Only a month until I return to the competition floor!
I keep having these mini anxiety attacks when I visualize actually dancing in the scholarship round. My adrenal gland is working overtime, that’s for sure. It’d be cool if this is my body working out all of the nerves now, so on the day of, I feel calm and ready to dance.
With only a month to go, the focus of my lessons is shifting to drilling the full routines over and over to solidify our connection and see what hesitations, stumbles, hiccups, etc. come out when we go all out. I was a little embarrassed in my last lesson when we started with a foot round where both Teacher and I danced the routine, but separately. At one point during Waltz, I realized he was one or two bars ahead of me! We figured out that I was holding a transition to promenade longer than he was, which was the point of doing the together-but-separate foot round – to see where we weren’t in sync with our timing.
Has anyone else done this with their teacher or partner? For me, it was really intimidating because it felt like a test to see if I could keep up with my pro partner. At the same time, I quickly saw the value of doing it even though I didn’t keep up with him. I know this is how many professional couples warm up, so I also forced myself to take the compliment that Teacher thought I was capable of doing this type of exercise.
We spent the rest of the lesson working on the Waltz, and by the end, I was feeling pretty good about it! I’ve recently become really focused on wanting to be musical, meaning be able to respond within our routines to the music that’s playing. Watching professional events at Desert Classic, I was bothered when the dancing didn’t match the music. Sometimes, it was the choreography, like a dark, dramatic routine danced to a light, happy Waltz. Sometimes, it was just that the dancing was being done to the timing and ignoring the song’s specific rhythms. Dennis Lyle, one of the coaches at the American Smooth Congress at Emerald Ball, really opened my eyes to this, and it’s one of those things that once seen, you can’t unsee (or unhear).
Of course, I would make it a personal goal to master one of the most difficult aspects of ballroom dancing. Why make it easy on myself? It does relate back to my “why” though. I think about the kind of dancing that makes me, as an audience member, lean forward in my chair or twitch as my body is inspired to move with the performers. It’s the kind of dancing that connects with the music and truly translates the sound into movement. With my dancing, I want to be able to give others the experiences I’ve had that left me filled with joy, inspiration and awe, like I’ve been taken on a journey without leaving my seat.
I don’t expect to master anything so great in the next month, but it’s in the back of my head as I drill my routines with Teacher and on my own. When I practice dancing to the music, I try to listen to the rhythm, not just the timing. It’s not easy and attributes to my falling behind sometimes (I slow down when I start listening more intently). But that’s what practice is for, right?!
Musicality is a long-term goal. My main goal for Embassy is to enjoy being back on the floor. It’s my first time competing at a new level and my first time competing in an entire year, so I don’t want to put any extra pressure on myself around results. I did peek at last year’s scoresheets and the Open scholarship was a semi-final, so I am also making it a goal is to at least make it into the final round.
Update on the knees: They’re doing better! Pain level overall is down to the 0.5 to 2 range on the pain scale (no pain but still a little “wonky” doesn’t count as 0 apparently, so I said ok, fine, 0.5). It’s exciting, which means I’ve had to have a few talks with myself about not getting overexcited and overdoing it. As long as they feel ok, I’m going to try dancing in my actual heels next week!
I’m also officially through 8 weeks of the 90-day transformation program and am seeing amazing results, but I’ll write up a separate post to update you on that.