I’ve been pondering this question a lot this week, inspired by a comment left on a social media post that was promoting the Solo Practice Guide. I’ve been celebrating my World Champion title as much as the next dancer, but how much significance does it really have?
First, a confession: I did not go to the studio for my Sunday solo practice today.
Whether you started your dance training at 3, 30 or 70, one trait I’m sure we share as dancers is we are some of the most self-critical creatures on the planet. That means small disappointments can have big impacts on our psyches.
Check out my guest post on The Whole Dancer about how I’ve learned to dance through disappointment.
If you’ve been dancing ballroom for awhile and especially if you’re a competitor, then you have a decent-sized library of routines and drills that you can use in your solo practice. Your content is plentiful; you just have to decide what your focus will be based on your next event or longer term goals.
But what if you’re just getting started in ballroom? You’re on your first or second lesson package at your studio, you’re still breaking in your first pair of real dance shoes, and not in a million years can you imagine yourself wearing a costume covered with rhinestones. You don’t have any choreographed routines. Heck, you’re still trying to remember the difference between “cross body lead” and “crossover break.”
Have no fear, young grasshoppers! You too can reap the benefits of solo practice. You just need a slightly different approach while you build up your ballroom dance knowledge base. And don’t worry, I mixed up the names of the “cross” steps too.
So ironically, after writing my last blog post about recovering from a bad day, this weekend, I find myself having a tough time. If you caught my social media on Friday evening, then you know we experienced the very-rare-for-Orange-County thunderstorm! I love a good summer thunderstorm (we’ll ignore the fact that it’s October because it’s still in the 70s/80s here). But unfortunately, I also live with seasonal affective disorder, so gloomy weather makes me gloomy. It was gray and rainy all day on Saturday, and by Sunday morning, even though the sun started to come out, I was also feeling quite gray.
We all have bad days. Sometimes it feels like one thing after another goes wrong. Or we just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and can’t seem to ever get going.
It’s kind of like lemon juice on a paper cut when that bad day affects our dance lesson or practice. For whatever reason, we keep dancing left when our teacher wants us to dance right. Everything we thought we had in our muscle memory is coming up “file not found.”
It sucks, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.
If you watched Dancing with the Stars on Monday night, you probably saw DWTS pro Sharna Burgess dance a foxtrot with radio personality Bobby Bones. Personally, I love Sharna’s choreography. She always comes up with something creative that plays to her partner’s strengths. So I was a little thrown when the dance ended with…flossing?
Dance has this wonderful power to make everything else disappear. There’s just you, the music, and if it’s a partner dance, the person you’re dancing with. Whatever was bothering you earlier in the day is gone. Unpaid bills, stress at work, unfinished tasks – it all just fades away when you move your body to music.
I don’t know what to write this week, so we’re just going to start writing and see what comes out. Usually I have an idea by midweek, but this week – nada. My brain’s been a bit scattered and preoccupied, and with three months left in the year, I have this weird sense of “I’ve still got plenty of time” and “I’m running out of time.”
How about some dance-related stuff?