Foray Into Silver

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.

Advertisements

Relief

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.

Be Careful What You Ask For

I wish I had written this post in a more timely manner because I broke my finger yesterday and typing is difficult. This is the post taking a week to type.

I have managed to have several productive lessons this month. Productive as in I’m learning a TON, but the growing pains did come out a bit.

We took my new, beautiful Smooth frame and applied to my dances while in hold. It is terribly difficult to find and then maintain this position. It also required a bit more consistent body contact than I have been used to in the past. On the other hand, our heads are farther apart, which is very nice. Somehow I’m used to body touching, but I don’t like our heads to be close together. I know I’m weird. Sadly, the only dance we didn’t do was Viennese Waltz. I did ask for it after D_Wall wrote such a lovely post on how it feels to dance, but Teach was so caught up in excitement over Tango that we didn’t get to it. I was worth it to hear Teach screaming, “More head, more head! I need more head!!!” down the long wall.

Last week I started our double with a question that precipitated a whole lotta’ lesson. “I’m starting to understand how my posture and frame are supposed to be in hold, but what about out of hold, specifically in shadow position?” I need to learn to keep my mouth shut. I was taught all right, and I’m still reeling.

First, Teach brought in another lady teacher to adjust me as we went – so a coaching ended up happening. I need to come up with a name for her, maybe Lady J to keep it all simple. Imagine 15 minutes of shadow position adjustment, followed by 30 minutes of how to roll out into fan position.  Then imagine it with 4 hands readjusting you every time. It was feeling a bit hopeless, but, trying to think positively, Lady J had to readjust less and less each time. All this adjusting also meant that we had to talk about counter balance and that just makes me think about how I don’t want him to bear any of my weight. I’m heavy and it makes me nervous. He had me lean into fan until I was going to fall over to prove that he would never let me fall. Cue my near tears. I understand logically, but the emotion of all this doesn’t understand the logic.

Next, we were supposed to have an alone lesson, but Teach’s friend was transferred from another studio and he decided to hand around and help (for free) half THAT lesson. Until I cried. Then he left. Friend (I can’t think of a name right now) had MORE things to fix. I had MORE hands on me and it just proved to be too much for the sensitive side of me. I don’t even remember anything that happened on the rest of the lesson. I just know that Teach fixed things up and made pretty so that I left feeling OK and not a piece of crap. I know that this is what I pay for. This is how you get better. Yet, how do I change my brain waves to “they’re picking on me and nothing is right” to “I’m getting so much better over this lesson”?  No one would be blogging if we knew the answer.

This is all I’ve got in me to type. Hubby was appalled that I was going to go to my lesson with a purple, sausage-shaped broken finger – so I cancelled. I have to keep that man happy, too.

 

Regroup and Chill

Because sometimes I feel like I can write and sometimes I feel like I just can’t, I have a bunch of lessons to recap and thoughts to throw out there.

My first post comp lessons were as expected. We reviewed some video and the judges comments and talked briefly about them. I told Teach about how I just felt awful and he pointed out all the things I did correct. You know, the things I was actually working on as opposed to the things I was working on without Teach being aware (you know, like being perfect). The judges had some great comments, too. Yes, most of them were “great lead/follow” and the like, but there were some good things to work on, like my turnout in rhythm. It felt good in my brain that the “things to work on” were all things that I had felt I was doing wrong during the day. There was nothing there that I didn’t expect. I know that I’m my own worst critic and that I can go overboard on my faults, but it calms my brain to know that some of my criticisms are based on the truth, that I can read my dancing correct in some way. I’m not sure that made much sense, but maybe you can make something out of it.

We also regrouped in what the future holds. Hubby and I needed new car, as the previous one had reached its limit, so now I have a car payment in addition to my already tight funds. Getting to work trumps dance. Sucks, but what can you do. The end result is that Fall Classic is out. (more on that later) Teach wondered if I was still wanting to focus on 9-dance or if I just wanted to do Smooth. The Team Match was a trial to see how things went. I was honest with him. When I left after the Team Match, I was done with Rhythm dancing. I had a lot of fun dancing it, but I just felt that all the lessons that we had on cuban motion and arms didn’t make it into my body. I asked Teach if he thought I had the ability to improve. I would miss Rhythm if I never danced it again, but there’s not point working on those dances in a competitive way if I’m not going to “get it.” Of course, Teach looked at me like I had ten heads and told me that I could definitely get better. I knew he was going to say that (he’s my biggest cheerleader), but his words solidified my decision to continue to try to learn those pesky Rhythm dances. So 9-dance is still in my future!

As an aside, we worked on a few things, but most importantly – Smooth arms. Did you know there are only 8 arm styles for Smooth? 1st, 2nd, 5th, X, Y, S, W, and one that I can’t read my writing for. We had some fun spelling things down the long wall using arms. It’s the little things, right?

