That is how I have been feeling the last couple days.
Since getting home from overseas, I have been working to make the most of the momentum I felt I gathered after the last competition and reset myself and get ready to prepare for the next competition in January.
Then I got an email from Boss two hours before what was supposed to be my first competition practice. He said not only were we not going to practice that day, but that he had decided to only do 2 practices in November, one every other week, instead of every week. According to him, it was because I can’t do the complete routines on my own to the timing, and that I should essentially be grateful he was willing to do even two practices.
It was a badly worded email. And the last thing I felt was grateful.
I was livid and angry. I had spent most of the week looking forward to that practice and reviewing all my routines, seeing how they might go. I was gathering tools and looking forward to putting the momentum I felt into action. The one thing I wanted to improve before the next competition was my endurance and stamina when dancing in a couple, and having regular weekly round practice with Boss was the one thing I was looking forward to, in order to develop a way to consistently push and stretch my limits.
But it is not to be.
Among other things, I had no idea that Boss really doesn’t understand what is my main competition goal right now. I tried to explain it, but whether it is a language thing, or he just doesn’t want to hear it, it’s fallen on deaf ears.
I even presented other options, such as doing lead/follow during the other practices until I have the routines better, or instead of doing practices every other week (which lacks consistency) waiting until the last two practices of the month.
But Boss doesn’t want to discuss it. In fact, when I got to my lesson tonight, he told me that my goals were none of his concern, and why should he adjust himself because of what my goals are?
Basically, he told me I should just work on practicing more myself. According to him, that is the complete solution.
But I fail to see how practicing by myself will improve my stamina in a couple. Everything I do on my own requires twice as much effort when in a couple. There is no way I can work at the same level on my own and push my limits to improve my endurance in a couple.
It’s like training to run by walking all the time. I can walk all I want, but it is not going to improve my running.
Having those practices essentially taken away, and finding Boss had a complete lack of understanding of my competition goals right now literally deflated me. I went from feeling positive and motivated back to feeling stuck like I was feeling before the last competition.
It might seem like a small thing, but at this point it is the only thing I want to focus on.
I have watched the videos from the last competition and the one thing that strikes me over and over is how much my stamina affected me. Having to do single heats one after the other, I was done before the end of the first dance. The multi-dances were awful. I felt like all the work I had done while I sick was taken away from me because I didn’t have the endurance to maintain my usual level of dance. It felt terrible.
I don’t want to go through that again.
So, after a lot of thought both during my lesson and the practice after, I made a very tough decision.
I am not going to compete in January. I don’t want to embarrass myself, or Boss by not being able to improve my stamina and endurance to allow me to dance at my best. I have always pushed my hardest and danced my best at every competition until the last one, and I just couldn’t pull it together. I don’t want to go to that competition and again be essentially useless after 1 or 2 dances–especially in the multi-dances. That’s not the dancer I am.
I would have less than 3 months until the next competition and with only an option of inconsistent round practice until then, I don’t see how my endurance is going to be able to get better. Especially because I know that only doing the practices every other week will only stress and frustrate me further.
So I have also decided not to do anymore rounds practices until Boss decides I am ready to do them consistently. And only at that point will I decide when to compete next.
I am also considering taking the month of December off of dance to give myself a break and perhaps focus on my fitness on my own. I haven’t completely decided on that yet and will wait until closer to December and see what the holiday schedule is like.
This was an extremely hard decision for me, but given the options (or lack of them) I seem to be faced with, it is the best one for me. I don’t want to go into another competition feeling I am less than prepared. I could know all my routines forward backward and upsidedown, but it is not going to give me any more stamina to get through 3, 4, or 5-dance events.
I wish the issue of practices didn’t hang over me like such a black cloud. My lessons themselves have been great lately and it seems even though I have only had 3 that they have been productive. I started the new practice program today and I could already see some improvement in some of the steps I had been working on. But the practices are very important to me as a way to measure progress, build stamina, and put together everything from my lessons–but only when they are consistent. I know from the past, that doing them every 2 or 3 weeks is just frustrating.
I also had a really interesting meeting with the rehabilitative specialist today, but I will post more about that tomorrow. Long story short, my strength training and fitness program is going to have a significant change to better support dance.
I am feeling disappointed, but at the same time, it is like there is a bit of a load off. Perhaps I am just understanding what Boss has been trying to tell me all summer. I am not ready for competitive practices. And if I am not ready for practices, I am definitely not ready to compete.
It’s a hard lesson, but a necessary one.
My stamina and endurance are the biggest things that cancer took from me. I want them back.
Tomorrow will be a better day.