Again I haven’t posted in a bit. I had to take a mini break from dance because our septic decided to die and we were living in a hotel. It was just too much to plan to go down to NJ for lessons during all that. Then we all got sick. Then my brother in law died. It’s been another rough patch for the family. I’ll be back at it in January. Just don’t hold your breath…
One way to save money in the ballroom world is to do your own hair and makeup. If you judge me against other women, you would call me a tomboy, so this is one area where I’m close to clueless.
My daily routine consists of brushing my hair, water on my face and mascara (if I’m even up to that). But having it all done professionaly in my area costs around $160. I can do a lot of other things for that much money. So I tried doing my own makeup for MiniMatch and Showcase. (Hair is another beast. I may tackle that in the future, but now, just no.)
My skill level isn’t as god-awful as I made it appear. I have in different times of my life put on a full face of makeup. You know, when I had acne, or was feeling awful about myself, or was going to a wedding. Most of my stuff was now old. I tend to go to Sephora and have a more professional person give recommendations because otherwise I’m lost. Could I get cheaper stuff at my local drugstore? Absolutely. But I’d end up mucking it up and spending twice as much money on stuff. Going to Sephora, I know it works and matches.
Going in I told the makeup dude what I was looking for. Luckily he got his start in makeup doing stage makeup. I am always honest. I want a face that I can adapt to stage or normal life because I don’t buy stuff just for one purpose. I want to photograph well (that means no SPF). I need it to STAY because I don’t sweat delicately and I don’t want all my makeup to land on Teach’s shirt. This is what was recommended:
- Tarte Mermaid Skin Hyaluronic H2O Serum https://www.sephora.com/product/mermaid-skin-tm-hyaluronic-h2o-serum-P430818?icid2=:p430818:product This was for moisturizer that didn’t overdo it.
- Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer https://www.sephora.com/product/veil-mineral-primer-P210575?icid2=:p210575:product Obviously a primer to keep in all on.
- Cover FX Power Play Foundation https://www.sephora.com/product/power-play-foundation-P429425?skuId=2053858&icid2=:p429425:product Did you know that the Cover Fx people are the same as the MAC people? Yeah, me neither.
- Cover FX Matte Setting Powder https://www.sephora.com/product/matte-setting-powder-P376533?skuId=1452689&icid2=:p376533:product Was all this overkill? I thought so, then I used it all.
- Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix Setting Spray https://www.sephora.com/product/mist-fix-setting-spray-P386660?icid2=:p386660:product It reall does seem like overkill, but it’s not.
I used bronzer and blush to make myself a bit more tan. I had to bribe someone to put false eyelashes on me for MiniMatch. I didn’t bother for Showcase. Although dramatic eye makeup is in for Dancesport, I can’t do that yet. I put some sparkles on and called it a day. I have hooded eyelids that aren’t easy to work with. Red lips make up for many sins. I can do red lips that stay.
Did it work? YES. None of these were legit comps, but I’m pleased with how it came out and am ready to attempt to up my makeup game. I’ve gotta get the eye makeup thing going. Any recommendations for liquid eyeliner are welcome. 😀
Hello all. It wasn’t very nice of me to dissapear like that. My only excuse is the usual one times 10. My husband had a massive heart attack and had to have Triple Bypass. He did great throughout. I got crazy. And my daughter got crazy, too.
I suffer with chronic depression and some anxiety that has worsened over time. It’s no joke. I’ve been under a cloud for the past year with no end in sight, trying to hold it together for my daugheter, who has been having regular panic attacks since last Septemeber. It took until three days ago that I was able to relax enough and just be to think about what was going on in this corner of the world.
A lot happened and a lot didn’t. I’m kind of sad that there’s not much activity anymore. A few of the good old reads for me, but noone is quite the same. It’s ok, though. I still feel like putting my dance thoughts on here. I never expected complete anonymity. I hoped for it when I first started blogging, but I’ve moderated my thoughts enough toward the end because I figured someone would find me. I think this just might end up being a more of an anything and everything blog. I think I intended that from the beginning, but dance has been such a grounding point in my life and I “met” so many fun dancers on here that I didn’t want to clutter up their feeds with other posts. But I’m a busy person with a lot on my plate and I may need to get it all out on here.
