I’m gonna need more cowbell

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It was a quiet night at the studio on Tuesday. I think some folks are staying away just to make sure the place isn’t going to trigger an outbreak.

I did get my critique for the Tango. I actually forgot about it until the very end of the lesson when another student commented and PJ brought up the critique. She forgot as well but I was out all last week.

The judge was the owner of another Famous Franchise in the area. You are judged on four components and I can’t remember all of them except I know there is technical skill for your level and showmanship. Each is on a 25 point scale so the final score is out of 100. From past experience, I know judges don’t use the full range. They aren’t going to savage you and make you regret doing it and they likely aren’t going to give you a perfect score because they always want to give you something to work on.

The highest score I’ve ever received was a 98 and that was on a Peabody which I was doing for the second time and I’ll admit I was really feeling it that day. The crowd energy was up and I kind of fed on it as the routine went on.

The Tango came back at 96 – a solid 24 in all four categories. I’d equate this to 9’s across the board in DWTS. And I’m very happy with that score. The routine came together in about a month and I’ve never danced with PJ before so this was our debut. Building a new partnership has its own set of challenges – getting used to how each other dances so you are able to move fluidly. Plus, OwnerGuy tossed in some pretty complicated stuff and a lot of it was just go, go, go.

The one critique was something about going for it more. Like not holding back. This is probably where it would have been good to talk with the judge to better understand this comment but that’s what it seemed to be.

I think I’ve gotten better at this but I know it can still be an issue. A good routine is not just about technical skill. It is about how you make the song come alive through the dance. It is about feeling the music and getting into the character of the particular dance. For the Tango, it is about creating drama when drama is called for. It is telling a story. At least that’s how I think of it. And it does require tapping into things that maybe you aren’t comfortable with showing because there’s this little part of you that wants to hold back.

There’s another lady at the studio who always does as many solos as she can. If I’m going to be honest, she’s not the best technical dancer but she always throws all she has into each routine. And it is always fun to watch. I think that’s what I need to be able to consistently tap into.

So this was going to be the studio’s semi-annual tournament of fun with sponsorships and fun and games and fabulous prizes. They had actually started and then COVID stepped in because we just aren’t allowed to have fun in 2020. They’ve cancelled all the parties and the whole tournament idea with one exception.

For the last couple of years, they’ve ended the tournament with something called Showstoppers where students do routines that are supposed to be brand new. So you get the six weeks of the tournament to put together something and then you show it off and potentially keep working on it for the next Showcase.

They’ve decided to combine that with the Snowball dance which is the holiday themed dance party they throw every year. With COVID, they’ve now pushed that out a week so it is about a month away.

Am I going to turn down an opportunity to perform? Of course not. PJ was teaching me some Silver 4 Rumba stuff on Tuesday and brought up the potential of doing a Rumba for Showstoppers.

Now, when people ask me what my favorite dance is, I usually say Viennese Waltz but, really it depends on my mood. Nobody ever asks me what my least favorite dance is. If they did, the hands down answer would be Rumba. Why? Well you’ve got the whole Cuban motion thing and then there is the particular character of the dance. In Shall We Dance, it was described as “the vertical expression of a horizontal wish.”

Yeah, this!

I guess there isn’t a better dance to take on if I want to work on going for it more. I suppose I’ve been dancing long enough that it just time to get over it and deal with it. We’ll see how it all works out. I’m already dreading the comments about hip movements.

Then again, I do this because it challenges me so bring on the Rumba!

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