Practice for meditation and lifted spirits

Wednesdays are my hardest days dance-wise.  I have a 1-hour lesson that I follow with about 2 hours of practice exercises, which normally wouldn’t be that bad, but everything is a little more difficult now and takes just a little bit longer every week.

Great lesson tonight though.  We are working on an open showcase routine which (fingers and toes crossed!!) we hope to perform in two weeks.  The hard part is that I won’t know until the day of the showcase how I will be feeling, and if I will be able to dance or not–it all depends how treatments are going.

The routine is a lot of fun though.  It’s my first open routine and it is a combination of cha cha, rumba, and a little bit of hustle thrown in at the end.  It’s almost 3 minutes of dancing which is a challenge any day 🙂  My instructor has really let me out of the box for this one, as usually he sticks to the steps for the level I am working at.  Truthfully, he has a lot more faith in my abilities than I do, and I have been pretty surprised what I am able to do in this routine.  There is a lot of spinning, but tonight he added an interesting lean where he is holding one of my legs.  It is also one of the most theatrical pieces we have done, and that is adding to the fun.  We are at the point now where we can run through it without stops (although with mis-steps here and there), and there is just the final 2 bars that still need to be choreographed (so, some sort of fabulous ending 🙂 ).  Tomorrow I imagine the ending will be finished and we will start polishing and making sure the styling works.

We videotaped it tonight to get an idea of what it will look like, and I am really surprised in a good way. Parts are rough, but what is good actually looks good (considering I am a bald overweight lady).

One thing I like about Wednesdays is that I do all my practice exercises after my lesson, so I am already tired when I do them.  I think there is a lot you can learn when you do things tired–like what is actually working and solid and what is not so much.  I have a series of technical exercises I do in both standard and latin and it even includes some ballet work for latin footwork and ballet arm work for styling and standard frame.  Some of the exercises are vigourous and involve just repeating basic techniques (like jive basic) over and over for endurance and muscle memory, others are slower and more relaxed involving rocking without stepping, again for muscle memory, and some are just completely static–like holding arm positions for endurance.

I find the entire sequence quite meditative.  I plug into my ipod, have set music for each exercises, set rest periods (some days I need more than others), and just move in my own little world.  Even if I have a bad day where it seems like I can’t do any of the movements right I still end up feeling relaxed after and clear-headed.  No matter how bad a day I am having I always feel better after I dance.  That’s why and how dance is getting me through this.  Right now, I typically don’t dance from Thursday night until Monday evening because of my treatment schedule, and those days are definitely the longest of the week.  There’s a huge difference between the days I dance and days I don’t.

On the plus side, this week I started working on transitioning back into full shoes with a 2 1/2 ” heel, and so far so good, although right now I am only wearing them for static exercises to help with posture changes.  Otherwise, I have to wear dance sneakers during practice (I wear practice shoes with cuban heels during lessons) because the heels put too much pressure on the balls of my feet which are inflamed and swollen from my treatments.  Since I only have 4 weeks left, I am starting to very gradually transition and can’t wait to be back to wearing full shoes all the time.  Especially in latin I find the difference huge, especially in posture.

On the down side the swelling in my right leg from the treatment drug is starting to cause pain in my ankle.  I hope acupuncture is able to keep it at bay so it won’t get too sore to dance. Time will tell I guess.

Next lesson is tomorrow and I can’t wait!

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