Starting Again …

The Icon doesn’t believe in letting any dust gather under our feet and wastes no time in moving on to our next challenge. Two of my mainstay “winter” competitions are the New York Dance Festival (NYDF) in February, and the TriState Challenge in March.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m trying a new strategy: rather than do a  minimum number of heats in both Rhythm and Smooth at whatever comp, I’d try alternating styles from competition to competition. This way I’d be able to fully focus on  the one style, do two or three rounds of single dances and add in either a Championship or Scholarship.

This would also be less expensive on a per comp basis (i.e., saving on hotel by not having to stay over, hair and make-up for only one day, ballroom fees, food, etc.) and possibly allow me to compete more frequently. Sounds good in theory, but not so sure how it’s going to pan out in actuality !

Now, with that in mind, seeing as The City’s Challenge was rhythm, we’ll be doing smooth for NYDF. But I’m also aware of the projected switch-over to rhythm for (possibly) TriState in March, so I would like to keep a review of my rhythm going as well. (Sometimes I wonder if I’m really a masochist at heart …. )

The crazy thing is that it’s only been something like 8 weeks since I competed in Smooth, and yet it feels like forever ago. Plus, I’ve decided to resurrect my Peabody and will be competing in it for the first time in close to 10 years (what was I just saying about a masochistic streak?!) … 

One thing I CAN say for sure is that I’m really looking forward to getting to the studio Wednesday morning … who says Stage 2 can’t be fun ?!?! (yep, definitely a closet masochist) ….
new start

Crunch Time

“Heat List for The City’s  Challenge is supposed to be up later today”, she wrote, as she impatiently tapped her toe ….

I’m kind of at a loss in terms of my attitude … it’s just the oddest thing … the closest I can come to describing it is this sense of calm easiness?

I haven’t competed in Rhythm since Manhattan Dancesport back in July, pretty much focusing on smooth for Empire and Constitution. Meaning that asides from practicing school figures for my check out, the only work I’ve done on rhythm has been last week’s quick run through of my basic Mambo and Cha Cha patterns, a few more minutes spent on Bolero timing, a shot of rumba, and adding a couple  embellishments to my Swing (a little shine to the toe/heel swivels and a sailor shuffle to the back-to-back swivel). And yet, here I sit, actually looking forward to competing Saturday.

But do check back with me tomorrow, after my pre-comp coaching with Madame and The Icon.frazzled-cat3

I’m open to the possibility that there could be a bit of a radical change in my je ne sais quoi attitude, but we’ve got a safety net  in place seeing as I’m also booked for an extra session on Thursday, to go over whatever (if anything) manifests in tomorrow’s session.  

Although between us, I’m kind of hoping that this just might be a glimmer of that long sought after self-confidence finally starting to muscle it’s way past all those nasty negativity gremlins. Wouldn’t THAT be a delightful change of pace!

Shout Out

to “BALLROOMBOMBSHELL” on her checkout victory !!! ballroombombshell and DoreenWe unofficially “met” here on WordPress through our blogs. We dance at the same studio and have the same Pro Partner. It was her eagle eye that recognized me as a fellow dancer ……

And then we met officially at the Studio’s Trophy Ball / Holiday party this past Friday night. Fun time, to say the least!

I wasn’t able to grab a photo of us together only because BOTH of our phones had died, so I’ve been reduced to poaching a couple of shots from the studio website. She’s the lovely gal in red on the left, and her pal Doreen Ward to the right.

Here’s the money shot of her Award line-up:


Stayed tuned as we’ll most definitely be posting from our next co-adventure together — The City’s Dancesport Challenge this Saturday !!!


It’s Official …

winnerJust aced my Silver Pin Checkout !

And in honor of my new attitude, I’m not going to nit-pick and/or obsess on all the little things “I could have done better”. This checkout was not a walk in the park. I worked hard and really got it together.  Achieving Silver Pin Level is truly a milestone in my dance journey, and I, along with another of The Icon’s students, are the only two dancers who have checked out at this level in the studio’s 30-year history. So I’m going to give myself a huge pat on the back along with permission to wallow in this amazing golden glow of pride and accomplishment  I’m feeling.

Well, at least until next Wednesday when The Icon and I start putting in some serious work getting ready for The City’s Challenge on the 19th.

But going forward from here, I hope that during the times when things get  tough (which they will), I’ll remember to pull up the memory of The Icon and his Mrs. (she has her judge’s credentials and serves as Examiner for The Icon’s checkouts, and The Icon–also a qualified judge, serves as Examiner for her students), both grinning and congratulating me for having had an extraordinary checkout.




 Checkout is now one day and a few hours away. Crunch time !

 I had a single session this morning rather than my standing double because The Icon admitted to being “a little anxious” about the December 19th comp, so he suggested splitting the double between today and tomorrow, with checkout on Friday.

 The only prep work we’ve done for the comp so far has been a quick review of my bolero. This is totally out of character for The Icon, but in a way could be taken as a show of confidence in my ability to come up to the challenge.

 Today’s focus was on technique and showmanship in presenting rumba and cha cha. I have the patterns down, but it wasn’t until half-way through the session that the “performer” kicked in. And there is the so-called “fatal flaw”.

 I can’t seem to wrap my head around the concept of “competitive” dancer.

 I’m facing a double whammy when I compete—because of the age category and level I’m now dancing at, I’ve been sharing the competition floor with some of the top dancers in the country. And believe me when I say that these ladies (and some gentlemen) know they’re not at a studio social. They have their A-games going right from the get-go. These people are COMPETITORS.

 As my coach is always reminding me: “The judges have no idea of who you are or what you can do. You have to show them right from the start.”

 Which means I can’t just throw on my costume and sashay out onto the floor, hoping for the best. I need a PLAN. I have a GOAL (I want to win). But I need a PLAN on how I’ll go about achieving that goal.

 Something along the lines of knowing how I’ll walk out onto the floor (like I’ve never lost). Starting strong and staying strong. Keeping that smile going, no matter what.light-bulb-idea-head-LightbulbIdea

 Huh? What? Hold on …. Have I just started thinking like a Competitor ??!!!

 Stay tuned …. More to come !