Where To Begin? Galaxy Dance Festival

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….