The Journey Begins!

Ok, so I had this great idea to start this blog back in March. I guess I got a little bit distracted by life but no more! Consider it an early New Year’s Resolution…I have resolved to write consistently about my experiences as an “average Jane” entering the world of an amateur competitive ballroom dancer. I am going to document my journey from now until the Desert Classic DanceSport Championships July 12-15, 2012 and hopefully, beyond.

Why such a specific date you may ask. Well, let me tell you, but first, I’d better get the timeline caught up since my last post.

Let’s see, since March a few major shifts have occured. First, in June I competed in the San Diego DanceSport Championships. I challenged myself by entering in 150 heats over two days. The sore ankles and the exhaustion were worth the effort. I managed to earn the “Top Student” award which is given to the student who accumulates the most points during the competition. Points are earned by a combination of number of heats entered and how the person places (1st, 2nd, 3rd etc.) in said heats.

I was very proud of myself for this accomplishment. First, I had to dance 30 dances in a row at the very beginning. I can’t believe I didn’t collapse!

Then, I fell twice on the first day and lost my shoe a la Kirstie Alley. But I got back up and wiped away the tears cried in the bathroom during a break.

Next, my teacher earned 2nd “Top Teacher” and he had only me as a student. This is impressive (I think) because most instructors who earn “Top Teacher” take multiple students to competitions to earn enough points to merit the award.

Finally, and the most amazing part for me is that the “Top Teacher” awards come with money prizes. The money awarded my instructor at the time was enough for him to visit a sick relative in another state. Pretty dang cool if you ask me that he was able to benefit from me doing something I love.

For certain, I was the biggest girl on that ballroom floor and though this is something I intend to change over the coming months, let me just say it is not easy to carry around the weight of an extra person while dancing.

I And I did it anyway.

Here is a picture of me getting my award. You can’t see my ankles in this shot but they are both wapped with Ace bandages!

I also had an amazing time with my instructor and got a picture with Jonathan Roberts from Dancing With The Stars. I shook hands with Pasha from So You Think You Can Dance. For little old me, this was a big deal. It was my first major dance competion and only the second one I have ever done. I was being indoctrinated into the world of ballroom, and I liked it!

It was the first time in a long time that I had set my mind to a specific goal and actually achieved it. All the blisters, pain, exhaustion, icing of feet and ankles, financial resources spent, and hours of practice were worth it. I left it all on the dancefloor, and for me, there is nothing more satisfying as being completely and utterly spent.

Fast forward to September.

With a new instructor, I once again braved the ballroom floor at the Galaxy Dance Festival. I decided to only do a modest 50 or so entries but showing up has turned out to be a blessing that can only be described as fated.

Here is a video of me dancing at The Galaxy Dance Festival

So after a day of competition I and my fellow dance students, Katie and Ceci, dressed up and went to dinner. While laughing about all the events of the day and Katie’s inquiry about the “Vietnamese Waltz,” two of the judges decided to join our party since according to them we were the table having the most fun.

I didn’t know it at the time but one of the judges who joined us was Irina Suvorov, an owner of the Desert Classic DanceSport Championship competition. She politely chatted with us and asked us all about our dancing histories as well as where our next competition might be.

Now Katie had only been dancing for maybe two months when she boldly took on the Galaxy Dance Festival. This is a powerful woman who I am proud to know. She is also a huge inspiration to me in that she has shed 140 pounds! She did it prior to beginning ballroom dancing so she looked great in her cute latin dress. She shared this information with Irina who was rightfully astonished. We all celebrated Katie’s victory. Ceci shared that she had also shed a significant 40 pounds. And me, well, I was down 35 pounds from my highest weight ever.

But now it was my turn in the hot seat. Ceci blurted out, “And just wait until you see Stefanie the next time. You won’t recognize her!” alluding to the fact that I was going to drop a ton of weight in the coming months. Not that I had ever had a conversation about this with her, nor had I ever mentioned it, but what was I to say? Luckily, Irina jumped in.

“That’s great. You girls come to the Desert Classic in July next year and come see me. I’ll call my contact at Dance Beat Magazine.” Dance Beat is a magazine that covers ballroom dancing.

Holy heck! I couldn’t believe what had just transpired. Talk about some serious motivation. In one instant I was committed; I was going to the Desert Classic DanceSport competition and I was going to have made a jaw-dropping transformation by that time.

So that’s my story so far.

This blog will follow my daily progress as I journey toward my goal of transforming myself into my optimal svelte, confident, radiant, fit, and best-dancer-I-can-be self.

Buckle up! Could get exciting!

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