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Always a Bridesmaid...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
It's a cliche opening, but the thing about cliches is that they have a root of truth to them.

This competition was wonderful, and it was gutting, all at the same time.
I won't bury the lede, I placed 6th out of 6 in my championship and I was devastated. This meant that in all my competitions, I have consistently placed lower and lower each championship that I have danced in, never placing better than second in my very first competition. It was an incredibly sad and frustrating ending to what was the most joyful and fun competition I have ever had, and I wished for several days that I could just erase those fifteen minutes of the placement out of my memory, because they were tarnishing the rest of the experience for me.

Getting the rest of my placements helped, somewhat. I was a solid 2/3 in all of my closed single dances against my correct age category. However, that championship was dancing down an age category since S &…

The Finish Line, Almost

I hit my two-week panic button, and I survived. It wasn't easy, but I did it.

Last Friday was when it happened, and it was just like always: me feeling grumpy and unsettled, unprepared and just out of sorts. It didn't help that M said, "Let's just work on the opens for the rest of our lessons, and then when we're at the comp (on Friday night, less than 12 hours before we dance) we will take an hour and work on closed technique." OMGWTF NO.

I insisted we work through some closed technique to at least remind both of us of the new styling that the coach added to our figures, and that was super helpful since we both bonked on which arms went with which figures during VW. I keep messing up one part that should be super simple, so I know I need to practice it a few hundred times in the next week or so at home.

Then we worked a billion times on our closed Tango and VW, trying to rearrange the pieces of the VW so it flows properly. I couldn't get the standing spi…

Compliments and Changes

I'm off at my yearly work trip to the middle of nowhere, and dealing with another week without dance. It's funny how the first time I took this trip after starting dance, it felt like I was in withdrawal after a day or so without group classes or lessons. This time around, it's been so long since I've been in a regular pattern of classes and lessons that it barely registers that I will be skipping a week of my competition prep lessons. But of course I'm looking at the calendar and seeing the weeks tick by and starting to get just a little bit edgy that I'm staring down the barrel of a competition with only three weeks of double lessons, and that third double lesson is going to be just mere hours before dress rehearsal. And I won't have time for another lesson between dress rehearsal and competition itself, since the comp is up where I live now.

So. That's just how it's going to be.

Last week we had a surprise visiting coach come to the studio, and I…

Just Do It Anyway

Went back to the old studio last week, and we squeezed in a double lesson with M. The day before, he was messaging me and asking what my goals were, how many dances I wanted to sign up for, a championship or two? Opens?

And so I said fuck it, I'm all in. This is going to be my last comp with the Famous Franchise as far as I'm concerned. I'm going out in style.

I couldn't bust the budget totally, but it does help that the pricing is ever so slightly better at the old studio. Guess that's the difference between a suburban studio and a major metropolitan area studio. So we are in for 16 single dances and one championship. Four of the 16 single dances are opens. I wish I could have done more, but I wanted to make sure I felt solid during my single dances, too. And I'm glad to be doing the opens so I won't have that incredibly long 4-5 hour break in the middle of my day to drag my energy down.

I sent M as many videos of our performances and coachings as I could …

And Yet Another One Bites The Dust

I had my lesson with E on Friday, and before we started working, he sat me down to talk. I knew what was coming as soon as he sat down across from me. He was leaving.

So much for his promise that he was committed to staying at the studio and working his way to dance director, I guess. (my first selfish thought)

What the actual fuck? How can you leave me when we are 10 weeks away from competition? (my second selfish thought)

Great, yet another instructor I've driven away. (my third selfish thought)

He got a job in another state, complete with a gig dancing with a pro partner and a high level coach. He's following his dream to dance and compete professionally, and truly I'm happy for him. I'm so frustrated that it means he's leaving, just when I feel like we were getting into some kind of groove. I'm totally pissed that he's leaving before the November competition and that almost kills my chances of competing at all this year. To go from competing so much las…

Re-Entry is a Bitch

Today I had my first coaching in probably a year, and I'm so grateful I did it.

I didn't know I was going to even be able to do the coaching today, between schedule and money and everything, it just wasn't looking like it was going to happen. But finances and schedules aligned and there was one spot left in the afternoon and I was able to make it to the studio before traffic and everything just worked.

The coaching was with a woman I've worked with before, a very frequent judge at our regional competitions, and also a fairly regular judge at the independent comps that the kiddo dances at. The two of them actually had a really sweet interaction at the last comp which included the judge complimenting my kiddo on her dance growth and progress, and the way my kiddo's face lit up, you'd think she was complimented by an actual celebrity. It was kind of awesome.

Anyway, not having days or weeks to think myself into a panic seemed to help keep me calm. Knowing the coac…

Money Woes

I've been operating on the assumption that I'd be doing the regional comp in August, and the local comp in November, but the universe seems keen on throwing that all for a loop again, just as I'm starting to get settled into a routine with E.

We've been prepping for the team match in a couple of weeks, mostly just doing some hardcore body mechanics fixing, which is good but can get frustrating. I'm starting to really feel a difference in my movement quality, though, so I'm eager to keep up with it.

We talked about dance plans through the end of the year, and my goal was to use the team match as a try-out to really see how we work together in a high pressure situation before I commit to any other comps with him. I've watched how a few of my friends have had to deal with an instructor like A, and how he basically threw them to the wolves during a comp, and I don't want to be in any kind of similar situation. Not that I think E would do that sort of thing,…