Reflection, evaluation and planning

Every competition provides feedback that is useful for the future.

This week, while not doing any private lessons, I was able to schedule a time to sit down with Boss and go over the points from the competition and discuss where my dance journey will take me next.

We didn’t get to everything in the time we had, but covered a lot of the general points, specifics we will get into more soon.  It is a discussion, but it starts with me providing some general thoughts of my own, him providing his own thoughts and then follow-up questions and answers that lead to a plan.

Sometimes this conversation goes well, other times, not so well.  As many of my fellow pro/am bloggers have mentioned, it is normal to experience a post-comp ‘crash’, especially after such a good ‘high’.

I am lucky in that my crash this time was fairly minor, but that is likely due to the circumstances surrounding this comp for me.  Before going into the comp, because of the recent changes in my health, I knew that after there is going to be a big change to how I work and I was already looking forward to it.  I also knew that both Boss and I were already on the same page, which is always helpful when planning goals.

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have some control over what I can do in dance (at least as a student).  While the planning and teaching is up to Boss, I finally feel I have recovered enough that combined with my desire to work hard (which I have always had), I am finally at a point where I am capable of working at the level I want to–health-wise.  That is a huge step forward for me and a profound sense of relief.  My motivation is back and I am determined to keep moving forward.

Some general things we talked about included the strengths and weaknesses of my dancing at the comp–mainly stamina in holding my frame and position in standard (which was better than previous, but still had a big impact), my dresses (which he really liked!), my footwork and few other things which will need to be worked on.  The biggest strength and achievement for this comp was the improvement in my overall dancing and health.

One of the things that Boss mentioned was that I need to adjust my level of satisfaction in my own dancing going forward to bring my expectations from myself higher.  I completely agree with this, although this is where he and I differ a little.  Boss has historically told me not to worry too much about my technique, etc. because it was ‘very good for my level’. I have never accepted that, because my goal has never been to be ‘good for my level’, it has been to be ‘good’ in general.  It seems that now we are coming together on this thinking, and I was glad to hear him say that.

Going forward, the goal is to do 3 lessons a week, 3 self-practices a week, and 1 latin technique group class (which I started last week), at least as far as school and work allow. We are still working out some scheduling, etc. but that is the basic plan.  He told me to expect to spend a lot of time in lessons repeating things over and over as we start to focus down on technique (which I cannot wait for).  I am not planning to compete for quite some time and I am actually already enjoying having the time to really focus on techniques.

We are going to start working on closed gold routines, the intent being for me to do my silver test sometime early summer, when the adjudicator is available.  We are also going to put open routines aside for now, and eventually we will start fresh with new routines not based on my syllabus routines.  There is more with that, but something to discuss in the future.

Before we even get to routines, I am just going to focus on technique. I can’t emphasize enough how I am looking forward to that.  That is the part of dance that I really enjoy–the ‘nitty-gritty’.

Smooth will continue and I hope to do some coaching in the near future to help strengthen it.  I really enjoy that style and it really enjoys me too.  It suits me more than standard, but until there is a 9-dance latin/smooth combo event, standard will continue to be my challenge.

Medically, I also had a bit of an update this week.  I saw the oncologist for my 6-month check-up and we discussed the various options for hormone therapy.  He is really happy with the effects of the ovarian suppression and hopes to transition me to 3-month injections.  In addition to this, he wants to add an aromatase inhibitor, which will bring my estrogen levels down to almost 0.  Unfortunately, the main side-effect of this medication is bone and joint pain.  When I heard this, my first reaction was ‘really? Can’t I have a break!!’ Unfortunately not, as I am slated to start this new medication after my next injection week after next. I am truthfully quite reluctant about this and I may on my own delay another month.  I am not quite convinced I have ‘leveled-out’ from the injections and I am not quite ready to add another element to the mix.  I am still having some definite hormone fluctuations, which make me nervous.  My family doc is testing my hormone levels though, so that should help.

I am eager to get down to work next week.  I will warn you in advance that February will be a ‘light’ month for me for dance due to school residency.

I am feeling optimistic for the future for the first time in a long time!

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