Confouding Bolero

The Holiday competition is officially less than a month away, and I’m beginning to freak.

Th truth is, I have a lot of work ahead of me and I’m not entirely sure I will be able to get myself really ready in time. I mean, I always feel that way, but this time around, even more so. It’s good to stretch and feel the pressure to a point – it stimulates growth. And, also, I have big concerns about not disappointing Ivan. I have concerns about showing something new, better, and different and evolving. And I don’t feel like we’ve had the time to hash out all the details that make a routine pop. We haven’t really danced them all full out, much less completed them in a row where cardio really comes into play. In fact, we are still putting together the final routine, the Bolero, and for whatever reason, I’m really struggling to remember the order of the steps. Everything is fuzzy and bounces off my brain and I can’t remember ever having this much trouble learning a new routine.

That plus my body is pretty much in the same place as it was at the last competition. I have basically maintained but haven’t significantly shrunk. I am okay with this because I made whatever choices I’ve made over the past month or so but I also know that I will feel more confident the closer I am to a healthy, normal size. I know I will move easier and dance better the smaller and lighter I am. The good news is that I have a month and I have a new eating plan in place. The other good news is that I’m focused and clear on what I need to do over the next 30 days in terms of transforming as much as I can.

And I’m taking on a big challenge in terms of my goals. We are doing open scholarship (I think) in Rhythm. I’m really a closed bronze girl. I’ve had some success at that level, but never at a large comp. I really don’t expect much especially with it being my first stab at the open scholarship. I mean, we’ve done some open heats but even those I’ve always considered as for experience. But life is short. Why not dance what I love if Ivan thinks I’m ready? Why not put myself out there and get the experience. We just want to feel good doing it. The best would be to feel strong and confident with how we dance and then let go of the outcome. I just don’t know that I have the time to feel comfortable with the routines. For me, the better I feel I know the routines the easier it is to let go. Otherwise I am in my head.

In any case, I danced with Ivan on Saturday and we hashed out the Bolero routine. On Sunday I didn’t feel well and didn’t have a lesson and Monday morning and evening I had other commitments. Luckily, I had today off (though I work Saturday) so I booked a double lesson and we got right back to work on the Bolero. We also had some time to review the Rumba and miraculously we actually remembered the order for that dance so at least it is getting better, though I get nervous with all the tricks and such and we haven’t really done it in its entirety full out.

But either way, I had a lot of fun on my lesson. It was just funny. For one, I totally fell flat on my ass. No, I wasn’t doing anything difficult – not during a spin or a balance or anything impressive. No, I just caught the side of my shoe on a slight crack in the floorboards, and bam! I went down. Ivan doubled over laughing at me. I was laughing too and just like, “well, I haven’t fallen in a while. I guess I was due.” And I was thankful that I wasn’t injured.

And we were just laughing because of how we both kept blanking on the steps of the routine. Absolute baffoonery!

And then Ivan invented this part in the Bolero where I’m supposed to grab his face and pull it toward mine so we are forehead to forehead, nose to nose. And this was very funny to me (though when Marieta does it is amazing).

And I was also lucky because Marieta was there too so she helped me see how to do a few steps. I also noticed that she seemed to have some slight difficulties with the same areas I have had in the dance that are just awkward. The thing is that I don’t have enough experience, nor do I know alternatives to suggest so I just do what Ivan tells me. But when Marieta has a stumble in the same place, I can agree with her that it is awkward and a change gets made. That was pretty validating, actually.

I swear I learn so much from watching Marieta. There is just a different way she moves as a female than Ivan does even when he is teaching me to do the girl part. The biggest thing I notice is how much more free she is with her entire body and emotions. She was feeling pretty feisty this morning, and was kind of annoyed with Ivan, so she let that come across in her dancing. It was animalistic. As Ivan says, it was really dancing like a woman, not “high school virgin.” I still feel pretty awkward about the “sexy” stuff, even as much as I’ve already come out of my shell, Marieta puts me to shame. She could seriously set the room on fire. But anyways, it was instructive to observe her. I watch her and see how much she moves her hips and that there is a lot of movement through the entire body. There is complete commitment to the moment and the expression. She is fearless and bold. She moves a hell of a lot more than I do. I can work with that. I can see what I’m aiming to evolve into (my own personal version of it) and the biggest obstacles are knowing the steps and feeling comfortable with every nuance of the routine so that I am not stuck in my head, and confidence to really “go there” 100% no holding back because of the stories I make up in my head that I can’t do that because of how my body looks.

After my lesson was a treat as well. I’m so bummed because Ivan did this freestyle dance to Blurred Lines and it was epic! He was shaking his booty and just going loco. I thought I was videoing it but I hit the wrong button. I did, however, catch Ivan doing this awesome pose with Marieta – Felipe Telona does it a lot. But then Ivan fell onto Marieta. Which was funny. And it is nice to see how human my idols are. It reminds me of this story I read somewhere about a person who lived next door to a professional cellist. The musician was a virtuoso but the neighbor heard how the cellist struggled, messed up, played phrases over and over and over. We usually only see the final polished product presented on stage but rarely do we observe all the work, trials, failures, and efforts put into that performance. If nothing else, Ivan and Marieta are authentic people. They are amazing dancers, I think, and I love watching them. And then on days like today where I have the fortune and time to sit a bit and watch, I see the stops and starts, the mess ups, and I feel better about my process.