The dance update: I continue to dance. I took off 3 months for my husband’s surgery because I just couldn’t leave him, even with him doing so well. That time was about him, not me. He doesn’t like that I dance and I felt I needed to give him his deserved attention. I’m still a Silver Smoothie. Rhythm has fallen to the wayside. I don’t have the money to progress in that style, end of story. I will be forever bronze and I’m (kind of ) coming to terms with that. I’m still with Teach. Other teachers have come and gone. There’s a new couple who spend part-time at this studio and part-time at another in the corporation. I danced some smooth heats at a MiniMatch (a small comp at one of the studios) and he is great. I plan to take lessons with him occasionally to keep up with Rhythm and possibly add Latin and Social for fun. Teach and I will focus on Smooth. I’m good with this. 😀 I also did my first Showcase (like a show dance) with Teach last month. I dance to Roxie from the movie of Chicago. It was completely out of my comfort zone and great fun. As you can see, I’ve been plowing through everything. I have no events in my future because of the good old money situation. It’s expensive to dance and I just don’t have it.
I still home school my daughter. She’s in 9th grade and I can’t believe it! I seriously considered putting her back in public school this year, not because I don’t think I can teach HS, but because of the mental health issues we’ve been facing. Home schoolers don’t get any support without paying for it, and I thought that it would be better for us both to take a break. But then her panic attacks started and she just cried about going to school and I couldn’t do it to her. So I’m stuck. I don’t enjoy homeschooling, but it’s only 4 more years. 3 if she just does it! I can do this.
So a long post to return. I won’t promise to be regular; I don’t have it in me to plan enough content for that. But I’m here and I’m reading your stories again. Sorry I missed so much. Happy dancing, all!
This past week I had a coaching lesson with one of the other studio managers. It was kind of weird because I still have I’m JUST beginning silver smooth Bambi legs. All the other coachings I’ve had I at least knew a bit of what I was doing before going into the coaching. It ended up fine, of course. They know how to teach and I’m way to hard on myself. Teach began by mentioning to this coach that I wasn’t sure I was ready for silver, and, funnily enough, she told me that some students are termed forever bronze and I wasn’t one of them! I thought I made up that term all by myself. Guess I’m not as clever as I thought.
We started with Foxtrot because that’s the only dance I’ve done any silver in at all. To be honest, I can’t even remember all the things she tweaked. What ended up staying with me is that I need to stay with my partner better. It’s interesting because I have a reputation as a good follow, but I’ve become so used to bronze syllabus and so in tune with Teach’s lead that I was only half heartedly following. I didn’t need to devote energy to it because I already knew what was coming. Now I have to think about it again. She talked about how I would be just a moment shy of late in my slow, but it’s not really late. To wait for teach to initiate the final movement. She announced me much improved by the end of Foxtrot. This was one of the times I actually felt the difference, so , YAY!
We moved on to Tango. I have not had the honor of being exposed to basic Silver Tango timing yet. That wasn’t too difficult to understand and it really makes it sharper and sexier. (I can’t believe I typed that) But the figures are ridiculous! Teach and coach were trying to figure out which figure they wanted to teach me and they all looked crazy difficult. Each figure takes an entire wall! (Feel free to laugh at my nieveity) I finally had to interject my opinion and they taught me the easiest of the figures. Basically it introduced me to a fallaway type of step with a ronde. Then I had to learn how to ronde correctly… You get the picture. More on Tango later in my non-coaching lesson.
Coach calls Viennese Waltz the Venomous Waltz. Seriously, I love this woman! She didn’t have much to say here, but she helped me spot better so that I wouldn’t get as dizzy. I used to be better at this and I don’t know what happened. Maybe it’s because VW is my least practiced Smooth dance. All good reminders though.
