An Open Letter to Tommy: How Far?

Dear Tommy,

I have a burning question that I’m too scared to ask you right now.  What’s my potential as a high-level, competitive dancer?  As of this moment, I can’t really do it.  I still have schooling to finish, a livelihood to establish, and some personal issues to take care of.  But, I know that all this will be accomplished in good time.  All this being said, what’s the future like for me as a competitive dancer?

I’m a nice mix of a realist and dreamer, one that knows her limitations.  If I didn’t have some knowledge of my own talent, I would not work so hard or practice as much.  I probably wouldn’t dance at all.  Yep, there’s a specific reason why I will never be a mathematician, physicist, chemist, or marathon runner.  Still, it would be nice to hear your opinion.  My gut is telling me that my confidence in myself is enough, but feelings can be fickle.  There are days when I feel like I can conquer anything that comes my way, including dance.  There are also days where I feel utterly useless.

I want to have some concrete knowledge as to where I’m going with my dancing.  I knew from the start I wanted to be a competitive dancer.  That’s why I do local competitions, Team Matches.  Yet, can you see yourself travelling out-of-state for a competition with me someday?  Eddie has several students that do this.  If it’s at all reasonable, I’d love to participate in Emerald Ball or Desert Classic and do reasonably well (read: anything but dead last in my division).  If I were to be completely honest, most of the time I do believe it’s possible.  Great, I feel the need to advocate for myself, which is always awkward…

Alaina’s Dance Résumé

(or “Sheesh, I never thought I’d have one of these…”)

 American Smooth

  • Waltz
  • Tango
  • Foxtrot
  • Viennese Waltz

American Rhythm

  • Cha-cha
  • Rumba
  • ECS

These are all the dances where I am well-versed.  I’ve tested out of Bronze II for all these dances and know I’ll test out of Viennese when the time comes to transition to Full Bronze.  Below are the dances that I can reasonably see myself becoming well-versed in with enough time and practice.  In fact, I’ve encountered these dances at least once, but these have never been a main focus in my dancing:

  • Bolero (You actually officially added this to my dance plan today.)
  • Samba
  • Paso Doble

Eek, some of those belong in International, not American!  Whatever the case, I cannot ignore the feeling that I could pull this off.  And you know that I’d be willing to work for it, too.  My strict worth ethic is one of my personal strengths.  The others I would include would be general versatility, natural (and increasing) flexibility, and quick learning.  My personal weaknesses would be lack of self-confidence, getting flustered too easily, tendency to make excuses, and anxiety.  Heck, that first weakness if why I’m writing a stinkin’ open letter instead of telling you all this in person.  Hmph, well I am an artist in need of some personal therapy at the moment, so here it is.  I hope I can have a real heart-to-heart with you soon.

Your timid but dedicated student,


Many thanks to Amy Law for taking this wonderful picture of Tommy and me doing a Viennese Waltz at my most recent competition.

Many thanks to Amy Law for taking this wonderful picture of Tommy and me doing a Viennese Waltz at my most recent competition.


P.S.: This letter is therapeutic, but I can’t shake the feeling that I wanted to stroke my own ego a bit, too.  If so, it would be in response to all my internal nay-saying.  Either way, it still feels icky.  Here are questions for my readers: In something like this, a job interview comes to mind, do you feel more comfortable listing your strengths or are you more tempted to list your weaknesses?  Relating to the first, do you often find yourself too confident?  Concerning the latter, how easy is it for you to beat yourself up?  I’ve gotten better at not bashing myself, but it still happens occasionally.  I actually have a family member that has nearly unshakable self-confidence.  It’s rarely arrogant and when I asked her about it, she just said God gave it to her.  That’s why I often mentally emulate her.  Here’s the last question: Have you ever known someone like that?



The floor is yours now.

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