courses and training a bunch of corporate types.  My new trainer sent me an email today asking about goals and I went into a long explanation of ballroom and what I wanted to work on and she went out and did some of her own research and came up with a few new things.  Some of it is on flexibility as well as strength.  We did a lot of leg stuff today but it was all stuff that was relatively easy on the knee so that’s good.  Might make tonight’s lessons interesting but what the heck.

I felt good on Sunday night because I thought things went really well.  And I feel better tonight after getting the critiques.  Seems like this was a very successful Showcase.

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