See Those Trees Over There….

It’s back to real life for the Biggest Girl after the latest competition. Back to work. Back to the diet. Back to paying bills and feeding the dogs and doing laundry. But most importantly, for the blog at least, is back to ballroom lessons, and Ivan’s crazy antics to pull more dance out of me.

After the competition, I kind of have a choice to make about my trajectory. What will my next competition be? Should I try to fit one more in before the end of the year? Should I wait until I’ve gotten smaller? Should I save up money and wait until the blackout of vacation dates is lifted from work, probably sometime in late February that always occurs with the new year and our busy season, full of mandatory overtime? What is the best course of action? If I wait 5 months, or potentially longer, will I lose the momentum I’ve built? Or should I go to a comp that I’m not that excited about doing just because I need to continue to “get out there” and “be seen.”

I honestly don’t know that there is a “right” answer and Ivan seems equally ambivalent about it. He said he is okay with me doing one, even a small one soon or waiting until next year. My goal is to do a big comp. This would qualify as Holiday in December before the beginning of the year but the drawback is that the comp is so big I’d have to take of practically an entire week of work which I am leery to do and also I worry about the breathing conditions. With the asthma I have and the free-for-all smoking that Las Vegas has, it could be a cardio nightmare.

Other competitions that interest me include Embassy, Emerald, Ohio, and Millennium.

So I have some choices and some decisions to make. But for sure before I step on the floor at a big competition, especially if I opt to wait for the new year to pass, I will make sure to do a smaller one as a warm up first!

Moving forward we do have focus which is good. We both agree I’m probably a little better at American and that I’m probably more likely to do well in it, especially with my body. Ivan claims that later I could be a strong competitor in Latin, but I really feel it is predicated on having that sexy physique. So anyways, we are moving ahead with finishing open routines for the American Rhythm dances. I have a Cha Cha which works for both Latin and American, plus we have a Mambo. So now we have sussed out a Swing and though we will need to break it apart and get more specific and clean and clear with it, we know the order of the steps. And at my last lesson Ivan said to think of tricks and things I’d like to do in a Bolero or Rumba so I think we are going to work on that next. The bottom line is that we are plugging away, chipping at the routines and soon I will have a full complement. Now, as I know from experience, knowing the routine in practice on a lesson is very different than rolling out a new routine for the first time on a competition floor. But I don’t think anything could be harder than my Samba routine…we’ll see!

One of the most important things we are working on throughout all the dancing, besides the timing and knowing exactly what I am doing every moment, and the connection which is such a challenge and probably an aspect of ballroom I will never truly master, is focus. Intense, clear, laser focus. To my partner. To my spot on a turn. To the audience member in front of me. Well, anyways, you get it. It’s important. And sometimes we discuss each and every place I will need to focus upon for each little count. But here is the beauty (er, not sure that is the word) the hilarity, well, let’s say the unique experience of having Ivan as my teacher. Even while we are working hard and progressing, Ivan is entertaining me and explaining concepts to me in ways I will never forget.

Well, we were working on the Swing or the Samba, I honestly can’t remember. But I do remember that I was facing the big windows of the studio doing some turns and apparently I wasn’t having that intense focus that Ivan wants. He wants me to hold my energy, coil it up, then release it to create dramatic movement. What I tend to do is relax and let go too much, rather than unwind while still keeping tension in my body. He stopped me and pulled me over.

“Do you see those trees over there?” He pointed to a little island of green all the way across the parking lot.

“Yes,” I replied, wondering where this conversation was going.

“You like a dog.”

“Um, what?”

“You like a dog who is pooping. But you pooping all over the parking lot. Like diarrhea. But you need to go all the way to the trees then poop. Then hold it. Then go to the next trees and poop there. But you is pooping everywhere.” He stuck his butt out and ran around the floor pantomiming.

Nope. I’m never gonna forget this little nugget (pun intended)!

I was like, “Ivan? Is this how you explain things to all your students?”

And he was like, “No! Are you putting this in the blog? Oh my God?!”

And I was like, “Yes. Of course I am! This is a classic little gem from Ivan.”

And then I was all, “Ivan, how did your teachers explain this concept to you? Where did you learn to explain it like this?”

And he was all, “No. I come up with this by myself.”

LOLOLOLOL. Yeah, those communist old school dance teachers probably don’t pull out the poop metaphors so much.

So that’s the news from my neck of the woods. I’m pretty happy with how things are going, I’m showing up clear and ready to learn and with purpose on my lessons, and I continue to chip away at the health and fitness. We are tweaking my eating plan soon and the cardio and training sessions are now a regularly scheduled thing. It’s just up to me to get that one or more extra days of a workout with weights and the cardio. I still have such a long way to go when it comes to getting my cardio where it needs to be (that is the other think that is “killing” us according to Ivan, and I agree) and getting my body to a beautiful size and shape. But I’m in the mindset that I’m heading in the right direction and it is just going to take time. Maybe a year more. Maybe longer. Hopefully shorter, but I’m not getting my expectations up about the timing of it. So there ya go!

TTFN, Stef

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6 thoughts on “See Those Trees Over There….

  1. Steph–Another great blog post! And a very attention getting analogy from the wonderful Ivan!! I applaud your drive, your direction, and the way you balance your dance training and competitions with your work life as well. A great balancing act! And hug Ivan for this one—I needed to hear the dog pooping analogy myself!!

  2. Alaina says:

    I’m glad you’re back. I don’t know what’s going on with you physically right now, but try not to get too psyched out. This coming from a college student on multiple anxiety and antidepressant medications, I know. Still, I’m slowly learning to take each day in chunks. School is convenient that way because I break my day up class by class. Try to imagine yourself mastering focus, too. If anything, Ivan’s hilarious analogy will help you.

  3. Welcome back! And don’t forget – you can do comps in Minnesota too! 😉 xoxo Cathy

  4. The Dancing Rider says:

    Really enjoyed the entry. Loved Ivan’s analogy. Of course I understand it, having the same problem. Lol. Obviously it’s your decision, and figures in to your “keep the plates spinning” thing.

    • The Dancing Rider says:

      Erm, well. That made no sense. What I meant was it was your decision as to whether to compete between now and a big one!

  5. RO says:

    Hahaha Ivan is awesome!
    If I were you I should try to do one more competition before the year is over.. just so you can keep yourself out there and also to keep up with your diet, etc. These competitions keep you sharp and on edge!
    And focus is truly hard.. what to think about spotting in ballet?? I hate that and am not good at it.. (nor will I ever be, haha). Try to follow Ivan’s smart counseling 😉

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