Just Enjoy It – Two Great Lessons and a Book Launch

This past week, I had my two regular lessons, one working on rhythm and the other working on smooth. During the rhythm lesson, we danced the cha cha routine to music and I NAILED that stupid spin TWICE! Then we worked on rumba and I “upgraded” my hip movement, according to Teacher. During the smooth lesson, we revisited tango. Teacher wanted me to focus on keeping my right arm forward (I tended to let it pull back, especially when the movement required me to put my left side forward). We worked on these tiny adjustments I could make to be able to take my left side forward without affecting the right.

You know how your teacher will tell you to do something and keep telling you you’re not doing it and then all of a sudden, after making the tiniest adjustment that you may or may not be aware that you made, they exclaim “yes, that’s it!”? Usually, in that situation, I have no idea what adjustment I made. But during this week’s smooth lesson, I actually started to feel it. I consciously made a tiny correction while we were dancing and Teacher felt it and confirmed it was correct!

Sounds like an awesome week, right? Well, it was!

So what’s the catch? There must be something, it can’t all be good.

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Remembering Bronze

During lunch yesterday, I was going through videos and pictures stored on my phone, deleting stuff I didn’t want or need to free up space. I came across a video of Teacher and me dancing a round of bronze smooth, and I realized that it was recorded just a couple weeks before we were supposed to leave for the United States Dance Championships, a.k.a. Nationals. A couple weeks before Teacher broke his wrist.
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Sorry, the Cookies Distracted Me

Hello, my readers! Sorry I’ve been M.I.A. the last few days, but it was Thanksgiving. Roomie and I hosted a small Friendsgiving on Thursday. Lots of good food and LOTS of leftovers!

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The obligatory picture of our Thanksgiving meal

I also like to bake for the holidays.  Instead of shopping this weekend, I made oatmeal scotchies (oatmeal cookies with butterscotch chips), chocolate chip scones, and chocolate chip cookies.  So that’s my excuse. I was slaving over the oven rather than my laptop!

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I was productive!

Not a lot to report in terms of dancing. I’m down to one lesson a week for at least a month so I don’t fall too far behind on lesson payments. I did have some fun at my pre-Thanksgiving lesson. We danced tango to a dubstep song called “Demons.”

I cannot get enough of this song; there is just something about it that drives straight to my very soul but makes me feel safe enough to be myself at the same time. So it was easy to get into tango character with that song blasting in the studio. Turn it off though, and I quickly shrink back into hesitation and doubt. Small steps.

I’m leaving for the Sunday social at Dance United shortly. Need to dance off all those extra calories! I hope to see you there!

And don’t forget, another “Ask the Girl” episode is coming up on Tuesday!  Anyone have questions or topics for me?  Comment below!

 

 

Tango Tuesday! (Write31Days Day 20)

When I think tango, I think fierceness, passion and strength.  When Teacher asked me to come up with a story for tango, I envisioned two panthers stalking each other in a jungle. In the human realm, I think of two figures in a dark, smoky bar located down a cobblestone alleyway.

Tango’s character comes from its mix of slow and sharp movements. It’s like a coiled spring that’s compressed and released over and over. It’s hard! Quick movements scare me because if you make a mistake, it’s a lot more obvious! A small mistake during a slow, flowing movement like in waltz is relatively easy to cover up. A small mistake made during a quick, sharp movement in tango looks huge!

Tango was my worst dance because I kept holding myself back, afraid to just go for it in those quick movements (see Tango Curses).  But the funny thing is, because it was my worst dance, I put a lot more time into practicing it. And I ended up winning the bronze Best of the Best at the 2015 California Open with my tango!

As I was reviewing videos for this post, I had to acknowledge my progress in this dance. This tango from December 2014 at the Holiday Dance Classic is pretty good.

But the tango from the 2015 Emerald Ball is so much sharper!

Hurray for progress!

Fellow dancers, what dance do you find the most challenging?


Don’t forget to check out other posts from the 31 Day Writing Challenge!

Dancing Through Monday (Write31Days Day 5)

I feel like I should lighten the mood a bit for Monday.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in everything I struggle with on my ballroom journey and forget my accomplishments!

So I went through some videos and forced myself to find things I liked about my dancing!

Studio Team Match, August 2015:

Here is my bronze waltz routine. I like the smoothness of my dancing here and the extension of my arms in the beginning and in the open sections of the routine.

I also debuted my silver routines at the team match!  Here is my foxtrot; I’m proud of myself for making it through the routine and looking like I knew what I was doing, even though I was having the worst time remembering the steps!

Emerald Ball, April 2015:

This video is of my bronze tango routine, and is also on my Videos page.  It’s one of my favorites because you can see the judges in the foreground debating about my tattoo.  They didn’t agree about whether the silhouette on the tree was of Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire!  I think I did a decent job at conveying the intense tango character too.

And just to round out the set, here is my Viennese waltz from Emerald.  Despite a split second misread on Teacher’s lead at one point, I feel like my dancing was very solid and I love how our arm styling matches almost perfectly.  I even smiled!

Happy Monday!


Don’t forget to check out other posts from the 31 Day Writing Challenge!

31 Day Writing Challenge

The blog posts from the Write31Days Challenge have been compiled into my first Dance Diaries book, Learning Ballroom Dance. I’ve left some of the links active so you can get a preview of the information available in the book. Click here for more information on the Dance Diaries series!

As I slowly find my way down a new path on my ballroom journey, I’ve decided to put more effort into my journey as a writer. I learned about this 31 day writing challenge this morning and signed up! It’s simple enough – pick up a topic and write about it every day for the month of October.

Naturally, my chosen topic is ballroom dance!

31 Days

Those that have been on this journey with me for awhile know that I typically post every 2 to 3 days. So I’ll have to kick it up a notch to make myself write EVERY day! I plan on updating this post with links to each day’s post, so you don’t have to scroll through my blog page to find ones you miss. Just come back here, or click on the category 31 Days.

And let me know in the comments if any other bloggers out there decide to take on the challenge too!

Countdown to USDC – 12 Days: Well, That Could Have Gone Better

Ever have one of those days where you just want to yell “I swear I’m better than this!” because the current evidence is indicating otherwise? Yeah, that was me during my last lesson.

I was such a good student. Arrived at the studio an hour before my scheduled lesson time. I did my stretches and I did a round of my bronze routines AND my silver routines, all on my own. The silver was a little questionable because I still don’t have all of the steps, angles, directions, etc. without Teacher leading me. But I got through them.

Then my lesson started. We were working on silver.

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