I really liked working with this coach. I’m not going to give her a name because I can’t think of one and I don’t know if I’ll ever work with her again. I will if I can though because she’s funny and very real. She has to be the only chunky dancer I know. After our coaching she went and bought a pizza to chow down on. I kid you not.
My lesson with teach followed the awesome coaching. We reviewed everything from the prior lesson and then he focused on the dreaded CBM – counter body movement. Where your upper body and lower body seem to be going in different directions. Where you look like a wringed out towel or a barber shop pole. Nice, huh? One of the big concepts of Silver. Tango is where he brought it in to. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like going straight, to the left, to the right and doing it pigeon-toed all at the same time. That’s all I can say about that. Let’s leave it at this being something that’s going to take a lot of time.
On to emotions and feelings. Yuck. I’m ok with being Silver now. I think I needed it. Look at how much I have to talk about now. But I’m struggling with being the baby fish again. It was nice to be a shining star at the top of bronze. Coachings were little tweaks to arm styling and fingers within that styling! Now it’s about figures and timing and steps again. I can’t even do them in proper frame. It’s a bit humbling. Teach tried to make me feel better by telling me that I’m one of only five students who dance at a silver level in that particular studio. It does help to know that this studio doesn’t graduate just anyone. If you don’t meet specific technique minimums (I’m not sure what they are) then you don’t move up.
The other thing I’m struggling with is related to money, of course. First, my jealousy is getting the better of me again. I hate it when being jealous of others takes joy from my own dance journey. It’s not their fault, it’s mine. It seems that everyone can dance more than me. They take so many lessons. They progress quicker with all the coachings and lessons and competitions. I’m friends on Facebook with several and they’re always doing something. Travel, competing, etc. My green monster is in full swing. Second, I don’t think I’m going to have enough to compete this year. Several big bills have come my way and I’m not going to be able to save enough for dance. I’ll continue with my lessons, but no more. I have to let Teach know next lesson. I’m not too torn up about that, though. Team Match is in August. I will only have 12ish lessons under my belt in silver by that point. I’m not sure I’m going to feel comfortable enough to go out in front of people in that amount of time. Not if you include bumping up my Rhythm as well, which Teach says is a possibility. I’m not completely broken up about competing because of the lack of practice, but it is a bit upsetting because it’s good to have something to work toward. Well, it is if you have the time and money to make it happen.
Such is my life right now. Wishing everyone well.
I’m sure you’ve all been on the edge of your seats waiting for this blog. I know it’s been a long time coming. I started about 5 posts and never finished any of them. I just couldn’t get my thoughts together. So here’s the short story. I finished at my studio and went to where Teach is and we’re together again. I was tired of the commute to NYC and just tired of NYC in general – the people, the prices, just everything. If you want more of the low down please keep reading.
I’ve cut my travel time in half. I had a 3 hours door to door commute to the NYC studio. The drive to the new studio is 1 hour 35 minutes. Yes, it’s a long time, but not nearly as long as going to NYC. The studio is in an adorable little town in NJ. Parking is free and plentiful (at least early in the afternoon when I went). It was nearly blissful.
The studio itself is decorated just the same as the studio I go to now because it’s owned by the same people/corporation. The size of the floor is smaller and a different shape, but I think I could still learn how to dance there. (please notice sarcasm) They have another small room with a barre for kids classes and lessons.
Being back with Teach has been… interesting. When I left NYC I was starting to get used to Clyde. His choreo was interesting and full and I felt like I was really dancing. I recognized none of the steps, but it was nice to follow and simply dance without thinking about every little technical thing that clouds my mind. Going back to Teach was a bit like having an intense, wild affair and then your husband allows you back. I wish I could think of a different illustration. Needless to say, there’s a little sparkle lacking.
Teach also has other responsibilities being the manager of the studio. He doesn’t teach nearly as much and he’s required to schmooze a bit more. I’ve found our lesson start times are a little loose because he has the responsibility of greeting all the students and signing up everyone for more lessons, etc. He always gives me my full time, but I’ve waited in the corner for 10 minutes past start time waiting. He’s a talker.
