I was listening to the podcast DanceSpeak earlier this week, specifically episode 97 (also available on iTunes, Google Play, etc.). Normally, the episodes consist of interviews between the host, Galit Friedlander, and someone who’s found success in the dance industry. Episode 97 was different in that it was a recording of a live panel that happened at an event called Im-Power-Meant. Toward the end of the episode, someone asked the panel why they thought dancers haven’t reached the same level of public success as other performance artists like actors or singers. As I listened to the panel’s thoughts, my brain started to explode with ideas. I actually spoke the first draft of this blog post into the voice recorder on my phone while I was running errands after work on the day I listened to the podcast. There was too much I wanted to share and I didn’t want to lose any of it by the time I was ready to sit down and write.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day dancers!
Anyone have any special St. Patty’s Day traditions (aside from drinking too much)? Traditional meals? Good old fashioned folk dancing? Please share in the comments!
My day was busy, which is why this blog post is coming a little late. It started with solo practice, of course.
Is anyone else really feeling the time change this time around? I’ve been enjoying sunrise occurring before I walk the dogs in the morning before work, but when I woke up at 6:30am this morning, it was DARK. Ugh, I guess it’s back to walking the dogs in the pitch black again. Yay.
Anyhoo, another week of ice packs and heating pads has gone by. I wrote in my last blog post about the difficulties I was having adjusting to my new reality in which I can’t go full out in a Zumba class or I’ll have to limp home with crying knees. It was also disturbing and frustrating how achy my knees felt after a 45-minute dance lesson. I had a lot of questions swirling around in my head (still do) about what my apparent limitations meant for me and my dancing future.
I’m writing this from my couch with ice packs on my knees because I just got home from my dance lesson, and icing my knees is what I do now after lessons and workouts. I did the same last night after I went to my first Zumba class since overdoing it at the Zumbathon. It was annoying and a little depressing how much I held myself back and still came home with sore, achy knees.
I couldn’t decide on a particular topic, so I thought I’d just give you an update on my week. It was a busy week between my Burn classes, dance lessons including a coaching, and an all-day dance workshop.
I was at a dance lesson a little over a week ago, and Teacher was talking about some of the more intricate details of our open Waltz routine. These were the details that add another layer of quality and performance to the dance.
It had nothing to do with making steps fancier or more complicated. It was about activating the body in the right way at the right time to demonstrate control and awareness. Adding an extra little tick here or extending a stretch a second longer there would also demonstrate musicality and my ability to “play” within the confines of the choreography.
As he talked about one section, I thought of other sections where I knew I could go further, push deeper, or do more to create something that would make the audience go “wow.” This kind of talk excites me. It’s a deep dive into the art of the dance and gives me more opportunity to work my creative muscles.
At the same time though, as I pictured myself adding those intricate layers to my dancing, I felt a twang, like anxiety plucked one of my heartstrings.
On January 22, 2018, I emailed the 108 people on the Solo Practice Guide mailing list about a special offer. I was ready to complete the Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing, but before I released it to the world, I wanted to test it. So I created a beta group and opened it to 10 people to help me review the Guide chapter by chapter. The result was awesomeness, and I’m so grateful to those 10 people for helping me make this dream a reality. Now that we’re reaching the one-year anniversary of that fateful day, I want to celebrate!
I was talking to another student at my book signing at SM Dance Fashion yesterday. In about a year, she’s taken on learning three different styles of ballroom and has competed in two of them. She’s been able to do so much in so little time because she takes about eight lessons a day, five days a week! The one thing she hasn’t really done is practice on her own.
Then there’s me. Over my six-plus years of dancing ballroom, I’ve also learned three different styles and competed in two. I usually take two lessons a week, and I practice at least once a week for at least one hour.
The extreme differences in our dance training journeys got me thinking. I’ve said before that lessons with your teacher and your solo practice are like two sides of the same coin. But is one side more important than the other? If you’re struggling in your dancing, do you need more lessons or more practice on your own?
I saw this graphic on Instagram this weekend. Aside from the small grammatical errors (I can’t help myself), it’s quite hilarious. New Year’s Resolutions, especially those related to physical fitness, have become a cliche because of how easily they’re made and then forgotten.
Another year coming to a close. It’s cliche to say, but each one really seems to fly by quicker than the one before. Maybe I’m just getting old.
2018 was witness to some incredible accomplishments in my life: