Liberty Swing: The Competition

Good day dancers and enthusiasts, welcome back to my life. This weekend has been another great adventure, which I’m going to relate in two parts.

So we drove down to New Brunswick on Friday afternoon, found the hotel, and I was instantly overwhelmed by the numbers of people. l got signed in, looked at many many shoes, and then went to the warm-up session for those of us in showcase.¬†Unfortunately my partner was delayed due to traffic and we didn’t get to do a run-through in the afternoon–which didn’t help with the anxiety. Instead I got to watch all the other couples and worry over who was in our division (Rising Star) and who was a pro dancer.

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If there’s anything I’m good at, it’s performing. Yes, I can always smile and project more, but what I’m really getting at is nerves. I was a bundle of nerves all afternoon, all evening, all night–right up until the moment we stepped out on stage. At that point, instinct takes over, the higher functions and the lizard-brain make peace for a moment, and the music and the audience is all that matters. So I’m never really sure what to say when people ask ‘Do you get nervous?’ Yes, I do, my hands shake, my stomach knots–but when it actually matters, in the moment, I hardly notice.

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And so that night it happened. I frankly don’t remember much of our number, for when you are doing your thing in front of several hundred people three minutes feels like an instant. I remember compensating for some missteps. I remember a flash of amazement when our snake lift worked. I remember the snap of panic when the shoulder lift didn’t. And I remember bowing–for as I’ve said before on this blog, bowing properly is one of the most important things a performer can do. In the end, I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t place high, but I need to remember that I’ve never won a competition the first time I attended. I chose to focus on the people who approached me later and praised our efforts, this lady who wrote appreciative comments about our most difficult move, and all the other dancers who have helped us in our quest to show the world something both expressive and lightening-fast.

The work continues, until next time.

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