Further Reflections

Of course I’ve been thinking on Team Match for the past week. I just haven’t had the chance to write my thoughts down.

I broke the cardinal rule. I watched video of myself and looked at pictures. My dancing was AWFUL. Completely below par. And I’m enormous. Cue my diet. I look huge.

I’m not trying to be completely incognito on this blog. If someone who knows me finds the blog, that’s fine, but I don’t encourage it or blab about that I have a blog. So I’m going to put up the horrible video of me dancing Rhythm with no energy, no technique, and my butt. Yes, the studio shot the last 4 heats of the day on 360 degree camera and posted it everywhere. This happened to be the Scholarship round that I was dancing with a broken toe. Now the whole world can see how fat I am and what a huge butt I have (because the angle of the camera went up my fluffy skirt during Mambo). I’m so embarrassed. At this point, all I can do is laugh. It’s that bad. So I might as well humiliate myself amongst friends before I go to the studio and have to face all the perfect, perky people there.

I’m the chunky one in pink with a black belt. Teach is tall and one of the perky ones. Grab a glass of something and enjoy.

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Good and Bad

I danced my feet off yesterday and had a blast doing it! Feel free to stop here if you don’t want to read my list of good and bad about yesterday, because the first sentence is true. (I’m not just talking myself into it. I’m really not.) I’ll start with the bad because I want to end on a good note. 🙂

The Bad

  • My steamer broke before I could get the wrinkles out of my dress (see last post)
  • I forgot my makeup remover.
  • I forgot my conditioner (to slather on my head while removing pins. It removes all the hairspray if done before shampooing.)
  • The hotel I booked was awful. It was on the edge of being in a bad part of town.
  • The food provided at this event wasn’t very good. When I’m promised breakfast, at that price I expect some hot food. I can’t eat gluten or dairy, and, when I arrived, there were only pastries and yogurt. Booo. They brought out some fruit later. I danced 20 heats on 10 grapes. Lunch was ok, but not that tasty, and too much pasta.
  • Let me be honest. My placement in the one competitive round of Rhythm wasn’t great. 4th (last). I always say that last is good because it gives you something to work on, but in reality, it kind of sucks.
  • Because of the above, I’m going to add this as its own point. The organizers put in two Championships and two Scholarships ONLY for each general style of dance. That means the age categories were weird. 39 and under, 40 and over. That’s it. So I was competing against young ones with trust funds (no bitterness now).
  • There were way too many couples on the floor at once. I got stepped on, hit, ankled, rammed into with each smooth dance. Teach was pissed at all this. To be that tall and not be able to stretch out? Yikes. Rhythm was a bit better because the movement around the floor is less. Still got punched in the face by an overeager arm, though. (The pair was from my studio and apologized profusely. My eye is intact and my false eyelash even remained on!)
  • I didn’t dance well. At all. I had major mess ups in every heat. Perhaps all the pairs on the floor threw me right from the start, but I wasn’t on at all. No stretch in smooth. I was so spooked by all the contact with other people, my head was all over the place. Poor Teach. In Rhythm I applied zero technique. Zero turnout. Zero legs. Zero hips. I’m not sure that competitive Rhythm is for me.
  • The 5 dances with random teacher you’ve never met. This pressure was not good. And I had one teacher deny that she was dancing with me. They had to pause the heat so that someone could volunteer to dance with me. Thankfully, the event coordinator (a dancer, but non-teacher) who knows me raised her hand right away because I was brought right back to never getting picked in gym class. It was embarrassing.
  • My pinkie toes are bruised from those darn rhythm shoes. That floor was a beast to dance on.

The Good

  • When I got to the Hall, everyone jumped on getting my dresses steamed. It was so nice!
  • We danced at Grand Prospect Hall. Look it up. It’s gorgeous!
  • It wasn’t a true comp. It was nice to not have the pressure of going head to head every heat. I was completely relaxed throughout and even had time to encourage newbies.
  • I read some of the proficiency comments and they’re all fairly positive. The funniest comment was on Salsa. I haven’t danced it in over a year, but they threw in a few with the dances with other teachers (maybe they’re newer and don’t do mambo?) The judge commented to be careful of my Salsa timing, it’s not Mambo. I counted this as a Mambo win, because that timing is supposed to be more difficult and that comment meant that I can Mambo without teach, on time. Sorry Salsa – I really should learn you better.
  • It reinforced that I have the best Teach! I only shared him with one other student, and only for smooth. What a difference it makes to have your teacher there to support you during the down times. Not that I abuse that. He needs down time, too, but he hovered over me, wiped my sweat (seriously, who does that?), and brought me water. I almost felt pampered.
  • I placed 2nd in the Smooth Championship. (I was beaten by one of the young ones listed above – my competitive nature is coming out and I want to slay her next time. I’m so bad.)
  • I didn’t let my poor dancing get to me. I was glad to be on the floor and had a blast!

I know there are more bad things listed than good, but the most important part of this was my mental being. And the fact that my poor dancing didn’t put me into a funk of depression is a big good, far outweighing the bad aspects. I’m well prepared for the post dance event doldrums. I know they’re coming and that in itself helps with getting past them. But overall, it was a good experience.

