Is There any Progress??

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The memory function on my Facebook page has been very active lately. It has been showing me the photos I took several years ago at my first big dance event. Funny how time flies. It feels like it was a lifetime ago but it really isn’t that far in the rear view mirror.

This year’s event is scheduled for the end of August so they’ve changed the timing a bit. I’m not going but there is a big contingent from the studio going. I think all of the instructors are going so they are actually closing the studio for that weekend.

I’ve talked to a few of the students about the event and I see the nerves and anxiety in a few. The problem is that you really can’t prepare for how it is going to hit you and it is going to hit everyone differently. It is a good thing that they have a large group because they can all share in the anxiety. I know what it is like to feel totally alone at one of these things and it isn’t fun.

In fact, the one I enjoyed the best was when I was with Kid T and there was a small group of us. Part of that was the difference between Kid T and Z. Kid T didn’t quite put the same pressure on so it was easier to be relaxed. And, by then, I had figured out how it worked and that the little colored medals didn’t quite mean as much as I first thought.

But we have to pivot back to today and where I am today which isn’t that great. I wrote about the enthusiasm gap and it is still there. Last night, we did smooth which was always my best category. The Viennese and Tango felt fine but the Waltz and Fox Trot didn’t. Waltz has always been a dance I’ve enjoyed because of the way it flowed and now it feels like such a struggle that it isn’t any fun.

And it isn’t like I don’t know the steps (well except for the slip pivot) but it is because I’m trying to work on shaping and stretching and staying offset and none of that is really coming to me. This is probably the hardest thing about learning to dance. Someone can tell you what you need to do but they can’t really explain how to make your body do what it needs to do.

I mean I know it is about stretching through the ribs and not raising or dipping the shoulders but it just isn’t something that is not coming naturally. Which kind of means it is a series of trial and error – well mostly error. Also, when trying to thing about one thing, other things can go out the window. Which makes it tough when I can’t get the one thing I was trying to do right but then get dinged for several of the other things that I can usually do.

I’ll setting for competence at this point.

Another thing that really makes this tough is figuring out how to judge progress. How do you know that you are moving in the right direction? There aren’t many things that can be accurately measured. I’ve been working out for quite some time now and I can look back at where I started and how many reps I can do know vs then and you can see that progress has been made. I can’t yet figure out the analog for ballroom.

The only thing I have is my imperfect memory of how things used to feel. I do have some new steps in the Waltz, Fox Trot and Tango but the other dances are basically things I’ve done before. Of course, my memory might be sanding off the rough edges and leaving me with the false impression that everything was peachy. But it is all I’ve got and the way things feel now is nothing like how it used to feel.

I do know some of this is related to the instructor and the partnership. When I want to my last big dance event it was with Kid T like I mentioned. We started rough but we eventually got in sync and that was still the best partner I’ve had. I suppose I should also remember working with JoNY. It was rough at first but we did finally start to gel and had a great showcase and were working on checking out right before things got shut down last year.

So maybe it doesn’t make sense to toss in the towel just yet. But I can’t help that those feelings keep popping up. Continuing to go to lessons to just struggle through the various dances isn’t a lot of fun. To give you an idea of how far my enthusiasm has slipped, we are supposed to be updating the Rumba routine for the next Showcase but I’m at a point where I really don’t care if it happens or not. I’m certainly not pushing it.

Here’s another sign. Due to some scheduling snafu, my lesson for next Wednesday fell off the books. Given the option of putting it back, I chose to leave it off. I’m actually looking forward to the light week next week.

At this point, I’m just not sure how long to keep plodding forward hoping something will change. I’m not one for rash decisions but I guess I need to think about a reasonable time frame. I mean there isn’t a lot of point to spending money for something that doesn’t bring a lot of joy.

After all, as the quote t the beginning said – question everything. Well I suppose maybe I should take the second part seriously as well because I might be able to find a way out.

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