Practice, Practice, Practice!

I mailed my entry forms for USDC!  Hotel is reserved, flights are booked.  No turning back now!

I'm mailing a check for how much??  I can't watch.

I’m mailing a check for how much?? I can’t watch.

With just under 5 weeks to go, I’m carefully managing my mindset so it doesn’t turn all dark and negative and anxiety-ridden.  I know myself, so I know I’ll freak out at some point.  But it’s ok. USDC will be my first competition at which I dance silver.  Might sound a little crazy, entering the silver level for the first time at Nationals.  But Teacher believes I can do it, and I am getting a test run at a team match in two weeks.  I’m doing my best to ignore the fact that I still don’t know all of the steps in my silver routines.  Trying to stay positive, I focus on the fact that I am making progress at every lesson. And I can follow the steps when I dance with Teacher. And there are still 5 weeks to go.  Or is it only 5 weeks??

Continue reading

At What Point Can You Call Yourself a “Dancer”?

I think I’m going through a little ballroom withdrawal. It’s been weeks and weeks since I took a group class. My last few private lessons were a week apart due to Teacher going to comps or having other scheduling conflicts. And I haven’t been going to the studio to practice. I have all sorts of excuses, including the fact that I’m still doing things at home like the journey to splits challenge. I used to practice before and/or after group class. It worked well for me. But now that I’m not taking group, I find it’s hard to motivate myself to go to just practice on my own. This is why I fail at being a gym member. I’m much more likely to go if there is a class or something where I have other people to support me and hold me accountable. But going by myself to work by myself? I feel like I may as well save the gas and stay at home. This withdrawal coupled with anxiety over USDC and reading online how often others practice or have private lessons has me once again pondering a question my demons obsessively taunt me with: at what point can I call myself a dancer?
Continue reading

Still Two Months to Go or Only Two Months to Go!

I thought I had more time, but apparently the countdown to USDC, a.k.a. Nationals, has begun. Teacher comes to me at the beginning of our lesson on Wednesday and says “Ok! Two months to go! We need to schedule them! Double lesson on Friday! And then next week…!!” The man was pumped up! And he didn’t slow down once through the whole lesson as he whipped out brand new Viennese waltz and foxtrot silver routines, raced through showing me the steps while also coaching me on the arm styling and shaping, danced them once or twice with me, skipped across the studio to put music on to dance them to music, and then, with a big smile on his face, said “Perfect! How did that feel?”

Uuhh, not perfect. What was the first step again?

I think we were on two different lessons.

I think we were on two different lessons.

Continue reading

Who Are You Dancing For?

You know those people who draw everyone’s attention when they walk into a room? Whether it’s their walk or their smile or their eyes or everything about their body language, people notice them. I am not one of those people. I am one of those people who slips in unnoticed and hangs around for 20 minutes before someone says “oh, when did you get here?!” I generally avoid the spotlight. I’ve pushed myself to let some inner light shine through in my dancing. But I still tend to retreat to the shadows as soon as I can. Unfortunately, I will not be able to go after a national title in the shadows. Shucks.

Continue reading