13 thoughts on “Confouding Bolero

  1. Corinne says:

    I have been reading your blog for a while. I applaud your work ethic and your passion. What comes out consistently in your blog is your struggle with weight loss. As a physician, I have to put this out there- have you discussed this with your doctor and explored the options that may be available to you? I see you relying a lot on your trainer/nutrionist etc, but truly 2500 cals is NOT a weight loss option, just sayin. Please keep going and explore ALL your options! Happy dancing!

    • loveablestef says:

      Yeah, I agree 2500 calories is too much. That was short-lived and I am now at about 1800 calories or less. I have successfully dropped 83 pounds from my highest weight. I have considered surgery, tried a medically supervised 1400 calorie diet, Weight Watchers, etc. This is my process. And yes, I’ve sought help in this journey. It’s basically up to me to do what I need to do to get the job done. And I can honestly say my doctor would never be as invested in my success as Chelle is. Thanks for caring enough to comment. I appreciate it.

      • Corinne says:

        Have you discussed with your doctor the medical options, NOT weight loss surgery but there are other options. Good luck in your journey! Keep dancing!

      • Corinne, it would be wonderful if more physicians took an interest and active (and educated) part in their patient’s weight-health, and I appreciate, that you have that interest, however Stef is not your patient, and you are not privy to her case details. Personally, after reading Stef’s blog for quite some time, I’d say that what comes out consistently is her zest for life, her passion for dance, and her consistent pursuit of her goals. As to the weight loss – As a health professional, I can state with authority that 2500 calories/day CAN indeed be a weight loss tool for the right client, and at the right time. That aside, Stef is well on her way to reaching her goals in a healthy and lasting way. She has taken responsibility for her journey – and her progress is hers alone. No medication, surgery, procedure or ‘other options’ can lay claim to her successes. I have no doubt whatsoever that the lifestyle changes she has made and will continue to make will stick. FYI… she’s not on 2500 cal/day – hasn’t been since a short period in June, for specific reasons. Frankly, I’m surprised that a physician would assume knowledge of someone who is not his/her patient and offer an unsolicited critique. Stef is right where she needs to be, and headed steadily and with great determination toward her goals. I’m proud of her.

  2. Anonymous Lurker says:

    Not sure if it’s relevant in your case, but I notice that when things have trouble sticking in my brain, it’s usually due to one of the following basic reasons:

    1) I’m not eating enough. (Or enough of the right things my body wants to operate at normal levels.)
    2) I’m not drinking enough water.
    3) It’s a certain time in my cycle where my brain goes fuzzy.
    4) I’m sick.

    Usually for me, it’s #2, since I tend to be bad about staying hydrated. It’s been especially bad this last week since I was also up in the mountains briefly, and then also sick. Thinking has been … work.

  3. loveablestef says:

    I do probably need to drink more water – always! I just don’t know what it is about the Bolero. The good news is I have a video of it so I can go over the steps mentally before my next lesson so we don’t have to spend so much time figuring things out once again. 🙂

    • Anonymous Lurker says:

      🙂 Would love to see video of you competing it! Or anything, really.

      • loveablestef says:

        I do believe that there will be live free streaming of Holiday Competition. Hopefully my friends can sneak a few videos as well 🙂 You can also check out my YouTube channel – just search for loveablestef

  4. Kim says:

    It will all come together in the end. Practice it in your head as often as possible- practicing in your head doesn’t wear you out no matter how many times you do it, and it helps you get the physical choreography that much faster. Of course, learning choreography isn’t my strong point at all, so maybe take this comment with a grain of salt.

  5. rocco0724 says:

    First, don’t worry about disappointing Ivan. Good instructors push but will never set you up for failure and he sounds like a good one. Just going and getting through will make him happy. With the choreography, just remember that this is probably not the last time you’ll do it, so even if you aren’t 100% comfortable, it sets you up for more success in the future. Good luck!

  6. RO says:

    Haha they look awesome in that picture! Don’t worry you’ll get the Bolero routine in your head before you know it. As you said, you still have a month and maybe when clearing up your life you will also lift the fogginess 😉

  7. I was looking forward to seeing you At Holiday but I had to cancel my air and hotel reservations. We can’t come after all but I will be watching and cheering for you on live stream. You give me so much courage to keep trying and be fearless. I’m so glad I met you that day at People’s Choice! It’s so funny ’cause right now I am working on “sexy” in my latin attitude and you just made it a little easier for me to go for it with your sharing. I am going to overcome my “isms” and shyness…I AM!!!!

    • loveablestef says:

      Awwww thanks Michel’ and bummer! I would have loved to hang out with you. You go with your bad self! We are all working through our stuff, you know? Thanks for the support. It means a lot, especially from you.

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