I think they think I am nuts…

Some of the social dancers at the studio, that is.

Either that, or they just don’t believe me when I say I am not preparing for a competition right now.

I don’t know what it was about tonight but I got asked by three different dancers “What competition are you preparing for?” (I still hate that question, BTW)

It was actually getting a bit comical when after the third time my response of “none right now” was met with a look of sheer incredulity.

I guess it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to them for me to be working as hard as they see me working without any competition motivating it.

It’s interesting though that they just assume I have a competition coming up considering compared with the amateur couples, I have only done one competition (most of them have done 3 or 4 since last September). Perhaps it is the way I work that they just automatically equate with competing.

That said, these are people who see me at the studio 3 times a week (well 4 the last 3 due to me being away), and usually when they arrive I am either practicing on my own or doing cardio conditioning, either by myself or with Boss, both of which I can imagine look pretty intense from the outside.

It’s interesting sometimes to see your work from the perspective of others. Truth be known, I don’t really have any routines near to being competition ready, and from now until June I am in and out of town pretty consistently. Most of them will be at more lessons than I will over the next month.

This week, my focus is trying to get the pieces of the routines Boss and I have gone over into my head consistent enough to work on my own while I am away. I just pray I have time to get practice in as the schedule will be pretty hectic, both during the course I will be doing and the vacation time after.

That said, I know myself well enough that I will find time here and there to fit things in, even if not as consistently as I would like.

Almost all the routines are coming along pretty good, and we have even added to the cha cha and waltz with a likelihood of adding to the rumba or samba tomorrow.

Jive is another story, but my guess is it will be on the list to tackle when I get back. I feel back because we spent a lesson going through it, and Boss even identified a couple pieces for me to work on and when I went to work on it myself on Sunday I discovered that pretty much after the second step it was all a blank including the pieces to work on.

(although one of them was ‘kick ball changes’, something I seem to have a complete mental block on)

So am I working for a competition?

There are none on the near horizon and I have no idea if any will appear.

But, I am still working as though there is one coming up — so I can be ready, just in case.

That isn’t nuts, is it?

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2017 Reflections and the impact of living past cancer

Like most, I find myself thinking about 2017.

2017 was a rough year for me. Certainly it was a lot tougher than I expected at the beginning of the year.

I had 2 major surgeries, spent the beginning of the year fighting debilitating side effects from hormone therapy, and lost any possibility to compete in the near future.

But I also completed almost 1/2 of my masters degree with a strong average, competed twice, including in open smooth and gold level, had a strong recovery, lost a third of the chemo weight, had successes at work, bought a new car, and felt my strength return for the first time since 2015.

I may recognize the good easier than the bad and I accept that as a gift.

Some things will continue for 2018. My degree will be only 3 months from completion, I expect work to keep progressing (especially since I can work full-time again now), recovery will continue and with it strength and weight loss. Dance will progress and while I am not going to be competing, I do have the time to focus on me and strengthen my dancing overall.

Cancer taught me a lot of hard lessons, not only about life but also about myself. It showed me strength and discipline I didn’t realize I had, helped me to determine what is truly important to me and to let go of those that are not.

Now, more than ever before, I can truly say that I am happy and content with where I am and where I am going. But that contentment comes more from knowing I am going some where, even if I don’t know the destination. I just want (and intend) to keep going there.

I don’t know what the future will bring. I don’t know when I will compete next, but I know at some point I will. In the meantime, I will continue to learn. I was told by work I can “reasonably” expect to stay in my current geographic location for 3-5 years and I am pleased with that. I am working to make sure I am well set up for my future.

The biggest takeaway from 2017 for me is reaching a point where I feel like I have a future I can look to again.

While dealing with cancer, the future disappeared. Not because the projected outcome was bleak or dismal, but only because it takes so much energy to fight cancer it is necessary to keep focused on the present and take things one day at a time. You focus on treatments–when the next one will be, whether the next day, week or 3 weeks–and work to get yourself there as positively as possible.

