Autumn mapped out in dance

Finally had a lesson tonight!

To be honest, I needed the break just to let my body recharge a little.

Boss and I had an ‘armchair’ lesson on Tuesday, which is basically a lesson where we sit down together and map out the next steps and decide where we are going.  We managed to sort out the competition and what we will do until my surgery.  We also discussed some things for after surgery that I can do while I am not mobile.

The first big thing is we (meaning me, really–he just agreed) will be doing a solo at the competition.  It should be an open rumba/cha cha combo to a song I picked out way back in the spring that we had ‘mapped’ a routine to, but never put together.  So tonight, we started putting it together.  I can already tell it is going to be one of the most dramatic routines Boss and I have done and that works perfectly for it.  It’s a powerful song for all I am going through and very fitting.  As the routine evolves I will talk more about it, but for now, it’s about 3 phrases of actual steps and a lot of ideas in Boss’s head.

The solo is going to be the focus for the next little bit in my lessons and I am ok with that.  Most of my latin routines are in a pretty good place and I can do all of them to a pretty good level already.  There are mostly tweaks needed here and there which we will do, mainly in Paso (at least as far as I think).  I will get a chance to run them regularly at rounds practices, so that should keep them fresh and bring to the surface what needs work.

I decided not to do my silver medal test yet.  Latin would be no problem, but Standard just needs some more consistent work to be more solid.  Also, almost all my routines would have to be adjusted to have the proper sequence of steps according to the manual for the test, and most of them don’t do that.  So a goal for the spring after my surgery.

After the competition, we are going to work through the smooth routines to get them firmly into my feet so I can visualize them in my head.  I am big into visualization and find it infinitely useful for learning routines.  If I can see myself doing it in my head, I can usually do it on my feet.  We are also going to start adding some gold steps to my latin routines to start making them more ‘open silver’ and ‘pre-gold’ for future competitions.  Eventually, we will do gold routines, but not yet.

In preparation for my surgery, I also asked Boss if we can videotape all of my routines, so I can watch them while I am laid up.  I have done this before when I had to go away right before a showcase and it helped me to keep the routines fresh in my head, kept me motivated, and made having 1 week to finalize things easier.  My plan is to take the time to watch the routines daily as I recover from my surgery to help remind me why I need to get better.

The other thing I will do while recovering is visualize the routines to music.  Visualizing them is more than just watching them on video because the visualization includes how the movements feel.  As I mentioned before, I am a very kinetic person and learner so how things feel, and remembering that is very key in dance for me.  The more we do the routines before my surgery, the more I will be able to remember and know what they feel like for my visualizations.

That plus videos is my version of ‘armchair’ practicing.  It should help keep me focused (I hope!) when I am recovering from surgery as I have 6-8 weeks before I will be allowed to dance again.  Minimum.  That’s a long time for me to go without dancing!

Boss already has some ideas for small things I can do while recovering.  He wants me to work on ‘flamenco’ hands and arms for Paso mainly, although it will help all my latin styling and mentioned something about my Achilles tendon–either stretching or strengthening, I am not sure. I know the week before my surgery we will map out a more definitive plan to keep me busy, focused, and feeling like I am not losing time while I recover.

I am very glad I decided to do the competition to help break up my autumn.  Once I finish radiation, I won’t have much to do except recover from it (which is enough, I am sure!), which won’t keep my days very busy.  For me, that seems like a little bit too much time to spend wondering (freaking out!) about my surgery and the results of it.  I will start hormonal therapy at the end of September, briefly, but that is purely a medication therapy and doesn’t involve appointments.  It will last 5 years, minus a break before my surgery to minimize the risk of blood clots and surgical complications.

It looks like I will have a busy autumn and I am looking forward to that.  6 more radiation treatments to go!

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