Seeing “4 days” written out feels a lot sooner than just thinking “Thursday” in my head. It’s so close! After a year of financial roadblocks, physical injuries, and training at a more advanced level all at the same time, I’m finally returning to the competition floor. My last competition was Embassy Ball 2018, where I took the World title at the Closed Silver level. Now I return to try my hand at the Open level.
Dancing is literally defined as moving rhythmically to music. Many of our lessons and practice time in ballroom, however, happen without music. Even when we do get to dance to music in our training, it’s not going to be the same music that we’ll dance to at competition. It seems to be a challenge unique to ballroom. I remember explaining this to people who had experience with the more mainstream dance competitions, where dancers compete with routines choreographed to specific songs, and being looked at like I was crazy.
You don’t know what music you’ll be dancing to??
Nope. And if you enter a Jack and Jill event, you won’t even know who your partner is going to be!
How do you prepare for that??
First, a confession: I did not go to the studio for my Sunday solo practice today.
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.
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?
Hellooo lovely dancers! I am so sorry I’ve been a little absent on the blog. Things have been crazy! Nothing slowed down after I finished dancing at The Royal Ball. I didn’t even have time to jump on here to update you on how the competition went. Please allow me to remedy that now.
One of the big unexpected side effects of ballroom dancing I continue to experience is the courage to dive into my other passions. I’ve always loved creative writing, but hadn’t done it consistently in years until I started dancing, after which I started blogging. I also realized my dream of being a published author. The tree of life tattoo idea I had since high school finally fully formed in my mind after I started dancing, and then I actually got it inked!
When I did my review of Embassy Ball, I wrote about feeling like I was starting a new chapter in my dance story. The path was unclear and scary, but also exciting. There was talk of exploring my dancer identity and honing my message. I started new boards on Pinterest, one for ballroom dress inspiration and another for attitude inspiration. My brain was buzzing with ideas and new motivation to uncover more of my true self in dancing as soon as Teacher returned from Nationals (which took place the week following Embassy).
Then Teacher returned from Nationals.
I’m fighting that feeling I get when I think I haven’t done enough to feed my passions. It’s a mix of antsy and adrift topped off with a dollop of blues. I can feel there are thoughts and feelings inside me that want out. They want to be expressed and are making it difficult to focus. But when I opened up a new blog post, the words were MIA.
So basically, this is me trying to drag myself out of the muck. This is one of those crappy days I need to show up for. If I can waltz without a partner, I can figure out how to write without having the words first. Be warned, this will probably be akin to jumping in the car and starting to drive without any destination in mind. Scenic route to nowhere, here we come!
As committed as I am to my dance passion, I have to admit that I have a small problem with discipline. That is, I seriously lack discipline. Shocking, I know. I work so hard to improve my dancing and fund my training and competition. How do I do that without discipline?