A fun note. My husband came to see me dance for the first time. He had so much fun with everyone that he bought a bunch of raffle tickets in support of Autism. And he won 3 of the 6 prizes! I’m so glad he gave them to me. 😀 One is a coaching with Benito Garcia. I can’t wait! Maybe he’ll change my mind about competitive rhythm. 😉

Organizing

There are some problems with only having lessons every other week. One is that I have a longer time to spiral downward in between shots of logic. The Land of the Endless Perky Bottoms gives you a little lesson sheet that has room for things worked on and comments. The problem is that the correct notes don’t seem to go on it. “Waltz – footwork” doesn’t quite trigger my memory once I get home. With the Team Match looming on the horizon, I really need to figure out what’s going on! Thank goodness I have a decent relationship with Teach. I told him all this and then spent out lessons organizing my brain and giving me solid info on Team Match this summer. Sounds like fun, huh?

Team Match – This is set up like a competition, but it’s not one. It’s an excuse to get all the 5 studios in the chain to get together and compete to get “Top Studio”. It’s one day long – so great for those on a budget, because they have heats for all styles of dance on the same day lessening overall cost. This year every heat is going to be a proficiency heat (judges give tips). There will also be a few multi-dance events which will be ranked. It tends to be much more informal and loud (which I don’t like). At the end of the day you recieve an overall competancy score. I know all studios have different terms for their events, so I thought a bit of description would be nice.

As I said, we just spent 4 lessons over the past few weeks on organizing my brain. I now know what I’m supposed to be working on in 7 dances in preparation for Team Match.

For Smooth I’m working on artuculating my feet, or, as I call it, the middle stuff. What the foot is doing between steps. I’m only dancing Waltz, Fotxtrot and Tango at the match because of time (money) constraints. Each of those dances have an individual thing to work on. In waltz, I need to lower and prep my leg at the same time. In Foxtrot I need more springy knees action, especially in the side steps (I’m still a bronze lady). Tango needs the most work. I need more clarity between closed and open position (fancy way of saying promenade position needs some work). I’m also working on making it look sharper – the freezeframe moments, dancing like it’s a flipbook. So, tango is my current smooth beast.

Rhythm is a bit different for goals. I just started Mambo. My Swing isn’t well practiced. I could go on and on. But basically, for Rhythm I’m working on how to take a step. Yes, learning to walk takes a long time. In Rumba repeating “toe,heel,knee, hip” in my head with each step. Oh! Then remember that on the slow steps it’s toe on the 1, then heel, knee, hip quickly on the 2. And people wonder why I’m crazy?! In Swing it’s the whole pendulum action coming into play. That’s ok, but I also need to stop panicing and stiffening up before the free spins. And arms. Don’t get me started on arms. Cha Cha needs to be sharper with clearer feet. This also has 3 clear picture moments that need to be hit. For mambo, I need to go on the floor and stay on time. The freeze and switch in important too, but staying on time seems to be the real beast here.

Yesterday we went through the mixture of Intermediate and Senior Bronze steps that he’d be using for Rhythm at Team Match. No routines for Rhythm. There’s not point in telling you the names of things because everyone learns different names for things. Now it’s just to practice them. We have to go over our smooth routines next time. I’m also having a lady lesson to help with arms. I hope it sticks this time.

I officially signed up for August 20th Team Match. I’m dancing 42 heats (the most I’ve ever danced!). Now it’s time to practice, practice, practice!

Hope this wasn’t too boring. I wanted another place for all my notes and this blog is it.

 

I Got What I Wanted and I Liked It

Those who read yesterday know that I had a semi-sick lesson last Monday. This was my first lesson after Teach threw a GIANT April fools joke at everyone… and we all feel for it. So let’s back track to April 1 for a minute.

I wake up after a horrible night coughing up my lungs and decide to check Facebook before getting out of bed (never do this). The first post on my wall is from Teach. He’s not a big one for posing on social media, so any post he puts up I read. It was a post saying that he was moving to Japan (where his financee is from) and starting to work at his in law’s dance studio there. He had tagged his in-laws and included the appropriate hashtags and everything. I don’t funcion before I have my tea, and I had been up sick all night, so I burst into tears and ran to tell my mother and daughter. Five minutes later I had myself losing all kinds of weight in my grief, and many dollars richer from switching studios. (I move on quickly.) Then my mother noticed the date… He WOULDN’T. Yes, he would. It was an April Fool’s joke. Oh, yes. He got everyone. By everyone I include all the managers of the dance studio. He got in a bit of trouble for that one.

I took advantage of the fact that he made me cry because of a joke and shamed him into letting me choose what to work on. It kind of worked. I requested a run through of the Waltz choreography because I need a revew every once in a while so that I don’t forget the important bits. Next I demanded to learn Bolero. Yes, I demanded. Part of my goals was American 9 dance. Right now I have 7 dances, not 9. I needed something different. Sometimes it seems like you’re in a dance rut. That’s how I’ve felt. Logically, I know that practice, practice, practice is necessary for progress, but that rut is deep and it can do a number on your esteem and dance stamina. The April Fools joke gone awry gave me the ammunition to demand what I needed. So he taught me the Bolero basic in about 10 seconds and then went on to teach me Mambo. I called Teach out for this about 15 minutes in. (it could have been because I needed to breathe. Jeez that’s a fast dance!) He laughed and told me that American Rhythm is traditionally taught in this order: Rumba, Cha Cha, Swing, Mambo, Bolero. So I technically got what I wanted – to learn a bit of Bolero – but Teach got what he wanted – to teach me in the traditional order. But I still won because I just needed something new. It turned out to be Mambo and I love it! What a fun dance. The counting/timing is going to be an issue, but I’m up to the task and glad to have another dance in my arsenal. Now we can go back to our regularly scheduled dance technique.