We’re down to the final week of 2020! Which means this is the last week to get your discount on the book bundles at Practice Ballroom Dance. Just sayin’.
I’ve got my bottle of bubbly and bayberry candle ready to go for December 31. For those unfamiliar, they say a bayberry candle burned to the socket brings health to the home and wealth to the pocket. My simple New Year’s Eve plans are not due to the pandemic by the way. I just prefer slippers to high heels.
A new challenge to kick off 2021 is also in the works! More details are below.
As I thought about what to share today, the first time I competed in Open Smooth popped into my head. I completely blanked on my Waltz during one of my rounds. Completely. For the remaining seconds of the dance, I desperately tried to just follow Teacher (much easier to do when you’re dancing Closed!) and sent a prayer to heaven when the music ended. Even after we got off the floor, I still couldn’t remember the steps or figure out how I went off the rails so quickly and completely. It looked like I was dancing, but internally I had no idea what was happening.
One clue from Teacher about where the routine was supposed to go and it all came back to me. My brain reset and my dancing clicked back into place. Unfortunately, that was the last round I entered, so I didn’t get a chance to redeem myself that day.
2020 kinda feels like that Waltz. I was dancing along, clear on my path, and then suddenly, I’m lost. I keep going because I can’t just stop, but I have no idea where I’m going or how I’m getting there. I try to follow the cues given to me, but the whole thing feels off. This isn’t how it’s supposed to go. Can the song be over now?
2021 is the chance to reset and do better. The silver lining to epic fails like my blanking on my Waltz or 2020 in general is, assuming we survive, we get to learn from them. Cheesy, I know, but seriously, if you’re not taking a honest look at how that disastrous dance fell apart and why, how do you expect to improve on it?
Sometimes you discover you were doing something that was screwing you up without even realizing you were doing it. Because my body is strong, my instinct is to use that strength to regain balance or force a movement, instead of tweaking my technique which ultimately takes less effort and serves the dance better. Relying on strength alone eventually proved ineffective and created bad habits and, I suspect, even contributed to injuries. If Teacher and I didn’t examine my fails as much as my successes, I would have kept on trying to force things to work instead of learning how to create higher quality dancing.
Like many of you, I’ve spent 2020 trying to figure out how to make things work in the midst of the pandemic. There have been plenty of times when I headed down one path and, “nope, not that one!”, had to turn around. Plenty of fails.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I committed to focusing on my physical fitness while I stayed “safer at home.” I triggered a flareup in my knees that lasted a couple weeks after doing too many Zumba classes on carpet. I’ve also gained about 10 pounds in the last 9 months. I told myself I would stick to my weekly solo practices even while my studio was closed. Solo practice longer than 5 minutes has been sporadic at best.
There have been plenty of successful paths too. Expanding my writing to the Medium platform was a goal I set early on in the pandemic, which I reached sooner than my original self-imposed deadline. In place of consistent solo practice, I’ve been taking semi-consistent weekly ballet barre classes to improve my basic technique and refine the use of my strength. I’m finding new satisfaction at the day job, as my latest Medium article explains. I’m also connecting with a greater sense of purpose for my dancing that goes beyond training for the next competition.
Even though the pandemic is far from over, leaving 2020 behind feels significant. 2021 is full of hope and possibility, and I write that without any sense of sarcasm or cheesiness. It legit feels hopeful.
Obviously, things aren’t going to miraculously become better when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. We can take that hopeful energy though and use it to reset and get clear on which path we want to take into the new year. Which brings me to the challenge I mentioned.
If you’ve been with me for awhile, you may recall past challenges. We set our practice goals at the beginning of 2019 and committed to owning our dance journeys in 2020. Now, after all of the craziness of 2020 and the continued uncertainty of the future, it’s time to reset our dance journeys in 2021. This 5-day challenge is a chance to get our feet under us again, regain our balance, and figure out where we’re actually going.
The goal of the Reset Your Dance Journey challenge is to reflect on the detours that our dance journeys took in 2020 and where they have landed us, in order to clearly see what paths we might take moving forward.
It’s free, it’s simple to participate, and it’s a chance to set some intentions that will carry you forward, regardless of what 2021 brings. The challenge starts January 11. Click here to register.
Until then, let me know if you have any NYE plans, i.e. Zooming with friends, dancing in your PJs with your fur babies, etc.
Happy New Year!