Now to yesterday’s double. I was remarkably calm yesterday. It’s quite unusual for me to be so zen. Maybe fall was in the air? (I love fall.) I ended up spilling my current list of favorite and least favorite dances. My least practiced are a list, too. But I’m not allowed to put a least practiced on my least favorite list without serious reason. It’s just not fair. (I know I’m weird, no need to tell me) This is always interesting information to give your teacher because they can then use it to torture you with. Thankfully, Teach wanted me to maintain my zen, so he upgraded my Smooth frame using Foxtrot. He calls it a more 3D frame. When I look in the mirror I think we look like that two-headed guy in Men in Black. My head is the stupid extra head. Apparently, I’m supposed to be seen and present on the dance floor, so this is now how it is. Of course it’s not at all comfortable or easy to get into this odd position, but we do fit together nicely now. (I know this sounds dirty. The whole lesson was just one dirty-sounding comment after another. It’s how dance is.) So I basically have to dance like I’m going over the high jump while playing a violin. Sounds easy, right?

Ok. He did feel like destroying the zen a bit. We worked on Tango. That evil sharpness that I just don’t get. I didn’t realize that it would be an easyish fix. My bottom half is good. “Your hips are communicating properly with mine and have excellent movement.” (Reeeeeally.) My top half just doesn’t match my bottom half. My head doesn’t snap like it should. So we took my new frame, let my hair down (I have a secret wish to be Edita Daniute), and worked that right out. I need to let my hair down more often. It was fun flipping it around and it really helped me feel when my frame was off. I think Teach was having a bit of fun with it, too. It was one of our odder lessons because we were both pretty zen and happy, which can be dangerous because we are very alike and keep getting each other going. Things can get loud and weird – like him making me dance holding a box of tissues between my shoulder and chin/neck area. definitely one of our funnier lessons.

After the lesson Manager Lady rushed up and told me that she can’t imagine Fall Classic without me. She wants to do everything in her power to get me there. Well except give me a discount, of course. (sarcasm, I didn’t ask her to) So the attention keeps coming. I have to say, I’m getting used to seeing the thousands on her calculator. She wants me to hit up my family. Little does she know that my family is small and poor. It’s looking like I’ll be sitting this one out. It stinks, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my sanity by working more to attend the comp. As always, happy dancing everyone.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Relax While Dancing, an Oxymoron

I admire all you bloggers out there who can write up about your dancing on the day you do it. I find I need to reflect for a week or more before I put fingers to keyboard. Maybe it’s just that writing doesn’t come naturally to me.

So my double lesson was on Leap Day. Yes, that long ago. Lesson one was with Teach. We went over the new Tango routine again at my request. There is only so much I can keep with me at a time; I find it good to review the end of the previous lesson at the beginning of the next weeks lesson. Does that make sense? While we were reviewing I made a comment about the frame of one of the pro ladies working with another student. Remember that one of my goals for the year was to have posture like Edita Daniute (nothing like reaching for the stars!). So guess what? I now have the keys to having that beautiful frame if I dare to work on it. This will also give us the body contact necessary for future Silver dancing. I’m thrilled!

My second lesson was with a new instructor for me. He’s been at the Land of the Endless Perky Bottoms (AKA Studio #1) for almost two years now but I’ve never had a lesson with him. My previous second teacher, Mr. R, took a new position opening a new studio in the chain in Texas. I’ll miss him. I need to think of a nickname for my new #2. He’s another “grueling Russian instructor” type. We worked on Rumba and Cha Cha. His biggest problem was that I was too tense on the top. You mean I have to relax while dancing? With someone I’m not used to dancing with? That is more difficult than learning technique. I’m so nervous that I’m going to miss a lead that I tense up and, you guessed it, miss the lead because I can’t feel it because I’m too tense. The more this happens, the more the nervous turns to panic. It’s a circle of awful that hits my sensitive side like Thor’s hammer, leaving me feeling like a hopeless, crappy dancer. And it’s all my fault. He’s doing nothing wrong.

How can I make this better? I took some calming breaths and plowed through ok. Perhaps going to more social dances would help, but my social anxiety really rears its ugly head in those situations. Alcohol? Really bad idea. Maybe taking more random lessons with the instructors there would be a good idea. Then I could get used to them all and I won’t be so nervous. The problem with that is that it takes me an extremely long time to get comfortable with people. *sigh* Maybe I’m just a lost cause with the whole relaxing thing, but I did get some great nuggets on info from #2 that I will use at my next lesson. Happy dancing all. Any tips for the socially anxious like me?

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.

