Oh man. The past four days have been amazingly special. Quite a shift from my last competition, and I’m so grateful. I don’t think it is actually possible to jam everything that happened in one blog post, and I’m pretty certain I will have lots to ponder and process over the next few days. I’m sure many of the experiences will continue to leak into future blog posts. I will just try to put some of the main highlights here for now.
First, I was way more relaxed at this competition. Not having the pressure of a scholarship really worked for me. I was able to enjoy what I was doing, and I think that made all the difference. I feel like I really “got noticed” this time around. I absolutely had more confidence and this allowed me to connect with the audience, and even some of the judges. For instance, I got a smirk out of Tony Meredith. I got Toni Redpath to totally crack up. I got people in the audience to cheer and clap for me even if they weren’t a friend who knew me. I achieved my goal for this competition in spades.
I was even able to find the confidence to pull off touching Ivan’s butt during one Rumba – something we had discussed prior to the competition which we thought would be awesome. And it was. And my friend Randall even got it on video! This is what got Toni Redpath to bust up laughing. I rock!
I strained something in my hip on the second heat which sucked. Thanks to ibuprofen and not wanting to miss out on anything, I pushed through, even after re-tweaking it again during Latin rounds. But my family surprised me, and that was so awesome. My parents were traveling but my husband and mother-in-law and my brother and sister-in-law and my 4-year-old niece and 2-year-old nephew came to see me dance. It was unexpected and so special to get to share some of my dancing with them. Now I just need to lay low for a few days to allow my hip to recover.
One of the moments I will treasure forever was Debbie Avalos Kusumi telling me that she enjoyed watching me dance and that she could feel me through my dancing. God, isn’t that the best compliment you could ever get? It really made my day. But poor Ivan, he was jokingly sad that everyone said things about his students, but not him. Well, really they were complimenting him too because he was the one who worked with us to create the performance.
I had so much fun watching my friends and acquaintances dance, watching the pros dance, just hanging out with Ivan and Marieta which is always very entertaining and full of laughter, chilling with my bud Randall, making new friends, and more it was a delightful break from reality and I love feeling so connected to the wacky world of ballroom.
Today was special as well. After the competition the event organizers had an American style congress with some of the top teachers and coaches in the American Rhythm and Smooth styles. I was frankly shocked at how few people attended because from my perspective it was an amazing opportunity to learn. And I’m so glad I went because boy was it fun! Especially the lectures by Ron Montez, Toni Redpath, and Bob Powers. I’m sure I’ll write more about that in a later post, but I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to learn from these greats!
I’ll share more once I’ve had a chance to rest a bit. Thanks for all the well-wishes and support. I had a fantastic experience and am even more fired-up to work diligently toward my dancing and body goals. I refuse to settle when I now have confidence in my dancing abilities and confidence that I can work to improve the technique toward excellence. Hey, I’m a work in progress, you know? My dancing nor my appearance aren’t where I would like it to be, but I’m proud of putting myself out there again and proud that I was able to loosen up and enjoy the dancing.
To be continued….
Great news on all accounts. So proud of you! Cha Cha Cha
Love that video clip–lookin’ good!
You really are the embodiment of your dance manifesto! You lived it! So incredibly thrilled for you!!!! Hugz!
Awww Ellen. You made me tear up. I kind of forgot about my manifesto lololol while I was busy concentrating on the competition but now looking back on it, I mostly did…still need to work on completing my movement (closing my feet and all that) but I’m satisfied. Man, this truly was such a satisfying experience. Hugs to you too, my dear friend.
Heh, nice butt-grab! I confess that I lack the courage to do something like that. Congrats on an awesome experience!
Stephanie – OMG, when the going gets tough, the tought get going and you certainly did! You were simply gorgeous…so graceful and with exquisite posture, and arm styling to die for! Love the way you use your whole foot, too. You have a lot to be proud of. Give yourself a big hug for me.
I just wants to say I watched the video you posted of your showcase on YouTube… Gorgeous!!! I showed my mom and she said you dance beautifully… She’s absolutely right!!! I aspire to dance with as much passion and feeling as you clearly do!!! Just beautiful!!!
*wanted… Sorry most of my typing is done on a phone
Wow mybelle940, thank you so much for the lovely compliments. I can’t think of anything nicer than dancing in a way you would aspire to! That is humbling and I really appreciate your kind words. This I know: if that is what you desire, then that is what is in you, and you can certainly access it and express it. I look forward to hearing about it on your blog when the time comes. We are mirrors for one another, my dear, and I am simply reflecting what you already have inside – that’s the secret – you can only see what you already are. So, I suspect you dance with lots of passion and feeling, too! Thanks again. -Stef