Monday, June 22, 2009

My Routine...

What a whirlwind this week was! Two really good practices... I FINALLY got my act together on the routine on Wednesday. Better late than never right? As soon as that happened I officially knew the choreography... the rest of the time was just making sure I could just DANCE the thing!

Friday June 19th... the weather was HORRID! Terrible thunderstorms plagued the area all day, the humidity was messing with my traction on the dance floor all during our early rehearsal...but still I challenged the rain and made it to the studio for a group class that was being held before the party. Shortly after my arrival RT came up to me and asked why I was so early...

"Well I was finished getting ready...[STP] is having his rhythm class so I thought I'd come to that, it's better than my sitting around waiting for the party to start."

"Do you want to practice a little? Are you nervous???" RT asked, seeming very concerned.

"No, we don't need to practice... I don't think... I'm pretty sure I'm doing ok thanks." I responded.

I joined the Rhythm class already in progress and turns out STP had us working on lock steps...which was good because my routine has them... but I had to duck out early because my ankle was beginning to hurt, and I was beginning to get nervous. Once in the main ballroom I found my pain medication and took it... there was nothing that was going to keep me from trying my best. I then joined some fellow students on the couch to chat and try and shake my nerves... for some reason they were really starting to build.

As the party started I got a quick Hustle in with Largo and was asked to dance by a few students and while the crowd was smaller than normal because of the weather, I became overly concerned with being stepped on... the last few times I'd been on a remotely crowded floor I got stepped on pretty badly, one I received three weeks ago still hurts. Again, NOTHING was going to keep me from trying my best! HFC came over and gave me a quick re-assurance that she was nervous too (She and STP were dancing the professional number) which I thought was very sweet of her. I danced with TSD who offered me some advice on my Rumba... I wasn't following too well... my nerves were creeping up on me again. As the clock ticked along, I became very anxious in waiting for my family and friends to show up... While I waited I visited with Bonnie and Michael who generally sit away from the crowds. Between songs RT came up and looked concerned...

"Why are you over here? Are you over here so you don't get asked to dance? Are you ok?"

"No, [RT] I'm fine, I'm visiting with Bonnie for a second... I'll dance... and I told you I don't want to wear myself out too much before we dance." I responded... this must have been the 4th or 5th time he'd checked on me... I was getting concerned that he was so concerned...but decided to not worry about it... he's the pro.. he's got nothing to be worried about... this routine is a walk in the park compared to what he can do.

Then I noticed that my parents had I ran over to say hi and make some introductions... RT joined me to say hello then went back to dancing... I chatted with my folks for a bit and then found my "proper" place on the side of the dance floor so RT would quit worrying. I don't know why he was worried... I didn't get asked to dance... :-)

Shortly thereafter two of my neighbors showed up... they are commonly referred to as my "neighbor moms" A girl couldn't ask for better neighbors! Before I could even get over to say hi... RT was there graciously introducing himself... let me tell you, he left quite the impression on them. :-) Then KIT (who was hosting this evening) announced for the studio's favorite line dance the "Cupid Shuffle." So RT and I joined the floor (and one of my neighbors did too!) for that... after being there for three years it's very hard to get out of doing any group participation stuff... even though I do try to get out of it...every time. Oh ya'll ELLEN came! My dance friend Ellen who let me write about her first competition...She has since taken a break from lessons, but she came out to see me dance!

The next thing I knew... I was chatting with my guests, another friend arrived, and the announcement was made for all those performing tonight to get ready. Ok... here we go! I excused myself and went to the back to change... Nerves running at full steam! I couldn't even get undressed I was shaking so bad! This was not a good sign! Somehow I did manage to get myself changed... I tried to touch up my makeup...but my hand was shaking so bad I didn't want to even attempt it. I started my "Ok... I could die now...that would be fine." mantra... because at this point dying was the ONLY thing that was going to get me out of this performance! Then HFC needed help with the closures on her dress... that actually helped me, helping someone else helped me focus.

As everyone performing that evening was getting ready... it seemed as though we had a lot of time... this was because KIT was running a group participation event out in the studio... I was beginning to feel sick... and I couldn't find RT... where the heck did my partner go? I couldn't find RT.. but Captain was there to help me pin my dress and to make sure I was still surviving... I snacked on one of my ever present fruit snacks to try and offset whatever my nerves might want to do to my blood sugar...and then FINALLY found RT, he was changed and all ready to go... my stomach settled and while everything was going on out front I watched HFC and STP practice a bit of their Bolero routine... RT was treating his shoes with some water, I decided that was a good plan and took advantage of his offer to help... the floor was kinda slick out there and water, while it's not a great idea, will help you gain traction for a short time when applied to the soles of your dance shoes. Then RT asked me (for the 10th or 15th time) if I wanted to practice small steps right there in the back... I quickly agreed.

