Monday, October 27, 2014

The Returns of Returning: Ballroom Dance (cont.)

Robbie and I
The last post you heard from me, I was talking about the vulnerability of returning to the competition. Heck, the vulnerability of returning to the dance floor. Period.

I went to the Cornell Competition. I Returned to Ballroom Competing.

And I'm grateful.

The moment that moved me from the woman who wrote the blog post  to a woman ready to dance, happened sometime in the early morning hours of the competition day. I went off by myself, found a corner of the unused weight room, and spent some alone time. I had my "Wailin'Jenny's" on the ipod, a book of poetry, some favorite stretches. I prayed. I was alone for an hour, let my body be wakefully restful, and I found a center.

I came to a point where I had nothing to lose. I was able to wave farewell to my embarrassment of not having a costume. I was able to say No to my fear of humiliation, to the desire to look good in front of my peers, to letting Robbie down, to my fear that I'd never be able to dance the way I had before.

The physical preparation (dressing and make up and warm ups) were then easy, relaxed. Robbie and I laughed and enjoyed ourselves, cheering on the beginner dancers when we could.

At 10am, Robbie and I went on the floor for a vienesse waltz, my first competitive moment since March 2013.

Rocking the Short Hair styling
I had an immediate dance high. It was awesome. The day could have ended there.

And here's the other joy, the one that didn't have to happen for this day to be meaningful, but was a lot of really good icing on a really good cake: we did well. Really well. As in: first place "gold level" standard. First place in syllabus vienesse waltz (a separate event).

It was kind of embarrassing, knowing the terror I had expressed, knowing that the hours we had put in were paltry in comparison to some of our hard working teammates. I mean that as high praise to them. My teammates are hard workers, that they are committed to their art/dance/sport. What I'm trying to say is that it was humbling:  it is often just a few points, a slightly off the bellcurve of marks, that makes a first place from a second.

What I think they saw was this: I danced like I was at peace.

So when it came time to dance "up" a level, stretch ourselves a bit, I was far less scared. I had come to the point where I had nothing to lose and I wouldn't lose anything on the pre-champ floor that I hadn't already said goodbye to before the first round of gold.

We didn't come in last. That's a huge win.

The support from our fellow Penn Staters was also a gift. Emma, one of our teammates in the finals with us, hugged me: "I'm so excited for you. I read your blog. I know what this means to you." I forget that other dancers sometimes read this. They read, remembered, and celebrated with me.

Also a TEAM MATCH is the best way to get school spirit going. Loved getting to dance in that as well.

Next weekend is Competition #2 in DC. I'm so excited. I'm grateful to have passed the first mile marker getting back into this world that I love.

Please don't stop the music!
My people! WE ARE... PENN STATE!

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