I am not sure I would have realized how important things such as dance and my work are to me if I hadn’t had to fight to keep them in my life. It gives me a different perspective on them and I fully believes shapes decisions I make about them–because I know now what is important about them.

This fall, I was put in a position where I had to decide what was more important to me in dance, competing or my process for learning. I would have made a different decision in 2014, and I know I would have regretted it and possibly ended up stopping dance.

I am comfortable in my decision, but also find myself a bit resigned–at least for now. I am resigned to the fact that current circumstances mean I can’t participate in dance how I would fully like to, but the circumstances are just that–current. They will change and I will adapt to new circumstances then. There will come a time when I can determine those circumstances, but it is not yet. There is a time for everything.

So as 2017 comes to an end, those are the thoughts that are bringing me into 2018.

I wish everyone a Happy New Year!

My (REAL) Dance Goals

I have a difficult time admitting to my goals.

I think one of the things that I personally struggle with when it comes to goals is that for some reason I feel they should be complicated and specific by my goals are and always have been really very simple.

I have two. Both are more about the experience and process than any tangible thing.

My goals are simple:

-to enjoy the experience of learning

-to enjoy the experience of competing

That’s it. There are no levels, placings, techniques or other things linked to it. It’s all about the experience of learning to dance and the experience of being on a competition floor. That is what matters to me when it comes to dance. And if I had to rank them (as recently I have had to do), then learning comes first.

To elaborate on each:

-Learning. I absolutely enjoy learning, whatever it is. I like analyzing, challenging myself, discovering new details and learning about myself and my capabilities in the process. It is the most important thing to me when it comes to dancing. I started with virtually nothing. In my past I have done classes in highland dance, country line dance, hip hop, and belly dance but none of them stuck because they weren’t for me (except maybe highland, but that ended because my teacher moved).

One of the reasons none of them stuck–there was no one to share the learning experience with on a one-on-one basis, although if there had been, perhaps it would have been different. As much as I am learning from an instructor and having the opportunity to develop myself, there is an aspect to ballroom where I have to share with others. At some times, perhaps others even learn from me.

The challenge of learning remains the most important part of dance for me and I don’t see that changing. From my perspective, the only thing that would enhance that would be the opportunity to teach that learning to others, as one never truly really learns something until they are able to teach it to someone else (of course I am very passionate about teaching, so perhaps I am biased on that). Teaching seems to be an evolution of learning.

-Competing. Competing is another aspect of learning for me, and it is truly about the experience. About challenging myself to get out there and in 1:30 show what I know and what I am capable of. Its a 1:30 to share what I have learned with others and perhaps inspire them to learn too. Competing has never been about winning or placements for me. It’s been about growth, stretching myself, learning about myself, seeing what I am capable of and getting outside of box I allow myself to be in during my regular life. Competing is the one opportunity I have to get out and feel like I have achieved something, and that is before the placing or marks come it.

Every competitive experience for me is an achievement and represents one moment in my life where I took a risk and got out there and did SOMETHING. The challenge of competing in ballroom is that I have to work with someone else for that achievement. I can’t just rely on myself which is my natural inclination to do. It’s a team effort and the challenge for me is to rise to the expectation of my partner and make him proud (whoever he is, instructor or otherwise) of what we are able to accomplish together. I want to feel as though I belong on the floor with the people I am competing with, and I don’t want to be the person who is automatically considered for last, but beyond that, I just want to be there and enjoy doing what I love to work for.

But that’s it.

I know I should probably have more concrete and specific goals, and ones that are more driven by reality than passion, but in the end it is just not what I want. I don’t want to limit myself. I just want to enjoy what I do.

As far as learning, I have no specific goals because I don’t know what I don’t know. As far as I am concerned, what I learn next or need to focus on is up to my instructor (even if in collaboration with others).  I just want to understand what I am trying to learn.