Yesterday’s lesson marked a milestone for me. I’ve been very vocal about how I’m Forever Bronze. I don’t feel like I’m in good enough shape or a good enough dancer to move on. I also feel like I want a good foundation and that will help me later on. Plus, the S word implies something. It implies you know what you’re doing. I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing yet. Other than asking whether Clyde moved me up to Silver (*gulp*) yet on my return to him, Teach has been good about not saying the S word, but implying that Clyde may have been teaching me those kinds of routines and throwing some S level patterns at me every once in a while. We’ve been dancing around the issue for two months now! (pun intended) You can likely guess what happened at yesterday’s lesson.
I realized the prior week that I was bored. My dancing is boring. I couldn’t take another day of arm styling my rumba walks. I needed some new mental stimulation. I told this to teach and asked him to do something new with me. I figured he would teach me a bit more Quickstep (which I’ve added because of my new lady teacher, Dimples, recommendation) or finally add Bolero to my repertoire. instead he started teaching me a fun new Foxtrot routine. I knew immediately what he was doing.
Teach: You know what this is, right?
Me: Yes, I’m not stupid, just don’t say it out loud.
Teach: You like it, though?
Teach: I’ve been waiting for so long for you to be ready. (if he were a dog his tail would have been wagging so hard it would be going in circles)
He then went on to teach me the new, dreaded Foxtrot basic for the next 1 1/2 hours. Complete with technique on frame, directionality, feet, ankles, legs, and timing. It was blissful. Even when he had me walk like a dinosaur and told me that my body needed to wring out like a washcloth. The end of the matter is that I’m starting Silver in Smooth. I don’t know about Rhythm yet. To be honest, I’m not sure what the difference is between the two. Now I just have to wrap my head around and come to terms with it. That may take a little time. Happy dancing everyone.
I never updated you guys on my lesson last week. My lesson schedule is all thrown off because of the sickness and the snow, and therefore, my updating is a work in progress.
Lady J, my new favorite teacher, tried to teach me to walk like a crab in Rumba. I’m told it’s actually called crab walking, so maybe this ocean-themed Rumba isn’t so off this time around. She want’s me to walk in this manner during the step that I can’t think of the name of. Was that vague enough? We open and I walk. But it’s supposed to look like I’m walking almost straight, but on a slight curve. I’m just as confused as you are. She told me I did well, but since I can’t even explain what the heck I’m doing, I’m not sure this was a win.
Clyde taught me the new Rumba routine. They wonder why I never bother to fully learn the routine in the first place because it keeps changing every time I go in. I blow it off as something that dance is famous for, but I don’t have a lot of time for you to figure out what’s going on. Teach me right the first time. Fix me up already. The Cha Cha routine is finally the same, so I can safely learn that one.
Part of the reason that I waited to update is that I needed to push aside my mood. Since I told the studio that I was needing to switch studios they have all started treating me differently, like they think they can change my mind. The amount of fuss they’re making over me is off-putting. I’m not a show off. I don’t like it when people stare at my unfinished product. I don’t need the whole studio so stop what they’re doing and say goodbye to me each time I leave. It’s weird and it’s a change of habit.
Clyde is really irritating me with the competition talk. He’s not listening to me. He wants me to do a “real” competition with the studio. Summer Invitational to be specific. He tells me I haven’t done one in a year and a half. The Team Match doesn’t count (even though I did competitive heats) for some reason. I keep telling him I can’t afford to do what he wants me to do. I can’t ever afford to participate in a three-day competition in both styles of dance, I have to choose and only do one style. I don’t want to have to do that. That’s why I do Team Match. He just keeps going on and on about it. It’s making me glad that I’m leaving, to be honest. Teach always understood and knew when to stop.
