Mind over Matter

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Absurd probably isn’t the right word for Ballroom dancing. But there are parts that might qualify given that it is both athletic and artistic. Where else are you expected to dress up in fancy costumes and then do something that is going to make you sweat like crazy. It would be like doing the 40 yard dash in a three piece suit.

Figure skating is probably similar except you are on ice so at least there is something to cool you off. Maybe ballroom competitions should be in walk in coolers. I’d certainly go for that.

Last night, we had another double lesson. It also coincided with a late September heat wave that brought summer like temperatures and humidity. Everyone says it isn’t the heat but the humidity and there is a great deal of truth to that. Nothing worse than sweating in humid weather when there is no air movement so the sweat just clings to you.

Yes, the studio has AC and ceiling fans but unless you are creating a wind tunnel with the fans and cranking the AC to super cold, they really do nothing. There is very slightest hint of a breeze if you stand directly under one of those fans but that’s it for air movement.

I bring all this up because there is a strong mental component to dancing – just like most activities. Maybe it is stronger for me because, when things are going well, it is easy to get lost in the feeling of the dance. Each dance has a characteristic feeling and doing a bunch of different dances is like traveling to different places and times for that minute or so.

But when things aren’t going so well, it is hard for me to really lose myself in the dance. Then it becomes all too easy to just focus on what doesn’t feel right and what I’m doing wrong and all the negative stuff that likes to bubble up. The voices of doubt which can be hard to silence at times.

Now we bring these two pieces together and ask the question how does one feel classy and elegant doing a Waltz when you feel sweaty and miserable. I really don’t know how people do this. For me, it just kills the whole dance mojo. And it makes it that much harder to really focus and concentrate on lessons.

When it comes to Showcases, I try to do 3-4 heats per dance just because it gives you opportunities to make up for slip ups. It feels like it increases the chances of getting a really good run in one of the heats. Maybe I should be thinking that less is more and doing fewer heats just to try and avoid looking like a complete mess at the end of the day.

Yeah, the whole “be artistic while doing something athletic” vibe seems absurd to me.

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