Once I’ve earned a student’s trust, the torture begins. Or at least, I’m guessing that’s what it feels like for them because they find out they’ve been doing everything “wrong”. I say “wrong” because dancing is always wonderful (unless you’re hurting fellow dancers) and I’m always happier seeing people dance than sit against the wall; however, there are better ways to do things…yes, that’s the more pc way to say it. So, once a student knows I’m not out for their money and I honestly do want them to be the best dancer they can be…I start teaching them these better ways.
Frustration. Exhaustion. Bitterness. Relief. These are just some of the emotions people express (or repress) when they feel proper technique at work. It’s hard! I remember my frustration when I found out I’d been dancing “wrong” for years!? “Why didn’t they teach me this in the first place?! Why train my muscles the wrong way?!” There are a variety of answers to these questions (none of which change the past) but the most honest is – dancers are built.
Becoming a good dancer takes time. It takes effort. It takes getting the correct information when you’re ready for it. You’ll hear lots of things throughout your dance training, some of it will be a direct contradiction, especially where beginner group classes are involved. Beginners, I love you, (I was one of you for three years) but we teachers have to say a lot of things to keep you from poking someone’s eye out with your enthusiasm. (Believe me, I was the worst perpetrator of all things beginner!) As you build knowledge, body control, and awareness – we get to dig deeper into what it truly means to dance with a partner.
The good news is, if you can hack it, the payoff is amazing! I recently taught some of my students advanced connection on the cross body lead (yes, that step you got bored with in beginner class but I said you needed to be able to do in your sleep) and they were amazed! I can’t describe the difference in writing because you probably wouldn’t believe me until you felt it for yourself. Let me try by saying: it’s like box wine versus a fine Cabernet. Sure, we’re happy to be drinking wine, but once we have that Cab…we don’t ever go back to the box!
But because dance is muscle memory, sometimes it feels like you’ve spilled that fine Cabernet all over you and made a big ole mess. Old habits sneak back in, especially when the song is fast, and next thing you know you’re focusing so hard on trying to get your weight over the correct part of your foot you can’t even remember the steps to a basic. (Don’t laugh, and don’t judge, it happens to Everyone!) Relax! Sometimes to clean things up, you have to start by making a bigger mess. Enjoy the mess.
See you on the hardwood:)
…was a genius! I’ve been doing lots of reading to my kids, since it’s easy to do while elevating my knee, and Dr. Seuss almost made me cry. Sure, I may have been emotional (and drugged) but when I read it two weeks after my surgery, I was reading it to myself - Kai just happened to be beside me. The book: “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” If you haven’t read it recently, pick up a copy… and read it once a week. It’s one of my son’s favorites so I get to read it once a day. In my opinion, it’s the very definition of “a must read”!
The first thing that caught my heart was, “I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you…your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.” Gulp! I’m smack in the middle of a bang-up. What should I do Dr. Seuss? “…you’ll be in a Slump. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” Drats! “You’ll start in to race…headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. The Waiting Place.”
Ugh! My least favorite place! At this very moment, I am in fact waiting for the “phone to ring”, for a big “Yes”, and for my “hair to grow”! It’s darn near excruciating;) What’s that? Somehow I’ll escape? Sweet! Thanks Dr.S! And I’ll be famous?! This is too good to be true.
Oh. Oh, I see. I lose it again. Sigh. But I keep fighting? Good for me! I’ll “face up to my problems whatever they are”? (I hope they’re not Haaken-Kraks). I’ll “step with care and great tact. And remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.” Ding, ding, ding! But will I succeed? “YES! You will indeed. 98 and ¾ percent guaranteed…Today is your day. So…get on your way!”
I needed that. These are just the highlights that spoke to me. It is in no way a substitute for reading the book yourself. Go do it! Right now. See you on the hardwood:)
The title of my blog is Life's a Dance, and I find it more fitting with each passing week. I share this title with a country song by John Michael Montgomery. In the song, he says, "Sometimes you lead. Sometimes you follow." And boy...did he hit the nail on the head.
If I had a dollar for every woman who told me they can't (or won't) follow, I'd be one rich cookie. It's hard giving up control! It took me years to do it on the dance floor and it's painful trying to apply it to my life now (in my laid-up-not-so-useful position). When my kids cry, I don't know why (and my husband quickly tired of my asking). When it's time for their lunch, I don't get to make sure they eat a healthy, balanced meal (instead of a handful of chips). And I wouldn't call myself the shiniest shoe on the floor, but I'm pretty sure if I never asked him to change another dirty diaper, my husband would be thrilled.
My point is, it's hard not being the one calling the shots. As much stress as being in charge can bring, we'd choose that everyday over being helpless...over waiting... over not being able to contribute. And on a small scale, that may be why some women fight following. We want to feel like we bring something to the floor.
Let me allay that fear, ladies. Followers still have responsibilities on the floor. Men create space - women fill it. Men suggest a direction - women accept and move there (controlling our own weight!). Men are the frame - women are the picture.
When was the last time you saw a frame within a frame at an art museum? Or an interior designer clearing out a room only to fill it with nothing? Or two people directing traffic at a busted stop light? It doesn't happen because two of the same are redundant... and dangerous in the traffic analogy.
