Hi everyone! I’m baaaaaaaack!
I went on vacation for a week in Ireland, and the week and a half before that I was down for the count with bronchitis. It’s been a while.
It’s been a while since I wrote and it’s been a while since I did anything physical. It’s certainly been an eon since I last danced. It’s also been an age since I last worked out or did any cardio.
What I have been up to is driving in a tiny car on scary one lane roads in the back country of Ireland, eating lots of food, drinking lots of cider and generally laughing, enjoying life, and getting soft.
Also, my husband took lots of amazing photos of our trip. Below are three: The Hedges, Giant’s Causeway, and the Cliffs of Moher.
It’s been great and now I’m glad to be back to “real life.” In fact, on one of the lay-overs during my sojourn home (it was a 22 hour travel extravaganza from Dublin to our doorstep) I made a point to call and schedule my dance lessons for the week. It was a priority!
Today was the day for my reunion with Kristijan (Ivan is in Bulgaria until the end of the month) and I had a grand time on my lesson. I began in my practice shoes. I’m still recovering a little bit from my respiratory infection and still have congestion and a cough, plus I haven’t been “in my body” to dance for the better part of a month so I thought 3 inch heels right off the bat might be a recipe for disaster. Anyways, we warmed up with Rumba walks and off we went.
“What do you want to dance?” He inquired.
“Rumba!” I exclaimed, “I’m a slow starter!” I exhorted.
And it’s true. Rumba is probably my favorite dance and I love it so much. It’s a slow burn and a nice way to warm up and reacquaint oneself with one’s body after a long absence.
So we reviewed the choreography.
“How much did you practice while you were gone.”
“Zero,” I said.
“But there is a thing called visualization,” he retorted. “And it can be a good form of practice,” he explained.
“I did nothing of the sort,” I replied, honestly. “I ate and I drank and I got fat! I did not practice one iota! So let’s see how this goes,” I said.
And we danced. And then he suggested we turn on some music.
And I really liked it. I liked the music, I liked the dancing. He told me he missed me and the energy I bring. He corrected me and told me not to put my head down like a bull. He told me my center of gravity was high and to get more settled in my hips. He told me to fix my wonky, weak arm.
And I was in a goofy, playful mood. I pretended like I was Latin champion on of the world and began the Rumba dramatically. He liked it. “That was very good,” he said.
So we did the choreography and he told me I was leaning backwards during my spiral turn (which is a bad habit of mine) so I said, “Oh, so you’re saying this wouldn’t work if I were in heels. Maybe I should put on my heels so I could have a reality check. These practice shoes give me the illusion that I can actually dance.” I say this because with the lower heel I can get away with more bad habits and still stay on balance and make things work. The moment I put on 3 inch heels the entire landscape changes and I often feel like I have strapped on not just shoes but the wobbly legs of a newborn deer.
So guess what!? I changed into my heels!
And we danced some more. And I emoted and I played. And the best part was we danced! We really danced! I mean there were all these little gems scattered hither and thither in the routine. I wouldn’t say the routine rounds were perfectly polished, but there were these amazing moments and sequences of moments where magic happened.
For instance, I began my Rumba with conviction and Kristijan reacted. Somehow we started the routine totally differently. We did a hip twist into a double spin and then began the official choreography. None of this was planned and none of it was communicated except that we were both present and both dancing, together, and it was just the natural evolution of the next right thing to do. I have no idea how it all was coordinated – it was from a realm beyond words. It just worked, it just happened, we just created it out of nothing because we were both there, together, connected…which is all the more amazing since we haven’t seen each other for like 3 weeks.
Then there was this moment where I decided that I really liked the music and the movement I was doing so I delayed it. I stretched it out and made it happen over twice the timing it usually does. And it was awesome! I totally took the lead and Kristijan had to react to it. He totally did and it was so awesome! I don’t know how this all happened but I just knew that I was planted on that spot and that I was going to finish what I was going to do and then I would move, and somehow through the ethers he got the message and figured it out and then our next move was even that much more sharp and impactful because we delayed so long.
I loved it! I loved creating something together, from nothing, with no prior planning or scheming or communication. I loved how it all unfolded, naturally. I thought to myself, “If I dance like that, so relaxed and joyful and playful and open, at a competition…if we could spontaneously create something in the moment so that each time we danced a routine it was genuinely new, I would be so satisfied and happy with that! I wouldn’t care how we were ranked! I would be pleased.” So I told Krisijan as much and I said, “So let’s dance like that in competition, m’kay, deal?” And he said, “Okay, Deal!”
