Last year when I decided I wanted to start competing, I knew it was going to be smooth. While I might dance other styles, smooth was going to be the focus. Consequently, most of my practice and private lessons for this competition for smooth, and I was competing with Ruth, my actual partner.
Waltz: In private lessons I was surprised that Tim didn't list waltz as our best dance. I want to make waltz my best dance, and I will in time. We had a great routine but we got off to an awkward start and didn't recover until far too long. That cost us. We also didn't deal well with traffic. In the future, I think we should plan on going freestyle when the floor is crowded and not breaking out the routine until the later heats once we've gotten the call back and the floor's a bit emptier. We should also start with our reverse turns across the short side rather than our progressive twinkles so that we can have stronger movement with one of our best steps rather than stilted movement that's harder to navigate.
Tango: Argh! This should have been our strongest dance of the day. Except for one corner of the floor we dominated this dance. I watched the other dancers who got call backs and we had them all beat. What happened? We got blocked in that corner and our steps and timing fell apart. We need to set up obstacle courses and practice adjusting on the fly more, then take our routine to social floors and practice adapting it based on other dancers. Still, our technique was amazing.
Foxtrot: Surprisingly our best dance. The first heat we had great movement, a lot of power, and the best grapevine I've ever done. In the second heat we were a bit more rushed. In practice we need to focus more on lengthening our slow steps and using that as a breathing action to calm ourselves down.
I'm not a standard dancer - it had been a long time since my last standard class - so these were mostly for shits and giggles.
Quickstep: What's to say? We did well but we got out danced by all the standard dancers. Our quickstep was respectable but we need more technique. Overall, however, this was a much-improved quickstep thanks to all the practice, than what I'd previously been doing.
Viennese Waltz: First, this was not a bronze event like everything else we did. This was an all-level event and most of the other dancers were silver or above. The result, while one of the five best Viennese waltzes I've ever danced, didn't measure up. I'm quite proud of how much progress we've made in this dance and have no regrets about that round.
It's all Tory's fault. Tory, a girl from the UPenn team, was posting on Facebook literally six hours before the competition's original deadline, trying to find a partner. We ended up dancing together for rhythm, only to find out she's only done Latin before (those are American and international style respectively). The result is I've spent the past five weeks trying to teach her an entire new dance style to get ready for the comp.
Cha Cha: We went out, did a good cha cha, and got out-danced by everyone doing their Latin technique. Consequently they had a lot better upper body control than I do.
Rumba: This was my fault. I made a mistake in the choreography which through Tory off. Thought we'd recovered but I suppose not.
Swing: Okay, this surprised me. I thought we had swing in the bag. We did a fantastic dance, but Tim suggested that because we were so far to one side of the room the judges couldn't see us well enough. I'm inclined to agree; even when I saw the couples in the finals, I thought we were better than most of them.
Overall, it was fun and I'm content with where we are for now, as long as we keep working. When we dance at Philly Fest in June, as we'd originally intended for our debut comp, I expect a much stronger showing from myself. I need to do more body isolation exercises because at this point, it's not that anything is wrong with my dancing but it can be more right. More shaping, more control, more power, more presence, more everything. The next few months will, to a large extent, be about styling. I'm ready for it.
- Ginny came!
- Reed came!
- Cheering for John and Kelsey! Yeah!