Countdown to USDC – 15 Days: Just Hold That Happy Thought!

Fun fact about the Girl with the Tree Tattoo: I love Peter Pan. I have loved the story of the boy who could fly ever since I was a kid. The first appeal was the ability to fly, of course. And the fact that this ability was within the grasp of the “normal” Darling children. All they had to do was think happy thoughts! And get a little fairy dust sprinkled on them, but I like to focus on the happy thoughts part of the formula. Just think how awesomely it can translate to real life – with positive thinking and a leap of faith, you can lift yourself up out of your every day existence into something magical! You can reach for your dreams!
Continue reading

Countdown to USDC – 21 Days: Team Match and a Silver Debut

I’ve lucked out twice now with my studio holding a team match shortly before I’m to go to a big competition. Team matches are great to use as rehearsals for the “real thing” because you get the structure of a competition without the stress. Or in my case, with less stress (it never leaves me entirely). This one was especially important because it allowed me to try out my new silver routines!

Before the team match, I had never done a complete round of all four silver routines with Teacher, causing me just a little anxiety (ok, a LOT of anxiety). Adding to that stress was the uncomfortable feeling of being unprepared because I still didn’t know all of my silver choreography. I could follow Teacher, but I had no idea what we were doing. To me, it was like starring in a play and not knowing all of my lines. I would have Teacher essentially feeding me lines during the performance, but that meant I had to direct more thought power to what the next line was instead of how I was going to deliver it. It also almost feels like half-assing it, like I didn’t bother studying for a test because I was going to be able to take it with a partner. I’m just not that kind of student. Plus, as the article about introverts that I shared stated, I need to feel prepared.

So how did the team match go?

Continue reading

Practice, Practice, Practice!

I mailed my entry forms for USDC!  Hotel is reserved, flights are booked.  No turning back now!

I'm mailing a check for how much??  I can't watch.

I’m mailing a check for how much?? I can’t watch.

With just under 5 weeks to go, I’m carefully managing my mindset so it doesn’t turn all dark and negative and anxiety-ridden.  I know myself, so I know I’ll freak out at some point.  But it’s ok. USDC will be my first competition at which I dance silver.  Might sound a little crazy, entering the silver level for the first time at Nationals.  But Teacher believes I can do it, and I am getting a test run at a team match in two weeks.  I’m doing my best to ignore the fact that I still don’t know all of the steps in my silver routines.  Trying to stay positive, I focus on the fact that I am making progress at every lesson. And I can follow the steps when I dance with Teacher. And there are still 5 weeks to go.  Or is it only 5 weeks??

Continue reading

Journey to Splits – Halfway There

July is about halfway over and so is the Journey to Splits challenge. For about two weeks now, I’ve been doing the five foundation stretches plus the stretch of the day, holding each one for a minute (per side, if applicable). And if you follow me on Instagram, you know my dogs have become my biggest fans/supporters. Nothing like having your face licked while you’re trying to pull your leg toward your head! I thought I would share my observations/learnings on this 30-day journey so far.

My boys are always there to cheer me on!

My boys are always there to cheer me on!

Continue reading

Still Two Months to Go or Only Two Months to Go!

I thought I had more time, but apparently the countdown to USDC, a.k.a. Nationals, has begun. Teacher comes to me at the beginning of our lesson on Wednesday and says “Ok! Two months to go! We need to schedule them! Double lesson on Friday! And then next week…!!” The man was pumped up! And he didn’t slow down once through the whole lesson as he whipped out brand new Viennese waltz and foxtrot silver routines, raced through showing me the steps while also coaching me on the arm styling and shaping, danced them once or twice with me, skipped across the studio to put music on to dance them to music, and then, with a big smile on his face, said “Perfect! How did that feel?”

Uuhh, not perfect. What was the first step again?

I think we were on two different lessons.

I think we were on two different lessons.

Continue reading

Who Are You Dancing For?

You know those people who draw everyone’s attention when they walk into a room? Whether it’s their walk or their smile or their eyes or everything about their body language, people notice them. I am not one of those people. I am one of those people who slips in unnoticed and hangs around for 20 minutes before someone says “oh, when did you get here?!” I generally avoid the spotlight. I’ve pushed myself to let some inner light shine through in my dancing. But I still tend to retreat to the shadows as soon as I can. Unfortunately, I will not be able to go after a national title in the shadows. Shucks.

Continue reading

What Does the Girl Do When She Can’t Dance?

I’m in the second week of “can’t afford group classes or practice time” month and doing my best to stay busy so I don’t get hit with some major withdrawal symptoms. I’m usually at the studio three or four nights during the week for class and practice! So having only one night on the books kinda sucks. I’m anticipating July to be the same deal, not even sure I’ll manage the one class a week. We’ll cross that lousy bridge when we come to it. All for Florida and Ohio, that’s what I remind myself.  So what does the Girl do when she can’t get her dance fix? I’ve come up with a list.

Continue reading

Cutting Back to Move Forward or Why I Love Group Class

Can you believe it’s June already? The year is almost halfway over! A new month always means one thing: new bills to pay. After paying rent, a utility bill, and a credit card bill all at once, I thought I better take another look at my projected budget for the next few months. I have two budgets: a general one of income and expenses, so I know I’m living within my means, and a projected one, so I can see more precisely where I’ll be financially at certain times in the next few months, like when rent is due or when I need to write a check for comp entry fees. I can also better time bill paying with paychecks. It’s all very carefully planned so I can continue following these crazy ballroom dreams of mine.

Continue reading