Last Thoughts

I have to say, my final pre comp lessons went well. The waltz routine he wants to do doesn’t contain anything that I didn’t already know, so that’s nice. Then we just danced rounds. He was pleased with all dances but Mambo, my newest. There’s one figure that I still stumble over. I wish I knew its name or could describe it to you, but alas, I’m not that talented.

Now my cynical self is going to come out. Teach made no comments about my technique or hips in Rhythm. Neither of these aspects are in my body except as sloth pace. I know he was hoping I would be better by now, but it’s just not happening. I really appreciate Teach building me up now, because it’s just too late to make something go into my body that’s not there yet. I wish my cynical side could just take that lesson as the calming, back rub that it was (with me being prone to freak out and perfectionism). But I know too well that it’s too late for anything but minor touch ups at this point. Don’t worry, I’m not in a bad place. It was good to be able to just get through the rounds without straining my ankle or dropping of heat exhaustion. My cynical brain just does an eye roll because I see through these tactics.

There is also a level of attention for this comp that is new for me and a bit unsettling. First Team Match was a show up and go on the floor deal. In November, I just showed my dress to Teach and did my thing. This time, Manager Lady, Lady R, Teach’s Wife, and seemingly, everyone in the studio is keenly interested in my body grooming, costuming, routines, etc. I thought a new pair of shoes and a Rhythm dress would be the end. (I’ve always gone with the professional hair and makeup – I’m clueless with hair.) That is not the case. Who knew I would need a wax, fish nets, and additional tanning. As if I’m not tan enough! And fishnets? Yuck!!! It’s so HOT. Why would anyone wear all that?! But guess who went out and bought fishnets and some dancer body bronze crap that makes me sparkle like a fairy. This sucker, that’s who. This leads to the question: Why now? Why this dance event? Teach’s wife commented on a Facebook post I put up with the comment that I just upgraded myself from beginner to competitor. I guess that makes a little sense, but (here comes Mr. Cynical) could it be that I’m spending enough money on this comp to be noticed?

Yesterday I get a call from Manager Lady. To set the scene, I’m at work. I work as a nurse in a critical area, so my mind isn’t necessarily on this phone call as much as it should be. I saw the studio number and picked up in case there was a problem with something for Saturday. That wasn’t it. Manager Lady said that the higher up’s in the company decided that for those who sign up for 50 heats, they will get 5 free heats with instructors from other studios. She goes on to tell me that she thinks this would be a “great challenge” for me and since I’m already at 49 heats, would I like to buy one, get 5 free? I’m a sucker and at work, so I say “Sure!” I will now refer you to the questions at the end of the previous paragraph. And cue today’s freak out. What was I thinking? I don’t want to dance with random instructors! I’m neurotic enough without this particular “challenge”. On the opposite side of the spectrum, it’s like gym classes gone by, What if none of them want to dance with me? This was a poor decision. One that I’m going to have to live with now. But it does beg the question: Is she only calling me because I’m spending that much money anyway? If you’re on the list of top students, you’re spending too much money. I’d better not be on there. I prefer under the radar.

The hotel is confirmed. I’ve made the decision that I’d rather lug a bazillion suitcases on the subway than worry about parking at the hotel. I will have two lovely nights alone in the hotel room – the family decided to stay home. There’s just no money to pay the giant fee they charge to spectate. Now I just need to get my husband to relax. He’s concerned for my safety, which I respect and admire – it’s part of his job. But he’s being overly concerned. He’s convinced that my hotel is in a bad part of town, but it’s not. Things can happen anytime, anywhere, and without reason. I’m always on guard, but I refuse to live my life in constant fear of what can happen. Now if I could just apply that to my dancing. I’ll be thinking of all those who are dancing this week and weekend and a big thank you to all those who are lending support. I just love this community!

The Traditional Pre-Comp Freak Out

As of this writing, I have 3 lessons left before Team Match. This is not enough. I am NOT ready to dance in front of actual human beings. I still haven’t started learning the Waltz routine (I can’t learn the initial routine because it changes so often); Foxtrot has a VERY tricky part in it that I can’t seem to do (it involves running around him and really moving – I tend to leap when I try to move far. this is not good.) ; Tango is a whole lot of “what?” (remember shadow position that we never really went over). Don’t even get me started on the Rhythm portion of this impending fiasco. I can’t even do proper technique with my legs along with any arm movement. In November I felt so prepared. Now I’m in some crazy rush to the final showcasing of the mediocrity of my dancing.

The pressure is getting to me. I want to do Teach proud. I’m the only student dancing Rhythm with him at the moment. He’s known in the studio as the “Smooth Guy”. He competes in Smooth, but he’s more than capable of teaching other dances. I want him to do well and get him some more business in the Rhythm dances!

Next on the agenda, Manager Lady is dancing two heats with me. I believe a Rumba and a Mambo. She usually only dances with the Studio Stars. You know what I mean – the big spenders or the very advanced, plus her long-time male students. My goal of invisibility unless I’m doing something spectacular is not working. Now I have to worry about messing up my arms and legs with the Manager Lady.

I may also be dancing a few with Lady R, but I’m not sure if that’s true yet. And she’s a sexy beast. I’m going to look like the pretender that I am next to her. (I know I’m being hard on myself. )

One week. The countdown in on for the freak out to be over. I know this wasn’t the nicest to read, but I’m allowed to go as crazy as I want on my blog. Thinking off all you who have comps coming up.


