The dance field trip this weekend was interesting. It was a social ballroom dance club, taking over a local studio for the night just so that people could get together and dance the night away. They had a lesson before the evening took off, free food, and a good DJ. Before getting there, I was super pumped thinking that it was going to be an event with mostly older retired people who didn’t know much about dancing, and then I could show up and really throw down and feel like a good dancer. In reality, these “social dancers” were all really high level dancers, which made my Bronze-level training look… well, Bronze level.
That’s good though. Where I am at the Land of the Loft, under Sir Steven’s tutelage, I’m near the top, being one of the students that have been taking lessons the longest and thus having advanced the farthest. The most advanced students in the Dance Kingdom all come from the studios that have been open longer. And beyond the Dance Kingdom, in the wider dance world, I am not all that good – and it’s nice to see that every now and again. I have a long way to go before I will feel like I have completed just the Bronze level; I have even longer before I will feel like I am as good as all the people I saw on Saturday night dancing. These sorts of experiences push me to work harder, so that someday I can be the person who inspires younger people like me to get better.
They went through every dance style I could imagine on Saturday, which was really nice. It allowed me to run through all of the routines I have for the upcoming competition and more. It did seem kind of obvious that we were out there doing something other than casual social dancing, but the extra practice with my dance partner was invaluable. Some of our routines worked better than others. Tango and Foxtrot felt really good on the larger floor, even with all the extra people moving around us. The Waltz for some reason had to be highly modified. For that dance, it always seemed like people would cross in front of where I was going to step next, forcing me to break routine and switch to something else to get around people. I don’t think that during the heats this weekend we will have quite as many people on the floor, so that may have just been a problem at this particular event. The rhythm dances felt pretty good. I’d have to say the Bolero is definitely the strongest, with the Rumba a close second. I personally feel really good about the West Coast Swing, but Sparkledancer has told me many times that she feels like that is the style she is weakest in. We did get to run that style several times that night with other people on the floor, which is something that doesn’t happen at our home studio since we are the only ones besides Sir Steven that know West Coast Swing to any extent.
Diane, who came along on this dance field trip, even goaded Sparkledancer and I to go out on the floor when they did a Viennese Waltz. That was terrifying and exhilarating. I have never tried doing that style with that many people dancing along before, but I managed to lead her through the throng without losing time or running into anyone. Since they only did Viennese Waltz twice that night (once for International style and one for American style), I only did one run through, but for me that one dance more than covered the price of admission. My confidence level was soaring for the rest of the night after that, and I’m hoping that means that the heats I end up doing during competition in that style will go just as smoothly.
We are only days away, so there is not much time to do anything. Tuesday my dance partner and I met with Sir Steven, and rather than practice with him watching we spent most of the time discussing how we would walk on and present ourselves during the championship rounds. Yeah, I did say “rounds.” As I found out last Saturday, Sir Steven for some reason signed us up as an amateur couple to compete in the four-dance American Smooth competition as well as the five-dance American Rhythm competition I have been planning on for months. That came as a bit of a shock, as you can imagine. My dance partner and I have spent so much time focusing on our rhythm dances because of the championship round that the smooth dances were more of an afterthought. Now, with less than a week to go, they are actually going to be judged in a much more public manner. I don’t know if we can do much with so little time left to improve the look of the smooth dances, but we decided to go ahead and leave our names on the list. He did give us the option to back out of it, but what fun would that be, right? We’re not in this necessarily for the awards; we’re in it for the experience.
I did schedule one last time on this coming Saturday to work with Lady Q on the routines I am doing with her. Sparkledancer has been patient with me, allowing me to practice those extra routines with her so I can get them down, but even though Lady Q says that we should be able to find time to go through them together, it never seems to happen unless I put something on the calendar specifically for that purpose. So, one last run through with her before the big day, just to make sure we are on the same page.
Otherwise, this week is a lot of frantic extra rehearsals, making sure that the costumes are clean and ready to go, and keeping the excitement to a dull roar while I am trying to get through the other aspects of life. I must say, as fun as I’m imagining the competition to be, there’s a different part of my brain that is eagerly waiting for the Monday after the event, when I took the day off of work to stay home and unwind from it all. For the next month, Sparkledancer and I have agreed to not sign up to perform for anything, so we can go back to just learning social dance moves in group classes. Maybe, if I cut back on all the cardio work that dance practice puts in my life, I can switch and go back to heavier resistance training again for a while. Or I could do something crazy, like put in some extra time to close out some projects at work. That’s madness, right? But the next month should almost feel like a vacation compared to the amount of dancing I have been doing this last month. Besides, the next big competition wouldn’t be until April, so there’s plenty of time to get ready for that if we take a month and screw around, right?