Last Minute Comp! Say What?

Yesterday when I went to my lesson Ivan and I had a heart to heart.  I think Tony Meredith was a good influence on him.  They talked about the fact that nobody ever feels ready but if we wait to feel ready we’d never do anything.  They talked about how important it is to practice the mental aspects of competing as much as it is to practice the technique.  They talked about how you’ll never be younger than you are now.  They talked about how important it is to not regret – the importance of going after you goals in the now.

Anyways, it shifted something in Ivan.  He’s got a new outlook and is keen to compete and be seen more often with Marieta.  It seems to be paying off.  They did so much better last week in Atlanta and, even better than their placement, were the comments from judges afterward.  They really feel like this is their year.  If they are going to do anything, their goal is to be finalists, it’s gotta be now.

And it’s lucky for me, too.  Because the shift helped Ivan re-think things with us as well.  He realized that he actually did want to dance with me.  Both of us had had the mentality that we didn’t want to show up until I was closer to “perfect” – that I was more thin, that’s the biggest hang up, but we’ve had such a good time on our lessons lately, I’ve been so mentally relaxed and moving so much more and feeling more secure in our routines because we’ve been practicing them so much, well I felt like we could dance in a competition next week if we wanted to.  The only thing stopping us was my fat.

The main reason we didn’t want to compete and haven’t was because we didn’t want to feel like we did at our most recent competition.  A lot of that had to do with feeling insecure, and, a big portion of that had to do with Ivan’s thoughts as much as they did with mine.  Because when he’s feeling proud and good about showing me off we tend to do well.  When he’s stressed out, feeling bad because I’m the fat one and we’re focusing on that, then we do more poorly.

The reality is I’m still not where I want to be physically.  But, on the flip side, I’m in better shape.  We practiced doing rounds tonight and I was able to handle it.  The Orange Theory cardio has been helping.  And last night at Inna’s class I was surprised to see some new students who obviously had some experience but were extremely out of breath with our exercises, to the point of bending over and gasping, and I was doing just fine.  And, I tried on my dress and even if it’s not how I want it to look, it does look better than the last time I donned it.

Life’s too short.  Why not dance?  I guess that’s basically what it comes down to.  And we’re only doing open heats.  I have zero expectations.  It’s all about me, my progress, my experience, my growth.  Beyond that, it’s about enjoying our dancing, and enjoying the partnership.

I’ll be honest.  I’d lost some of my fire.  Because for me, doing this dancing thing, it has importance because I am a competitive student.  It’s fine to take a break from competitions and all, but I don’t want to dance socially.  I got clear on that a while ago.  So if I’m not ever going to compete, then I should save my money and stop taking lessons.

The long and short of it is, Ivan really wanted to dance with me, even if for just a little bit. He took the conversation with Tony to heart and it changed things.  He was so cute and told me multiple times that he wasn’t doing it for the money, and that if I couldn’t get the day off or if it was too expensive that he was fine, that I didn’t have to do it.  But that he thought it might be good to get out there once again, to just even do little things, because we are both clear on my ultimate goals.  And when I told him this morning that I was in, he texted me back, “I so excited for you!” And then tonight he told me, “I told you I not care if you can not doing this, but really I do care.  I’m so glad you are doing this.”

He really took the time to talk with me yesterday and I was like, well, sure.  If I can get the day off, I’d be up for a few heats.  My biggest concern was him being proud to dance with me, to want to dance with me.  I’m a work in progress, and I’ve made some progress.  Why not live a little and show it off?  Plus, he only wanted to do open heats with me – no more Bronze – so that speaks volumes to me as well.

I love how life is a flowing river.  You can never know what might be around the next bend.  Two weeks ago we would have said we were not competing in People’s Choice.  Yesterday we discussed it.  Today I went to see if I could maybe get the day off only to realize that it was the one Friday out of every 5 that I have off because I work on that Saturday. It’s almost like it was meant to be.

And I have to laugh because not only did we not plan this, but I have decided to loan some of my dresses to a very special lady across the country who is competing at her very first competition in just a few days!  (A blog post about that is forthcoming) At least I was smart enough to save one dress for myself, but I couldn’t dance Smooth if I wanted to!  I only have a costume suitable for Rhythm or Latin.  It all seems to be working out.

