So remember the awesome new line of communication with my body I was discovering? Well, I think there’s a short.
We worked on rhythm in today’s lesson, specifically rumba and cha cha. Teacher wanted me to focus on foot pressure and core. I did…ok.
My brain knew what I was supposed to do, but the message to the body was coming through fuzzy. I couldn’t stay consistent. Teacher would tell me the foot pressure was good, but I lost the core. I tried to improve the core and I lost the foot pressure. Sometimes I couldn’t get either one.
Occasionally I got both. But the answer to “did you feel the difference?” was “I think so?” The spin in my cha cha routine was also giving me problems (again), and I was eventually able to fix it. But I just couldn’t maintain the correct technique. There was a lot of static in the line.
I was getting annoyed at one point, after the fourth or fifth time Teacher had me try the spin. We’ve already worked on this, I got it before, I should have it by now. I was even doing it pretty well (so I thought) in my warmup before the lesson started. I felt like, by not being as on top of things as I was last week, I was wasting time. The clock is ticking and I really want to be able to compete! But I’m not going to be ready in time if we keep having to work on the same two dances (out of five!) because I’m dense or inconsistent when it comes to basic things like keeping my core engaged.
I know I need to give myself a break. Just because it sounds basic or easy doesn’t mean actually doing it is easy. I should also acknowledge that I worked 12 hours yesterday, didn’t get enough sleep last night, and then worked through lunch today before heading to the studio. So physically and mentally, I was already a little drained. No wonder I was getting static.
I had set a little goal for this lesson, inspired by a reread of my post Almost Musical. I wanted to attempt to be a little musical, try some arm styling, and maybe even relax and have some fun with these rhythm dances. I don’t think Teacher saw that I shared the post on the Facebook page and listed it as inspiration for today’s goal, but he did bring up that dreaded topic: expression.
Here is where I need to give myself some credit. I felt ridiculous, I felt pathetic, and I felt awkward. BUT I did not feel that creeping anxiety. Not too long ago, I would’ve been feeling like I couldn’t breathe and fighting back tears. If that’s not a sign of progress, I don’t know what is! We didn’t spend too long on expression, just a few minutes working on completing my arm movements and actually looking at Teacher when I danced (smooth is so much easier because I’m supposed to look away most of the time!). Teacher also gave me some general pointers to think about so I could work on it more on my own. More credit to myself: I requested that we continue working on rhythm, including expression, on Friday’s lesson.
I think my comfort level with the expression of the rhythm dances is going to be a major deciding factor for the competition. I can’t go out there looking like a deer in headlights. I want to be able to dance fully, and that includes the emotion of the dance. Teacher said it and I’ll repeat it: I need to look at it as just another challenge. I’ve overcome so many on my journey thus far, so I should be able to overcome this one too. I’m brainstorming ideas on how I can make myself feel comfortable enough to even try to work on my expression. Teacher tells me to practice in my bathroom mirror with the door closed. I can’t even make eye contact with myself; the demons are just sitting there waiting with their insults the second I see my reflection attempting the smallest expression. Maybe I can try it in small doses. Now that I’ve experienced a coaching, I’ve also considered the idea of booking a lesson or two with a female teacher just to work on expression and styling, but I’m not sure if I’ll just feel more pathetic next to another woman who already has it down.
It may come down to me just having to suck it up and go for it. Accept that I will look like a fool while I’m working through the extreme discomfort, but then I’ll get used to it and maybe I’ll be able to tap into my inner dancer who’s still fighting to get free from under all those layers of fear and doubt.
We’ll see what happens on Friday!