Rebuilding Strength

That has been a big focus of mine lately.

It’s not just in and for dance. Since returning to activity after my last surgery I have been able to consistently get back in the habit of regular strength training and rebuilding the strength I lost through all my treatments. It’s a little overwhelming the distance I have to go, but it gets better every day.

Having energy again is a huge difference and I feel like I have more every day.

To give an example of how much I need to rebuild, where prior to getting sick I would pull 120 lbs, now I am at 70. But I started at 60 just over two weeks ago.

I enjoy strength training. There is always a goal to aim for and you have to push for your best every time to reach a new one. I take my time and it usually clears my head during the day making me more productive at work and other activities. I work on improving endurance a lot too.

When I was on the hormone therapy I had such little energy I couldn’t do strength training. During the brief 4-month period I tried, muscle weakness meant I rarely saw increases in weight.

Since the surgery it has been so different.

Dance and strength training support each other. What I am doing in dance now actually relates a lot to the strength exercises I am doing–particularly in regards to my right foot and knee.

I am doing a lot of exercises right now to build strength around my knee and increase stability and I am finding that both dance and strength training are going hand in hand for this. One of the things I have found out (through discussions with my trainer) is that on my right side, my inner and outer thigh muscles don’t quite fire the way they are supposed to meaning that my knee collapses in and I also don’t use my glute minimus muscles to stabilize myself. That leads to my foot falling out to help support my body. It’s been something I have been doing for a long time and I have to re-teach my body to correct it.

Even then, it might not be possible to ever fully correct it but I am determined to try.

Among other things, it means paying attention to how I walk on a normal basis and being conscious of keeping my knees pulled out as I walk and not allowing them to fall in.

Something I am doing seems to be making a difference. I can tell because it’s been a pain in my ass.


Because my glute muscles are working in a different way, I am getting some DOMS on my right side. It’s tricky for having to work at a computer at work, but since it’s a positive sign, I am ok with it. I just have to keep persistent with it. I don’t think I have quite gotten my inner thighs to start engaging, but I think it is coming.

I am doing some dance exercises to work on the inner thighs, in particular controlling closing my legs in standard. I am going to keep trying to do it.

The bottom line is finally I can feel some of my strength returning and I can see potential for returning to where I was.

I have also loss 1/3 of the weight I gained during chemo–and still counting! Creeping closer to halfway.

This is me time.



Working out a plan

It seems things have settled.

But boy was it rocky to get there.

We have a plan.

I did go to my lesson on Wednesday, but I took some advice from the lovely Girl with the Tree Tattoo and put together my thoughts and frustrations and asked Boss for 5 minutes at the beginning of my lesson to just vent and let it all out.

It turned into a productive conversation that gave more clarity than previous conversations. One of the first things I mentioned was that I felt a little confused about what I was being told because at times it seemed contradictory. The biggest point to come out of that is that Boss is unable to support competing for at least 6 months to a year, and can’t say right now if he will return to competing or not after that.

Well, neither can I. Anything can happen in a year. I know that better than anyone. 2 weeks ago, while waiting for my biopsy result, I wasn’t sure if I would see my 40th birthday.

Life can change on a dime for all sorts of reasons.

All that to say that I know I won’t be competing with Boss for probably at least a year. After that, no one can really say what might be possible. Maybe he will be willing and able to compete, maybe he won’t.

Maybe I won’t be able to compete. You never know.

I don’t work with Boss because he was willing to be a warm body on a competition floor. While competing is one goal of mine, it is not the only one and it is not the most important one either. I work with him because he is able and willing to teach at the level I want and I can take lessons consistently throughout the week. He is also open to communicating, and does both long and short-term planning for lessons. Going to any other instructor, particularly commuting, eliminates a lot of those advantages, particularly being able to work with lessons throughout the week which is the most important thing for me.

Boss did suggest an option that I may consider in the future (for example if he is still unable to compete this time next year), but for now I don’t see it as necessary (not to mention it would be a bit costly).

After all of that, we did come to a plan that works.

I have no issues with not competing for 6 months to a year. I see it as an opportunity to work on my own technique and particularly focus on some details that require more in-depth and long term focus to sort out–things I can’t focus on while preparing to compete. In particular, trying to sort out the issue with my right foot turning out and lacking the strength to stay turned in. Other things include specific techniques in latin, CBMP in standard (I am just starting to scratch the surface on understanding that), and connection in latin.

