Solo Practice is More Fun with Friends!

My relationship with solo dance practice was born out of necessity. I needed a way to improve as a dancer that didn’t come with a financial cost. The Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing was born out of my need to improve as a dancer without a financial cost and with a limited time requirement. The framework I developed for my solo practice sessions worked wonders. I grew in strength, balance and confidence. Lessons with Teacher were more productive. Other coaches noticed the improvements in my dancing when I competed. I became a World Champion!

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When the Doubts Roll In

The weather is getting colder here. Frost appears on the grass every morning now, with low temperatures hitting the 20s. I had to scrape ice off my windshield this morning before I left for Zumba. High temperatures are still hitting the low 50s, so I wouldn’t call it winter yet but I know the 20s will soon be the high rather than the low. Layers are my best friend as I await the arrival of my first real winter in years. I also ordered some wool socks.

Photo by photos_by_ginny on Pexels.com
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Dead Mice, Zumba and Dance Goals

They say time moves more slowly in the country, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. Caring for this house alone could be a full-time gig. There are about 50 acres of forest waiting to be explored and that’s without leaving our property. Inspiration for art, whether it’s dance, photography, painting, etc., is abundant in these natural surroundings. Country living is anything but boring.

The difference I notice as I sit at the kitchen table and listen to the wind in the trees through the open window isn’t that I’ve slowed down since moving here. The difference is that Life around me moves at a less-rushed pace. The manic mood of the city is absent here. The bumblebees and hummingbirds show up every day in the overgrown garden next to the kitchen to collect their pollen and nectar. They aren’t lazy about it; they are consistent and persistent. What they aren’t is frantic. Their work is steady, not hectic. Amazing how they still complete their tasks without buzzing around like their boss is going to set their hair on fire if they don’t appear entirely stressed out.

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Rediscover Your Dance

Would you believe I had dance four days this past week? Two private lessons, a studio party (!), and a group class this morning. I could have taken advantage of a group class discount on Friday as well, but I needed a night at home. It was the closest I’ve come to my pre-pandemic life in over a year.

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It’s Ok to Stumble. Just Keep Dancing.

Before I jump into today’s topic, I want to say Happy New Year, dancers! I hope your New Year’s celebrations were fun and safe.

My first lesson after the first pandemic lockdown started with a solo dance. I hadn’t danced in a studio for 3.5 months and the first thing Teacher and I did was dance Open Waltz apart. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see how much of the routine I remembered.

For the last couple years, Teacher has made me dance a solo dance or even an entire solo round at the beginning of almost every lesson, especially when we were getting close to a competition. I hated it. I got so embarrassed when I would lose my balance or forget my steps. It fed into my self-doubt and anxiety around my abilities as a dancer. But over time, it was also incredibly effective at improving my dancing.

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Studio Solo Practice

I solo practiced at the studio yesterday! First time in 7 months. With talk of competing again in early 2021, 2021 being only three months away, AND only one lesson a week on the books for the foreseeable future, I thought it was time to get back into the solo practice habit.

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Dancing With Just Me

Week 7 of staying home has passed, and we’ve entered a new month. Some areas of the country have given up the quarantine life and made attempts to resume some sort of “normal.” The state I live in maintains its stay-at-home order with no specific expiration date. A ballroom competition just a couple states over announced it will proceed as planned in June. At the same time, a week-long dance camp scheduled for the same month in a neighboring state announced it was cancelling its in-person events and pivoting to an online platform.

Our current reality is full of discontinuity. For every argument, there is another to counter it and a third to counter both. It can be difficult to know who or what to believe or trust. Not to mention there is still a virus spreading and mutating around the world with widely varying effects and side effects.

What’s a ballroom dancer to do?

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The Times, They Are a-Changin’ (or Are They?)

Does anyone else feel like the last week took a month to pass? It was my first full week of adapting to the new reality we find ourselves in. Two Fridays ago, my company ordered everyone who could work from home to do so until further notice. On Monday, the county I live in issued an order (and then a revised order) restricting private and public gatherings, and then the state of California issued a “stay at home” order effective beginning Thursday until further notice.

It’s been stressful and surreal to experience so many changes in such a short time. No surprise that my anxiety was high and focusing on work became more difficult every day. Finally, on Friday, a mindset shift and a trip to my dad’s apartment helped me release some of the tension.

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