I mean, in my view of the world, what we did today was ACTUALLY dancing. It was not just going through the motions. It was connected. It was alive and breathing. It was co-created space. It was magic and spontaneous and felt free and joyful. It was the best! Yay!
And besides that, the other big news is that Krisijan and Anja got a puppy named Don. He’s a rescue Lab-SharPpai mix, black, cute, and exploring the world with his sharp-puppy-toothed-mouth!
Also, I’ve decided I will dance in the Galaxy Dance Festival here in Phoenix in September. It will be my first competition back. I don’t know if Ivan will be game, but I know Kristijan will so at the least I will do Latin, and I’m hoping I can do some Rhythm as well.
Lastly, I have a fitting for my new dress by Julia tomorrow on my lunch break. Fingers crossed I love it!
I think that gets me caught up for now, on my end. But in a parting note, I did wanted to give a shout out to all my Ballroom Village bretheren. I’m getting caught up in all I’ve missed over the past couple of weeks and you all have been a busy lot, posting! I’m working my way through your recent adventures. Also, and importantly, I wanted to send a very special congratulations to BC Ballroom on completing chemo!!!!! Yay! This is cause for celebration and I’m so glad to read that you are dancing up a storm right now! You GO girl! You are an inspiration to me….and I’m not just talking about how consistent you are with your blog posts lol! (I could use a little of that hahaha)
Oh, and I have a guest post on Girl With The Tree Tattoo! It’s about how I got to the place where I changed my blog name from Biggest Girl In The Ballroom to Beautiful Girl In The Ballroom….go check it out.
Come to think of it, there are at least two more pieces of exciting news in the works! I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned!
I’m glad to be back with you all and I’m looking forward to sharing more dance adventures, insights, breakdowns and breakthroughs with you!
AKA Beautiful Girl
I’m so very glad you loved Ireland and I’m also glad you’re back safely. You’ve inspired me to dance and I’ve been doing so like crazy. I’m hooked and next month I start a new level. So lots of love to you and I look forward to reading more from you. ❤
So very glad you loved Ireland and also thrilled you’re dancing again. I’ve missed you greatly and have so much to chat about. You’re an inspiration and I’ve been dancing up a storm! I’m down to my last week of intro to dance classes and I’m signed up for another 8 classes at Arthur Murray’s. Thank you for helping me realize I can dance. Lots of love and good vibes to you. I will be rooting for you this September. ❤
You sound so HAPPY, Stef! Thrilled for you! I totally got it when you wrote, “this feels like real dancing.” I have had the experience of pure following with no thought of steps or patterns. Have not tried taking the reins with timing though – that would be so cool if I could pull it off. Loved the pix of Ireland.
Sounds wonderful Stef! Your Ireland trip seems much like our Scotland trip last summer. Lots of fun!
We have been practicing a lot and not having any spare time to sew or blog. Hoping for some time in August.
Dress photos soon from you?
So glad to see you back!! The photographs are gorgeous! I’m so glad you had a great time. What wonderful news about getting back on the dance floor. Those moments are the inspiration to keep going when times get hard. Keep dancing, Stef, and keep us posted. Love&Hugs
Thanks Stef for your well wishes! I am collecting and getting ready for the next round of treatments. Love listening to you describe your lessons and the passion you emote in your words! I can only imagine what your dancing is like!!
Dear Stef, You have sipped from the Holy Grail of Dance! I haven’t had a full practice with that feeling yet, can’t wait. My pro is out of town and I am about to go on vacation. I was planning on finding time to dance at some random studio… thanks to you, I will keep it to dancing on the sand by the ocean’s side.
Surreal picture of the Cliffs of Moher…But did you do any Irish Step Dancing?
No Irish dancing, the last time I tried I twisted an ankle 😉
Aw, well I hope you try it again some day!
So do you do Irish Step Dancing, yourself?
I have to admit, I got a little choked up reading this post, the way you describe your connection and the intereaction during your dance. THIS is why we dance. This is the ephemeral, fleeting, gorgeous, painful, horrible, wonderful feeling we are chasing every time we get on the floor. I’m so happy you experienced it, and (I’ll own up to it) more than a little jealous that you felt it. I’ve had spare seconds here and there, but it always feels just a tiny bit out of reach. I’m still stretching up for it, though.