Countdown to USDC – 21 Days: Team Match and a Silver Debut

I’ve lucked out twice now with my studio holding a team match shortly before I’m to go to a big competition. Team matches are great to use as rehearsals for the “real thing” because you get the structure of a competition without the stress. Or in my case, with less stress (it never leaves me entirely). This one was especially important because it allowed me to try out my new silver routines!

Before the team match, I had never done a complete round of all four silver routines with Teacher, causing me just a little anxiety (ok, a LOT of anxiety). Adding to that stress was the uncomfortable feeling of being unprepared because I still didn’t know all of my silver choreography. I could follow Teacher, but I had no idea what we were doing. To me, it was like starring in a play and not knowing all of my lines. I would have Teacher essentially feeding me lines during the performance, but that meant I had to direct more thought power to what the next line was instead of how I was going to deliver it. It also almost feels like half-assing it, like I didn’t bother studying for a test because I was going to be able to take it with a partner. I’m just not that kind of student. Plus, as the article about introverts that I shared stated, I need to feel prepared.

So how did the team match go?

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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??

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My Process for Learning “Post-Basics”

Everyone learns in their own way. Some learn by doing, others by taking notes. Some are visual learners and others are auditory. I think I’m a combination of methods. But as I learn more about the silver level of ballroom and more advanced ballroom technique, I’m noticing my internal learning process is a little more complicated than when I was just learning bronze and the basics.

Warning, I drop a few F bombs in this post.

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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.

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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.

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