So yeah, life is pretty dang good right now.  I’m blessed to be in the position where I can do this at the drop of a hat.  I’m mentally chilled, have time to get the nails done, I’m prepared enough physically, I have a dress that will work, I have an instructor that wants to dance with me, and I could think of a lot worse ways to spend a Friday off work!

I scheduled a lesson for tonight and, like I mentioned, right away I wanted to do rounds of our open routines to see if I could hack it cardiovascularly.  I did, and that is actually a major victory for me and a testament to the work I’ve been doing outside of my dancing since we rarely practice one routine after another in a lesson.  I’ve never done open scholarship at a competition so I figure it’s better to try it out now, at a local, smaller competition, with less pressure and when I am mentally relaxed.

Alright, enough with the “serious” stuff!  Now for the funny part!  So tonight we were practicing our Bolero and Ivan all the sudden stops and says, “I hear this crack!”  And he grabs his nether-regions from behind.  “I think I split my pants!” He says.  “Third time in my career,” he says.  And he then proceeds to recount other episodes of pants splitting, the worst being white cotton pants gaping up the entire back seam from crotch to lower back while teaching at a studio all day long, not being able to change them or leave to get another pair because his schedule was so full!

I laughed, as you might imagine, hysterically, and said, “Show me.  Let’s see what happened.”


He split not one side but two!!!!   LOLOLOL.  I laughed even harder, and I love this man, because he actually let me take this photo!  OMG!!!! Never a dull moment with this guy.

I guess that’s all the news!  If you are coming to People’s Choice here in Phoenix, please do come say hello!

I Am A Beautiful Rockstar

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My oh my. It has been a whirlwind the past couple of days at the Galaxy Dance Festival here in Phoenix. I remember why I love participating in these extravagant events as I reflect on the experience which totally encompassed the full gambit of human emotions from elation to depression and everything in between – not to mention nerves! Competitions are a spectacle to behold, and an amazing way to gain a wealth of information in a short period of time. I’m always immensely glad I do competitions after the fact and this time was no exception – I always learn, I gain experience and exposure, and I generally have a good time.

The victories were many this time around. In fact, I’m hard pressed to think of any negative outcomes. It was just a very special time and I’m feeling incredibly blessed, grateful, and more determined than ever to push toward my goals and dreams with dancing. After the competition, the things I previously considered impossible seem within the reach of a mere mortal like myself, if I apply myself and work diligently and consistently. I am inspired and hopeful and generally feeling pretty good about myself and where I am at.

First off, I got to dance. Secondly, I got to dance with Ivan, my favorite partner who I look up to so very much. Furthermore, I got to dance in public, in front of an audience, and I got to receive feedback about my performance in the form of heat results and audience engagement. My parents and mother-in-law came to watch, and it was even more special was that my dad came because, well, he’s not a big dance fan. He walked out of a performance of Swan Lake once at Gammage Hall hee hee hee. Even so, I think he was genuinely impressed with what he saw – as he put it, “it was worth the price of admission,” to see me dance, which was a great compliment considering the steep entry fee for the evening session! The one very funny thing, I thought, was that I pointed out to my parents how my body should look and the kind of costume I should be wearing to really compete with the high-level folks – basically a bikini but dressed up, you know? Well both my mom and my dad were basically like, “I don’t care how slim you get! Don’t EVER wear that!?” Ha ha ha! I’m an adult woman and if I do ever manage to sculpt my body to the point I could wear one of those costumes, you’d better believe I will let it ALL hang out! LOL! I don’t think I’ll ever really be THAT comfortable, but, still, I was laughing inside. I guess my family is pretty conservative and I guess I’ve gotten a little desensitized with living in the ballroom world. In any case, that choice is years off so not an issue to worry about at this time.

Also, being my hometown, I had lots of outstanding support while dancing on the floor. Many cheered for me and Ivan and I can’t tell you how much that helps me dance and perform. I feel supported and like people actually want to see what I going to share. It makes me feel more secure and less vulnerable which frees me up to let go and just emote and dance.

I placed very well, which is always a nice outcome. I placed first in both Latin and Rhythm closed Bronze scholarships and did extremely well in single dances as well.

