The big thing sticking with me after the competition is my failure to really avoid people during the ballroom routines. Learning the floorcraft skill is really not something that can be easily taught by someone else, even someone as wise and knowledgeable as Sir Steven. No, this is going to be one of those skills that I’m going to have to grind out to get to a higher level. A trial by fire, as it were. I’ll have to get out there and bump into people until I learn how to avoid bumping into people. There’s just no better way.
See, in that respect women have it easy. Not only do they get to do the majority of the things on the dance floor that are fun (like all the spinning), but they don’t really have to worry too much about where they are going, assuming their partner is doing things right. Me? I have to maintain good form and technique, but also in the traveling ballroom dances I have to assess the floor, assess the other dancers on the floor, plan what steps I am going to lead the girl through four or five steps in advance, and also know enough that I can alter my plan if someone on the floor does something unexpected and I have to go around them. It’s a lot of work. As I’ve said to people in the past, something like Waltz for me is not really a physical workout, but a mental one. It’s daunting.
Last week I started my quest to raise my level in this skill. Lucky for me, this month they are offering a Waltz group class, which is always helpful because it forces me to concentrate on that style during that time period. I am also making it a point to get out on the floor during the Friday night social dances and do the ballroom routines. Last Friday I did OK during a Waltz with my competition dance partner, and I led one of the other ladies from the studio through a Foxtrot without hitting anything, but I still have a long way to go. I am going to master the twinkle (yes, a boy mentioned twinkling; don’t laugh) and hesitation techniques, so that I have something to do that doesn’t look out of place when I need to avoid people. Currently, I have a tendency to just try and rotate around people when I get stuck, which sometimes does not end well for me.
Sigh… obviously these are first-world problems I am struggling with.
Keep that in mind ladies: I am there to lead, and make you look and feel good about what you are doing. It’s not as easy as it looks. There is a lot of thought that goes into it, so that we aren’t just repeating the same thing over and over again. If it’s getting toward the end of the night, and the guy you are dancing with slips into some memorized contest routine instead of something you’ve never done before, give him a break. We try, and sometimes it is better to rely on muscle memory than to attempt to be spontaneous. There’s a reason that, as I climb farther up the level of difficulty, there are less and less men in the classes with me, so promise to be nice to the ones that make it that far.
We have not gotten back our actual numeric scores from the competition yet. Sir Steven said that last Saturday he was going to be picking them up, but I completely forgot to ask him about the sheet last night while I was there. Deep down, I am still nervous about seeing the scores that Miracle Whip (the celebrity judge, not the sandwich spread) gave us. It was my first sort-of-real competition, so I know there are things I did not do well. Miracle Whip told us at the end, when they were announcing the placement of all the competitors, that we were fun to watch dance together. I don’t know if that means we did OK, and we were really fun, or if that was some kind of conciliatory remark because he saw all the times I forgot to do something I should know better. Maybe I will get them tonight, when I am back for Waltz class. Maybe it will wait until Saturday, during the private lesson with Sir Steven so we can discuss what the scores mean. Maybe they are holding on to the sheet so they can show all the other professionals they know and make fun of me for my failures. Who knows?
Also, this Saturday the Land of the Loft studio, our home studio, will be hosting a disco-themed party for the residents of the Dance Kingdom. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend that night, due to a prior commitment. However, the Princess has said that before the party, she is coming out to take part in the fitness classes that are hosted at our studio Saturday mornings. That’s a bit daunting. My dance partner talked me into taking part in these classes with her a long time ago, and Lady Q seems to like having me in her Pilates class early in the morning. But to have the Princess there? I do a lot of yoga, so I am more flexible than most everyone else in that class, but I don’t know if I want the Princess to know that. It’s like… playing games in gym class back in elementary school while the teacher is watching. You never do things quite as well while a person of power is watching you. We’ll have to see what happens. Wish me luck!