Authoress’ Notes: Like all similar posts, the pictures here are not the best. I’m an okay photographer, but Arthur Murray studios is far from the ideal place to take picture. Also bear in mind that it is quite difficult for me to get shots of people dancing without having some blur. The authoress would also like to say that she does not own the two videos linked in this post.
Hey, all! As promised, I’m bringing y’all my exciting Team Match post, complete with pictures. Here’s some info: The Team Match was today from 12:00 am to around 5:00 pm, and I danced five dances. The maximum is twenty, but at thirty-five dollars for entry and thirty per dance, twenty was out of the question. Yours truly has to get herself a job before she can start really participating in these things. Anyway, this was my fifth Team Match since I began dancing, and I was really hoping to see some noticeable improvement. I’m happy to say that I’m quite satisfied with my dancing. Unfortunately, the one thing I haven’t improved on is my facial contortions. Yeah, my face tends to screw up into the weirdest expressions when I dance, and Mom constantly reminds me to plaster a smile on my face so it looks like I’m having fun. Of course, I’m having loads of fun, but my face says otherwise. Oh, well. It’ll get better.
The day began at 8:00 am. This wasn’t bad at all considering I had to wake up at 5:00 am for the last Team Match. This was so Dad could drive me to the drop-off studio, where I would then proceed to take a three-hour bus ride to the competition venue. Luckily, my studio was hosting the event, and we were only competing against two other local studios, rather than two other cities. After a refreshing shower and hardy breakfast, it was time to get ready. The most difficult part of cleaning up had to be putting my long hair into a bun. My hair is quite thin, so it can’t support itself, so I have to use what I call a dance donut to create it. A dance donut is a large mesh scruchie that one puts over one’s ponytail. Then, one spreads one’s hair over it and fastens it with a second hair tie. Finally, hair pins take care of the hair that’s left. My high maintenance hair needs more than this, though. It needs to be wet to add extra weight. I also need to wear a hair net to secure it even further. The final ingredient is a healthy coating of hairspray that is dried for a couple of seconds with a hair dryer. Repeat the hairspray and dryer step again. What results is what one of my teachers, Jessica, calls a “helmet”. Luckily, make-up was much easier, and I only put on slightly more than I usually do. The beautifying process finished, I stretched for twenty minutes and watched two funny videos with Dad to lighten the nerves. Off to the studio after that.
I arrived at the studio at around 11:15 am, so I could get dressed. The first round was Smooth. In case some of y’all didn’t know, Smooth is the term for American-style ballroom dances. In competition, there are four recognized American Smooth dances: Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, and Foxtrot. I’ll elaborate on my two Smooth dances in later. Here’s a picture of yours truly all cleaned up for the first round:
If you’ve seen my previous Team Match post entitled, “Texas Area Team Match: A Story Told in Pictures”, you might have noticed that I wore an ostentasious purple dress littered with rhinestones. Our team color for these local matches is green, so I wore black outfit for Smooth so I could accessorize it.
To be perfectly honest, I really liked my look. I liked it better than my pictures in the purple dress. This feels more “me”, more natural. I still had some time before the competition began, so I decided to take two pictures with my friend, Alvar, whom I teasingly referred to as a chick magnet because of all the beautiful women that wanted a picture with him. This was his first Team Match, and I was hoping he wasn’t too nervous.
This was also Kris’s first Team Match. He used to come to our Thursday socials regularly, but his work schedule soon stopped him from coming altogether. I hadn’t seen him in a while, so I was quite happy that he was participating. He only took private lessons due to his aforementioned busy schedule, but he definitely took a good number of those. His lines were great, and he moved his hips well when he danced the Rumba. I was very surprised and pleased.
I enjoyed taking lots of pictures at events like this, so I went into busy shutter-bug mode to get some shots of people practicing before the competition started at noon. You won’t seen any pictures of me practicing because I was too preoccupied with taking pictures.
Finally, it was time for the competition to begin. I had a fair amount of time before my first out of two heats. You know what that means? Yep, more pictures!
After much clicking and snapping, it was time for my first out of two Smooth dances: the Tango. Tommy and I specifically practiced on working on some styling involving my long skirt. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of that. In fact, I only have one Tango picture. Sorry. My facial expression is so attractive (read: sarcasm). Aside from my mug, I was happy with how I danced. To me, it was clear that I had significantly improved since the last Team Match in August. I may be very eager to get to Bronze III, but I felt like I did my Bronze II rank proud.
I only had one heat in between my Tango and my second dance, the Waltz. This is my favorite dance. Waltzing is one of the few times in my life where I feel truly beautiful. My biggest hopes for this one was not screwing up the beginning, which involved a developé. Out of my two dances, I was happiest with my Waltz. I managed to smile, so my face was definitely looking better.
That was it for my Smooth dances. So, I was free to take more pictures. Huzzah!
The Smooth Round ended before I knew it, and everyone was given a “generous” ten-minute break to get dressed and practice to the songs that were playing. Luckily, I had already gotten dressed.
I really enjoy wearing my Rhythm dress, but there was a draft in the studio today. Brrr! Anyway, my first dance was Cha-Cha, and I think I did pretty well. I’m actually smiling genuinely in this first picture. My final dance was Salsa. Without a doubt, this was my best dance. Tommy pulled out all the stops, and I managed not to fall flat on my behind. That’s something to be proud of!
I’m running out of space for this post. Don’t worry because I’ll include the rest of the pictures in a second installment.