Better than that was that Ivan was quite pleased with my dancing on Thursday night during Rhythm. That honestly meant more to me than the actual placement because I think it is the first time he’s been happy with pretty much everything I did. He said he really enjoyed dancing with me and that he even felt like he was “on another planet” that it wasn’t just “dancing the same stupid syllabus steps” or going through the motions. We were in sync and “on” and it felt great – every single step, in unison, connected. Latin was fraught with more slight mishaps but we still did well overall, though it was difficult to live up to Ivan’s expectations from the previous day when we did so well. Anyways, I’m sure he’ll have things to share with me about how to improve on our next lesson, but until then I’m going to enjoy and bask in our nice results. I’m choosing to enjoy the victories instead of dwelling on our perceived shortcomings.

Beyond that, I had some other extremely special and memorable moments during the course of the competition. I ran into Bree Watson in the ladies dressing room. If you don’t know who she is, she dances with Decho Kraev and they are the National Rhythm champions. Anyways, she knew my name! (“Stefanie, right?”) Not only that, she told me she really enjoyed my dancing. After recovering from the shock of this statement I told her how star-struck I was and asked her for a photo. She not only kindly obliged but also gave me a hug. It was a Twilight Zone moment in which I thought maybe I had been transported into an alternate universe but, yeah, that was awesome.

And can you believe there was more?! But there was. Ron Montez was one of the judges and I’ve had some coachings with him in the past so he kinda sorta knows who I am – I also attended his dance camp at the beginning of the year. In any case, as I went up to receive my placements he told me that I “looked so hot out there.” And then he touched the left side of my face and told me “You are so beautiful.”

I seriously almost started bawling out there on the floor but I held it together! It was such a powerful moment becuase he’s seen me before. He saw me when I was much bigger and he can see the progress I’ve made. I think that has to be somewhat impactful when you know the back story of a person. It was an intimate moment, like in a bubble outside of time and space amid the chaotic circus of the ballroom competition and it touched me to my core. I mean, it is so hard for me to think of myself as “hot” or “sexy” because I’m so hung up about my body issues/image but I put it aside in my head when I’m performing and just dance how I feel inside as best as I can. And yet that is the female role I’m to portray doing all these spicy Latin/Rhythm dances. When he said that, though, I believed him, and I began to believe that it was true. I began to believe I can do this – really, really do this. It was a boost in confidence in who I am in a way I’ve never allowed myself to feel before. More than that, I saw Ron later and he basically told me that I have a spark inside, that many people saw and commented on it, and that people would pay a million dollars to have it, but they can’t because you can’t buy it. And it was so honest and authentic and from the heart and I begin to accept that I have something special to offer and that drives me even more to work and fight to develop myself and my potential. After this Ron took off saying jokingly that he’d already given me too many compliments and I agreed, laughing and saying that he should get away while he could. But I tell you I feel so blessed that he took an interest and cared enough to share this with me. Truly, it’s a life changer.

I also really enjoyed having other students along for the ride. I am so proud, in particular, of one of Ivan’s new students who did Galaxy as her first competition. I consider it an act of courage to put yourself out there and participate in a big way like this and she did so great. It was really fun to kind of take her under my wing as best I could and help her have the best experience possible. I think she enjoyed it and is possibly interested in doing more competitions. Either way, I loved her company, as well as Ivan’s other two darling students. I hope we do more comps together. It’s fun, and also, I’m not gonna lie, it took some of the pressure off of me! It was more spread around to all of us which was pretty nice.

Also thrilling was meeting some readers of the blog! Not to mention the new friends I met while dancing in the competition. And it was awesome of my new trainer to come and see me dance! I can’t believe she made the trip and paid the entry fee but she is cool like that and actually cares about my goals and my progress. I appreciate her so much after all the duds I had to get through to get to her.

Of course watching the pros and even the amateur and Rising Star divisions was fabulous as well. I especially enjoyed watching Ivan and Marieta (of course!) who danced really, really well, I thought, and placed 4th from a semi-final losing out to Bree and Decho, the Perzhu’s and Yuki. I found Peter and Alexandra Perzhu especially mesmerizing to watch – they danced like hot taffy, never stopping, and it was gorgeous. Latin was also super exciting – I couldn’t keep my eyes off Roman Kutskyy and Anna Kovalova. Holy hell! How is it possible to move like that?! And I loved rooting for Roman Italyankin and his partner Tatiana who placed fourth from a semifinal because they are awesome and because I met Roman at Desert Classic and he is a genuinely spectacular person. He was kind enough to let me chat with him and his adorable student at the after-party and I just really enjoyed that so much.