Boss and I also discussed how I want to structure lessons for the next little while. We agreed that I would stick with 3 a week (as that’s the level I am happiest with), but two would be on things he wants to work on, but the third lesson would be directed by questions, topics that I want to work on (which I will provide to him in advance). I have already given him something for the first one.

My lessons in general will be focused more on individual conditioning and exercises for technique, although I have some routines that have details that need to be worked out. Now is an opportunity to do that. I see all the work I do now will only make my stronger in the future.

The most interesting thing about the discussion we had was that Boss told me he would like me to be more involved in my learning now as I have reached a point where I should be. It’s an interesting concept.

Finally, I had a couple ideas for evaluating progress without competing. First, as we are going to be doing some specific exercises (most from coaches), so I had the idea of filming me doing all the exercises (once we figure out what they will be), and then refilming them in 3 months to play side by side and see if there is any difference.

The second idea was that if I am not competing, then I am saving money. Something valuable I do with it that is still dance related (and cheaper than competing) is to do some coaching lessons. Already the last coach I worked with is going to be returning in February, so I have an opportunity to be able to afford more lessons with him, and Boss suggested a different coach for latin who may be possible to work with in the near-term (I have worked with her before and enjoyed it  a lot).

I am very glad and relieved to have a plan in place, for at least the next 6 months. In June, there will be a time to re-evaluate where everything is at, but until then I am happy with the plan. I have just over a week until my next surgery which will mean some brief time away from dancing. I am glad to have this sorted now.

Bitter days

I am miserable.

That’s the only way I can think to describe how I feel right now.

I made a decision, but I haven’t figured out yet how to live with it. It’s a compromise and truly the best decision for Me, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

I am very angry. I am grieving. I am depressed. I feel betrayed by the universe and like I am being punished.  I want to find a way out of this black hole and figure out a way to move forward.

But I am stuck.

The information for the next comp I was aiming for came out today…and it feels like a punch in the gut. Like the universe is laughing at me.

I don’t even know where to direct all this emotion, except at myself. There is no where else to send it. Things are what they are and I have no power to change them.

I want to be happy with my decision, but I am not there yet. I am afraid I may never get there.

I am supposed to have a lesson tomorrow, but I am afraid to go. I am afraid I won’t be able to be as strong as I need to be to get through the lesson without breaking down and everything I am holding back and trying to keep to myself coming pouring out.

I don’t know that I have the strength to continue dancing without competing.

Because that is what I had to choose.

I can’t relocate, and commuting would quickly leave me bitter and frustrated. I know myself well enough to know that.

Dancing on a regular and consistent basis spread out through the week is so important to almost all of my health and fitness goals. Trying to cram lessons into alternating weekends plus commute costs would break me mentally and physically, and make it almost impossible to afford to compete.

So that leaves continuing to work with Boss, without competing and trying to convince myself to be ok with that.

I am not. Yet. I haven’t figured out how to make it work or where to focus.

I feel like a large part of me has been ripped away and all I can do is watch it fester and rot. I don’t know how to heal it. Yet.

I feel manipulated, even though i know I wasn’t. Somehow it seems like everyone else has gotten what they wanted and I am left still trying to figure out where I fit.

My goal is to figure out a way to get back to competing without Boss or extreme commuting. Thats my impossible dream right now. I don’t even know where to begin.

My soul is aching like it’s been slapped and I am trying to tell it that everything will be ok.

I have felt like this before. I survived then, I will survive now.

Just have to figure out how.

Competitive Instructor wanted

No, unfortunately it is not a joke.

I haven’t posted much lately because I have been trying to work through a difficult situation, that is outside my control.

About a week ago, for a number of reasons personal to him, Boss told me he is no longer able to support my competitive goals.

We can still work together and I can still do lessons, but he does not know when or if he will be able to compete again, but it definitely won’t be for quite a long time.

So I am stuck. I have a fabulous instructor I work and progress well with, but with whom I can’t compete.

So what can I do?

My biggest motivation for dance is competing. It gives me something to work for. The routines I learn, I learn so I can compete. I focus on technique so my dancing can be stronger on the floor. I am so goal oriented, I don’t know how to adjust with competitions of the table.

And there aren’t any 10-dance pro/am teachers in the town where I live. My options seem to be commuting to the mainland or the US. That has financial implications, not to mention trying to cram a week’s or two week’s worth of lessons into a weekend–something my body won’t tolerate for long, especially working full-time between those weekend. Flying or having an instructor commute here would have similar difficulties.

I just don’t even know where to begin to adjust to this. Do I work with Boss and compete with another pro? That seems like another nightmare for me.

