And those were the words that came. I think I was only staring for about 15 minutes.
My creative juices are running dry a bit this weekend, but I still wanted to check in with you. We’re coming up on the end of January, and it’s hard to believe how much has been put into motion in just four weeks.
Teacher and I started working on Standard during our lessons this past week. Basically, we danced in closed hold and I tried to follow the non-Smooth steps that Teacher led. It’s an odd feeling to be dancing a dance you think you know and find yourself stumbling. Part of the problem was when a step started out feeling like a familiar Smooth step, my muscle memory would take over instead of letting me follow the lead.
The first competition at which we’re aiming to dance both Smooth and Standard is The Royal Ball in mid March. I won’t lie – I’m feeling a tad trepidatious about debuting a new style in 7 weeks while still maintaining the first style. I also need to find a Standard-appropriate dress, which for this non-girly girl, is a daunting task in itself.
I think I’m going to wait at least another week to write about the differences I’m feeling between Smooth and Standard. The obvious/big difference is Standard is danced 100% in closed hold. What I didn’t know is the way you play with the timing can be different too! Teacher introduced that to me in tango. I’ll probably enjoy it more once I stop tripping over my own feet.
It’s appropriate that my solo practice becomes even more essential for my dancing at the same time I prepare for the beta release of the Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing.
Oh, by the way, that was the special offer I’ve been eluding to. I’m forming a beta group of 10 people to give a small number of dedicated dancers the chance to get the Solo Practice Guide months before its official release. I offered it first to the people who had signed up for the free Solo Practice worksheet, and now I’m offering it to everyone! Go here for more details and to reserve your spot. FYI, there are only a few spots left (3 or 4 last time I checked) and, filled or not, the group closes next weekend on February 3.
In addition to learning a new style, prepping for the beta release of the Guide, and oh yeah, going to the day job, I’ve also been participating in Jen Kem’s Brand Story Challenge. I think this is the third time I’ve gone through it and I get more out of it each time. Basically, it’s an exercise in telling the story of how I got here and how this brand came to be. Each day, a new piece of the story is revealed. If you haven’t been following, you can catch up on my Instagram feed (@thegirlwiththetreetattoo).
It can get a little emotionally heavy as you’re prompted to think back to the catalyst moment when your life changed and you decided to embark on a new path. Usually, this isn’t a positive moment, but the movement that follows it is.
For the challenge, I went back to the beginning of my dance journey and what prompted the birth of the Girl with the Tree Tattoo. I got to thinking though; I had another, more recent catalyst moment, which triggered me to create the Solo Practice Guide. It was Embassy Ball, where I danced my best and placed my worst. My ego was devastated and my confidence was shattered. I didn’t even know if I wanted to compete again.
After my ego licked its wounds for a bit, I decided I couldn’t quit. I would just need to work harder. I couldn’t afford to take additional standing lessons, so the change would need to come in the time I practiced on my own. I tried different schedules and ways of tracking my practice to keep myself consistent and accountable. I worked with Teacher on what I should be practicing and how. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long for me to show improvement. I started to regain some of the confidence I had lost, and as you guys know, I now have more competition goals than ever before!
The Solo Practice Guide became my next writing project simply because people were telling me that’s what they needed! It wasn’t just me that would get stuck when I didn’t have my teacher around to tell me what to do next.
So that’s the jist of the story behind the Solo Practice Guide. I have to say that as much as people tell me that they find inspiration and encouragement in my writings, I find as much, if not more, inspiration and encouragement from hearing from those people! I think we all just want to know that we’re not in this alone. Of course, we have our instructors, but that’s different. They act as our guides and mentors, but we still have to take action on their teachings by ourselves. So it’s nice to know (and be reminded over and over) that others are out there struggling with the same things.
I’m excited to have this beta group with me as I finalize the Solo Practice Guide. It’s easy to become isolated as a writer, so I’m grateful to be able to bring some readers along this leg of the Guide’s journey. Like I said, there are a few spots left in the group, so if you want to join us, you’re more than welcome!
I’m surprised I wrote this much. I’ve been doing so much writing between the Guide and the Brand Story Challenge, I thought I was tapped out and this blog post would be really short. Apparently, I just needed to let the words come!