 

2016 Dance Goals

I have to do this one or Teach turns crazy. At Studio #1 I’m given a sheet with Plans and Goals for life at the top and Dance Goals and Plan at the bottom. Teach used to have everyone fill it out after their lesson and leave it for him, but ever since I brought it home last year and came back with an excellent plan, he sends his students home with it as homework. I may not like resolutions, but if I’m forced to make them, they’re going to be spectacular and well thought out. 🙂 In order to accomplish this, I have to leave the land of glitter and unicorn farts so that I can actually think again.

Dance Goals:

  1. I want to focus on the 9 dance. Originally I had added Samba and Quickstep to my learning, but I feel like it was too much for the amount of lessons that I take with technique being so different. So I’m really only adding Bolero and taking away the other two. For now.
  2. Cuban Motion while dancing with another person not my spouse. This is awkward. I told teach that it’s awkward and that I want to fix it and be able to dance sexyish with him. (I blushed 50 shades of red as I said it.)
  3. I want my posture/back to look like Edita Daniute. Who said this has to be a logical list? Teach said that if he gets my posture that good I have to wear a backless dress. We shook on it.
  4. I want my Tango to be sharper. Nuff said.
  5. Swing. I want to get over my brain block for this dance. It’s a long story. Maybe I’ll tell you some time.

Life Plans (I leave it mostly blank, obviously)

  1. Save money for backless dress (hehe)
  2. Pass 6th Grade with my daughter

That’s it. We’ll revisit this around June/July unless I meet them all sooner. I know when I get to lesson that he’ll want to add events to this list. (Comp, Team Match, Showcase, etc) Then I’ll have to remind him of how lucky he is to get to teach me at all. Our relationship is like that.

Do others of you make dance goals that are sharable?

Fall Classic Was…

…a success! I had a wonderful time. Let me lay it all out for you guys.

Fall Classic is my dance studio’s competition among the 4 studios in the chain. This year it was 3 days long (a mistake, as far as I’m concerned). American Smooth on Friday afternoon, International on Saturday, American Rhythm on Sunday, plus sit down dinners, pro shows, etc. I could only afford to do a one night package with 24 heats, so I chose to do only American Smooth. It broke into 18 single dances, 1 3-dance Championship, and 1 4-dance Scholarship. For the Championship and the Scholarship I competed against my age group, but they mixed it up a bit during the single dances. Teach danced every heat – 180 heats that afternoon.

On Friday I drove down early for my hair and makeup appointment. I could fake the makeup, but I’m hopeless with hair.  Plus, a mini face lift isn’t a bad idea before going on the dance floor. 🙂 I buddied up with a nice lady from another studio. That’s how I cope with crowds, I find a safe person and just stick to them like glue.

I had enough time to go to the judges classes that I thought I wouldn’t have time for that morning. I’m really glad I made that session. I don’t know many famous dancers, so forgive me for forgetting the names of the judges. We learned about continuity of movement from one judge. Then one of the teachers taught us how to Kizomba. I’d never heard of it either. Let’s just say that it was a naughty dance and these white girl hips weren’t getting the movement just right. The last session was my favorite. He was an American Rhythm dancer who used to get injured all the time. He now coaches professionals on how to avoid injury. He had us test our balance and showed us how such small movement of the feet and ankle can have such large impact on our body and what our body tells our partner. It was fascinating. What made it even better was that Teach was there and as I was trying to figure it out Teach would explain to me – it was like getting another lesson.

On to the actual comp. I had all of your wise words in my head before I went on to my first heat. You didn’t steer me wrong. It was fine. I made mistakes and kept going. I listened to the music, smiled, and just danced. The nerves were minimal – there, but not overwhelming. The demons were burning in hell where they belong. I saw some judges smiling at me and I felt like I won right there. That’s the point, right? That you enjoy dancing and that others receive enjoyment from watching you.

Teach was dancing with 5 of us and we worked him hard with all those heats. He was a sweaty mess by the time the Championship rounds hit. Later on he told me he couldn’t even feel his legs the last few Championship rounds. The thing is, this made me step it up. At this point I knew he had to be hurting despite what he was telling me when I asked him. It made me realize that at these moments he’s more than my teacher, he’s my partner. This is a team sport and a team effort. If I could have carried him around the floor myself, I would have. Let me tell you, my frame was up and light and I was flying around that floor. I did everything in my power to make it easy for him. It worked. He remarked on it later.

Results. Do I even care? I learned and achieved so much. I see why these events are so important for amping up your dancing. But since you should know: I kicked booty. I placed 1st in all my single dances but two that I placed 2nd in. I won with firsts in all dances both the Championship and the Scholarship. I have no words, but I have two trophies that I have no idea what to do with. Where do I go from here? I’ll find out more tomorrow at my follow up lesson.

Ta, Ta fellow dancers!