Confession time: I panic a little when Teacher starts coaching me at the next level, as opposed to the level where I’m currently hanging.
What I mean by that is if I was in my senior year of high school, he’s acting like I’m already in college.
A couple blog posts ago, I posed the question “what does your dancing need now?” For me, the answer was vertical alignment. So while Teacher was away at Blackpool, that was my focus in my solo practice. I even went as far as to record myself over and over to work that sway out of my back. And it worked!
The first thing Teacher did at our lesson upon his return was have me dance a Smooth round to music, by myself. He wanted me to show him that vertical position, along with balance and clarity, in my dancing. No pressure, this is what we trained for, right?
It wasn’t my best solo round, but it also wasn’t my worst! I really focused on engaging my core and keeping my big booty under control to show how nice and vertically aligned I could be. So I got a little mixed up at times as old muscle memory overtook new muscle memory with the choreo or when focusing on vertical alignment while also dancing in time with the music got to be a little too much for my brain to handle.
Teacher stood off to the side with a legal pad, taking notes while I danced. Honestly, guys, while I felt the usual pressure not to disappoint my mentor, overall, I felt comfortable and entirely capable in taking on this task. I spend more time in a typical week dancing on my own than I do with Teacher. I’ve literally written a book on the subject. A solo round is how I warm up almost every week at my Sunday morning solo practice! I could do this.
So while I wasn’t perfect, Teacher was pleased because I was vertical! My solo work in between migraines and tension headaches paid off.
The slight panic appeared in the background, like someone going “pssst!” while I was trying to focus on Teacher’s feedback. There was a shift in the focus of the feedback. Sure, I need a little work on my timing in Tango (I rely on him to cue the slows and quicks and so I’m a little lost when I dance it on my own). I also need more practice on engaging my core through turns. But instead of the overall focus being on the technique of the physical movement, Teacher’s focus was on the experience I was creating for the judges and rest of the audience. When I wobbled in that underarm turn or left my head hanging out in the middle instead stretched to the left or right, what did that say to those watching my performance? What message was I sending when I let my eyes drop during that step I wasn’t sure about?
I joked with Teacher that I was just dancing my truth in the part of the Waltz where he said I looked uncertain (because I was!). But again, I heard “pssst!” My ego was trying to warn me. We were being treated differently. Not in a bad way. Not extremely differently. The difference was Teacher was coaching from a higher level of expectation of my skills and abilities. It wasn’t about the physical steps or the technique anymore. It wasn’t about just me anymore. It was about how my physical movements affected my connection with my partner and the audience and the experience of the performance overall.
The shift is certainly in alignment with my own personal goals for advancement this year. I declared months ago that I wanted to expand my dance experience to include and connect with my audience. I wanted to be able to create for someone else that feeling of awe that leaves me on the edge of my seat when I’m watching an amazing live dance performance.
So why would there be any panic? Honestly, it just freaks me out when someone besides me recognizes that I’m reaching the goals I set for myself and acts accordingly. Like wait, what, you noticed me and my efforts? Oh my… I have to remind my anxious and panicky demons that this is a good thing. It’s ok to be noticed and it’s more than ok to be noticed for your accomplishments!
So as with every level before this one, I’m excited and nervous to take my dancing further and notice Teacher adjust his coaching accordingly. I’m actually feeling a lot more excited right now as I write this. I can’t wait for my next lesson! It makes me want to go practice too.
Speaking of which…
Since I decided to pop into the blog for some mid-week sharing, I wanted to share some other exciting news with you and what I think is a pretty cool offer.
First, the exciting news:
The Girl with the Tree Tattoo has officially partnered with Dancesport Place!
Back when the Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing was going through its beta phase, one thing the beta group brought up was the desire for training videos that they could use in their solo practice, whether on technique, styling or tips specific to certain dances or dance styles. I thought it was a great idea and one particular resource immediately came to mind.
Dancesport Place is a virtual dance studio, full of world class coaches ready to help you take your dancing to the next level. And because the videos are all online, you can access them wherever and whenever you solo practice with your smartphone or other device with an internet connection.
I’m stoked about this partnership because Dancesport Place is the perfect compliment to the Solo Practice Guide, their videos are so well done and the content is super valuable. As if that weren’t enough, Dancesport Place is also creating a special offer for their membership site especially for those dancers who decide to commit to their solo practice by purchasing the Solo Practice Guide.
The Guide isn’t available to order yet except for people who join the launch team. This is where the offer that I think is pretty cool comes in. I already wrote out all of the details on the launch team page, so I won’t repeat them here. But I will say that joining the team not only gets you the Guide early, you’ll have the opportunity to earn some money!
You have to act quickly though. Spots are limited and enrollment closes at 11:59pm PST this Saturday, June 2. Here’s the link again. Read about it, let me know if you have questions, and I hope you’ll join the team!
See you on the dance floor!