Yesterday was the first Ballroom and Latin dance competition of 2017…which personally, I was really looking forward to as I have moved up an age group now since Blackpool as I turned 35 in November. I am now dancing in the Over 35 category, so I was curious to see how I would fair in the competition as I have really struggled towards the end of the 16-35 age group, wondering why I can’t seem to make the finals (with the exception of my Paso at Blackpool but that was the only one last year!)
A very early start to the day with a 5am alarm…I’m not good with those! There should be one 5 O’clock in the day and ‘am’ certainly doesn’t follow it! I had already prepared my makeup items, hair things and jewellery ready so that I could just get up, shower and sort myself out for the day. (I will post separately about the makeup routine)
Once ready, we dropped the boys at my Mum’s and headed for Lymington, where we have never danced before so it’s always interesting to see what a new venue is like as the place a competition is held can affect the atmosphere for the day. Being a sports centre, I think the expectation was there that it would be a huge sports hall, a little like some of the other sports places we have danced, but actually it was a neat, comparatively smaller hall with a nice size to the dance floor itself. Too small a dance floor is a nightmare logistically when there’s lots of dancers, but equally too big a floor and you’ve got to make sure you cover the floor and get yourself seen by the judges!
In my section, there were 6 dancers competing making a final. The dance itself, Foxtrot, is one that I have grown to love, believe you me, I used to avoid this dance if I could!! I now love it! This was the same dance that I danced in the Blackpool competition last year and was knocked out in the first round so not that I was worried, but I was perhaps a little apprehensive! The wait to find out the placings seemed like forever! It was only a small competition but some other grades had recalls to go through first.
Standing at the side of the floor waiting for my number to tell me to get my trophy was a little nerve wracking too….I always say it doesn’t matter but the reality is, you want to win…why compete otherwise!? Wanting to win, but accepting if I don’t…or as my Dance Teacher puts it….’Broadening my acceptance level’……but for the first time in 7 years of competing I heard the words ‘…..and the Winner….number 302!‘……Me!…302 is me! I collected my trophy, stood in position for the lineup and remember girl who was the runner up saying to me ‘oh which side do I stand?’….to which I thought….’I have no idea….the line has usually already mostly formed by the time I’m invited to the party!’ Haha! (I obviously didn’t say it out loud!)
Getting changed for Latin I felt really chuffed with myself as I wasn’t expecting it at all. Going onto the floor for Latin, I was praying that when they lifted the hat to reveal which of the 2 dances it would be, that it would be announced as ‘Cha cha cha’…….so to hear ‘Jive!’ wasn’t great! Ha! Jive is my nemesis dance…I have never been able to keep up and always find myself getting tired and my body gets heavy half way through so my posture collapses and I look weak. Yesterday however, I had already decided my concentration had to go to just breathing as I have been unwell with a terrible cough since having Bronchitis in December so breathing had to be my aim as in Jive I have a tendency to hold my breath…don’t ask why….I don’t know!!
I was quite shocked at how it felt to dance it yesterday…of course I could have danced better but on the flip side….I enjoyed it and felt I didn’t get tired and heavy like I usually do. Even my teacher commented that I kept up the pace and didn’t collapse so I was pleased with that.
Placings were called and I was convinced I hadn’t done very well because despite how you dance, it’s all relative and I didn’t know how others around me had danced. 3rd! I was again pretty shocked, maybe because of how I feel about the dance but Jive and 3rd for me was an achievement in itself!
I had danced really well during my lessons, in fact for the last 2 lessons, yet there’s something about the competition environment where I try to convince myself I know what I’m doing, yet the music starts, you think you know what you’re doing and before you know it, it’s over and half of the things you learnt recently or got really good at in the recent lessons have just vanished. It’s really frustrating!
I’m really pleased with the day, it was a fun and friendly competition with some really lovely new people at the dance school taking part too. Watching friends (including my hubby!) dancing, being recalled, being placed, but overall having a great time dancing, is a great feeling. It’s been said before but it’s more like being part of a big family than a ‘school’ 🙂 The results gave me the confidence boost I needed to really look forward to the next one 🙂
If you’d like to see a clip of my dances, check out my Instagram
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