An amateur partner still remains an impossible dream.

I obviously need to switch gears, but I don’t know where to start. I either need to fix my goals, hope work decides to relocate me (not likely), or try to find a remote instructor.

I think the worst thing about commuting is that is would frustrate me very quickly and that would lead me to stop dancing in itself.

The worse thing about this is that after the biopsy was clear I felt I had finally got all my ducks in a row and could focus on dance the way I had been hoping since I got sick. I really should have known better. Nothing is ever that simple for me. I have to fight for everything.

So, if you know a possible instructor who does 10-dance and can handle a commute or commuting student, let me know. Will also welcome any alternative suggestions for goals besides competing.

I’ll just be here spinning my wheels trying to figure out if I am done dancing until I can relocate.

Reader Question–Medal Tests

I recently received a question from a reader I thought might be interesting to post:

“Have you done any medal tests in dance? I am thinking of doing them but I am not sure of the benefits.”

I have done the Canadian Dancesport Federation (CDF) tests in all 10 dances in bronze and silver.

The benefits vary and really depend what you are looking for.

The test gives both a mark (ranging from Did Not Meet to Honours) and comments from the adjudicator for each dance (usually) which can be a helpful barometer.

It also forces you to learn a majority (if not all) of the syllabus steps which is a great foundation to have. Some dancers can’t (and don’t want or see a need to) explain the difference between a telemark, turn, impetus or spin turn, or dance a specific step on their own without a partner if asked (they probably can dance the step, but don’t know the name of the steps they are dancing, or what elements are included in a step).

It also depends how your instructor wants to prepare you as well, as all instructors are different with different priorities.

The added benefit for me is that it is nationally recognized. My work is likely to transfer me at some point, so I can go to any studio and say “I have passed this level” and that helps determine where I should be starting (in theory).

It comes down to goals in the end. What do you what from your dancing? Do you want a piece of paper that says your level and to understand the syllabus of steps or does that not matter? (And both are ok-it’s your dancing!). Tests also give an external direction and feedback from someone other than your instructor, which is sometimes nice to have! When you pass, you get a certificate and pins for each level of CDF, which is a little fun :).

Keep in mind that different dance organizations have different procedures and requirements for tests. You should expect to pay a cost to take the test in addition to paying costs for the adjudicator to administer the test if one does not live in your area.

For CDF tests, the tests consisted of me dancing through a prepared routine of syllabus steps with Boss until the adjudicator told us to stop. The tests are separate for each style, and the technique expected is higher for each level.

I hope that gives an ideas of the different benefits to medal testing, although if the benefits don’t line up with your own goals they may not be useful to you. It’s an individual choice.

Happy Dancing!

When the worst happens

Spoiler Alert: Everything turned out more or less ok.

I have been living a deja vu nightmare for the past 2 weeks.

In 2014, just before a major dance competition I found a lump in my breast that led to a biopsy after the competition which led to my cancer diagnosis.

2 weeks ago, just before my last competition, I found a lump just on the inside of my right breast. I went to get it checked out and was told it was unusual, but that it was sore and moveable was a positive sign. I was referred for an ultrasound to make sure.

The ultrasound was the morning after we returned from the competition. I expected it would be a quick ultrasound and that the lump was probably just scar tissue or a cyst and I would be sent on my way. Instead, the ultrasound resulted in a biopsy because the lump was a lymph node that ‘didn’t look quite right’, was ‘larger than expected’ and ‘moderately suspicious’. All words I did NOT want to hear–especially with a history of having cancer that doesn’t show up on ultrasounds, and other imaging platforms.

That began one of the longest weeks of my life, trying to keep moving through things and put one step in front of the other. There were a lot of ups and downs. As much as you try not to let your mind go to dark places, at some point it has to.

I have been keeping busy, trying not to get too tired (which would lead to me losing all control of my emotions) and alternating between optimism and being realistic about what a recurrence could mean.

Finally, this afternoon I got the call from my doctor that the biopsy was completely clear and shows no sign of malignancy. All that was present were benign lymphoid cells–exactly what is expected in a lymph node. It is likely enlarged and inflamed due to some residual and on-going reaction to healing from my last surgery.

I will still be referred back to the breast surgeon who did my original breast surgeries and lymph node biopsies to see if she feels further exploration is necessary, but for the most part, everything can continue back to normal.

I am ok.

I am going to be ok.

I feel like I was just handed my life back, again. The amount of stress and tension that is leaving my body right now is palpable. I want to celebrate and haven’t the slightest idea how.

