My Dance Manifesto

Something is brewing up inside me, and it ain’t from eating beans.

No, it’s much deeper than that.

I’m feeling moved. Isn’t it funny that when we are affected emotionally it’s called being moved?  Like that’s what dance is all about.  To move others and yourself through moving.  It’s a mindbender like a mirror reflecting another mirror on and on into infinity.

Tango (From Wikipedia Commons – this image was originally posted to Flickr by jennifrog)

So I’m feeling emotional these past few days.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I will be putting myself “out there” again at the Galaxy competition.  I feel like I’m coming at it from a good place.  Actually, I was a little shocked that it is exactly a week away tomorrow.  I’m relaxed, I think, especially since I’m just doing single dances and I’ve released the need to “win.”  No anxiety dreams like I had before Desert Classic, and my lessons have been free-spirited and wonderful.  I am envisioning the experience to be like this, feeling as if I were just floating around the dance studio, this time around.

But that doesn’t mean this isn’t important.  And one thing I failed to do at my last competition was to get clear about the experience I wanted to create.  I didn’t write out specific aims that I hoped to accomplish.  So I’ve learned from my experience and this proclamation, this dance manifesto for Stefanie, it’s been mulling around in my mind.

The point of the manifesto is to bring out the best of me, as a person and as a dancer.   All too often I focus on my shortcomings, my faults, my flaws, my errors.  I hone in on all the things I’m doing wrong, all the things that make me feel inadequate.  This manifesto is my heart’s reply to the negative voices in my mind.  It’s my new creed.  It’s my new motto.  It’s how I’m now going to show up on lessons, in life, and while performing.

And one other thing – I’m winging it.  I haven’t written out a draft or anything.  I’m just writing stream-of-consciousness here so we will see what I come up with.  All I know is, that I’m feeling a lot of powerful emotions at the moment and I have decided to express them in this way.  So here goes nothing…

I, Stefanie, Dancer vow that:

I will finish all my movements.  I will follow them through on into infinity beyond the horizon.  I will inhabit every moment with my spirit and project my energy in 360 degrees.

I will not be afraid.  I will be bold and courageous.

I will love myself through every single moment.  I will be my own best friend.

I will let loose.  I will lower my guard.  I will melt the ice.

I will breathe.  Deeply.  And often.

I will allow myself to be vulnerable and reveal my inner world.

I will claim my space and hold it.

I will persevere.

I will hone my instrument, my body, taking care of it lovingly, compassionately, and with the intent to make it as healthy as possible.

I will allow myself to feel and be sexy.

I will not fear to touch.  I will enjoy the touch.  I will allow my joy to be seen.

I will accept and appreciate any and all feedback I may receive as a gift.  I will remember that no one has the power to make me feel anything except me.

I will give up the white flag and fight to be the best I can be.

I will accept and use my creativity and power.

I will connect.

I will create moments of magic for myself, my partner, and those choosing to share the experience with me.

I will believe in myself.

I will believe in what is possible.

Being a woman, I reserve the right to change my mind and add to or amend this manifesto at any time as I see fit!  But I’m curious, what do you think I should add to mine?  And, more importantly, what’s in YOUR “dance manifesto?”

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Shocking!

Hello dearies.

Life has been busy, busy, busy.  But I didn’t want to go one more day without at least writing something but honestly, a good part of me wishes I were in bed right now!  I know, I know….I’ve been a bad little blogger again. I hope you’ll understand….

My employment situation has been tenuous for a while.  This last week I got a temp job and today I just got another offer for another contract job, but this one is for more pay and guaranteed for a minimum of 6 months.  I’m to start Monday.  So this week, I’ve been adjusting to getting back to full 40 hour weeks (had been working 18 hours), a new temporary job, negotiating the job starting Monday, 45 minute commutes each way, car repairs, and more.  Oh yeah…we are moving in June so we have been trying to pack, sort, and otherwise eliminate things we don’t want to move.  SO, a fair bit of life changing stuff.  It’s a lot to juggle.

In good news, I did have one lesson with Ivan yesterday, I will have one with him tomorrow, and I did the group lesson with Inna.  Also, I was able to negotiate the dates off to be able to attend the Desert Classic DanceSport competition, though I’m not sure if I will be able to get of more dates for any other competitions.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to maybe switch shifts with other pharmacists so I can do some local competitions at least, now that I will have some significant increases in cashflow coming my way.

But whatever.  For the moment, also in good news, my instructor is incredibly understanding and helpful.  When he learned where I’d be commuting to for the new gig, he called up the owner of a studio on that side of town (the Phoenix metropolitan area is very spread-out and it can take like an hour to get from one side of town to the other) and asked if we could practice there.  We could!  So this week I got to see yet another beautiful studio in the Phoenix area and hallelujah for that because where we normally practice would make it very difficult to get to work on time without meeting at 5:30 in the morning, which I would never do.  (Hell, I’m so tired, I don’t care that that was a run-on sentence.)

