Countdown to Ballroom Beach Bash: 4 Days – Practice Anywhere, Practice Everywhere

These countdown series are going to be more difficult to do when my competitions come so close together! It hasn’t even been a month since my last competition, and I’m already less than a week away from my next one. Like I said in my last post, #cantstopwontstop!

I’m writing to you from Jennifer Kem’s Master Brand Accelerator conference. For some reason, I thought it was a good idea to take 5 days immediately before my competition to do something not related to dancing. Especially since I still don’t know all of my Standard routines.

This long weekend is related to my dancing in a way. The group of people that I’ve met and worked with in this program have provided an incredible support system. The encouragement they give me on the brand/blog side extends over to motivate my dance work. We were in meetings from 9am to 530pm yesterday and then there was an evening session from 830pm to 1030pm. In between there, I ate dinner and found an empty event tent at the hotel to learn and practice my International Waltz for an hour. I was tired. But I still did it. I knew I needed to practice, but I also wanted to practice. This long weekend is all about taking action.

My non-dance goals for this conference revolve around the Solo Practice Guide. The beta release is done, the group has given me great feedback, and I’m ready to make revisions. AND THEN, I’m ready to PUBLISH! Can you tell I’m a little excited about that part?

Excited isn’t organized though, so I knew my focus needed to be on organizing my to-do list for getting this useful and inspiring Guide (beta group’s words, not mine) out to the world. It all comes full circle because thinking about what I need to do for the Guide gets me thinking about the content of the Guide. The framework for the Solo Practice Guide goes like this: why – when – where – what/how, and of course, since this is my and others’ biggest challenge, mindset is woven through all of it.

Being at this conference had me thinking a LOT about the where. I needed to practice for my competition, which is less than a week away, but I was hundreds of miles away from the studio. Where would I practice?

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I found places to practice, like that empty event tent I mentioned.

Of course, I couldn’t wear the proper dance shoes (though I did bring them, just in case). I couldn’t always use the proper foot pressure, lest I wrench an ankle or knee because the ground surface wasn’t the ideal smooth wooden floor. But I could still practice my upper body movement and my arm styling big and full in my American Waltz routine. I could still review my International Waltz routine over and over until I didn’t need to reference the video to know the steps. I could practice the drill that the one and only Anastasia Muravyeva gave me the day before I left for this conference.

The energy here is high, so forgive me if I get a little preachy/motivational speaker-y (new word). I feel compelled to address any other dancer who’s frustrated or stuck because they want to practice, but for one reason or another, they can’t get to the studio to do it. You’re not stuck. You can find a place to practice. It may not be ideal. You may not be able to practice full out or work on everything you would in the studio. But there is still plenty you can practice.

If we wait until we have the ideal time and ideal space, we’d hardly ever get our solo practice done. I made a decision at the beginning of the year to own my identity as the dancer I am. One big way I’m doing that is owning my dance training, specifically my solo practice. When I decided to attend a conference the weekend before I would compete at Beach Bash, I knew I was going to have some extra stress because I would be away from Teacher for a whole week before seeing him at the actual comp. A whole week! I really wanted to go to this conference though.

So I had to own that responsibility. If I wanted to do both – the conference and the comp, I had to take over the preparation for the comp all on my own. I had to make the time and almost create the space to practice. When I first arrived at the hotel, as I was walking around the grounds, I had my eyes peeled for potential practice spaces. There is actually a lot here, depending on how public I want to make my dance practice.

The point is I made a commitment to myself and Teacher to arrive at the comp ready to dance, regardless of what else I was doing in the week before. I left my last lesson with him not knowing my International Tango or Waltz routines and only half knowing my International Foxtrot. I committed to learning those routines while I was here, so when I saw him again, I would be ready to go.

If you’re nodding your head while you’re reading this, I would get on the list for the Solo Practice Guide. You’ll be able to take ownership of your dance training right away with the Solo Practice worksheet (free download emailed to you when you get on the list) and then take it to the next level when the full Guide is released.

Check out the Facebook page in about an hour to see where else I’m practicing while I’m at this conference. I’ll be going live!

Happy dancing!

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