To Thine Own Self (Ballroom Reflections)

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This is me trying to explain why I don’t want to do certain things!

I’m rapidly running out of time to make a final call on going to the Big Dance Event. I just keep ignoring it for now but, sooner or later, I’m going to have to decide and commit.

Many times when I make a decision it is about what feels “right” or “wrong”. Or maybe it gets to what feels like me and what doesn’t. This is very hard to explain to an outside person since it gets tied up in my internal value systems. When it comes to these Big Dance Events, there are many other factors that steer me towards not going. Cost vs the perceived value being one. Another being that it is a bit overwhelming to be surrounded by that many people for so long.

But it also gets to why I dance. I fell into the trap of trying to dance to please someone and that is a road to ruin. It made me forget the fun part of ballroom. Not saying I don’t enjoy the compliments but it isn’t my main driver. It is really just trying to enjoy the moment and maybe project some of that joy for the audience to see.

But you go to one of these events and you are surrounded by judges with clipboards who give you a quick glance to see how many boxes you check. If you check enough (timing, frame, posture, footwork, etc), then they look again to figure out how to rank you. And I’m not saying that those things aren’t important to the overall package because they are. I think a strong frame and good posture projects confidence and that helps to draw people to you.

For reasons, I can’t really explain, that just feels wrong to me. Like I said I’m doing this for what it makes me feel inside. If I can channel that and project it outward, then people pick up on it and they enjoy what they see. That’s more important to me than did I check all the technique boxes. Is it the best attitude to have? Probably not if your goal is to be a successful competitor.

I get the whole competitive thing and I know it is a useful goal for a lot of people. There is just the part of me that has problems putting objective grades on something that can be very subjective. Is a dance good if it doesn’t move you in some way? I’d much rather have someone come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed watching me than to get good marks.

And all of this is to try to explain why I’m strongly leaning towards not going again. Just not sure I can find the right words to express the feelings.

To get out of the abstract, a brief recap of last night’s lessons. The two-step does continue to progress. After watching the video many times and drilling on the shaky parts, I’m feeling much better about it. We did a smooth round and I had to admit to PJ that I’m kind of going through the motions on those dances. We’ve had the same set of patterns for a few years and my interest is starting to wane. Think she was ahead of me and we talked about ways to refresh them and make them new and shiny. A project for post Showcase.

There was a newer couple on the floor with us. I’ve seen them a couple of times now. Well they went into the office to discuss future dance plans and, as they were leaving, the person who spoke with them came over to us. I guess the guy said something about how he gets distracted watching me. Part of this attention is a bit embarrassing but there is another part of me that likes it because I’m connecting with people through my dancing. Which is another thing I can’t find the right words for but it feels right.

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