It’s a much better problem to have.

Onward I go with recovering and rebuilding my life!

Planning for the future

The other thing that happened last week was sitting down with Boss and going over the plan for moving forward until the next competition which should hopefully be in February.

Prior to the competition, we had had a preliminary conversation about where we want to go next, so there were no real surprises.

Boss sent me an outline of the plan before the lesson, which gave us a starting point to work from for our discussion. We were completely on the same page which makes things easy.

During my lesson we discussed the plan, as well as my plans for strength training which I hope to return to next week and how one can support the other an vice versa. We then took some time to look at the videos from the competition and discuss points from there.

The plan (on paper) is relatively simple. Boss has (already) developed some short closed silver sequences which will be competition routines, but more so mini-sequences with aspects of technique I need to focus on. Essentially, they are comp routines and exercises in one.

Adding to this, and where the competition training focus will mostly be will be some open routines–standard developed by Boss and Latin done with another professional couple.

We are also going to work on developing the waltz solo routine we have been trying to put together since the end of summer. The intent is to perform that solo at a local competition in January, and again at the competition in February. My restriction on that is only that the sequence needs to be choreographed before the end of November as I don’t want to be rushing to put it together. We will see how that goes.

I will start back to my lessons tonight, which I expect will begin with going over the new silver sequences to see how they go. There are some interesting combinations already and I am eager to try them out.

I have 1 month until my next surgery, which is the completion of my reconstruction and should only sideline me for 2 weeks, if not less. For myself, I would like to have the silver sequences down, the solo choreographed, and at least some of the open routines ‘mapped out’. But that is what I would like to do.

The plan, is completely Boss’s and up to him to execute 🙂

OH! I had some success in fixing the tear in my standard dress. Hopefully that will last!

Post Comp Coaching

As mentioned in a previous post, following returning home from the competition, I had three coaching lessons with a standard coach.

This was my first time working with this coach although I have previously worked with his wife and partner. He is a former Blackpool semi-finalist, and actually trained with Boss when they were both youth back in Russia. That made for an interesting dynamic.

The other thing that was different about these lessons is that two of them were without Boss. I had actually requested that for something different and it was an interesting experiment. It meant that I did have to try and keep track of what we covered in earlier lessons for summarizing later for Boss.

It was a lot of fun, especially right after a competition. The interesting thing I was able to do, since he had never seen me dance or danced with me was show him videos ‘hot off the presses’ from the competition the weekend before. That turned out to be a valuable tool as it gave him some immediate ideas where to focus.

The main thing from the first lesson was working on the moving of my feet and preparing the leg. Because I wasn’t anticipating and preparing to move my leg, I had a tendency to get a little behind the beat. We did some exercises to get into the habit of moving my leg ahead of the beat and not having it ‘rest’ without passing the other leg.

It took some trial, but once it clicked, it made a lot of sense. It showed me that I do have a habit of not extending my leg right away as I travel. We also talked about how to work with knee pain and the idea of releasing the knee vs lowering and bending.

Other topics we focused on were position, including keeping myself ‘spiraling’ up from my hips clockwise around my partner, and moving in CBMP. We also talked about the difference in movement between the swing dances and tango, which was a very interesting topic.

Essentially, it took many of the topics I had been working on and extended it further. We also talked about the difficulties I have in sensing the position of my shoulders and back and especially in noticing when I have moved them out of position. His solution for this was to work on developing references for me. As we worked through exercises, he would randomly stop and ask me to check my position. As annoying as it was to frequently stop, the practice was actually very helpful.

In the lesson with Boss, we reviewed quickly what we had done previously, and then focused more on tango. In particular, we looked at promenade position and thinking of moving my knees forward with Boss. The biggest challenge for me there is to step with my right foot without allowing it to turn out away from my partner (which is my challenge for almost everything standard).

The plan is to take advantage of this coach coming semi-regularly to this region to begin some consistent work with him. We already discussed possibilities for his return, and he has promised to send a bit of an ‘action plan’ for me to work on until his return–something I expect to include work on moving the legs and tango.

It was different from how I have worked with coaches before, mainly because this coach had a bit of an unique style. He was very hands on and recognized my aptitude for more tactile learning. When showing different ways he wanted me to move, he would often have me place my hands on his muscles (like his knees, thighs, and upper back) and move with him to feel how he was using them. It was incredibly useful for me and helped me catch on to the concepts quickly.

I am looking forward to implementing the lessons learned in future dancing!

