Thursday, September 27, 2012

Back to Dancing

I'm re-orienting my relationship with Dance.

I love ballroom dancing. When asked what my hobbies or interests are, I go straight to ballroom and salsa. I took the intro course in Spring 2010. I started competing in Fall 2010, the first semester of my senior year. The last night of my first competition, two days of dancing and running around the University of Maryland, our team stopped at a restaurant and ate together. We cleared the tables and Jolene played songs and had different couples dance to their best moments from the weekend. I remember dancing with James to a jive and two stepping with Melissa and watching a vwaltz by Seth and Ali and Sam and Matt Schmizu show off. I kept thinking, "I can't believe I get to do this. What a beautiful senior year moment."

Then I stayed the next year for a job and kept dancing.

As with all relationships, Dance and I aren't static. We are either growing closer or farther apart. But what I didn't realize was that the quality and nature of that relationship could change. I could grow closer to dance in ways I hadn't before even as one aspect of my ties to it are different.

I've been navigating being semi-sans-partner since last January. I say "semi" because I've had someone that I've practiced with consistently. But it certainly changed the flow of dance life once James left. And my job became quite central.

It's been reorienting.

The greatest way that it's been changing has been in learning to teach. For the first time, I'm getting to TA the advanced classes.

I love it.

It is the happiest I've been on the dance floor during this in between season. I'm not practicing all the time and I'm not measuring myself based on how I place next month at DCDI or Big Apple. This is not to say that measuring oneself based on competitiveness is a bad thing. It isn't necessarily. But the change of pace has been good for me.

Instead, I get to work really hard on trying to verbalize just what my body is trying to do in a natural spin turn. I pay close attention to how Tal and Vlada instruct in latin so I can replicate it and I observe how Jolene structures her classes. I'm aware now that I'm obsessed with the rib cage and arm positions in standard (because of a lesson w/ Igor) and that my fellow TA Carl is obsessed with foot placement (also because of a lesson w/ Igor). I get to go to a student who is giving up mid step and have her repeat, "I can do this" with me; if anyone knows what head trash can do to you on the dance floor and in life, it would be me (as Partner James can confirm this). I also love the moments that I can hear the folks who TAed my classes coming out of my mouth: Cherry's timing in chacha, Sam's encouragement and frequent use of "dude", Cecilia's liberty in physically moving whatever part of my body offended her into an acceptable position.

Life looks different. I'm still in White 133 every day of the week. But the changes are sinking in and I'm loving it.

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