There are a lot of things I want to experience within the dance world.

 

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.

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 (www.facebook.com/bcballroomdancer).

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!

Almost There

I can’t believe we fly for the competition tomorrow night.

For some reason it seems a little surreal. I feel really good heading into this competition. No, nothing will be ‘perfect’ (nothing ever is), but I know that I am as prepared as I am going to be and that I am stronger going into this competition than I have been since 2014.

That said, tomorrow night also still feels a million hours away.

I have been giving some thought as to what my own personal goals are for this competition. Basically, it is to do my best, complete every dance, and have fun. I deserve this and it is going to be great.

I have some legitimate concerns about endurance. All of my multi-dance events are scheduled in a row with no breaks between. That means I will do almost 20 dances in a row each day, pretty daunting considering I start struggling to get through 5 dances!

In the end, it is just a deep breath, visualizing my routines and keeping calm. I don’t need to over-do it, I need to stay relaxed and calm.

Easier said than done, right?

At least my heats are not at 7 am, they don’t start until 11 and noon each day which I definitely appreciate.

My new shoes should arrive today and I am going to pop home from work at lunch to see if they are they. I don’t have much time to break them in, but since they were ordered long-distance, I just hope they fit! 2 pairs are almost identical to shoes I already own, so it should be good. I have never worn standard shoes from this brand, but do have practice shoes from them. I will take both the new and old shoes with me, so I can adjust if needed.

One more lesson tonight to clean a couple of transitions, and then it is packing, one more day of work, and all focused on the competition.

The competition will include a pro showdance competition with 6 couples registered and more than anything I can’t wait to see that!

Almost there!

Refinding my strength

I had an interesting revelation 2 weeks ago.

I was practicing and I noticed something was feeling different. Or rather, I was noticing something I hadn’t realized had been missing.

I could feel strength in my body.

For the first time in almost 3 years I could feel the strength moving through my body from my feet to my head and back down into the floor. It was like my muscles just suddenly woke up and realized they have a job to do.

It’s a hard feeling to describe and since I am a very tactile person it is probably more obvious to me than those who are less so, but in many ways this is where I draw my power from. I use this feeling through my body to push down into the floor and move my entire body.

For me, that is what ‘feeling grounded’ means.

It took me a while to figure out what I was feeling, but it also took a bit of time to realize I have to use it properly and exercise some control.  Some speed came back with it that I didn’t expect, and I have spent the last 2 weeks fighting a tendency to get ahead of the music–especially in cha cha and quickstep–something I don’t think was possible even a month ago. Paying attention to that, I think my movement have also gotten a bit sharper.

I don’t know why this sensation came back all of a sudden, it could be a number of things–the ‘magic’ 2 years post radiation milestone, 2 years post major surgery, adjusting to the hormonal changes from my last surgery, general recovery. Likely it’s a combination of things, but I am not going to dwell on it.

It’s a good time to have it though as I am competing on Friday (this FRIDAY!) and Saturday. I had a good run-through of standard at the rounds practice yesterday and it was easy to see where the work on my endurance is starting to pay off.  I was not tiring and ‘dying’ so soon yesterday and when I was, there were times I was able to recover and finish strong.

We did a latin run-through on Friday which was a little bit disastrous a I kept blanking on routines, and styling, but our second time through was smoother. We will do another latin run-through tonight I hope will be better.

After tonight, I have one more lesson before the competition, so right now it is mainly things that can be fixed short-term, cleaning, and run throughs.  I am excited to get out on the floor again but I can’t say I have much as far as expectations.  I just want to go and enjoy myself and see how it goes. If I can keep myself ‘calm’ and from ‘trying too hard’ there is potential for some good dancing.

As I continue on this journey, it does amaze me as I recover things I didn’t know I had lost. This feeling of strength is one of them and I can’t wait to keep building on it after this competition to prepare for the next one.

The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.