Texas Area Team Match 2012: A Story Told in Pictures


Once again, I have no excuse for my tardiness.  Blogging is a priority, and I should be more consistent despite my hectic school schedule.  I’ll honestly try harder.  Apologies aside, here’s something I think y’all will love, some pictures from my most recent Team Match with some story-telling by yours truly.

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5:30 a.m. on August 25, 2012, my phone alarms wakes me up.  I swiftly rise from my bed.  This is quite unusual as my alarm normally makes me do the exact opposite, but this morning is different.  It’s my first Team Match since my two-month hiatus ended, and I’m excited to see how things will unfold.  My, body, however, whines in protest: “Why do I have to get up so freakin’ early?!”  Well, I have to leave the house by 7:30 a.m., so Mom or Dad can drive me to the Cypress Arthur Murray studio because I have no earthly idea of how to get there.  But, before that, I have to ready myself.  When it comes to ballroom, the more make-up the better.  Sure, you may look like a clown, or worse, but it looks normal from the audience’s point of view.  Considering it took me until college to really get used to make-up, you’d think this would be difficult.  Nope, thank you black-box theater!

I make my way to the master bathroom, where I set out my make-up the night before, as stealthily as I can, but manage to catch my foot on a couple of solid objects.  Oops.  Luckily, the sleeper is not roused.  Unfortunately, I have to do my hair before my make-up.  This proves difficult as I forgot to buy the giant hair srunchie that helps secure the hair into a nice dancer’s bun.  I experiment with other srunchies, but after several failed attempts, I settle with a normal bun secured by a black hair-clip with copious amounts of hair-spray.  Now, comes the make-up, which I spend a good half-hour applying.  By this time, Dad is up, and I’m done with my preparations.  (Mom originally planned to to drive me there, but apparently decided to go on an early-morning run…)  Time flies, and I’m on my way to the Cypress studio at 7:30 a.m.  The ride is quiet because neither my Dad nor I are quite awake.

The studio is bustling with activity, and Nick greets me with a warm smile and a high-five as soon as I enter.  People are greeting each other and chatting away, leaving me stumped as to how they’re so alert.  Then, I spy a possible answer: two boxes of donuts.  I happily help myself to one.  Not much time has passed when someone yells that we have to load up and get ready for the bus that will be driving us to Austin.  Deceptively heavy dress bag in tow, I board the bus.  It’s seemed forever since I put on my make-up, so I decide to take a picture of myself to double as a memento and a mirror…

Hey, not bad at all!  Well, the bus ride is three hours long, and I feel every minute of it.  I really don’t remember how I decided to spend my time, but I remember wishing I could go back to sleep like Nick.

He only slept for a couple minutes, but that was enough time to get what I considered an opportune shot. I’ve pranked people by taking pictures of them sleeping with the flash on, but after hearing he didn’t get much sleep the night before, yeah, I decided to be merciful.

Well, nothing I can really do but wait.  The wait eventually pays off as we arrive at the Austin Studio, where everybody immediately got dressed and started practicing, myself included, but not before snapping a few shots of everyone all cleaned up…

This is Wei and one of the instructors, Jessica.

Isn’t she so adorably precious?

Time to practice!

The first dance was Tango.  I felt nervous, of course, but not too nervous.  This was my fourth Team Match, and I really feel like I found my rhythm in this one.

Next, was the wonderful waltz.  I had worked particularly hard on posture, footwork, and connection for this one.  It’s my favorite dance.  Of course, I was determined to do it justice.

I giggled when I saw this photo because I thought I looked unusually peppy. I mean, this is supposed to be a waltz. Oh well, I suppose there could be worse expressions on my face…

While I still feel like I have a long way to go before I can truly do this beautiful dance justice, I was very pleased with my waltz.  My final Smooth dance was Bronze III Foxtrot.  Eeep!  I’m only a Bronze II!

Like most things I freak out about, the Foxtrot wasn’t all that bad.  I think I did well, considering I’m not a Bronze III.  That was it for my Smooth dances, and I decided to change really early for Rhythm before the girls’ dressing room was inevitably flooded with other dancers.  I watched and snapped for the rest of the round before we were granted a generous ten minute reprieve to get ready (read: sarcasm).

