Happy Sunday dancers! I hope your weekend was relaxing and fun, and included a little dancing. I danced a little both days this weekend, with a workshop on Saturday and some practice time on Sunday. The workshop was taught by the current American Smooth champions (U.S., World, Blackpool…they’ve won them all!): Nick Cheremukhin and Viktorija! It didn’t go quite as I expected, but I was still able to take some of the teachings and apply them in my Sunday practice.
The title isn’t a metaphor. I’m wrote this post while sitting against a heating pad. This month’s guest article, Life Outside of Dance…, came at the perfect time for me. The night I reviewed Birgit’s final draft was also the night I woke up with a painful muscle spasm in my back. A cluster of muscles in my upper back took it upon itself to seize up and refuse to be moved. It made that painfully clear every time I tried to roll over or shift my position in bed to get more comfortable. The next morning was Friday. I was able to get out of bed and walk. I could even bend down and touch my toes! I just couldn’t rotate to the right. At all. You never realize how many actions require at least a small turn to the right until you can’t do it.
Birgit is a close friend who is responsible for introducing me to the dance studio I’ve trained at for nearly five years! The unimaginable happened to her last year, but as it turns out, life does go on. Read on to find out how she was forced to find life outside of dance.
While I was at Embassy Ball, I was interviewed by FloDance, a division of FloSports. It’s like an online sports channel, focused on dance and specifically ballroom. The site has really great content with a mix of articles and videos, including two articles I wrote for them (check them out here and here)! I’m excited about this site and hope it brings more awareness to this art/sport, as well as brings to light issues that are overlooked, like the one that inspired this post.
Happy October everyone! Also known as the start of six months of trying to avoid too much weight gain. I love the holidays and all the treats that come with them, but there’s always a price. One way I avoid bringing too much candy and other holiday goodies into the house is reminding myself that the money I spend on treats is money I won’t have for dance!
Today wasn’t the best start to the month. It was day 2 of the second headache of the week. I still managed to do my solo practice. The last two Sundays I’ve practiced over two hours. I decided not to push myself too hard today and only did an hour. It was frustrating, but I’m doing my best to focus on the positive.
When I did my review of Embassy Ball, I wrote about feeling like I was starting a new chapter in my dance story. The path was unclear and scary, but also exciting. There was talk of exploring my dancer identity and honing my message. I started new boards on Pinterest, one for ballroom dress inspiration and another for attitude inspiration. My brain was buzzing with ideas and new motivation to uncover more of my true self in dancing as soon as Teacher returned from Nationals (which took place the week following Embassy).
Then Teacher returned from Nationals.
This month’s guest is a fellow writer/dancer who has explored a variety of partner dances for almost 20 years! Her latest passion is Argentine Tango, but from every style, she’s found another piece of the puzzle that is her true self.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Karen Kaye.
Dancers, I’m possibly more excited than I should be about this, but I don’t care! Exclamation points for every sentence!
At the end of August, I participated in the Grow Your Tribe challenge hosted by Jennifer Kem and through it, came up with the idea of a worksheet that would finally answer the question “now what?” when we try to be good students and practice ballroom dancing on our own.
Today, that idea becomes reality!
With the help of Teacher and a lovely graphic designer, I bring you Your Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing. I packed as much information as I could onto one page. There is a sample practice that you can use from start to finish, or you can pick and choose pieces to supplement what you’re already doing. There are also lots of tips I hope you will find useful. I did my best to include ones that people specifically asked about on the Facebook page.
This worksheet is only the beginning. I realized that there is a lot more that could have been included and a lot more questions that should be answered. Even I started coming up with ones while I was discussing my sample practice with Teacher. For example, what if you just don’t have the time to complete the full practice as it’s outlined? What should you prioritize?
I want more than anything to provide those answers to you. SO I’m planning a new Solo Practice Guide addition to the Dance Diaries series!
First thing’s first though. Enter your name and email below to get the link to download your worksheet and start practicing!
Why am I asking for your email? There’s more to come and I want the people who sign up for this worksheet to get first dibs. For example, when the new eBook is available, I’ll email you first before it’s put out to the masses. I’m also planning on creating additional goodies like more worksheets or videos that will be available only to the people who sign up.
We all want to be amazing dancers, and I know you’re committed like I am to taking action to get there. So drop your email below and I’ll see you on the dancefloor!
Once upon a time, there was a girl who wasn’t great at much. At least, that’s what she thought. She was decent at some things and pretty good at others. Above average at best. But never quite enough to stand out, reach the top, or be remembered. Then came ballroom.
Dancing brought the girl to life! She started competing and began taking home first and second places right away. People praised her for her beautiful dancing. Her fragile ego swelled and she felt pride. She worked hard to improve her dancing and continued to win. Then after being away from the competition circuit for over a year, the girl returned. Even though she had continued to work hard and improve her dancing, she could not maintain those high results. Each competition put her lower in the rankings. Her ego began to feel exposed and vulnerable. And confused. She was dancing better than ever and felt amazing while doing it! How could she be placing lower than before?
It is at this point in the story that we join the girl, as she and her ego sort out the new reality.
The day’s almost here! I compete at Embassy Ball and the World Championships on Thursday! While Thursday is my only performance day, some of Teacher’s other students will be competing at both Embassy AND USDC, a.k.a. Nationals, next week. Stress levels were getting a little high, and so Teacher and his pro partner arranged a pre-comp gift for all of us. They invited sports psychology consultant Mario Soto to come to the studio and do a group session.