Countdown to Desert Classic 2019: 1 Month – Wait For It

The countdown has begun! Desert Classic Dancesport Championships is only a month away. I’ve booked my hotel room and confirmed my dress rental. I plan on getting entries done this weekend if not sooner. Only thing left is the dancing (small detail).

Teacher and I have agreed on a “go/no go” date to finally decide whether our Open routines are ready to debut. I’m obviously determined to go, while Teacher seems to be cautiously optimistic. Interesting to see roles reversed. Usually I’m the one with reservations about whether I’ll be ready. I understand his caution though. He doesn’t want me to spend my hard-earned, limited funds on an event before we’re well-enough prepared; doing so could lead to me regretting entering the comp instead of basking in my Open debut.

My impulse to throw caution to the wind though is stemming an itch I haven’t been able to scratch since August last year. I want to get out on the floor again! It’s been almost a year since I last competed and I’m tired of sitting on the sidelines, practicing while others perform. I’ve had a lot of delays since last summer too, between financial crunches and physical injury. My knees are healing and my competition funds are ready to be spent. So let’s go!

I think it’s good that he’s cautious this time when I’m ready to jump ahead. It balances the energy. If you had two people cautious or two people gung-ho about competing before they’re completely ready, either way, the results wouldn’t be good. So while I’m impatiently like “come oooonnnnn, let’s goooooo!” when he’s like “wait, hold up, we haven’t shored up this dance yet.”, I’m glad we have that counterbalance, even if I feel annoyed in the moment that he’s not as eager to go as I am right now.

Funny thing is I’m not only having to wait for our final decision to compete at Desert, I’m also having to remind myself to wait in our dancing. When we went through our Foxtrot to music last week, it went well, but apparently I was not waiting for Teacher’s lead. Like at all. Anywhere. I just needed to slow down and chill through the whole dance.

That’s an unfortunate downside of solo practice for a Follow. If you spend more time practicing on your own than with a partner, you can get used to doing all of the steps by yourself without having to wait for a lead. When you’re practicing a specific routine, like for a showcase or a competition, you can find yourself going full steam ahead during partner practice while your Lead is left behind.

That’s why I emphasize the importance of including your teacher or partner in your solo practice in The Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing. You can’t learn ballroom just by practicing on your own. You need time with a partner as well, so you can learn and practice the lead and follow aspect. Not to mention just to get used to having a body in front of you while you’re dancing!

My strategy to combat this is to work on the connection with my own body during my solo practice, so there is an easier and stronger connection to my partner when we dance together. During the Smooth Congress at Emerald Ball, David Hamilton talked about the common center between dance partners. He emphasized that in order to connect to that common center, you had to be connected to your own center. It reminds me of the electrical circuit experiments we did in school to learn about how electricity works. You had to connect all of the circuits in order for the energy to flow and power the lightbulb or clock or whatever you were using. In order for a Follow to feel a Lead’s cue to do the next move (i.e., their energy), the Follow’s internal circuits all have to be connected, which then can connect to the common center circuit which then connects to the Lead’s internal circuits.

Maybe my geeky glasses are pushed too far up my nose, but that’s what I think about. It’s all about building a solid path for the energy to flow. But I feel like I’ve gotten off topic slightly…

My mantra for my knee recovery has transferred to my dancing. Patience, patience, patience. It’s so easy to act on the anticipation of the next move, especially when anticipating versus responding to the lead can be just a split second apart. As an audience member, you can see it though. You can tell the difference between two people doing matching steps and two people truly dancing together as one.

Speaking of knees, they seem to be doing better! I don’t want to jinx it, but you may have seen on social media that I practiced in heels for the first time in over two months this past weekend. Twice! Never got above a 3 on the pain scale, which is really good for where I’ve been. So yay! Hopefully last week’s setback was the last big hurdle and it’s all downhill to full recovery from here. Of course, patience, patience, patience. I don’t want to push myself too hard and go backwards again. Nevertheless, it does make me feel optimistic.

That’s it from here. I was going to give you an update on the 90-day transformation program, but it ended up going way too long, so I cut it out and pasted it into a new blog post. I’ll publish it mid-week.

Sweet dreams, dancers! I’m off to bed.


6 thoughts on “Countdown to Desert Classic 2019: 1 Month – Wait For It

    • TheGirlWithTheTreeTattoo says:

      Congratulations Amy! 1st tip is to breathe! Nerves are normal and they come up because you care about your dancing. ❤ I always say your main focus at your 1st comp should be enjoying the experience. Don’t worry about results. But if you feel better when you have something to DO, work with your teacher to decide what you’re going to practice each week to prepare. At the actual comp, it helps me to pick only one or two things to focus on (i.e., my frame or finishing my arm extensions). Everything else I trust to muscle memory. That helps keep the brain from getting overwhelmed while you’re dancing. Keep me posted, I’d love to hear how you’re doing!!


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