Learning to Fly (on the Dance Floor)

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The studio is technically closed on Monday – that’s what it says on the window. That just means they don’t have any structured group classes but the teachers are free to schedule lessons on Monday if they choose. So Monday can be kind of a make up day which it was for us last night because PJ is going to be out on Friday for a competition.

It does make the studio energy much different. On the one hand, we had the whole floor to ourselves which is rare and made it easier to just dance without having to worry about dodging other couples. But that also makes it just a little odd as well.

So the goal of the night was to get through both the Viennese Waltz and Swing routines. The stretch goal was to do them to music.

Learning choreography for a routine can easily bring out my inner perfectionist. It is far too easy to focus on what went wrong and not give myself credit for what went right. Last night, I kind of tucked that part of me away and just tried to go with the flow and accept that neither routine was going to be perfect.

For me, there is usually a bit of panic when I see something for the first time. I can’t keep up with all the moving parts which is kind of the WTF stage where you have no idea how to do any of what you just saw. And it can be easy to just tell yourself that it can’t be done.

After many awkward attempts, certain parts start to make sense. We’ve been breaking each one into chunks so you dance the first part a few times until it starts to feel a little less awkward. Then, you move on to the next one. Then you hook those two pieces together and so on. Slowly, it dawns on you (well at least me), that this is doable.

The first time you connect all the pieces together and actually do a rough cut from beginning to end without stopping can be a wonderful feeling – if you let it. That is where you need to lock up the inner perfectionist because there are always going to be things that can be polished and made better. But you’ve built the foundation and that’s where things need to start.

Anyway, we started with the Viennese Waltz and, following the process, we put it all together and actually danced it to the song a few times. I think time flows differently during a routine. I’m aware that we are moving around the floor but, at some point, you realize that you are down to the last step and it seems like no time has passed at all even though you’ve move all around the floor.

PJ had another couple after me and they came in while we were working on the Swing. At one point, the lady just announced that she was going to watch us and came out to sit at a table. Turns out we did the best run of the night. Guess I just need an audience.

We finished with the Hustle which meant doing one cold run and it also went really well. One night three routines and all danced to their respective songs. It is true that two are not final products yet but that’s OK for where we are in the process. It was a very positive and productive night.

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