I’m Not Mature Enough to Dance

I had a wonderful lesson on Leap Day. It saw me descend to the maturity level of a maybe-14-year old. Two words: Shadow Position. Dance = Tango.

Teach is teaching me my Full Bronze routines for the time we compete again in the future (aiming for August). There’s a piece in there that is something that Gomez and Morticia Addams would dance. I don’t know the step names, but you’ll get the idea, it’s nothing earth shattering. Fan, spin into shadow position, then walk with the little shifting hesitation steps… Yes, that one. This is my introduction to shadow position in american smooth.

Teach: “Spin in…”

Me: *spins in and butt crack promptly lands on Teach’s leg* “Eeek! Is my butt crack supposed to touch you like that?!?!?!?!”

Teach: *inflection like he’s either talking to an idiot or trying not to laugh* “It’s Shadow Position. Your butt cheek is going to be on my leg like you’re sitting there.”

Me: “I’m not old enough for this.”

By the end of the lesson I was almost not noticing. It’s just so weird to have him back there. I’ll get used to it… eventually. Body violations are just part of learning to dance. It’s like what I do as a nurse. You just do what you need to do and you don’t even notice what you’re wiping any more. This must be similar. Thoughts or fun stories anyone?

My lessons are going to be different this week to accommodate my vacation to Vermont next week. Stay tuned – a new teaching is being added to help with Rhythm.



What Did I Sign Up For?

As you are no doubt aware, I signed up for a competition. It’s on November 13th. I am officially more poor than I would like to be, but the papers are signed and the money has been handed over. I wish I were more excited. I’m just feeling a sense of blah, with a small dose of nerves, about the whole thing.

My lessons have been great. Teach is giving me tentative choreography for our dances. He gives short wall and long wall choreography and then just repeats. I guess this is fine. What do I know? He also prefers to use steps that are already in muscle memory so that there’s not too much thinking going on about steps – this leaves room for performance, and just having fun. Again, what do I know. Sounds fine to me.

Over the past few weeks he’s been choreographing for me. If there’s something I really want in the routine, he tries to add it. All four American Smooth dances are done. It’s not too complicated. We’ve practiced our entrances and how we’re going to start each dance. Next week I have the privilege of dancing our routines by myself. Oh, joy! (I hope you’re sensing the sarcasm – this sounds like hell to me.) I know this will improve my dancing; he can’t see what I’m doing when he’s dancing with me. I just need to be in a good mood so I can take the criticism without sending me into a funk.

On a good note, we videoed the routines so that I could review them. This could potentially be a very bad thing for me mentally. I don’t like to look at myself. Yet, I watched them and thought, “I’m not half bad.” We weren’t even full on dancing and I was pleased with what I saw! What a huge breakthrough for me. It may have been because of how Blah I’ve been feeling, but I’ll take it anyway.

I’m wondering why I’m not more excited. Maybe it’s because I see it so cynically. I know I’m not good enough to win anything. I also know I don’t spend enough money to make it so that I do win anything. Let’s be honest, they need to keep those big spenders happy. I know it’s not all about winning. I know that the experience is great and that it will spur me on in my dancing. I need to be adult enough to not expect a trophy for arriving (like spoiled kids do these days). It’s just that some part of me wants to be fantastic. I love dance so much that I want to out shine everyone and it doesn’t work that way. So we’ll see what ends up happening these next weeks. Maybe I’ll go into the comp very excited. Until then, I wish everyone happy dancing!

Settled… For Now

I have returned from my dance lesson at The Land of the Perky Bottoms. I was very apprehensive about it since I’ve had a rotten feeling in my gut for the past week. I hate confrontation. As a result, I decided to see how things seemed to be going before just blurting out how much I hated him when I left. It ended up being like I spoke to him, even though I didn’t. He just danced with me and started throwing all sorts of new figures in there. He then told me that I’m leaning too far back. I need to stay in line with my base foot, not the one prepping for movement.

Then he decided to work more on Tango. He asked if I was ok with that and it was as if a dam broke loose. I told him how I left feeling real bad about my dancing last week. His first response, “Was I a brat?” Of course I said yes. He wanted to know how he was bratty. I told him (way to gleefully). I told him how I felt hopeless when I left. He apologized, we hugged, and went on to have a great lesson. I learned several different Fan variations and a very fun hook where my leg grabs his from the back. I think he realized I have some pent-up aggravation with him and he changed it to a flick in front of my own leg. Hahaha.