Luckily, I was already dressed, and asked one of my studio-mates to snap a picture of me in my Latin dress.

Oooh, la, la!  I love my Latin dress!  It’s so much easier to put on than the Smooth, and it shows off my legs and arms.  One of my studio-mates, Vincent, literally said, “Wow! Ping!  Ping!”  (Those were sound effects.)  I almost blushed as these compliments seem to come out of nowhere, but I really appreciated it.  My first dance was Salsa, but the M.C. decided that everyone had to dance some Y.M.C.A. first, not that I was complaining.

I was really excited to dance Salsa because I had practiced it many, many times at the practice parties.  But, I was also slightly nervous because I find it easy to lose track of my feet if I’m not paying attention.  I did awesome!  I’m not afraid to say it.  If I ever have the opportunity to do Salsa again, I’ll jump on it straight away.

My facial expressions tend to get pretty, uh, expressive, while I’m dancing. I’m going to have to watch that as I seem to be doing my best impression of a fish here…

My fifth and final dance was going to be Cha-cha, the one dance I’ve done in every single Team Match.  Here’s to more improvement!  Little did I know that it was going to be at the very end of the competition at Heat 151.  I was dog-tired by then, and was praying for one more surge of energy to do this dance proud.  In the meantime, this shutter-bug got to work.

This is one of the studio owners, Eddie, and his student, Oksana (Ok-SAH-nah). She’s a very talented dancer. But, when she was announced, the announcer actually said “Ok-SAN-na”, the hick, Texan way of saying European names. If she wasn’t embarrassed, I felt embarrassed for her.

The couple on the right are Nick and another student, Amy. She’s a Bronze III and did a Bolero during the competition. She’s also quite skilled, and I was doing my best not to get envious.

Rae and Fred. I think I might “accidentally” call Rae “Ginger” someday to see if they get the joke.

Go Purple Team! It really was no contest for the “Most Spirited Studio” Award…

Finally, after an agonizingly long wait, it was time for Cha-Cha.  I wasn’t really worried about my dancing so much as my fatigue.  This was a dance I had been dancing at every Team Match since I started two years ago, and it had to be good.

Go Team Houston!

This is, hands down, my favorite picture from Team Match. That’s just awesome!

Then, it was time to hand out the awards.  Unfortunately, I was rushing to get dressed into my regular clothes and missed most of them.  But, I did manage to hear which team won.  It wasn’t us.  However, we only lost by two-tenths of a point, so it was really close.

After this, it was time for a studio picture and an absolutely obligatory picture with DP.

Most of us gorged on dinner at the studio because most of us were pooped and didn’t have the energy to walk to the restaurants nearby.  The bus ride home was more eventful than the one going to Austin.  This was probably due to the fact that some of our teammates decided to indulge in some of the wine we had.  Needless to say, they got tipsy and became quite boisterous at times.  Most of the time, my bus buddy, a sweet elderly lady, would look at each other and smile wryly during the “open bar” bus ride.  So, there you have it.  That was my day , and it was a blast!  Again, I’m sorry for the long wait, but I hope it was worth it.

5 thoughts on “Texas Area Team Match 2012: A Story Told in Pictures

    • Thanks! They took forever to upload, but it was worth it. You know, these are only local competitions, not sponsored ones. I’m not good enough for the big ones yet. Anyway, if you ever get to participate in a local one where pictures are permitted, I’d love to see your photos, especially the ones of your favorite Bulgarian. He reminds me of Nick in that you two seem to have a ton of fun during your lessons.

      • Who cares what kind of competition you do as long as you get out there! I’m going to have my hubby take photos at Galaxy in like 2 weeks so I will have photos to share soon. You can see lots of pictures of my favorite Bulgarian at the Facebook Fan page I created for him and his wife/partner (Marieta) at

        http://www.facebook.com/Ivan.and.Marieta

        There are videos posted there too, so you can see them dance. Anyways, yes, mostly we have fun. And I’m looking forward to a better experience at Galaxy. Different mindset and expectations and all that. Well, I loved seeing a little slice of your experience. Great fun.

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