And today I attended the American style congress with classes taught by Toni Redpath, Linda Dean, Tony Meredith, Ron Montez, and Marianne Nicole. You will not believe what happened. Truly, I hardly can! During Toni Redpath’s class I drew unintentional attention to myself because my practice shoe caught on one of the metal seams between the floor sections and I made a loud noise when I stepped to catch my balance. Everyone looked up and Toni saw me. Although it was one of my klutzier moments, it was totally worth it because she looked at me and said, “You are a rockstar!” and commented that my dancing was “unreal.” I thought it was uncanny that she chose the word Rockstar as that is my unofficial nickname, at least with my nutritionist. I told her she just made my entire life by saying that (because, um, if you don’t know who Toni Redpath is then you are just not alive! OMG!!!!) It was completely unexpected and I am flabbergasted even still. All I can say is, wow! And I am more motivated than ever to continue to develop myself.

It is a bit of an understatement to say that I had a really great competition. I had moments of more and less confidence, and moments of more and less self-doubt. I had moments of more stress and less stress, moments when i was “on” and hit my choreography, and moments when I was not “with it” and missed connections, steps, and had balance bobbles. I had moments when I was more on balance than ever before like in my Bolero. It was, as always, a roller coaster ride but it certainly ended on a high note. I’m interested to see Ivan’s take on the event. I’m thinking he’ll say that overall it was pretty good, though some parts were “fucked up” like during our Latin scholarship he said 50% good cha cha, he liked the samba, but Rumba was “fucked up,” but that we should build on the good things, keep on with the consistency I’ve maintained during the past few months of lessons, and push forward. But damn, when I get a comment from a judge I just happen to see in passing who is talking with friends I know, and he says “from beginning to end you danced every measure” I hear that as saying that I filled the music, and I feel proud, acknowledged, and validated. To me, in my mind, I hear that as saying my spirit expanded and inhabited my body each second… what an accomplishment that is!

The next goal for me, in my mind, is to do a big comp, and soon, for the experience more than anything as I suspect my nerves will be even more of a factor at a larger competition as well as navigating the logistics of such an event, and also to work on finishing open routines for the Rhythm category. Eventually I want to be on the floor with the “big dogs,” as Ivan puts it, and hold my own – to look like I belong there beside those dancers. For now, I am the level that I am at. There is much to be proud of and I want to enjoy my recent accomplishments even if I know there is so much yet work to be done. I’m going to bask in this glory for just the rest of the afternoon and then it is back to the real world for me! And time to dive head first right back into the hard work that will propel me forward. I know Ivan will keep me grounded so no worries about getting a big head lol! He’ll be sure to help me remain humble which is just as it should be.

I’m excited for the future. I feel so validated and I can’t express how humbling and wonderful and awesome it is – especially after I gave up being a dancer because I felt like I didn’t fit the profile. But ballroom has a space for everyone and I’m coming into my own as a performer and dancer. That is due with big, big, thanks to Ivan and Marieta both. They have poured so much into me and I just want to absorb it all like a sponge! I love dancing ballroom so very much (can you tell?) and it really shines through. I dance with feeling and others are drawn into my performance. I’m coming to own this is one of my greatest strengths. It reminds me of Fik-Shun on So You Think You Can Dance – I may not be the best dancer, but I have a ton of heart, and sometimes that trumps perfect technique. Confidence is probably my biggest hang up, still, which is a little bit insane after the experiences I had this week. I am determined to relax into and trust myself, as well as my partner, Ivan, and I think this can only accelerate my growth. In any case, after this competition, I feel that I’m 100% in my purpose, and that, my friends, is a very good place to be. I don’t think I could be more grateful or satisfied. What an amazing few days. This will be one of the experiences I re-live when I’m in heaven.

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….

Things I Tell Myself

How to begin this post?  I suppose I’ll be direct and to the point.

I’m going to dance at the Galaxy Dance Festival here in Phoenix in about a month.

(For those of you who haven’t liked my Facebook Page you could have known this days ago as I posted it there first.  I’ve decided I’m going to continue to put “bonus” material on there and my goal is to get to 100 likes.  I’m only 5 away!  So if you know anyone who might be interested in the blog, please share it.)

