As usual, I did a lot of reflecting on the drive home from my lesson today. We did more rumba and cha cha. I’m finally getting a hang of the routines, but I still feel like all of my technique goes out the window when I try to dance them to music. Looking back on it a couple hours later, I guess I actually did pretty well. Teacher asked me to try a few things to work on my technique and I did them successfully (after a few tries). But it was one of those lessons where every little mistake outweighed every large success.
No doubt about it. I was hyper-critical of myself today. We started with me just doing rumba walks around half of the studio while Teacher watched. The longer I walked, the more I felt like I was doing it wrong. Then I did them with Teacher following behind, pulling or pushing me depending on what part of my body needed to move or not move so much. Thinking about it now, I did well! But during the lesson, ugh. I felt like I couldn’t get anything right. When we actually danced the routine, I felt like I did “ok.” I don’t get along with swivels though, and I came close to scraping a layer of skin off the top of my big toe while attempting them.
Cha cha started off decently. But there is this one point where I’m facing away from Teacher and I do 1.5 spins to get back to facing him. The spin is free, so it’s all on me to maintain balance and control. I can do it pretty well! Sometimes. Other times, it’s a disaster. The inconsistency was frustrating me, and my ego took another hit when Teacher had me try it while he was still holding one hand.
Teacher showed me some drills to help me practice the swivels and the spin. He kept emphasizing that it’s ok to break things down and just work on one or two pieces at a time. I was trying to get everything right all at once and putting too much pressure on myself.
As foreign as that concept is to me (ha!), I know it’s true.
I have another lesson on Friday, and I decided I need to make some commitments to myself to prepare. I’m sharing them with you, so you can check back in on Friday and make sure I fulfilled them!
I commit to do my best to do the following during my next lesson:
1) Don’t expect to be perfect.
2) Don’t overthink, just relax and dance.
3) TRUST myself!
Confession: I had three more written (brush off the mistakes, celebrate the successes, and believe the positive praise), but it started to feel like a LOT. Putting pressure on myself to successfully complete all of my commitments and then feeling like a failure when I don’t would defeat the whole purpose of the exercise. So I cut it down to the things that came up in today’s lesson in one way or another (i.e., direct orders from Teacher). I think I can handle three commitments.
Tune back in on Friday to find out how it goes!
2 thoughts on “Commitments for My Next Lesson”
Not sure if you’ll see this since this post is so old but I’ve recently started reading your blog after reading your first Dance Diaries book. I can’t remember how I ran across it but was immediately drawn in because you and I started ballroom dancing around the same age (I started taking lessons about 4 1/2 months ago at the age of 29) and I also struggle with anxiety. Anyway, wanted to comment on this post because I just learned the 1.5 free spin in cha cha you’re talking about and it has been the thing I’ve been the hardest on myself about during a lesson so far. The whole experience of ballroom has been challenging me to not let my anxiety and fear of being judged stop me from doing something I’m loving doing but it’s been extra hard now that I’ve run into something that I am finding so incredibly difficult. Hoping that with more time and practice (both at the move itself and at telling my anxiety to shut up) it’ll get a little easier! Thank you for writing this – looking forward to catching up on the rest!
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Welcome Amber! Thanks for commenting. I get notified about new comments, even on the old posts, so I see you! I still haven’t conquered that spin but have also been focusing on the smooth dances. Right there with you regarding the anxiety and fear. I won’t give up if you won’t! We can do this.