Next Steps in Dancing and Writing

My life is a mix of exciting new things and back to the old routine, so I thought I’d give you guys an overall update. Especially because the exciting new things include you!

Let’s start with dance.

Even though it’s the beginning of a new chapter in my dance journey, it feels like it’s back to the same old routine.

After about a two-week break, I had my first post-comp lesson with Teacher. The blues were finally starting to lift, so I felt ready to hear what our next steps were.

After you compete, a common question is “so when’s your next comp?” You’ve accomplished the goal you set for yourself, so the natural thing to do is set your next goal. In my case, as it so often is, I don’t know when my next competition is because I was tapped out financially after Embassy.

It was interesting and slightly amusing to hear the same response as I stated my situation to everyone who asked. Something to the effect of “it’ll be good for you to take some time to work on yourself and the quality of your dancing.” True statement, but what amuses me is the thought that pops into my head upon hearing that: “right, because I haven’t been doing that for the last year!”

But what else is there to say? Everyone knows how expensive competitive ballroom is for students. It sucks when money is the factor keeping you off the floor, but I’ve been well aware of this reality for a long time and I still dance and compete. I’m choosing to put myself on this rollercoaster, so no sense dwelling on it. Instead, I like to focus on what I can do in the meantime, which is my weekly private lesson and my solo practice. So, what did Teacher have to say?

The same thing everyone else did, funny enough. But then he got into the nuts and bolts of how we were going to use this time to work on me and my dance quality.

The theme for the next month or so is weight. Where, when and how you move and place your body’s weight in your own space and in your connection with your partner have huge impacts on how well you dance together.

I geek out over details like this because it’s so cool to experience the big difference a tiny shift can make. This focus aligns with my physical therapy for my knees as well. Since my knees have been behaving relatively well, my physical therapist has started working with me on improving balance and coordination. I was actually given the green light to do some squat exercises!

Squats, lunges and the like had been banned due to the repetitive compression on the cartilage beneath the kneecap. My knees tend to go inward in a squat too if I’m not conscious about it, which only makes the aggravation worse. Now, I’m recovered enough to tolerate a small number of squats in order to practice proper alignment and muscle coordination from the hips to the knees.

So between dance and PT, I’ll be getting even more in tune with my own body, which like I said, I think is pretty cool.

Now, on the writing side of things, Life is getting a bit more exciting.

First, I have two new products coming out on practiceballroomdance.com! Between my experiences over the past year and surveys from buyers of The Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing, I’ve developed new tools that will help bring your solo practice together with the rest of your dance journey, whether it’s private lessons, group classes, boot camps, or just you alone with your thoughts. I’m not going to spill the beans on what they are just yet, but if you’re intrigued, sign up for the Practice Ballroom Dance mailing list. Just go to practiceballroomdance.com and enter your email in the pop-up. People on that list will be the first to know what’s coming and will be the first able to preorder at the end of the month.

The second exciting writing-related thing happening is I’ve started getting into the meat of my next book! At least I think it’s my next book…

I started writing it with the idea of doing some type of predecessor to my next book, like a master class or a short-read like the Dance Diaries series. It doesn’t feel like it’s going in that direction as I write though. This is one of those times where I just have to trust the creative process and see where I end up!

It’s nice to finally get it going. For a long time, it was just blurry ideas in my head, then random thoughts on random post-it notes. Now, I have actual pages written. Not in order, mind you! This written work, in whatever form it takes in the end, is definitely taking its own path to becoming reality. And that path does not go in a straight line! Don’t you love the creative process?

That’s it from my little corner of the world. Let me know what you’re working on this week!

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4 thoughts on “Next Steps in Dancing and Writing

  1. Jim Yonemoto says:

    I think that student who compete in Pro-Am events are almost always balancing finances with doing more competitions and more coaching. For some people, doing twenty competitions a year and a similar number of outside coaching sessions is affordable and consistent with their goals and progress. For those of us who have more limited resources or choose to limit their expenses, choices have to be made. It forces us to ask ourselves why are we engaged in competitive dancing. For me, it is to improve my dancing skills. At my stage of dancing, more practicing, by myself, following the directions of my teachers and trainers, may be more important than more lessons or more coaching. I’m still rehabilitating and won’t compete for several more months. I am taking the time to change my choreography, but more importantly I’m working to basic techniques and extend the use of my whole body to gain more fluidity in my movement. I take lessons and compete to improve my social dancing skills. Competing and performing are, for me, just steps to have more fun dancing socially.

  2. Amy @ TalkingTales says:

    Sounds like a really solid plan! I’ve told my teacher that I want to work on arm styling – when I was in the audience at my comp, the people I couldn’t look away from were the ones who were really expressive with their arms (their faces, too, but arms will come easier to me I think). I want do a showcase as well before I take another run at competing, to help with my technique.

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