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. 😉

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Love Triangle vs. Dogs Fighting Over Bone

Mr. R is growing on me. I feel a bit guilty because I’m starting to bond with him more than Teach #1. Yikes! Mr. R is more open with positive feedback. He also tells me when to cut it out. Maybe this is the difference between a Russian and an American teacher? He’s my first non-American dance teacher. Hmmmm.

Rumba. Connection of hands. Pressure needed to help me follow better and to create the elasticity between us. Under arm turn with two pivots! This is the sort of thing that gets me giddy because I’m such a nerd. Forward, diagonal, pivot, diagonal, straight, pivot, side? Something like that. First pivot kind of weird because it’s right under his turning arm. Mr. R is average height. I’m still used to dancing with 6’3″ Teach #1. It’s a bit claustrophobic under there. The crazy amount of pivots I did was satisfying, though.
We did a bit of Cha Cha review. He reminded me to hold the 1 because that’s where all the moves come from. Then my foot started acting up so we moved on to Salsa. For some reason, Salsa didn’t bother my foot. Every lead has their own spin (pun intended) on Salsa. It’s very interesting to get to know them all. Mr. R does a spin where he reaches around my body mid spin to grab that same hand and spin me out again. I didn’t know what he was reaching for the first few times. When he finally clarified, he said, “What did you think I was reaching for! I hope you weren’t thinking I was some sort of creep!!” Ha! I had to remind him that my personal space issues get checked at the door with my street shoes – most days.

There were a few brief Argentine Tango reminders. He told me that to dance Argentine Tango properly I need to forget everything I’ve ever learned about dance. It is its own entity. More work on staying with chest and giving him pressure in the arm as well as pushing into his leading hand on my back. In case you were wondering, this is hard.
Mr. R said something that was interesting to me about myself. He said that I seem to love learning technique. To be honest, I’ve never thought about what I like best. Teach #1 seems to just teach technique to me without saying why (not that I asked). It makes sense, though. Some people take four lessons and they’re swinging their hips, flipping their hair, and are able just let loose – be confident. I don’t have that quality and find it difficult to fake it. I find my confidence in knowing that what I do, I do correctly. Then I can relax a bit and enjoy the freedom of dance. Interesting that this topic was just brought up by The Girl With The Tree Tattoo this week.
Toward the end of my lesson, Mr. R lamented how quickly my lesson goes by. A little imp prompted me to ask if this was good or bad. Then the complement came. He told me that I am at such a high level for the amount and pacing of my lessons and that there is so much he wants to teach me because I can grasp several concepts in one lesson. Not all students can do that. He’s very good at making a girl feel special. He’s also trying to steal me from Teach #1. I wasn’t born yesterday. I know this is a vicious game with polite smiles to the customer. I see the whole thing and know exactly how I’m going to handle it. Since this has turned into a love triangle of sorts, I’m planning to milk it for all its worth. I’ve never been part of a love triangle before, so it only makes sense to absorb their best teaching and enjoy the complements. I may have terrible body image issues, but I’m still a female, and as such, love compliments. Feel free to tell me how awful I am.
Please, if you think I’m terrible for letting two men fight over my lesson money, let me know. If you think I’m weird for enjoying technique, you can tell me that, too. I’m on a dance complement high and can take it today. What differences have you all noticed between American and non-American dance teachers?