Less than three weeks until my first competition in over a year! This past week’s lessons brought me through the whole spectrum of emotions related to that fact. First, there was Wednesday.
I was running late. I have this problem where I try to cram in more tasks than I can reasonably accomplish because I severely underestimate the time they’ll take to complete. I made the mistake again on Wednesday evening between the time I got home from work and the time I had to leave for my lesson.
I wasn’t actually late for my lesson, but I arrived at the studio with only about five minutes to spare. I usually try to get there 20-30 minutes before my lesson time so I can stretch and warm up. Teacher wanted to start with a round; I was pleased because we don’t often have time to just dance through all of our routines. I was not so pleased halfway through waltz. I stumbled through steps I thought I was solid in. Tango wasn’t much better; I almost fell over coming out a double turn I never have problems with. You can probably guess how well foxtrot and Viennese waltz went.
I could feel my chest getting tight as Teacher reviewed the sections I screwed up. He also decided to take the pivots out of the waltz and tango. He said he could feel I wasn’t comfortable in them yet and he’d rather put in easier steps that I could better perform than leave in something that would only add stress.
He’s changed up routines last minute before to take out troublesome steps. It’s logical; on competition day, it’s better to fully dance (and enjoy!) simpler steps than feel and look worried or pensive while dancing more difficult steps. I can’t help but feel like I failed a bit though. I’ve been working on pivots for months and still can’t get them good enough to compete with. There’s that trigger: “not good enough.”
I’ve been blessed with a very understanding Teacher who has learned to recognize the signs of growing anxiety in his student and respond accordingly. We talked through things and he even spent some extra time working with me after our lesson officially ended because his next student hadn’t arrived yet.
Friday’s lesson thankfully went much better. It’s scheduled shortly after work, so I go straight there from my office. No time to try to get other things done in between, but enough time to arrive at the studio early to stretch and warm up. Teacher started the lesson off by reviewing our shadow steps in waltz and tango to work out exactly how I would style my arms. When both arms are connected to Teacher in closed position, I’m fine. When I get out in open or shadow positions, my arms often just hang out in space or make only half movements because I’m focused on other things like keeping my frame up or my head position.
After drilling the arm styling, we went through the whole routines. They went MUCH better than on Wednesday! Instead of stumbling through turns, I finished them strong and balanced. There were a few hiccups, but we kept drilling those spots until I felt good about them. I left the studio feeling ready to kick butt!
So two dances down and two to go! Foxtrot continues to be my nemesis, especially the styling, but I think I have a pretty good handle on Viennese. I just need a few more rounds to get it into my muscle memory. We’ll tackle those dances next week. Hopefully, the ups and downs on the rollercoaster ride won’t be as drastic.
Have a great weekend, everyone, and happy dancing!