Review of Rocky Mountain Dancesport Grand Prix

I had an amazing time at this competition held in Calgary, AB, Canada over 3 days!

I am going to start with the caveat that my review is based on my experience as a pro/am student dancing in international style only.

Information on the website can be found here and they also have a facebook page you can follow. This year was the 7th year hosted by Jean-Marc Généreux and France Mousseau, Martin and Diana Lefebvre, and Kelly Lannan & Eric Caty.

In addition to ballroom and latin competitions, the event also has Country & Western Events, Salsa, Bachata and Argentine Tango events. An entire day is devoted to youth events on Sunday.

The competition also features a celebrity workshop series, after-parties and several top-notch showcase performances, this year included the Salsa World Champions from Italy, members of semi-pro salsa formation teams and performances from Ballet Alberta.

It also included the Canadian Open Professional Championships in a 4 styles and a professional show dance competition–two of the biggest “wows” from the weekend.

So lets get down to the ‘nitty gritty’.

The registration and entry fees for this competition are comparable to others across Canada with early bird prices of $25 for single dances and $40-$100 for multi-dances (increasing by number of dances in the event). There were scholarship events for each style for $100 each plus 10 single dances.

Tickets are reasonably priced and several different package options were available, both with and without hotel accommodations, some with the workshops included. Competitors were required to purchase a minimum full day and evening pass to compete ($130 for full weekend).

There were lots of options for events including closed and open single dances as well as closed and open multi-dance events. The multi-dance events included 3 age categories (A, B, and C) and the scholarships were under 35 and 35+. There were 6 couples in both the ballroom and latin open scholarships and these were danced in the evening.

The facility was well set up with separate changerooms (with a volunteer monitoring the doors for security), easily accessible bathrooms, and practice room, a separate room for the workshops (which also doubled as a second after-party room), lots of vendors, and water stations in the ballroom.

The floor was neither sticky nor slippery with a great texture and while it was regulation, it got a little tight for 6-7 couples doing ballroom. For latin the floor space worked out better. For filling the space in the ballroom, it was very balanced overall.

There was space to warm-up in the hall and space to stand behind the tables as you got ready for your heats and the room was not too crowded (although I believe they were sold out!). The temperature in the room was good if you were dancing, although sometimes got a little warm towards the end of the night. Overall the temperature control was good.

The lighting was also good. The floor was bright for competitions, and they were able to adjust the lighting for the showcase performances as needed, adding an extra element.

The music was good and consistent, although for myself I found I didn’t recognize a lot of the melodies, so sometimes it was a little harder to connect with (but that is me personally). The music played about 1:10 for daytime events, and my biggest complaint is that the paso music was cut before the second highlight for pro/am.

The prizes consisted of a combination of “Rocky Mountain Dollars” for single and multi-dance events valid for next year’s entries, medals for multi-dance and scholarship events, and all competitors in the scholarship received a gift bag containing a leather clutch with jewelry, make-up and make-up remover inside–a really nice touch! All pro-am competitors also received a beautiful framed picture hand-drawned by one of the organizers.

There were top student awards in each style and overall, although there are no explanations for how these awards were won, and top studio and top teacher awards (which are explained on the website).

Students competing in the evening scholarship were introduced between dances, which is always an appreciated touch.

One point I would like to mention that was ‘above and beyond’. When I first received my heat lists, all of my multi-dances were grouped together in a row, meaning I was facing having to dance 16 dances without a break. When we pointed that out to the organizer, the heats were rearranged where possible to give some breaks, such as putting the bronze multi-dance between the gold ones. That was much appreciated.

One small minus for this comp–all competitors were required to wear wrist bands as ‘proof of ticket’, including professionals. Because I have long sleeves on both my dresses, I was able to ‘hide’ my wrist band, but others without sleeves were not. It was a little distracting on the floor.

The atmosphere of this competition was amazing all the way through. There was excitement in the room, friendly conversation, lots of cheering and it was well scheduled.

I highly recommend it for any pro/am competitor looking for a well-valued competition in the fall.

Many thanks to the 6 organizers for all their hard work!

Competing strong

Sorry for the delay in writing!

I have been busy beyond competing (more on that later) and this is the first opportunity I have had to write about the comp.  I did post some pics on facebook if you follow me there (

Overall, this was my strongest competition since before I got sick. Hands down. That’s not to say it was my best dancing, but I felt prepared, my endurance (for the most part was there), I didn’t feel like I was dying after only a couple dances. I felt like I belonged on the floor and that I was competitive, not just dancing as something to do.