I made sure to ask him what the plan was for next week. I don’t want him just winging it anymore. (I’m not for sure that he was, but I got the feeling of haphazardness a few times.) I want to know that he has a plan for me. So, next week we will be stepping up my Viennese Waltz game. I’m going to hold him to it.

My Childish Rant

So here goes. I wasn’t sure about posting it because I seem like a petulant child and Teach seems like a jerk. But not every relationship is calm all the time.

Since I had skipped a few weeks of dance to finish up the homeschool year with my daughter, I scheduled a double lesson last Monday. It’s smarter to do this since my commute is so long, but my foot and fitness level aren’t quite up to the challenge yet. So I think I’m going to just do weekly lessons again.

My first lesson was with the positive Mr. R. I really love how he teaches. We went through Rhythm (except Swing – no one is willing to go there yet). He reinforced the swivel idea and then taught me four variations on a cross body lead in Cha Cha. It was so much fun to try and figure out what he was doing next and my swiveling and footwork are coming along nicely.

Then I had my first lesson with Teach #1 since February. Yes, it’s been that long! He decided to review Smooth with me. I haven’t done much Smooth since my injury and I’ve almost forgotten how he dances (remember the eye stuff), so there was more than just remembering technique, I needed to relearn our connection. Here is where my rant starts… He was on me like a drill sergeant. NOTHING was right. My feet weren’t together enough. My frame could be better. Get lower. Now I’m too low. Head too far left. Everything was wrong. Everything. It was completely discouraging. I know I’m rusty, but the delivery of this information was NOT good. He was whining at me. I’m incredibly sensitive. Gentle reminders are ok. Whining and harping at me and telling me that I’ve been so much better doesn’t do anything but get me depressed.

It also gets me thinking. This is dangerous. I started thinking about our lessons this year. I thought about what I would have written here about my lessons. There should be something to take note of after each lesson. You know what? I wouldn’t have anything to write. I’m either making zero progress because I’ve reached my personal high point, or, Teach #1 hasn’t been teaching me in a good way. Every week I should get a new step to help reinforce a technique or I should get arm styling to use with a step I already am comfortable with. Something! Do you know Teach #1 hasn’t taught me a new step this year? I’m barely Intermediate Bronze, there has to be something to play with. Teach #1 is obsessed with my feet being together. It’s his thing. If my legs and ankles aren’t making love every moment, he’s going to just keep harping on it. Then we get nothing else done. I know this needs to happen. My feet need to get together. You should see the scars on my feet and ankles where my heels have scratched flesh over this. But here’s my whine (as if the rest isn’t enough), I’m paying a lot of hard earned money to this studio. I feel like there need to be some balance here. After last week, I’m feeling a bit like I’m pissing it all away. I could go on some beautiful vacations to hear the same thing about my feet being together. I KNOW. They just don’t always listen during warm up. MOVE ON for a minute. I grasp many things quickly. Why do I have to devote hours to something when a simple reminder will work?! Or, just wait until after our warm up to start harping at me. It’s a warm up for a reason.

I want to talk to him a bit, but this past week I was so discouraged and was feeling so lousy about myself that I didn’t have the guts. Maybe I’ll be able to tomorrow. I’m still a bit raw. So, my childish rant is over for now. Another cup of tea would be lovely.

…Where I Have Fear For No Reason

I scheduled my first post-injury lesson. Cue the butterflies. I am so nervous. Here is where I have more questions than answers, again. Seems to me this is a recurring theme. Gird your loins.

What if they make a production out of my return? I could end up on Facebook if they get crazy! What if no one notices? That could be equally upsetting. What if I have forgotten everything? It’s been two months. An eternity. I only have a year and a half of dance experience. I’m barely intermediate bronze. Can they demote me? Why do I freak out about ridiculous things? This entire post is completely crazy!
The first three months of lessons I took were in a fasted or near fasted state. Why? I was too nervous to eat. Not eating would indicate that I don’t like dancing. Not the case. I tend toward perfectionism (only child) and I want everyone, my teacher in particular, to be proud of me. Since I am never pleased with my performance, seeing others pleased is as good as it gets. Plus I enjoy tricking my own mind into making my body move in ways it thinks are impossible. It’s satisfying. Does that make sense?
My thought are with the other bloggers who have much more pressing reasons to be nervous. But today, I am having my own freak out moment.