If you’ve been following the blog, well, then, you’ve probably gathered that this is kind of a big deal, personally, for me.  It’s one of those “get back in the saddle” deals – I’ve got to get back up and just do it.  No, I’m not at my ideal body weight after just a month, but there has been progress.  More important than that, though, is the different head-space I find myself in.  Additionally, and equally important, Ivan is coming from a different perspective as well.

Honestly, there is just so much to write about now that I’ve finally made the time and space to do it.  But I guess it boils down to a few main things:

1) When it comes to dancing, ballroom dancing specifically for me, it’s who I am and who I want to become.  Period.  Regardless of how others perceive me or judge me or place me against other dancers on the dance floor, this is my undeniable truth, and it’s none of my business what other people think of me anyways, unless they choose to tell me.  To cower in shame about my body and refuse to dance does no good – indeed, the opposite is true.  To refuse to dance for this reason is to give away my power to others and their perceptions of me.  Better to get out there and let my spirit shine through my current, latest, greatest, version of myself.  This is to stand in my personal power.  And, as I am constantly evolving, growing, and changing, as well as changing the composition of my body these days, tomorrow I will be a different version.

2) It’s all about connection.  I feel like a broken record here, folks.  No matter how many times on a lesson, or in life, I get a reminder of this, I still (frustratingly) blank out, withdraw, fail to be present.  I still struggle with looking directly at myself in the mirror (connecting with myself), directly at Ivan, directly at anyone who happens to be watching.  Two things have been happening on lessons which demonstrate my lack of connecting.  First, especially through my shoulders, I am weak.  My core is not connected with my arms and this causes me to misread leads, be off-balance, and generally foul up.  Second, since I’m not looking directly at anything when I dance, my dancing is unfocused.  Ironically this point was emphasized in Inna’s class this past week as we did Paso Doble.  She danced the same steps mechanically the same for us, the only variable nuance being her direct focus, and it made all the difference.  It was like two different dancers.

3) I’ve got to surrender my white flag.  (Like the double entendre here?)  What I mean by this is that there is a part of me that gives up on a regular basis.  Sometimes before even trying.  Like my psyche finds it easier to say I can’t do something so that when I fail at it its okay because I wasn’t trying my very best, right?  Like if I already know I’m a failure it won’t hurt as much when that turns out to be true.  Whether in the context of dieting or learning a new dance step, it’s a deeply ingrained habit, and one I’ve got to replace.

Ivan, being the intuitive being that he is, has called me on this, and honestly he’s looking for me to fight for it.  To fight for my improved physique.  To fight to finish a 3 minute dance.  To fight to own the potential inside and manifest it into real life.  He has told me on multiple occasions to stop “how do you say?  Do you understand?  The white flag?  Waving the white flag.”

It’s kind of difficult to realize what a coward you are.  To realize that you give up so easily at the slightest suggestion of difficulty.  But actually, from that recognition comes choice.  And I guess I’m choosing to not give up after all.  I’m choosing not to settle.  The trick is catching myself each time I backside, or give up (which happens fairly unconsciously sometimes), and course-correct.

You know, the funny thing is, that I tell myself some of these things before a dance lesson.  I vow to myself that I will be connected, every moment.  I promise myself that I will be sure to focus on my shoulders so that my body and my arms are connected and that I will be able to follow as an active partner.  I tell myself I will dance with strength and energy every second of the lesson.  And then I am upset and frustrated with myself when I fail at these endeavors, which inevitably happens, even if just for a moment.

But still I dance.  And still, I want to work at it.  I mean, on some level, it’s fun because of the challenge.  If it was easy, I wouldn’t value the journey like I do when I have to work for every ounce of improvement.

And doing the Galaxy competition is part of that.  It’s me refusing to wave the white flag.  It’s me risking putting myself “out there” once again, because, well, I’m a masochist.  Just kidding.  I’m doing it because there is growth to be had from taking this challenge on and because I love dancing.

So, this time around, things will be different.  Ivan and I have had conversations about our aim dancing together at this particular competition, and how we will both work at communicating differently during the event.  First off, I’m only going to do single dances.  No scholarship rounds, at least for now.  Ivan’s so awesome, though, that this could be a possibility on the day of the event depending on how he and I are feeling.  If we are really feeling strong and good, we can always add it in.  But for now, it’s less pressure, and I can just go and not take everything so seriously.

