Practice Partner Update (I’m still here!)

Are you still out there?  I apologize once again for being M.I.A. for a week. I haven’t even been around to the other Ballroom Villagers’ blogs, which I also apologize for. I haven’t been completely inactive in the realm of blogging; I’ve been working on guest posts for another website and my upcoming virtual book tour. You can check out the link for more information on where Dance Diaries will be! I’ll be honest, my internal emotional rollercoaster has taken me on bigger loops and steeper drops the last couple weeks too. Makes it difficult to organize my thoughts and produce something readable.

But that’s no excuse to neglect you.

So while I’m still waiting for the ride to at least slow down a bit, I thought I would give you a simple update on the latest development on my ballroom journey: the practice partner!

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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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Viennese Wednesday (Write31Days Day 28)

Today was busy! I had a lesson right after work, then I went home for about 2 hours to take care of my dogs and do some laundry, and then I went back to the studio for practice! I got home and, oh yeah, I need to write something for Day 28 of the 31 Day Writing Challenge!

I hope you’ll forgive me for taking the slightly easier way out and just sharing some videos. Today’s video topic is Viennese waltz.

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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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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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