If you follow me on social media, then you probably noticed I was on a lot more than usual this past week. I went live on Facebook almost every day to tell the story behind the Solo Practice Guide. The funny thing was, as I was sharing the story so others could learn more about the Guide, I was realizing that my solo practice strategies have had a much greater impact than just improving how I practiced.
The Solo Practice Guide part of the Girl with the Tree Tattoo story begins with the 2017 Embassy Ballroom Championships. It was a major turning point in my dance journey when they called my name for 5th place instead of the 1st or 2nd that I had gotten used to since my first competition in 2014. I thought I had given the best performance of my competitive career and in return, I received my worst placement. My ego took a HUGE hit. I was angry, confused, hurt…I even questioned whether I wanted to continue competing because what was the point if my best still wasn’t good enough.
After my ego recovered, I realized I had been dancing the way I thought others wanted me to dance. I danced to impress the judges, not myself. That experience and realization changed how I approached competition and my dance training, and of course, became the catalyst for my latest creation – the Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing.
I knew I needed to make some changes. First, I made the decision to stop dancing for the judges’ approval. I was a competitor and therefore wanted to win the competitions I entered, but I was going to dance for me first. I decided I needed to take more ownership of my dancing, so when I went out on the competition floor, I would feel so strong and confident, it wouldn’t matter who was watching.
For me, ownership meant not wasting a minute of the few private lessons I could afford and recommitting to the time I practiced on my own. With my already busy schedule, I couldn’t spend hours every day in the studio, so I had to figure out a solo practice routine that was effective and fit my life. That work became the content of the Solo Practice Guide. First, I offered the “what” of my solo practice strategies in the form of the free Solo Practice worksheet (available for download here). Add in the why, when, where and more, and you get the full Solo Practice Guide.
Like I said, as I told this story over the past week, I realized there was the obvious value that the Guide provided and then the “bonus” value that even I didn’t anticipate.
On the surface, the Solo Practice Guide helps busy pro-am ballroom dancers navigate all of the variables influencing their ability and desire to practice dancing on their own and come up with a solo practice routine that works best for them. But what it really does is enable you to take ownership of your dance journey, build strength and confidence in yourself as a dancer, and enjoy more of those moments on the dance floor when everything just *clicks*.
After I put together a solo practice routine that was customized specifically for me, I was able to practice more consistently, which of course, improved my dancing. The effects didn’t stop there. My improved dancing made me feel more confident, which in turn made me feel more joyful and free on the dance floor. I also felt more capable and excited to take on new challenges.
You may recall my Standard adventure in the spring of this year. In just a few weeks, I learned as much of four new Standard routines as I could and entered in both Smooth and Standard at Ballroom Beach Bash. There’s no way I would have dared to take on that challenge if I hadn’t felt confident about how to use the time I spent practicing on my own.
It all came full circle at the 2018 Embassy Ball. As good as I felt about my dancing in 2017, it didn’t come close to how I felt about this year’s Embassy Ball performance. The dancing was magic! Every round was full of those perfect *click* moments. After we danced our last dance, I told Teacher I wanted to sneak back on the floor. I didn’t want to stop dancing! I already felt like a champion by the time we were waiting for the scholarship results to be announced, and they did not disappoint. World champion!
Now I’m working on my latest challenge – the Open level of American Smooth. Even in just the first couple months, I was hitting bumps and potholes in the road, but in the back of my mind, I knew I’d find my way. I just had to keep going. I didn’t have that confidence to stand on before I did the work that turned into the Solo Practice Guide.
I hope I’ve made it clear in my writings that I am passionate about helping others connect with their inner dancer and providing them inspiration and guidance to make their journey the best one possible. Which is why I want to leave you with the following thoughts.
If you’re experiencing doubt or frustration around your ballroom dance journey, you are not alone.
If you’re worried that you’ll never be “good enough” or that one day you’ll look back and realize that all this money you spent was a waste, I’ve got you.
If you want to dance for yourself, instead of for the approval of others, you’re in the right place.
The Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing was written for you. As you use it to put together a customized solo practice routine that fits you and your busy life, the Solo Practice Guide will enable you to take ownership of your dance journey, build strength and confidence in yourself as a dancer so when you go out on the dance floor, it won’t matter who’s watching. And most importantly, you will enjoy more of those perfect moments on the floor when everything just *clicks*.
Ready to dance?