Progress Doesn’t Always Go Forward

I was a little frustrated with my dancing this past week. After a breakthrough the week before and feeling like I was understanding more about why my body hurt while dancing and how to fix it, I went home from Tuesday’s lesson with my back aching in that old trouble spot. We were working on Foxtrot, and I thought I employed the same tweaks as the week before that made my movement in Waltz so much more powerful and less painful. Apparently not, or at least not with the same results. Thursday, we returned to Waltz and while I felt like I made some minor progress, my back was still aching.

You’ve probably seen an illustration like this online somewhere, depicting what people think the path to success looks like and what it actually looks like.

I think I’m in one of those squiggly sections that looping back and across other sections. Even my knees have been extra cranky, making me feel like I’ve backtracked on progress there as well. Of course, one not-so-great week doesn’t mean I’ve actually backtracked, but it’s frustrating and discouraging nonetheless.

In other news, one of the largest competitions on the West Coast, Emerald Ball, happened this past week. The competition moved to Texas for its first pandemic-era event. I enjoyed watching the videos posted online of my fellow dancers getting back on the floor, though not without that pang of wishing I could have been out there too. The future of my competitive career remains uncertain.

I did get to participate in another competition in a different way this week. The Girl with the Tree Tattoo was a proud sponsor of the first virtual competition sanctioned by the United Country Western Dance Council – the MidAtlantic Dance Classic. You may recall that I interviewed the director of the competition a couple months ago. A lucky competitor danced away with the Champion Dancer Book Set, and I got to share this special message:

Even though I don’t have a clear vision for my dance journey moving forward and the past week was frustrating, I’m staying the course. Even while I’m laying on the couch watching Netflix instead of reviewing choreography because I’m tired and grumpy from feeling my knees or my back ache, I’m not giving up on myself or my dancing. The only way forward is to keep following the squiggle until it loops back toward the direction I want to go.


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