Stolen shamelessly from Riot and Frolic, which is like the quinoa of blogs 🙂
Seriously, you guys, quinoa is the SHIT. It is so amazing. I can’t say enough about it. Also, quinoa and brown rice pasta? WHAAAAAT. So good.
So, dudes, I haven’t written anything for like a week and a half, because I have been totally swamped at the studio. Our management team was gone for some managerial stuff out of town, which meant that running the studio was my job. In the week that they were gone, we had two major events, a visiting coach/judge, staff checkouts and exams, and student checkouts. It was INSANE.
I have learned that I can actually not do 100% of the jobs at the studio AT THE SAME TIME – in addition to running everything, I was in charge of making sure new students were being properly taken care of, shepherding our guest judge, taking a pretty intense round of professional exams for the next level of certifications, and, of course, teaching my own students and preparing them for their checkouts.
I have a bunch of things I want to talk about, but I’m on the road right now for family business and I have a crazy early flight. So I’ll just say this briefly: I am really excited because even though last week was a MESS, I think I have maybe got a mentor in the industry now. I need to set things up with this person a little more formally (and indicate that I will be more than willing to put my ass on a plane to come out and do coaching) but I think it’s a go. Yay!
Also: I am going to order these beauties from England and try them. I don’t know if they can live up to the super high standard of my beloved Ray Rose Blizzards, but I’m excited to try them. How stunning are they??! Ray Rose Drizzle, I ❤ you.
An American solution with a Russian flavor!
I taught my first lesson this morning at 9 am and finished my last one at 11:30 pm. That is a LONG day of teaching, and my feet HURT and my patience is GONE. By the time I dragged my ass home all I could deal with was a hot shower, clean sheets, and a cold drink. But I haven’t gone shopping in forever for anything except produce (I am doing this whole clean eating thing, whatever) so I had to make do with what I had around the house.
Today was hot, and I like vodka, so that pretty much led me to invent the ALEKSANDR PALMEROVITCH, aka the SASHA PALMER (a lethal Arnold Palmer with enough vodka to satisfy a Russian and enough refreshing bullshit to satisfy an American).
• One (1) plastic cup
• A whole bunch of Absolut Mandarin vodka (go ahead, a little more….)
• Crystal Light lemonade drink mix until you don’t mind how much alcohol you put in
• Unsweetened iced tea to fill up the rest of the glass
Seriously, you guys, this is fucking DELICIOUS. And it is going to knock you on your ass. But, on the upside, it’s citrusy and summery and not even that bad for you (thanks, Crystal Light powdered drink mix! Why have I not combined you with delicious vodka before now?!).
It’s like dinner, only made of adult beverage.
My students often observe on their first or second lessons (especially when I teach couples) that learning to dance is a lot like therapy. Actually, they usually say that it’s harder than therapy!
My job is super awesome, even when I’m doing more marriage counseling than dance teaching. Sometimes you need an external mediator and observer – especially when the pattern of behavior in a relationship has calcified. The most typical thing I see is a couple (usually a long-married straight couple) where one is always on the other’s case about some damn thing or another. It’s so unproductive, especially because the conversations usually go like this:
Blamer: Well, I just can’t do my steps right because s/he’s doing *this* (demonstrates hyper-exaggerated version of some minor flaw).
Me: Well, maybe the reason s/he’s doing that is because you’re doing x, y, and z, which makes it very difficult for the step to happen. Try this.
Blamer: Oh, wow, that worked so much better!
The default assumption tends to be, I am doing my part just right and trying hard and this person I am dancing with is DELIBERATELY messing up and trying to make it harder for me ON PURPOSE and now I can’t do my part properly.
No. No, that is not what is happening. Stop it. Please stop it, you are not helping. It boils down to this:
You cannot dance the other person’s part.
I think that a lot of partnering issues can be resolved with the following four guidelines:
In thinking about prospective partners, the biggest criterion for me is RESPECT. Namely: will this person treat me with respect, will he value what I do and what I bring to the partnership? A coach once said to me – and this is probably my favorite thing ever –
You can make somebody a better dancer, but you can’t make them not an asshole.
So. True. I have danced with enough people who don’t respect me to know that it makes a HUGE difference. Things will not always go well. You will have good days and bad days, you will fuck up sometimes and they will fuck up sometimes and everybody will have their feelings hurt. But if there is a fundamental respect for each other, that is not the end of the world, and it will not make you feel like the bottom of someone’s shoe.
In other words, we need to take a fucking cue from what happens here at 0:38:
Let’s all try to be more like Riccardo, please! How great is he??
So I got into town this morning, all ready to go! I think it is going to be really hard to work this competition and know that I am not dancing at all – that completely sucks. There are lots of (bullshit and non-bullshit, but mostly bullshit) reasons why that’s the case, but it still sucks out loud. I predict having several drinks and bitching at length about that situation around Friday or Saturday evening.
I love ballroom competitions. They are weird, and artificial, and bizarre, and AMAZING. There’s something about them that is just so great – I don’t know what it is. Thank God that I have a competition coming up in two weeks that I am dancing in; and dancing a shit ton, as well. Given that I am ALREADY getting bummed out about not dancing, and we haven’t even convened yet, it’s a pretty good sign (and a good heads up in the Making Life Choices division) that next time I do one of these bad boys I better be on the floor at some point.
* * *
I remember my first real competition as a new baby dancer; I had no idea that you could make ladies’ hair do some of the things they did to it. And of course, not knowing ballroom hair from a hole in the ground, I did mine very badly with, like, no hairspray at all, and it fell down into my face during the samba, nearly killing some innocent bystanders with bobby pin shrapnel. Never again!
* * *
So at this competition, I am working as a runner – the person who runs around and picks up scoresheets from the judges (who usually stand on the edge of the dance floor) and delivers them to the scrutineer (who inputs those scores and tabulates the placements for a particular heat). I haven’t done this job before, really – I’ve been a deck captain (the person who gets everybody in the next heat lined up – “on deck” – and ready to go so that the competition runs smoothly) and have assisted the judges before, but that was at a much smaller event. This is a big national competition, and it will be very interesting to see how it goes.
So why am I doing this? Couple of reasons:
(1) It’s a great way to get to know the judges and the national-level folks at various studios and organizations.
(2) It pays pretty decently.
(3) If I can’t be on the floor with students or a pro partner, it’s the next best thing.
I am going to be super ballroom about it, though – I want people to see me doing my job and know that I am a DANCER, not just some random flunky who wears a lot of black. The kiss of death question is, “so, do you dance?” You bet your sweet ass I do. So hair, nails, tan (although not so much tan as I would do if I were really competing) and ballroom-business attire… a chimeric hybrid of dancewear and business attire that says, yes, I know how to WORK IT on the floor, but right now I am being professional and organized, excuse me, I know this blazer looks awesome and my skirt is HELLA flippy.
We have our first judges’ meeting tonight at six; I better get my fake nails glued on before then.