The Mundane – Shoes

My lady lessons were cancelled last week because of schedule changes which was a bummer because I was looking forward to that time. But the weather was so hot outside that I spent some time with my dance shoes because I need to figure out what in the world is going on there. I need to start wearing the shoes I’m going to compete in during my lessons and they’re all sitting in a bag somewhere in my closet. I’m so glad I did this. I scaled a few fear mountains and used a few new gadgets. 😀

I bought practice shoes sometime last year because Teach likes to mix lessons up between styles and this was putting too much wear on my rhythm shoes. It was also expensive to keep changing heel protectors all the time. Those heel leads are no joke. I don’t know if it’s my weight or my technique, but I have to change them often. My practice shoes were pretty ugly-looking and needed a bit of a brush and some Gorilla Glue on the heels to tack down the suede, but I am so glad I purchased them. They were worth every penny.

I have been in denial about how to wash the scuffs off my satin pumps. Technically they are for standard, but I use them for smooth – I can’t find smooth shoes that fit. Those shoes are precious because 1) They fit on my extra wide feet right out of the box, and 2) they are the most expensive shoes that I own. I read copious articles on shoes and decided to settle in the middle of the street on what everyone had to say. I washed my shoes. Yes, you read that correctly. I washed them (with complete terror in my hear). I did try to keep the suede bottom dry (but I read it’s not necessary) and I wiped them with the grain of the satin using a soft washcloth with Woolite on it. Then I rinsed them. They came out beautifully. I plan to do it again the week of team match.

Shoes for rhythm have been an endless problem for me. My first pair of dance shoes have died. They wouldn’t have worked anyway because they’re black. I should have never bought black shoes, but they fit. Now they’re no more. I have two pairs of light tan shoes staring at me, but my feet are so wide in summer that there is a lot of pain to even walk in them, much less dance. They also don’t match my skin tone well. So I spent some more money and bought another pair for my collection. These are also not perfect, but they’re better than what I won. Problem. They have 3 inch heels. That has not happened before. I’m nervous that I may not be up to par to dance in these by Team Match. So my contingency plan includes a shoe stretcher. I used it on the two pairs that I purchased for cheap first and it worked. I can fit my foot in them! I’m still going to have some swelling and ugly rub, but at least I’ll have circulation. 😀 I plan to do this with my new shoes this week. Any extra room to start helps out.

Every pair of dance shoes comes with a shoe bag, but I’ve found out that this isn’t enough. My shoes then rub together and curl up in weird ways. They also smell despite the cute little potpourri packets that come with some of the less expensive pairs. I washed one of my older pairs just like I did for my pumps, with results that were ok. I bought some more cheap shoe bags from Amazon and am putting a shoe of a pair in a bad bag and then putting it inside the other bag with its pair. Inside it goes a charcoal pack designed for stinky sneakers. Hopefully this will increase the life of these precious shoes.

My little shoe army is now washed, stretched, bushed, packed and ready to go and practice in this week! Has anyone else washed their shoes? Happy dancing!

All About Them Arms

My lessons yesterday were all arms. Team Match is getting closer and closer and I’m still an unsure about what to do with those appendages. It was a breath of fresh air after all the footwork heavy lessons I’ve had lately.

The first lesson was a semi-coaching with my lady teacher, Lady R. She said my footwork is gorgeous (!!!!) but that it was blatantly obvious that I have no idea where my arms should be. And the times where I do know where they should be (Crossovers and UAT) there’s no intent. She made it all better with a few things to remember. If the arm is going up, lead with your finger (keep elbow in). If the arm is going out, lead with elbow. When arm comes in, lead with elbow. Who knew it could be that simple. Well, it’s not really THAT simple. We applied the arms in only Cha Cha, but the basics happen through all the Rhythm dances. Specific arm styles were applied to the butt pinch move (Chase Step) so that each turn with lock steps has something different to look at. My deltoids hurt just typing this.

My lesson with Teach was a bit of new choreography for Foxtrot so that all the arm styling could percolate for a bit. Then we went back and applied the same arm technique to Mambo. He also taught me a few new steps for Mambo. It was fun to finally have a few lessons where all the scrutiny was somewhere other than my feet/knees/hips. Now I just have to do all of this at once. I wonder how long that will take.

After lessons, Teach and I spoke to Manager Lady about Team Match. I’m dancing 42 heat evenly placed around 7 dances. I wanted to add either a Championship or Scholarship to it so that I would feel like I did a real Comp, and therefore, not feel the need to sign up for something that I can’t afford. I’m already paying the entry price for this one. I might as well just do it! The problem is this: The studio was only going to do a few Championships. Two for Bronze, two for Silver, one for Gold. The age categories were only 45 and below, and over 45. Teach dances with several ladies of all ages for Smooth and I didn’t want to hog up all his dances. I think he only dances with me for Rhythm, so that’s not too bad, but he will be super tired by that time. The end result was a Smooth Championship and a Rhythm Scholarship (that I don’t plan on winning – who can beat a 20-something year old girl with no inhibitions? Not this lady.) So I added that on. Plus, Lady R and Manager Lady both want dances during Team Match. I love lady dances. I can only have so many men in my life at a time and I’m capped now. So bring on the ladies. (Note: I am not a lesbian or bisexual. I was raised without a father and am completely awkward around men.) Teach was happy to give up a Cha Cha and Rumba to Lady R. He seemed less happy to give up a Swing to Manager Lady. Interesting.

An interesting note. Lady R said that I have a big personality both on and off the floor. I said the appropriate things, but I don’t believe it. I’ve never thought that about myself and it kind of threw me. I laugh loud, that’s true. But a big personality? Is that code for something that I don’t understand? It bears thinking about.

Teach is off to visit his in-laws in Japan for my next lessons, so I’ll be having a double with Lady R next time. I’m thrilled about it. I hope she brings more arms and sexy lady stuff. I could use all the help I can get! Happy dancing everyone. I will catch up on all your blogs one of these days!