Everyone’s Doing the Best They Can

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I belong to a fitness accountability group and earlier this week, I posed a question. I wanted to know how the others in the group managed their workouts when Life got really crazy, like it has been for me this month. They seemed to be so much better at doing their workouts consistently and reaching their weekly fitness goals. I was sure I was slacking somewhere and I wanted the secret sauce. What was the magic ingredient that I was missing that made me less consistent and less successful?

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What Do You Believe About Yourself As a Dancer?

A few weeks ago, I attended a workshop hosted by my mindset/personal development/creative/just generally awesome coach, during which we did an exercise that involved listing things you believed to be true about yourself. This wasn’t meant to be a self-roast or pity party; the goal was to identify positive things. The question then came up – is it really being honest to only list positive things and ignore the negative?

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Progress Doesn’t Always Go Forward

I was a little frustrated with my dancing this past week. After a breakthrough the week before and feeling like I was understanding more about why my body hurt while dancing and how to fix it, I went home from Tuesday’s lesson with my back aching in that old trouble spot. We were working on Foxtrot, and I thought I employed the same tweaks as the week before that made my movement in Waltz so much more powerful and less painful. Apparently not, or at least not with the same results. Thursday, we returned to Waltz and while I felt like I made some minor progress, my back was still aching.

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Learning to Trust My Power

Can you relate to this?

You’re working on a piece of choreography with your teacher. They tell you you’re doing fine but you’re holding back, you need to let go of your doubts and just go for it. Finally, you do! Your teacher is thrilled, and you’re happy and surprised. And then you freak out internally because this expression of power and confidence in yourself caught you off guard. Like a rubber band being stretched long and then snapping back to its original size, you have this urge to retreat back to a safer, smaller space where you feel less vulnerable.

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Is My Dance Journey Over?

As we reach the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., I know many dancers have one question on their mind: Is my dance journey over?

Some have been extremely lucky and privileged to be able to continue dancing and even compete through this pandemic. They experienced a couple months’ break in their dance schedule, which used to seem like a lot but in our current reality, hardly anything. I’ve been lucky to be able to take one in-person private lesson almost every week since July. I even got to perform in a virtual showcase.

Others have not danced in a year or longer. No lessons, no showcases, no competitions. Through an extremely stressful period of our lives, they have lost their primary source of mental and emotional relief. And after a year, they can’t help but wonder – is this it? Am I done dancing?

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You Keep Falling Because You Don’t Believe You Can Fly

Way back in 2015, when The Girl with the Tree Tattoo blog was still in the Newcomer division, I wrote an article for another dance website about partnering. I listed trust as one of three key factors for a successful dance partnership. Trust is a funny thing. It is like a house of cards, built up slowly over time, but one wrong move can make the entire structure collapse. It’s very fragile, and at the same time, holds very strong influence over us. We are willing to give so much of ourselves to those we trust without question.

In ballroom dancing, you have to trust your partner. You have to trust in their ability to dance and lead or follow (depending on your role). On a more emotional level, you have to trust them to respect you as you allow them into your personal space. The physical contact required for ballroom dancing (another key factor) can make you feel extremely vulnerable. It takes trust to ease that feeling and make you feel comfortable enough to dance well.

Ballroom dancing also requires trust in yourself.

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It’s the Little Things

As we advance along our ballroom dance journey, the fixes, adjustments and tweaks we make to create higher quality movement become smaller and smaller. We learn what the steps are, how to do those steps, and then how to actually dance in between and through the steps. Each level builds on the one before it. This process can get frustrating though because every time you start to think you know what you’re doing, you find out you’ve barely scratched the surface.

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We Dance

We’ve made it through another difficult week. I spent the week not sleeping well, working the day job, and reading and listening to multiple points of view on the issues. I also “muted” myself on social media in favor of discovering new-to-me BIPOC dancers and artists and sharing those instead. I’ve linked a few favorites at the end of this blog post.

I didn’t do much dancing. I took Teacher’s online technique class on Wednesday, but I skipped the various dance fitness classes I’ve been taking. I didn’t do any exercise really, aside from walking the dogs. Reality was just weighing too heavy on my shoulders. By the end of the week though, I was feeling the urge to do something creative. To dance, or to write. I was also feeling the urge to clean. A clear space can lead to a clearer mind.

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Dancing My Beautiful Truth (With a Dress to Match)

Happy Memorial Day weekend! Honestly, when I kept hearing commercials about Memorial Day sales this past week, I thought it was odd they were advertising so early. Then I realized this was the holiday weekend, not a week or two from now. Better to realize it now instead of logging into work on Monday and wondering why no one else is online!

I kicked off the weekend by hosting the Dance Your Truth workshop with RiTika Rose, which was eye-opening.

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