… and by “GREEN” I don’t mean that ridiculously cute little frog puppet who sings songs about songs about rainbows — I mean inexperienced. It’s not easy being an adult learning something from other adults in such a unique environment. I may or may not have had a few moments during my lesson tonight that I was seeing red and not green.
The showcase last Saturday evening went fine — just as expected, really. The same mixture of outcomes like previous showcases — nothing new. I felt adequate. I want to be careful about how this comes across as there might be students from my studio who could possibly venture over to this blog to read it. I’m not talking about anyone else’s routine — I’m just focusing on myself. I realized something — no wait, I didn’t realize it that night, I already knew it — Maybe, I just admitted it to myself. When it all comes out of the wash, I’m the only one who really cares about my dancing. I’m the only who cares if I maintained my balance, created a special moment between myself/partner/audience. I’m the only one who cares if my contra-body movement was correct — if I created the right shape. See… that’s the thing. I care. I care a lot. Like a WHOLE lot. You might even say I’m very intense about dancing because I care so much.
I tried to explain this to Teach tonight: “I understand that I’m the only one who cares about my dancing and because I care so much it makes me very intense about it. And it makes me fight for it, because I know I’m the one who cares to fight for it.” And he’s quiet — listening to me. I continue, “So, yes, I fight with you and have strong opinions, and struggle, because it’s not over for me when I leave my lesson — and it’s over for you the moment you walk away from my lesson. I take it home with me and so I’m very intense.” He said, “This is all very true and you are. You understand why it has to be this way?” And I said, “Of course, but please realize that that’s why it seems like I’m fighting for every little thing because I work extra jobs and sacrifice and practice and it’s important to me — and I realize it’s only me — and that can be difficult. I’m dancing with a partner who doesn’t have to go thru what I go thru to dance and I’m the one paying for it all. And I’m the one who cares. It’s not easy.” He said he understood and I think he did.
But, does it make sense? Does it ring true to anyone else? Here I am working so hard to make money to do this pastime that I love. But it goes deeper than that. I am incredibly intense and passionate about my dancing. I don’t care a little. I sacrifice and do extra work and don’t go travel the world and don’t buy a new car — just to dance. I don’t know why I had to choose ballroom dancing — I feel like it chose me — and it is an exacting master. It ain’t easy being the am of the pro/am at times. On some level, I envy the dancers who seem so nonchalant or casual about their dancing. That must be so peaceful.
So, this afternoon I had my first coaching session with Valentina. We started with Foxtrot and she immediately began fixing and fine-tuning things. It was actually really cool as she fixed some things in our partnership that gave me more freedom. Things that helped me take ownership of my own dancing which is what I long to do. Who knew that the base of my partnership in the frame really starts in the knees as first point of contact? I didn’t.
She is the first coach/instructor who has confronted me about a biological issue I have. I don’t talk about it much because I don’t even realize that I’m doing it. But, I have “shakes” in my hands sometimes. I was born with this very attractive feature. It was much worse when I was child. The doctor told my mom I’d grow out of it. I did … sorta, not really. I can remember one time my dad had to feed me my cereal because I was shaking so much I couldn’t keep the food on the spoon. It was embarrasing. It was also embarrassing when Teach had to fill out my check for me at the studio one time because I couldn’t keep my hand steady enough to write legibly. It’s not always like this. Sometimes I’m just fine, but other times I have people point it out to me now and then and ask if I’m OK because my hands are shaking. I know other people have this and it’s just something that people have. BUT, clearly, Valentina wanted to address it. She asked me what was going on with my hand shaking. I told her what it was. She said I needed to push thru and learn to control it as, apparently, I didn’t do it all the time — especially when I was active and energizing thru a move. She said I needed to deal with it and learn to control it. She then changed my hand-hold to help with this. I don’t know what to say. It was nice to actually have a coach/teacher who cared enough to help me fix something I don’t realize is obvious and didn’t know was distracting from my dancing … something most people would just ignore. I think Teach is just used to it by now. I never thought about how it might come across to judges. I just didn’t think.
“Sometimes there’s not a better way. Sometimes there’s only the hard way.” ― Mary E. Pearson
For my regular night lesson, Teach started to apply the things we learned in coaching earlier today to my waltz — big struggle ensues. (I saw green, red, purple, black, etc. Thankfully, I kept the tears at bay. :)) My Smooth is weak and waltz is the weakest. Which is sad, I know, as Teach said it is the basic for the Smooth program. He had originally said we would just keep working on Foxtrot in our second session with Valentina tomorrow (as everything we’re learning applies to all my dancing), but after my epic struggle tonight, he has decided to do waltz with her. He says he has several things he wants to ask her about my dancing the waltz. Great (that should be read with a touch of sarcasm as I intended it to be so). Sometimes it already feels like 2 against 1 in coaching sessions … and it is especially so when they are both the same nationality (but, that’s another story) … Here are these two professionals who are taking apart this little am student who is at the bottom of the totem pole — so to speak. (I have had sessions in the past that have made me feel really small and insignificant. Like I’m a small child that must be patronized as I will never advance to anything of great value in dance.) However, I’m glad the session was so productive today and that she seemed interested in telling me truth and making me better — not pacifying me in any way. I don’t need petting; I need truth to be better.
I’m hoping this post doesn’t seem negative. I don’t mean it to be. It’s important for me to be truthful about my dancing and how I feel. Pretense and petting just annoy me as I feel it does nothing but give false security. That being said, I look forward to coaching tomorrow and a master class with Valentina on tango. And then practicing all that with Teach the day after. Just keep pushing thru.
“If your dream is a big dream, and if you want your life to work on the high level that you say you do, there’s no way around doing the work it takes to get you there.” ― Joyce Chapman