I know, what a weird title. Well, 1) the English phonetic verision of Bulgarian words looks funny 2) I’m combining a mish-mash of experiences including some awareness about focus, and 3) ballroom dancers make funny sounds like “Hup!” when we are dancing…or at least we are supposed to.
Okay, so part one: Harvesa mi is my “English” translation of Bulgarian for “I like.” You see, I’m trying to learn a little bit of this Slavic tongue. Why? Partly because I like learning about other languages. Partly because Ivan and Marieta are always talking in Bulgarian and I’m insanely curious to know what they are saying. Also because I have a real live Bulgarian with whom I can practice, and perhaps there is even a possibliity that one day I will visit the country. Ivan’s parents are coming into town for a month over the holidays as is Marieta’s grandmother so I think it would be fun to be able to say a few things. I’ve basically found some free podcasts on iTunes and have been listening, and then Ivan also augments my knowlege but usually only with wildly inappropriate things that I’d have to be very careful about saying in mixed company, so not very useful at all.
By Mariusz Pazdziora (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
In any case, I’m not even attempting to learn how to read the language. First off, it uses a Cryllic alphabet which is super confusing to my brain, and secondly, I mostly just want to be able to understand it verbally and say a few things. While at the cabin recently, we played Uno and I learned colors and numbers. But it’s dang hard. Not only does everything sound, well, very foreign, but also, everything gets modified depending on it’s context in a sentence. So I learned “one” and I thought that was it, only to find out that “one” can be different depending on the word it is describing. Like in Spanish, words can be either masculine or feminine in Bulgarian. Dang. But, I am really glad that I have experience understanding how to learn a foreign language. It helps to be able to relate what I’m learning in Bulgarian to Spanish – like how to conguate verbs, and different forms that don’t exist in English like command forms or you formal versus you familar. Anyways, I know hardly anything but I’m excited to learn. Thus, the first part of this post. Haresva mi Bulgarian – translates to I like Bulgarian. I also learned how to command someone to dance with me. If nothing else, that should come in handy! Phoentically it goes: Dan sue vai sman se ga, mol ya (Dance with me now, please!)
Alright, now on to the second part of the title: Focus. I probably could have used some of that this morning on my early lesson. Ivan and I are still working on open routines and we were re-visiting our Rumba. We have finally gotten smart and I make Ivan do the routine while I video it once we are done because otherwise we forget what we did and it takes a while to reconstruct the routine – a waste of time. In any case, we ended up working on this new move which I’m not to sure about, but well, nothing that even remotely resembles a trick is comfortable for me – like splits, or jumps, or leg extensions. And I think I have some bad body positioning habits. Honestly, I’m afraid in a lot of things and hold back in such a way that throws me off-balance. So yeah. We were doing this thing where I turn 2 times then throw my left leg up backwards into an arabesque and Ivan’s supposed to catch it and then we do a dip and then run run and extend. So, well, we practiced it a lot, and yeah, I got moderately better at it but it is still super awkward, and toward the end of the lesson on the running part I slipped. I guess my body weight was back on my heel and the heel of my shoe slipped on a slick part of the floor, but it wouldn’t have if my body weight had been at the appropriate place. I’m still figuring this out. It has always been a challenge. I remember marveling at how others seemed to so effortlessly be able to move and get to places on time in dances while I always felt I was making it there by the skin of my teeth. Ah, well, more practice. And more coaching with people who can see what I’m doing and help me fix it.
Well, tonight, I went to Inna’s class and we worked on Samba. Tonight Inna upped the ante in a multitude of ways. First, she taught a more complicated Samba routine with moves I’ve never done before. Just learning it was a challenge, much less doing it with arms, doing it sharply. Then, she wanted us to make faces. Then she wanted us to make sounds! Hup! Ha! Pah! Cha! Oh! Ew! Gerr! Anything to express. And, you know what else…it helps to focus. Okay, out of order from the title but focus was the big takeaway for me today. I had such an awareness, on another level about how important focus is, how much better I do when I really concentrate on what I am doing and hone in on my experience, and how much I still (I’ve known that I do this) focus, worry, think about the other people around me. In a competition, this is not something I want to be doing. Focus is paramount. Inna was insistent that this was important practice, and I truly believe she is absolutely right.
We’ve done this exercise before in class and we did it again tonight. Half the class did the combination and the other half tried to distract them. It was pretty easy to distract many of my classmates. When it was my turn, I knew payback would be a bitch…but you know what, I decided I was going to do it, and I did probably the best I’d done all night remembering the combination and performing it. Technique, well, that still leaves something to be desired. And, you know what, when I was done the feedback from my friends was that I was a woman on a mission. I will take it.
But seriously. I worry so much what other people might think of me, it really distracts me from my objective. Inna told us at the end of class that when she practices or is on a lesson or is at a competition, she is only focused on what she is doing, what she is working on. I am going to take a note from this book. Even just adding focus of where to look on one single dance move can transform it. For instance, in the new Cha Cha with Ivan, we do this little step around each other and when I first learned it, I kind of didn’t know where to look so I just stared off in a vague direction. Yesterday he told me I’m supposed to look at him. Suddenly the step had meaning and focus. This is an element of my dancing performance I’ve been lacking but now that I am more aware of it, and how truly important it is, you better believe I will be working on it….along with all the other myriad of issues! It is never-ending, but I guess that is what keeps it interesting.
So there you go. Haresva mi dancing, focus and hup! Hopefully that made some kind of sense to you. My brain is a little funny sometimes.
Oh, if anyone is going to Hollywood this weekend for the competition, please cheer for my favorite Bulgarian couple. Ivan and Marieta will be competing. I also believe it is streaming live if you want to watch online.
Until next time, do vish da ne (or caio). That’s goodbye in Bulgarian.