Also, we are focusing on the performance aspect this go-around.  We are going to pay attention to how the dancing feels – and our goal is to have it feel strong, powerful, beautiful, in unison.  If we achieve that, that will be a big win.  We are going to focus on the dancing rather than the outcome.  It is a much healthier stance to take, I think, and this time I am deliberately choosing it.  I think at Desert Classic I still had some expectations in the back of my mind that I’d do well.  By doing poorly in terms of placements, I am now able to let go of this, come from the space that I will probably place poorly, and this becomes so very freeing.  I’ve released the deep desire to be liked and approved of, because there is a very good chance I won’t be, and in that recognition, I can really go out there and be myself 100% in a carefree manner.  I am grateful for the gift.

So that’s the deal, folks.  I’m in.

And one final note…off topic, but in recognition of a fellow blogger who kindly likes and comments on my posts occasionally, caityrosey, this one’s for you.  Check out her blog All She Wants To Do Is Knit here.

Bet you didn’t know I was a knitter, too!  This is my latest project.  Fingerless gloves.  My hands are perpetually freezing at work so I thought I’d make myself a pair.  I’m using a merino, cashmere, possum blend I picked up in New Zealand when we visited there in November.   I thought I’d splurge and use a nice yarn since I will be using these suckers daily.  And, it’s my first project doing a cable knit.  So, there you go.  Ballroom dancer and knitter extrordinare!  My next ambitious project will be to make a shrug to cover my arms for dancing.  I’ve never made anything that has had to actually fit so far – just pillows, and hats, and purses, and toys – you know, projects where you don’t actually have to find your gague.  Well, anyways, I’ll let you know how it goes.


Dancing IS a sport. Just Ask My Husband…

Okay, so Dancing with Stefanie is the Stefanie show…except it’s not. I want to share the stories of lots of people, espcially those who are in some way touched by dance in their lives. I ask for guest blog posts from anyone I find interesting or whose blog I enjoy, even if it isn’t directly dance related. You see, I find dance is a great metaphor for lots of things that happen in life.

Well, a while ago I querried my husband about writing a guest post for my blog. I was interested in his perspective of this whole dancing thing that has engulfed a large part of my life. He obliged. Then I forgot about it…until I checked my email tonight!

So….it may have been a slow week for me in terms of actually dancing, but the blog, and life, moves forward like a river flowing.

Here is what my hubby wrote. It is pretty cool, if you ask me.

I have obliged to provide my commentary and experience about being the husband of a dancer. It has been an interesting and enlightening experience, to say the least. For me, it was easy to dismiss dancing as some weird but controlled gyration that some consider elegant yet hardly a counted as a “sport.” After engaging in and experiencing some beginner level dancing lessons first-hand, I quickly learned how wrong I was. The motions at that beginner level seemed pretty basic but the challenge of remembering everything was very difficult for me. And, when I looked around the [ball]room at the other dancers during their private lessons, their quick movements and long routines started to make ME sweat!

I have a tremendous amount of respect for my Dancing Queen! Stef comes home beaten up worse than some football players with all of the blood, sweat and tears. Yet, she pulls herself together and goes out and does it again, and again, one night after another. It really is amazing. It takes a strong woman with a lot of drive to be a dancer, there is no doubt about it.

The conversations we have after her lessons are a whirlwind! The energy levels are at a high and the lingo surrounding everything she learned or improved on is comparable to talking to a chemical engineer at NASA about what it takes to launch a rocket. Some stuff just blows right by me, but that is ok. I still sit there and do my best to decode everything being tossed at me at warp speed. After all, it is more important to listen than to speak. Right ladies?

So I tried the lessons and I didn’t get “hooked” like so many other people do. It just wasn’t for me. But, I was able to draw an incredible amount of parallels between dancing and my own passion, golf. The amount and quality of lessons it takes to improve, the amount of practice time you have to put in, the physical movements and physics are very similar as well. It is one of the best ways I can relate to her passion and stay engaged even though I may not know the difference between a Jive and a Rumba.

I love being married to a dancer! Stef is a woman with a passion and drive to become great at something beautiful that she can do for her entire life. And I swear I will never call dancing a non-sport ever again.

Wow! There you have it from the horse’s mouth. I’m a Dancing Queen and my husband loves it! I’m feeling pretty good about myself tonight. Thanks Ty. Love you.

He’s a Tough Mudder, just so you know…Here he is in action: