Practice Partner Update (I’m still here!)

Are you still out there?  I apologize once again for being M.I.A. for a week. I haven’t even been around to the other Ballroom Villagers’ blogs, which I also apologize for. I haven’t been completely inactive in the realm of blogging; I’ve been working on guest posts for another website and my upcoming virtual book tour. You can check out the link for more information on where Dance Diaries will be! I’ll be honest, my internal emotional rollercoaster has taken me on bigger loops and steeper drops the last couple weeks too. Makes it difficult to organize my thoughts and produce something readable.

But that’s no excuse to neglect you.

So while I’m still waiting for the ride to at least slow down a bit, I thought I would give you a simple update on the latest development on my ballroom journey: the practice partner!

Ballroom Viking (as he’s been nicknamed) and I have had four practices to date (I think). We’ve mainly worked on smooth, but threw in a bit of rhythm/latin during the last practice. I feel like I have a pretty good handle on his waltz routine and only slightly less of a handle on the Viennese waltz. The V. waltz amuses me because it has a very showy beginning (at least to me), including the common curtsy/bow.

My V. waltz routine had a curtsy in the beginning at one point, but Teacher took it out when he realized it just didn’t fit me. I think his words were something like “you bow to no man!” When I danced BV’s routine with him, I realized, without thinking about it, I just matched his gentlemanly bow instead of curtsying like the sweet damsel I am not. I also have a problem with balance when I cross one foot behind the other and then try to lower and bend at the waist at the same time. But we’ll pretend I’m just too badass to bow.

Learning someone else’s routines has been a great opportunity to work on some of the concepts that Teacher has been trying to hammer into my brain. I think my shadow in waltz in particular has improved.

At least I hope it has. It’s different, of course, dancing with another student as opposed to Teacher. We’re both still learning, so we both still make mistakes and can’t necessarily tell what the other is doing wrong to help. It kind of takes the pressure off though. Sometimes I find it hard to relax and just dance with Teacher because I worry so much about doing things wrong. (I think it’s residual fear of rejection from my experience with my first teacher.) Then again, I do still feel a little pressure to dance well with BV, like I need to prove myself (more fear of rejection?). Regardless, I’m really enjoying the extra time to dance and practice with someone at my level (or a bit higher) AND closer to my age. Usually, at practice parties or social dances, I’m the youngest by at least 30 years.

I think sometime soon I’ll have to do another post on the benefits of practicing with someone at your own level. It’s definitely been a great supplement to my lessons.

One piece is still missing – I’m still hoping to find an amateur partner I can compete with. While the personal journey I have been on has been eye-opening and inspiring, ballroom is ultimately a partner sport. And while it’s great having two dance partners, our partnership is secondary for both of them. Teacher is my partner because he’s teaching me ballroom. BV is my partner for practice. They both already have their primary partners with whom they compete. Not that I would want to give either of them up, but I’d still like to have my own primary partner who shares my goals.

I’m not in a huge hurry. I love competing with Teacher, and honestly, the main motivation right now to find an amateur competitive partner is so I can save on some of the cost! And as far as growth goes, I have plenty to work on with Teacher as my partner. I’d like to compete in silver a couple more times at least, in both smooth and rhythm. And I know he is excited about the day he gets to start working with me at the Open level. I won’t be outgrowing him as a partner any time soon, if ever.

So to sum up, thumbs up for the practice partner, the search continues, and if nothing else, I still have Teacher.

I promise to try harder and check back in more often. Thanks for sticking with me; it means a lot!

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