Well, the week started out busy and stressful, and tested my faith, but the last couple days were inspiring! Even though the pro-am journey can feel very lonely, I was reminded that I still have amazing support around me.
By the time I reached Friday, I was exhausted. It was difficult getting myself out of bed, in clothes and to work pretty much every day this past week, so on Friday, I was just over it. The thought of my dance lesson right after work gave me something to look forward to though. I kept telling myself, “just six more hours…just five more hours…four more hours and then I get to go dance.”
The funny thing was Teacher was FULL of energy on Friday! He must have had some extra coffee. It was just what I needed though to pull me out of my funk. We went through all four Smooth dances in preparation for practice rounds on Saturday. The technique focus was using my core and letting my expression come out through my body movements. Teacher introduced a couple tweaks to waltz and tango to show me how I could play with my movement and consequently feel more expressive.
At the end of my lesson, Teacher had a surprise for me. I wouldn’t be charged for my lesson because someone else had paid for it! It was an anonymous sponsor, but Teacher said they wanted me to know they saw how hard I worked and wanted to do something to acknowledge that. I almost started crying, which I never ever ever do in front of people if I can help it. Sometimes I get so focused on my struggles and how every day seems to bring a new challenge, I’m almost shocked when help comes my way. It looks silly when I write it out, but it’s true! I admit I also still have trouble accepting that I deserve any help because I’ve lived so long with demons telling me I’m not worth the effort. So I was a little overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and blessing.
Saturday, the studio was holding practice rounds. They’ve done rounds before, but they’ve always just been for amateur and professional couples. This time, pro-am students could also join in with their teachers. I wasn’t planning on going at first. I had this idea that if a teacher was going to participate, it would be with just one student. Teacher has students competing at Emerald Ball in a couple weeks and then at Blackpool after that, so I figured someone going to one of those comps would have already booked him. Besides, I couldn’t afford to pay for the extra time outside my regular lessons.
Help came my way again. Teachers could do rounds with multiple students, which was what my teacher planned on doing. Between extra work from side gigs and some outside help (not going to cry!), the money issue became a non-issue. So I was back in the studio again on Saturday!
Turned out Teacher was doing rounds with four students AND his pro partner, which meant he was dancing in EVERY Smooth round. He was already drenched in sweat by the time I was dancing my first round! We were cracking up about it because you could tell where we were connected from the sweat mark on my shirt.
I got to dance three rounds with Teacher. For some reason, I kept blanking on a section of the waltz routine that I know really well! So I ended up getting a little creative with my steps to get back on track. Despite the improvisations, I felt really good about my rounds! I even felt a little breakthrough in what we had been discussing in Friday’s lesson. One reason I had trouble using my core was I was too caught up in keeping my chest up and forward; I ended up pushing my stomach forward too. During the practice rounds, I finally was able to stop worrying (gasp!) and trust that I wouldn’t collapse my chest when I pulled my core back the way Teacher wanted. Teacher was pleased, and I actually felt more balanced and in control. Imagine that!
The studio owners took notes while people danced the rounds, and I’m really looking forward to hearing their comments. If you’re curious and/or interested, check out my Instagram or Facebook page for videos of my first practice round (links are on the side panel, or below this post if you’re on your phone).
The last two days really helped boost my belief that I will be able to make it to my next competition, so thank you to everyone who continues to support me. I’m eternally grateful!