Oh, and triple-y good in good news, I am thrilled to announce that the dance package my husband won golfing went to a lovely lady named Heather and her husband!  They will be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary with $350 in dance lessons from the Scottsdale Arthur Murray!  I am so excited for them.  She agreed to share her experience with me to put on the blog, so it will be fun to see what happens.

Okay, so a post recapping the dance shows as well as a continuation of the topical series will be forthcoming, though probably not until Saturday.  But for now, let me recap my dance experience for the first half of this week.  Oh wait, tomorrow is Friday…let me rephrase that…I’ll be recapping my dance experience for all of this week except for tomorrow. *cringe*

I opted out of dancing Monday because I didn’t know how long the drive to the new job would take in the morning and I have my traditional DWTS-watching with mom-in-law in the evening, so my first lesson of the week was the group ass-kicker with Inna.  She didn’t hold back one bit this week. However, I had convinced my friend Colette to come so I had to show up! And, I’m glad she came. That was nice and she did great.  At one point I seriously about died and thought my liver was failing, I had such sharp side cramps.  We did Samba, Cha Cha, Rumba, and even Jive.  I just wanted to cry.  Once again, I thought, “Self.  This would be so much easier if you were lighter.  Even just 10 pounds would make a difference.”  It won’t be the last time….

I was in such dire straits that even Inna asked me how I was doing at the end of class.  “I’ll live,” was all I could say.

Anyways, I did survive, but barely.   But one final note before I depart from the Imperial Ballroom world, I want to wish good luck to my classmates who will be competing this week and also next week at Emerald Ball.  I know they will kick butt!

So the next morning, my body was still not recovered but I hadn’t danced with Ivan since last week so we met at 7:45am before work at the studio across town.  It was pretty cool to dance in a new place and I liked the floor as it is not as slippery as the one at the church.  We had the place to ourselves and Ivan cranked up the music.

We ran into a few snags, however.

The first one was that I managed to forget my shoes.  I tried dancing barefoot but that hurt.  We found a solution and I borrowed some shoes for the lesson.

Next, I shocked Ivan.  I mean physically shocked, like with static electricity.  And it kept happening, over and over.  Ever single time we got into frame he was like, “Ow!”  And then we laughed.  I tried discharging it but it didn’t work.  It was so funny.  I’ve never experienced that many consecutive shocks in my life.  I told Ivan that the solution was to quit leaving me, to stay in frame the whole time.  It just wasn’t practical.  I think he was about to cry after the 50th time it happened!  One of them must have really hurt because he howled loudly like a wolf baying at the moon.

Somehow we survived and his heart maintained it’s normal sinus rhythm.  But then another funny thing happened.  As we were beginning a Foxtrot, the singer in the song said my name.  Well, what he actually said was, something, something, dah, dah, dah….”blues for Stephanie.”  Ivan about peed his pants.

“What?!  Who calling you?”

“Nobody, Ivan.  It’s the guy in the song.”

“Oh my God!  He saying your name.”

He ran urgently toward the music tower and replayed the song.

“Oh, wow! It say your name.  It a sign.  It the spirits.  I think someone here grabbing the microphone and calling you.”

He was really shocked by the coincidence.  He showed me all the songs he could have chosen, which were a lot, so it was kinda weird he picked the one that said my name.  I’ll just take it as a sign that the dancing gods knew I was there and were encouraging me to keep up the good work. 🙂

On the lesson we did the usual run-through of Smooth dances then Latin and American Rhythm.  My body was just so tired and hurting from the night before I really felt like I was dragging.  One high note was on the Viennese Waltz I improved.  We did it once and I just really felt like Ivan was pushing me around the floor.  I know that there are places where I’m supposed to be active (going forward) and passive (going backward) and always I feel like there is resistance in some places and we fight each other, even though I am cognizant of what I’m “supposed” to be doing – it doesn’t always translate into the body.  In any case, I made a huge effort to really drive forward while stepping forward and Ivan definitely noticed the difference.  He said, “I like this Viennese Waltz.  This the best you’ve done.”  So that was good.

Also, Ivan daydreamed about the moment when we’ll be able to do lifts.  I love that he keeps that vision in his head of what’s possible when it seems like such an impossibility from my perspective.  I’ve been dismally inconsistent about my health and weight loss, especially with all the job-related stress lately. I know that if I were truly committed it wouldn’t be an excuse, and it isn’t, ultimately.  On the upside, I am doing much better since Tuesday having cooked tons of healthy food I can take with me on the job rather than eating out, and also having my ass handed to me in Inna’s class once again reaffirmed why I want, nay, need to do this thing.  Plus, I still have some time before the Desert Classic.  I can still take a chunk out of the journey and be closer to my ideal than I am today if I stick to it from here on out.  I mean, I did go hiking with my husband on Sunday and I did do a floor-barre ballet class with Toni, which are extra and above the usual, and I have been dancing and eating better the past few days.  I even started taking my vitamins again.  For the moment, I am back on track.

Now I just have to keep focused until July…

Okay.  I think my brain is failing me now.  Although aburpt, I must to bed.  Yes, I mean that.  I must to bed.  I’m feeling very Jane Austen at the moment.

TTFN, Stef