Wrapping up here, my lessons are going very well with Lady J, ok with Clyde. The pressure and weirdness of Studio business practices are pissing me off. I’m getting attention because I’m thinking of leaving. In comparison to most, the piddly amount of money I spend isn’t worth this amount of attention. I hate confrontation and once it’s over, I want it to be over. All this sweet talking me and extra pressure is making me want to run outta there! I did make my last payment on my package, and I scheduled a lesson with Teach at the studio in the chain that he’s managing now. I’ll let you know how it goes. That’s it for now. I don’t feel like exploring the emotions above right now, so happy dancing!
I finally had another lesson yesterday. Last week we were bombarded with snow and there was no way I was going out in that. In NYC things don’t stop, but up here in the boonies we don’t have subways to take us where we need to go. Safety wins this one.
With Lady J I went over Rumba movement. She would like me to be more 3 dimensional with my hips. Hello Cuban Motion, we meet again you ugly thing. I need to just get over my shy/introverted/embarrassed/stubborn self and just do it already. I know I can, it just takes more work than I want to show out in public. I sweat and get all out of breath and my muscles are so sore the next day. That much work is no fun in front of the well put together teachers. Obviously, I need to stop whining, too. Something needs to give and it’s me. I’m bored dancing Rhythm the way I have been and they won’t move me on unless I get certain techniques down. Otherwise known as a vicious circle that’s all my fault.
My current dancing brain/body standoff reminds me of the intermediate rut. Not that I’m implying that I’m an intermediate dancer yet, but the thought still counts. My mom used to talk about it in relation to skiing, and I have since applied it to playing piano and other activities that take practice. Progress requires vulnerability. You may fail. You may fall down. You may suck when you first try but at least then they can fix what’s wrong. If you never get out there and try, they can’t fix it. Isn’t that why I’m there, to get better? Once you’ve been vulnerable and just tried you can then take all the things learned and practice, practice, practice.
Back to my lesson with Lady J. When I settle my hip, I tend to settle too much. Like “I’m taking a rest now” too much. So she reminded me to be a Shish Kebab (the title is now making sense, huh). All the meat or veggies twist on the same skewer. I need to be like that. It was like an epiphany. I did so well that she decided to play with me and choreographed a little introduction for an open Rumba routine. (I assume that’s a good thing that indicated progress? Let me know, because I’m a bit shell-shocked and clueless.) Two slow in place cucarachas then two quicks, closing feet at the end. Then two slow closed feet cucarachas and two quick steps to my partner. Arms are over head, down body and ending over partners shoulders. You can imagine the shock. Lady J is some bad-ass Eastern European type, so she won that battle. Those closed feet cucarachas are a beast, though. That is as unnatural a movement as any I’ve tried. Heels together, thighs zipped, transfer weight, don’t forget the Cuban Motion! Yes, be a mermaid. (See title again) This move needs work because I think I may look like I have a bug crawling up my leg.
I thought that this Rumba intro was just for fun, but no. Clyde saw it and now it’s officially my beginning. His change was that he wants me to grab is face when I walk toward him. This Rumba is going places I never wanted/expected to go. I think I’ve crossed a line that I can’t go back over because it was FUN. Clyde was smiling and having so much fun and so was I. We danced the Rumba for Manager Lady and for every person who walked through the door. (This was excessive for me but he seemed to proud, so I gave in.) I’ve officially reached the level of dancing where people watch me, even those people who are at higher levels. It’s a heady feeling, but don’t worry, I want to scurry into my hidey-hole when I notice they’re looking. No cockiness here.
Clyde and I worked on Cha Cha a bit, too. As I expected the routine is changing again. And they wonder why I never bother to remember them in the first place? The best moment was when Clyde told me that he had underestimated me. I like throwing people off. It’s no fun when people think you can do things. Or is it? 😀
When I walked in the studio yesterday, Manager Lady and all the instructors were preparing their dances for the Team Match. Part of me was glad that I could procrastinate a bit longer.