It's the same philosophy as Opposites Attract. If you marry someone just like you, one of you is unnecessary. Now, will you run into things about the other person that drive you absolutely batty? Gauranteed. But you can't change it. So you may as well focus on your responsibility. We can't control what anyone else does: not our lead, our spouse, our children (OK, while they're young, I may die trying on that last one) so why drive ourselves - and everyone around us - crazy?!
No one is perfect... despite how we try. Sometimes we lead and sometimes we follow. And sometimes both of 'em suck. But only if we choose to let it. We can choose grace. It's hard as hell, but it is within our reach. See you on the hardwood.
Unless we get a little crazy. Seal was right! I have personally thrown my sanity out the window twice this week. But being virtually tied to a bed will do that to any dancer... and any human, I would suspect.
Yes, I had my knee surgery on Wednesday, May 2nd. I should have known to expect something life shattering when the doctor told me right before I went under, "Being nervous is better than blaze. Blaze means you're not taking this seriously." I didn't tell him to read last week's blog (I should've), I just lied and said I was nervous. In this instance, ignorance was not bliss!
I've been in bed connected to two machines for the best part of the last eight days. Even while I sleep, the machines are running. The first machine is a compression/cooling wrap; which, truth be told, I'm quite fond of. My knee doesn't hurt half as much numb:) The second is a CPM (continuous passive motion) machine; which if I could, I would throw out our window. No, I'd go up to the roof and chuck it off (if I could get up there with this big hunk of modern science...or at all). Don't misunderstand, these machines are speeding my recovery, so I'm actually very grateful for them - I just didn't know what I was in for.
I thought I wouldn't mind a break from having kids jump all over me all day - I've never been more wrong (and that's saying something)! I would take playing with my kids, and every other kid I know at the same time, everyday over being bedridden for one more minute. I thought I would be layin' down, writin' country songs, polishin' my scripts all day. Instead, I've been in a foggy (silly vicadin), pained, straight jacket of the leg variety - and on the brink of losing my mind.
Thank God for husbands who know when it's time to take a scenic drive. Oh, look! There's Allison's sanity! Let's pick it up while we're out:)
Suffice to say, after I'm back to 100%, I may never lay down again. We are built to move. Think about that next time you don't want to go dancing. Your body is begging you to take it dancing! Say Yes.
See you on the hardwood:)
I just saw the most Inspiring dance story ever on Dancing with the Stars! An up and coming break dancer suffered a brain aneurysm and fought his way back to dance with his crew on national TV. It was so moving, I cried. If you didn't see it, watch it on hulu.com as soon as you finish reading this.
I'm so grateful I saw this story tonight, the night before I go in for knee surgery, because to be honest - today was a freak out day. Confession time: watching the guy's story on DWTS wasn't the first time I cried today. What can I say? Sometimes I'm surprisingly girly... or should I say "human"?
Those of you who know me know I always look on the positive side of things. In truth, I rarely entertain any other possibilities. (Caveat: I do have a worse-case-scenario imagination, but I know that's not real life. When reality hits you in the face - I'm Mrs. Positive!) So I've been looking at this surgery as just a thing I have to do. No big deal, right?
Turns out, it is a big deal. I realized this today when the nice man came over with the machines I'll need to aid my recovery. Somewhere between bouncing one kid on my good knee, wiping the other kid's extraordinarily runny nose (seriously, how does such a small person create so much snot?!), and silently cursing my husband for not being here to help me like he was supposed to be... oh yes, and paying attention to all the nice man's directions for how to use said equipment - I started panicking.
Just then my 4:30 lesson showed up 20 minutes early (yes, I'm still teaching, but it feels more like dictating) and my hell was complete. Don't get me wrong - I absolutely love teaching and I'm very fond of this student - it was the timing, and the mess that was my house, that didn't blow my skirt up... not that I've worn a skirt in ages. Or high heels, and honestly, I miss them. Where was I?
Oh yes, the hit. That's the only problem with staying on the bright side... when the darkness comes - it's angry for having been ignored for so long. Hence the tears.
Throw in some physical pain and feeling emotionally alone and you've got a big, blonde mess on your hands. Luckily, my husband and son were walking the dog, my daughter was sleeping, and my student was long gone by this time - so I was free to be as messy as I needed.
I tried the whole let-it-all-out thing, but my positive side won't let me completely dance with the darkness, so I ended up warring in my head. After 15 minutes of that crap, I decided a physical cleasing was in order. So I took a shower. Better... but still some shadows lingered. Then I watched Dancing and Oh! how my heart healed! This guy overcame an aneurysm!? I'm not even going to complain about a routine knee surgery! (Especially since they're going to be giving me some pretty serious drugs;)
I was just amazed at how quickly my perspective changed! From pity party to puh-leez get a grip! From sulking to smiling. From ridiculously near-sighted to realizing: there are people out there with real problems. Thank you Seelo (sp?) and DWTS for helping me see things differently. Our minds are a powerful tool, for good or evil, and now I'm back to where I was (rightfully so) in the beginning - tomorrow is no big deal.
So, if you've been feeling a little Eeyore-esque lately, snap out of it! We have so many things to be grateful for! And having a poisoned mind only leads to a poisoned heart and that's not any good for anybody. Your mind is the one thing you can control in this huge, crazy world. Don't give that power away to emotional whims, triviality, or laziness. We all deserve better!
See you on the hardwood:) Soon!:)
Allison loves to write almost as much as she loves to dance, so no one had to twist her arm to get her to write about dancing!