I won my closed gold multidance in Ballroom although it was a rule 10 and 11 win (meaning they had to split the tie twice more or less), and I am very proud of that–my first ‘win’ in closed gold! I was also 5th in both open scholarships of 6 couples and even stole a few points from those that placed above me in ballroom.

Ballroom was definitely the stronger of the two styles for me at this competition. Considering the amount of work I have been putting into it, it should have been, and it has paid off. I felt quite strong and confident in the ballroom heats, even though endurance was a challenge. I was surprised to see I received a 1 place mark in VW from one judge in a 5-dance championship that finished with the VW.

There were a lot of positives for me in standard. It took a round to settle down a little and adjust to things like my dress. At the start I was almost too relaxed in trying to keep myself calm and from trying too hard, but hit a good balance for the other rounds. Boss was really happy with how it all went, and I really have no complaints about standard. Yes, there are always little things, and lots to improve, but I was more consistent and solid in standard than I have been in any previous competition. That was a big win for me!

Latin was a much different story, and I am less impressed with my performance there. I had some very high points, and I had some lower ones. In one of my 4-dance gold multi-dances, I didn’t win the event, but I did sweep the rumba. Looking at the videos though, my styling still leaves much to be desired, and I just didn’t seem to be ‘finishing’ all my lines as I danced. My energy level was not where it needed to be for latin and I was having a hard time keeping focused.

So I own the less than stellar latin performance. It was good, but not my best. Among other things, I was having trouble feeling settled in my shoes, and I think the fatigue from standard the day before also played a role and upset my hormones a little bit (I was a hot flash queen that day).

That said, when it came to the 5-dance scholarship, I just went out and had some fun and worried less about trying to be perfect.

One of the biggest ‘wins’ I experienced overall was random strangers making an effort to tell me how much they enjoyed my dancing–seeking me out specifically in the crowd of competitors I was just on the floor with. For me, that is better than a thousand trophies and it happened after events in both standard and latin.

The biggest challenge I faced over the weekend was blisters. My shoes started out feeling wonderful, but then in the last afternoon event in standard I suddenly felt some pain. The result was 2 blisters on each foot, one on the heel, the other in the arch (which seemed a strange place). I put some blister pads on them for the scholarship and covered those with tap, but they didn’t stay in place. By the time I got to the latin scholarship, I had 11 blisters, all of which had popped, some of which were bleeding. I knew that breaking in new shoes would cause some problems (even old shoes can) and had taken some measures and preparations, but my feet seemed to just ‘give up’ in trying to keep skin. Even duct tape didn’t help. I am doing a lot of feet soaking these days.

My shoes are pretty much broken in now, but I won’t be able to tell until all the blisters heel if adjustments need to be made and where. Despite the blisters, they were more comfortable at the end of the comp. I also had issues with my feet swelling and that didn’t help either.

My latin shoes were the strangest to deal with. I had worked with them before I left and they felt fine. But at the comp the heel of my foot kept sliding out and I had a hard time getting the strap tight enough to hold it in place.  I am going to have to revisit them. I am wondering if they are too short in the end even though they are the same size as my last ones–but with a lower heel.

Hopefully in about 2 weeks I can do a good assessment with fresh feet.

The final ‘snag’ in the competition happened at the end of the standard rounds (and thankfully the end!). My dress is stretch velvet and when I am sweaty can be difficult to get the sleeves off.  I friend was helping me and when she pulled the arm I heard a ripping sound! Unfortunately, the dress tore just under the right arm, in the fabric just adjacent to the seam. Because the tear is in the fabric, I don’t know if it can be repairable without being too visible. It may be the end for that dress….an expensive tear!

In all, I am very proud of myself and how I danced this weekend–even latin. I wanted to be able to get through all my dances strongly, which I did, do well in standard (because of the focus we have been giving it), and enjoy dancing in latin. I achieved that. I know Boss is especially happy with the standard and we haven’t had a chance to discuss latin although we know there were challenges there.

The biggest achievement from the competition was being able to feel myself staying strong, and it has given us lots of feedback for the future 🙂

We should be sitting down to discuss the plan for the future over the next couple days, but mainly I am taking it easy right now. The exception, of course was that I had 3 coaching lessons with a standard coach yesterday that were a lot of fun and able to build on the competition. I will write about that shortly.

I will also write a review of the competition for those who might be interested in competing there some day. I would definitely recommend it and I think we are already making plans to return!

Achievement unlocked: Compete strong during recovery!