Clyde had me working on Smooth. He seems to want me to be a bit more dynamic in my dancing. I felt like I was already dancing “big” from what Teach had me do, but Clyde wants even more. More to the point that I feel like I’m going to tip over if I stretch my arm to the side any more. He even brought chairs out and had me do some exercises on them. I made a joke about being afraid that he was going to teach me some Chicago-esqe/Fosse dance moves when the chairs came out. He got very excited and told me he had been part of the cast of Chicago for a while and then started planning a Showcase in his head for me. Joke backfire. There is no way that’s happening. So my Waltz and Foxtrot are going well. The dynamics of my arms mixed with the nice stretches he lets me do are making me feel like a dancer. I’m glad he’s pushing more out of my comfort zone. (I can’t believe I said that.)
Lady J and I had a wonderful lesson, too. She worked on my Tango, specifically opening into Fan. I know it sounds like a simple thing, but I can make the simple seem impossible. Then we reviewed Swing. I have to do some Rhythm each time or my body forgets everything. She gave me some good points on turns and fixed some parts where I decided to become a ballerina in the middle. For the record, I was never a ballerina, but somehow I do weird things in the middle of dances. Again, I can make the simple impossible. Overall, Lady J is a wonderful teacher for me. The drill method seems to be working. The movements are staying in my body!
After my lessons, I talked to the front desk ladies for a while about my decision to change studios. They were NOT happy. It’s a bit surprising to me. I know they don’t like people to leave for $$$ reasons. They have a script to follow and all that, but it seemed to genuine that they would miss me. I am likable, I guess. Maybe. If I let you get to know me. The one secretary told me that my personality was desperately needed in their studio and that I would be a great loss. (What? I’m there twice a month!) I talked to Under Manager. She echoed the sentiments and said we would talk more. That’s slightly ominous sounding. I want it to be over with, but you know they’re going to have to come back with some sort of counter offer. I did come out with saying that they’re all under the same corporation. It’s not like I’m leaving for their actual competition. Everyone got a look that suggested I was not entirely correct in that statement. I guess there’s more competition between then I expected. I have eight lessons and a coaching left at the studio. I’m thinking that I’ll call and start at the new studio next month. Yes, I’m heartless.
Boy I’ve been sick. The Flu, a head cold progressing into sinus infections and ear infections. I haven’t had a lesson in a month, but here I am, in NYC, at Harvey and Sons Tea with my daughter, having tea, waiting for lesson time. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being nervous.
I’ve kind of gotten a handle on how Clyde teaches. This is half the trouble sometimes. I need to know what they expect from me so that I can deliver it to my best ablility. Clyde teacher in a similar manner to the other teachers I’ve read about. He teaches a routine that incompasses the syllabus moves and then perfects it. The problem is that I’m just not remembering the routine. I haven’t been taught that way. I live a lot of life between lessons, and let’s be honest, I’m not practicing daily in between them. Should I be? Yes. But it just hasn’t happened. Especially the past three weeks that I’ve been sick. Needless to say, I’m rusty and Clyde won’t be happy.
This is also the day that I need to bite the bullet and tell Manager Lady that I have to switch studios. The time has arrived and I loathe confrontation. You would think that no one ever switched studios before with the way I feel. I don’t want to hurt feelings, but I keep reminding myself that I’m paying them and, therefore, get what I want if they want my continued business in their company. Twenty minutes till showtime. Hopefully I’ll have time to update everyone after.
I have been terrible about posting on this blog the past few months. I don’t think I’ve done a wrap up in a few months. Sorry everyone. I plan to be better now that I upgraded my computer and everything seems to be working better. I hope it lasts.
- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins 4/5
- A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson 4/5
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg 4/5
- The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia 2/5
- The Birds by Daphne du Maurier 3/5
- Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier 2/5
- Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger 4/5
- Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger 4/5
- Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger 4/5
- It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis 3/5
- Forever and a Day by Jill Shalvis 3/5
- Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend 4/5
- Sudden Death by Alvaro Enrigue 1/5
- Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis 3/5
- Lift and Separate by Marilyn Simon Rothstein 3/5
That’s the run down for the month. I do really hope to keep up with blogging a bit better in 2017, both for dance and reading. Ta ta for now!