Taking the Leap: Four Years Gone By


leaping dancer

It’s hard to believe this blog is four years old.  Happy Leap Day, everyone!  So much has changed, and I hope to get everyone back in the loop.  If you want to read my last Leap Day post, click here.

2012 seems like a long time ago.  Four years ago, I was here:

  • Bronze II
  • Still a college student
  • Unemployed
  • Did not have my splits

Now, I’m here:

  • Full Bronze
  • College graduate as of May 2015
  • Have a part-time job
  • Have my left splits, but have sadly lost my right due to lack of stretching

I no longer have the desire to participate in ballet.  It vanished.  Sadly, in the gap between this post and the last,  I lost Tommy as my instructor. I always feel a void whenever I walk in the studio, even if the pain has faded.  Another thing that’s faded is my consistent blogging.  Once upon a time, I would write and post once a week.  It wasn’t only because we had to create and maintain a blog for a journalism class.  Dancing felt more exciting, more adventurous.  There were days when I couldn’t decide which topic to discuss. I wouldn’t say I’m valley-low anymore, but climbing back to the summit is grueling.

The good thing about the big changes were when they caused me to explore other areas of dance more thoroughly and help define what I really wanted.  I had been social dancing for a while, but my inner explorer was no longer satisfied with what I was doing.  So, it jumped when it heard about auditions for a bachata team on February 21st.  While I had been on dance teams twice before, none were pleasant experiences.  Time for a story about one of them.

Experience #1: The setting was Dance I, an elective class from senior year of high school.  It was co-ed, and we actually had more guys than girls.  Unfortunately, these guys were pumping with testosterone, ample amounts of immaturity, and rebellious streaks.  We studied all sorts of dance, but the prize was our class routine.  A combination of ballroom, hip-hop, and modern, we were going to show our moves at the end of the year for an evening exhibition for two nights. It had the distinction of being the only co-ed routine.  Rehearsals were chaotic to say the least.  The boys were full of “machismo” bravado and constantly pushed the boundaries on our teacher’s authority.  Disruptions were all too frequent.  Did I mention our teacher was pregnant with her first child?  How she was so patient with them remains a mystery.  We rehearsed for almost six months when she took maternity leave and had a colleague fill in for the rest of the year.  The rapscallions knew they could push the ‘ol sub even harder, but they pushed it too far.  Literally.

I don’t remember how the stupid “debate” started.  Apparently, the girls’ locker room was better than theirs.  There was no focus on the now-imminent exhibition, and the sub was desperately trying to maintain control.  The guys weren’t having it, and literally pushed her outside the classroom.  They began to shove her around with their combined strength to show her the locker rooms.  The rest of us didn’t know what to do, but we all knew that they’d get theirs.  While the sub wasn’t physically hurt, she was undoubtedly insulted and cried after class.  It made my heart twist in anger and in hurt.  The culprits were later suspended for the rest of the school year.  They were unable to participate in sports or our dance exhibition.  All the  girls, myself included, lost our partners.  So, we had to change our choreography the night of the first performance.  Oh, I messed up, but I didn’t care.  I wanted out.

I don’t think I can ever forget story.  It’s one that always causes this storyteller to shake her head and sigh.  I’ll freely admit that I’m not a team player by nature.  I’m independent and would rather rely on my own work ethic.  But teams are a part of life, yeah?  I might as well get used to them, and I have a good feeling about this one.  I’m eager for our first practice Sunday.

I need to amend my goals until next Leap Day.  Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Silver rank is a must.  I’m hesitant to call myself skilled or advanced.  When I reach Silver, I’d consider myself an advanced ballroom dancer.
  • Compete in a Dancesport Jam, still local but not as casual as Team Matches.  Competing out-of-state is tentative.
  • Travel with Kañonazo, the local company that owns our Latin dance teams, to perform.  I did make the team, though they don’t reject anyone.

 

  • GET BACK TO STRETCHING!  Resume regular stretching and get amazing leg extension.  (Blogging applies, too.)

This was a long post, but I needed to compensate for my lack of writing.  Here’s to 2016 being a better year in my dancing.  I wish the same for you.

Love and warm wishes,

Alaina

 

 

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