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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The Solo Practice Guide and DanceVision

Coming to you midweek to share something exciting! Back in the beginning of November, I had the chance to sit down with Wayne Eng and chat about The Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing. If you don’t recognize the name, Wayne is the owner of DanceVision, the largest producer of ballroom dance educational materials including the DVIDA syllabus and a huge library of training videos. He’s also the owner of Emerald Ball Dancesport Championships and one of the organizers of the United States Dance Championships. Needless to say, Wayne’s a busy man, so just the fact that we could find a date and time when we were both available was exciting!

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Getting Back on Track

In the last two weeks, I’ve had two back-to-back conferences (two days and three days) plus a one-on-one meetup about business, I’ve been interviewed twice about the books and journals I’ve published, and I consulted on interviews with other dancers. And I still managed to feed myself and my dogs and get to the day job on time. For an introvert like me, it was a LOT! While I’m grateful for all of these opportunities, I’m also grateful to be able to stay home for most of the weekend and do quieter things like write this blog post and go to the studio tomorrow for solo practice.

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