Plans change, Goals Don’t

I know it has been a long time since my last post. I am having trouble with the direction for this blog. My intent was to let you follow our dance journey while making you laugh. I have learned that I am not that funny. Either that or I cannot tell stories in a funny way. First, let me recap what has been happening since the start of the year.

The plan at the beginning of the year was to perform in the showcase in March. Our first competition was going to be in June. But that all changed, in February a studio in Atlanta, GA hosts a match competition between their studio and ours. Joyce and I were asked to compete in it, and we happily responded yes. Unfortunately, this meant that we would have to miss the June competition as our dance fund wouldn’t support going to both. Both Joyce and I danced well, and we had a great time.

Then came the showcase in March which is fun to be part of something big. There were over 60 people involved in the show this year, and it is exciting and an honor to be a part of it. Joyce danced a serious Tango to Phantom of the Opera. I did a lighter number, dancing the Cha Cha to Weird Science.

What are we up to now? We are practicing and training like we are still going to compete in June, ensuring that we do not slack off. Most of our lessons focus on technique. Our stretch for this year is to do an amateur solo competition this July. Joyce and I do compete as an amateur couple. However, we have never entered a solo competition before. The song that we picked is “Catch a Falling Star, ” and the routine has both Foxtrot and Rumba steps in it.  We both feel that this will help build our dance confidence and are looking forward to it.

On Tuesdays, we take a technique class, and this past Tuesday the dance styles we worked on was the Bolero and Mambo. Joyce and I do not know them, so it was a difficult class.  Val teaches it, and since he works with us, he knows our limitations. As he addresses the class, he looks toward Joyce and I and says we are going to compete in these styles. I ask, “Who is this we you speak of?” He responses the four of us, meaning Joyce, myself, Megan and him. Joyce and I had the look of a deer in headlights. Val goes “just say yes Val.” Being the good students that were are, we responded yes Val. Naturally, we will not be ready to compete this year in them, but we will next year. That will be our stretch for next year, two new dance styles. All this time I keep thinking to myself that there is still so much I need to learn about the six dances we already know. But I like the fact that Val and Megan not only push us to be better and try new things, but that they have the confidence in us that we can learn new things.

Until next time, keep dancing.

2016 It was a great year

What a great year Joyce and I had. It started with the Showcase in March, “The Seven Deadly Pirates”.  I danced to the song ” The Last Tango” where I played the part of an angry pirate. I thought that I had pulled it off until our daughter said that she laughed the whole time. They people sitting next to her asked her what was so funny. Our daughter said I know him and he is not mean. Joyce danced to “The Pirates of Dance” where she had to dance drunk and fall off a table. She used that routine in a showcase competition and if you count that and the four shows, she fell off a table five times. Only once did we come close to missing her and having her hit the floor. But we managed to catch her just in time. In my book, we had a perfect record. Joyce, however, looks at it differently. Continue reading

Roanoke

Joyce and I competed in the Roanoke Valley Star Dance this past weekend. This was the fifth competition that we have competed in. Three students from the Augusta Ballroom Dance Center went. Joyce danced with Val and I danced with Megan. The day started early as registration was at 7AM and practice time was available until 8AM. The first heat was at 8:15.

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Megan and Jay

Megan and I were in the first heat, which was a Waltz. We started out busy as we were in the first five heats. Joyce’s day started a little later since her first heat was number ten.  Val was with two students and it just worked out that Joyce and I weren’t usually on the floor at the same time. This was nice as I was able to watch Joyce and to this untrained, non-professional I thought she did a great job.  I went into this competition with a different mindset. When I dance I would try to be so perfect that when I made a mistake, I would lose all concentration. I could never recover and the rest of the routine was a big mess. My plan this time was to keep smiling and move on. I know that I made a mistake each time I was out there, but I kept smiling. I remember one time, I looked over and caught one of the judges watching us, and I smiled at him and he smiled backed. In the past, this is something that I could never have done. That is when I knew that my confidence was improving. Megan and I had so many heats in a row that we were done with the smooth dances by 9:15. We watched Joyce and Val until they were done around 10:00.

Joyce and Vall

Joyce and Val

We went and changed into comfort clothing before having lunch. After lunch, we went and changed for the Rhythm dances. We didn’t have so many back to back heats, so the afternoon was not over as quickly as the morning. I cannot speak for Megan, but I feel that we have more fun with the rhythm dances. Being new to this, I do not know if it is because of the style of dance or we just enjoy them more. We laugh a lot and even sometimes sing to the song. Well, Megan sings to the song, if I were to sing, I would be arrested for noise pollution. My point is that I seem more relaxed dancing a rhythm dance.

Joyce and I talked about how we felt when the day was over. We both felt that this was the best competition for both of us. I said that usually afterward I feel terrible because I go over every mistake. I told myself that I was not going to do that this time and I did not. I was feeling very good about my dancing. I have accepted that I need to enjoy the journey. I am enjoying the journey and Joyce and I are growing as dancers. Megan and I talked when we were finished and she said that she was proud of me and that I danced better than I ever had. She could see the improvement in my confidence from when we competed in Ashville this past spring. When Val talked to Joyce about how he felt the day went he told her that her performance in the smooth dances was very strong. That she did well in rhythm, but there were some things that they needed to work on. But it wasn’t anything that they could not fix.

Before we went back for dinner and the awards, we had time to walk around downtown Roanoke and relax from the day. I was looking forward to some social dancing after dinner and the award ceremony.  I was only half paying attention as the awards were announced and I was totally surprised when I was announced as the male amateur winner. I was so shocked that I had to lean over and ask Joyce what I just won.

It was a great weekend for Joyce and I as we got to spend time with people that we have formed a friendship with and have the pleasure to dance with. Our comfort level has improved and our dancing is improving each and every day.

Now it is time to get back to working on our showcase routines for March and to continue to working on and improving our competition routines.

Until next time, keep dancing….

Thoughts

In one week Joyce and I will be competing in the Roanoke Star Ball Dance Challenge and then I am taking some vacation time for Thanksgiving . I have so many thoughts running through my head. It will be a long week as the excitement builds towards the competition  and then going on vacation afterward. I can imagine it now, being in a meeting where people are going: blah,blah,blah and I am running through my routines for the one millionth time. I’ll get asked if my project is on schedule and I’ll tell them I don’t know. I only have six days until the deadline and I am still having some trouble with the Tango double corte, then there is the Loop in Rumba that I am still working on. Oh wait a minute, they mean my work deadline, you know work, it is what you have to do so that you can pay for dancing.  Continue reading

Waltzing through Life

I am sitting in the Charlotte airport as I write this. I am returning from a quick trip to New Jersey to visit family and I have a three-hour layover. I thought it would be a good use of my time to give an update on how Joyce and I are doing.  Joyce and I like to say that we are busier now than when our children were young. Between working and dance, we do not have much down time. We signed the paperwork for the Roanoke Valley Star Ball Dance Challenge. The more of these we do, the less of the, “What were we thinking”, moments I have.  We were planning on competing with our pros and with each other in Roanoke. That has changed as we will only be dancing with our professional partners. This decision was strictly for financial reasons. Ballroom competition is not cheap, we had to look at the overall cost and try to get it to a manageable amount. Because of this, Joyce and I do not dance together as much during our lessons.  We do attend each other’s lesson and the pros get us together when there is something that we both need to understand. This will help us  when we do compete as an amateur couple. Continue reading