There we were in front of the refrigerator and sink in the dark walking through the routine in tiny steps, for the first time I was actually counting along with RT... who knew?... I guess I did pick up a few of the counts along the way... we got through the entire hesitation... I think we both felt better... well I know I did. I then looked out into the ballroom and saw my sister had arrived... our mom then made her wave to me... that felt a bit like grade school... :-) RT and I peeked out to watch the other couples dance (there were two dances before ours, and then the pro routine after)... RT making sure he had me by the hand the whole time. I in all honesty didn't want to see anyone else dancing, I just wanted to quietly wait for my cue. I did have to let go of RT for a second because I remembered that my own camera needed someone to I quickly asked CWS if he would be so kind as to man the lens and he agreed...then it was right back to RT.... So that meant that between my camera, the studio camera... Michael (of Bonnie's Belle Gowns) and my folks... we had FOUR video cameras trained on us... no pressure.

Here's where my memory gets a little sketchy... I remember RT leading me to our starting position and KIT talking a bit...some applause... I remember the word "love" was used a lot...and I remember that she sounded a bit emotional....but all curiosity into that zipped away when I heard the music... of actually dancing... I remember we stared a measure later than usual...because I had a false start... which is fine we weren't actually choreographed to the song...we just had a song I had picked to use. Ummmm... I remember right at the time I put my leg on RT's hip... it was going well... but it wasn't quite as energetic as we had practiced...Then I remember yelling at myself in my head because I wasn't even trying to stop my spins... they were finishing messy... which was promptly followed by the voice in my head screaming Drop it...don't think about it...DANCE...and then I remember looking directly at two of the four video cameras... which caused some reaction from the pros... wish you could see it better... OH! I remember mouthing the words to the song, and then stopping myself because a friend said that didn't look right... And I remember my biggest problem with this routine came out and bit me.. the stop right before the cha cha box... it looks like I'm about to fall over... because I couldn't control my stops... and the shoulder on the dress fell again...but it was pinned to my bra strap so at least that wasn't showing... Then I remember what has always been my favorite part of the routine... when RT and I are facing the same way... hard to point out..but in my head that means "home stretch baby!" and I only have a few more measures before we're done. Once finished and we started our bows... (mine look ridiculous..but I was just lucky I was still standing to be honest) all I could think...and I mean ALL I could think was "Ok, turn... bow curtsy something... walk to RT..he's going to turn me... and I'm turning.... I'm going to FACE THE OTHER WALL... FACE THE OTHER WALL... Good! Facing the other wall! Ok...bow, curtsy, something... ok.. go to RT...Why is RT hugging me out here???... GET ME OUTTA HERE!" That is seriously the exact monologue that was in my head... I didn't hear applause... I didn't hear my name... Nothing... As we approached the place we started where all the pros were standing I remember a lot of hugging...but don't remember anything that was said... my next thought was "That must have gone ok...because I don't want to throw up right this second."

RT and I watched HFC and STP's was wonderful as usual... and I asked RT not to change so we could get pictures afterwards... Once the performances were finished there was a bit of dancing and I grabbed STP for a little waltz...chatted with my guests... my neighbor moms' left... and the lights came up for the end of the party... RT and I chatted with my sister and her boyfriend...then with my parents... for a bit there we were inseparable.... then with Bonnie...and then it was a blur again... I thanked everyone I saw for coming... then remembered that I had to change clothes... I couldn't go out in my cha cha dress! After changing I chatted with RT for a minute I had some things I wanted to clear up real quick.

On my way out I stopped by the front desk where KIT was back and doing some kind of paperwork... I thanked her for the introduction, and she said that RT and I had received a standing ovation...
"We did?? I didn't see any of that..." I responded, surprised!
"Yes, you did... I have never seen the studio give a student a standing ovation like that before." She stated.
I was shocked..."Really? I missed all of that! Wow....Thank you again... this was really special for me... have a good weekend!" And I walked out of the studio...

I didn't want to see the video... I knew hardly any of it would make me happy... but while out with my friends I did watch it on my camera... I was quiet through the whole thing... disappointed in what I was seeing... which has nothing to do with anything and I may or may not address it later...but then the end came and the audience did stand up! I got surprised like I was just shocked with static... "Oh! We DID get a standing ovation! Thanks guys!"

My greatest memory for this evening... is the overwhelming sense of feeling honored. I feel honored to be able to call RT my instructor... that felt like dancing with a friend I've spent years with... oh wait... I have! :-) I feel honored to have such a great dance family. I don't know what I did to deserve you all.. but I'm gonna do my damnedest to make sure I don't lose you!


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