Showcase – The Day After

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Some people take dance lessons before their wedding. Some do it to learn to dance for some special event. Others do it just to be able to go dancing. And then there are those of us who do things like a Showcase or a comp. I suspect non dancers might wonder why we would choose to spend a perfectly nice summer Sunday inside a hotel ballroom dancing and being judged. But, if you get it, you get it.

The day started with some negative energy. Got to the entrance to the hotel garage and it was blocked saying that the lot was full. Made another round trip and found a second entrance that was open. Then, it was just cruising by space after space hoping to hit that one lucky empty one from someone who may have checked out early. Was actually about to give up and go for the valet parking when an open space magically appeared.

I’ll give the venue points for the floor. I’ve been to enough events where we have to stop so they can fix the floor. Seen lots of duct tape used to keep the edges together. This one held up for the entire day and also wasn’t sticky like some of them tend to be.

But that was really the only highlight from an event/facility standpoint. The room was way too hot. I mean you’re going to sweat even if you were dancing in a walk in freezer but this was too much. I know hot yoga is a thing but hot ballroom dancing is not. I didn’t bring water because most of the other venues just stock the table with pitchers that are refilled during the day. This place was two water coolers and they were both empty just after lunch. So you had to trek out to the drinking fountain near the restrooms. Hey, we’re doing some serious work here and you’re room is too hot and now you’re going for dehydration??

Now they did have bottled water brought in but that was only for lunch and I wasn’t smart enough to load up before they took them away. Lunch was a little heavier than I’d like. I know it is cheaper but I prefer the sandwich spread to hot dishes. So I didn’t take very much but it still created a bit of a post lunch low which I had to shake off to do some of the faster dances (Swing/Mambo) in the heats after lunch. Yeah, you don’t want to stuff yourself and then try to do a Mambo.

The dancing went well. No major screw ups and it all felt good. I got the assorted nice comments from people in the after party including a few from the other studios. After doing this for as many years as I have, you would think I would be used to it but it always feels a little weird to me. And it shouldn’t because I’m in performance mode when dancing (especially the solos) so I’m trying to add expressions to things that I wouldn’t do at practice. Guess when I turn back to Clark Kent off the dance floor, it is hard to imagine people watching me.

Had a guy even comment on my smile. (You hear stuff in the dance world that you don’t hear in the real world). I guess because its real. I’ve reached a place over the years where I don’t really feel much stress. Some nerves but that just makes you feel alive. This is the icing on the cake. You grind through lessons and do the hard work to just get out and dance and you might as well enjoy it or what’s the point. But I know it takes time to get there. So I’m smiling because I am having the time of my life – even if I bobble a step or two.

And now this morning, I’m feeling it. My feet were killing me last night and I had muscles in the back of my thighs cramp up a bit while trying to sleep and they still feel a little tight today. Whatever is just behind the shoulder blades is sore today as well. Other students tell me I make it look easy. I can tell you from experience that it isn’t. I tend to think everyone underestimates just how physical dance is. The real pros are athletes. Not that you have to be an athlete to dance but it will challenge you.

I’m working with the male coach tonight. He’s only in the studio for one day and it happens to be tonight. I’ve found a lot of value in working with coaches who’ve spent the day watching me dance. Well they watch everyone but you know what I mean. So I’ll drag my tired and sore body in there and see what we can do to keep getting better. The journey doesn’t stop.

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