Countdown to Embassy Ball 2019: 25 Days – Pulling the Pieces Together

I’d like to start this piece by sharing that I practiced for about two hours this morning and the ache in my knees only got up to a 1, maybe a light 2 on the pain scale, which is awesome!

I can officially say I’m competing at the end of this month. Entries have been submitted, makeup has been booked, and I’m pulling together some final accessories for my dress. Pieces are coming together. It’s happening!

The biggest piece of course is the actual dancing. I danced in heels for the first time in MONTHS during my lessons last week, and my knees did really well. No crazy flareups back up to where I started on the pain scale, just some minor aching. I had a flareup of a different sort on Tuesday though.

I was kind of nervous to wear my dance heels actually. It had been so long, and I was worried about how my knees would respond and how well my balance would adjust. I was a little wobbly on my feet on Tuesday, and apparently, that wobbliness sent the wrong signal to my brain that I wasn’t strong in my dancing in general, which triggered a mild anxiety attack that lasted pretty much the whole lesson.

When the demons are running rampant in my brain, it’s very difficult to take in what others are trying to tell me. It’s like trying to hear someone over a really noisy, crowded cafeteria. Teacher was telling me what he wanted me to do in Tango, and I was staring at him watching his mouth move but not really hearing what he was saying. Or rather, I heard the words, but they weren’t being fully processed because my brain was busy elsewhere.

So when Teacher asked me if I was ready to try, I just shook my head no. We’ve been dancing together long enough that I can just tell him, “hang on, I’m having a moment” and he’ll give me the extra time and space I need or repeat what he just said or demonstrate it one more time, whatever I need to get through having a moment.

The surprising thing was when I finally did try what he wanted me to do, he said I did it successfully! Of course, when he asked me if it felt better, I told I had no idea (because I wasn’t fully present at the time). I think my “do it scared” mantra came to my rescue. While most of my brain was freaking out, a part of it was still listening and processing the information that Teacher was conveying. That part of the brain took my body through the movement with the requested changes. The question now is did I retain any of that information. Thinking back, I recall one spot where we added arm styling and one spot where I wasn’t taking a step and I was supposed to. Other than that, I don’t know what we did for the rest of the 45 minutes.

Viennese has been worked on the least, so we switched things up and spent all of Friday’s lesson on that dance. The routine flows so nicely, even if I haven’t studied the steps as much, I’m picking it up faster than the other dances. Lucky me, since there isn’t much time left to study! Friday also felt better in my heels and there were no signs of my anxious demons.

The more we rehearse the routines, the more I appreciate and enjoy the choreography that Teacher created (with some input from yours truly). Of course, when you can actually dance something, it’s always more fun than constantly starting and stopping because you’re stumbling, fumbling and generally confused. Teacher has a legit talent for choreo though, in my humble opinion, so it’s not only fun to dance, I think it will be fun for the audience to watch as well.

Preparations continue! Above all else, I’m just looking forward to getting back on the dance floor. A year is a long time, and a lot has happened in this past year. It will be satisfying to return to where I belong.

Happy dancing, everyone!

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2 thoughts on “Countdown to Embassy Ball 2019: 25 Days – Pulling the Pieces Together

  1. Barbara Caridad Ferrer says:

    It is so hard to believe it’s going to have been a year for you—especially since last year you did so many comps, by your standards. But it’s going to be so exciting to debut the new routines where you last did your championship winning routines. Sort of very full circle, that.

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