|Source: World Tone|
I've spent the last couple of weekends on the sidelines. While my current work project has consumed the evenings that I once spent practicing, the other students at the studio have progressed and done a fair bit of performing. A couple weeks ago there was a team match (i.e. a mini, informal competition with another studio) and last weekend was Desert Classic. It is tough to show up in street clothes and sit on the sidelines when you'd love to join everyone on the dance floor, but I think it was good for me to spend a few hours experiencing ballroom from the audience's perspective.
What I learned from watching the Team Match:
- Connecting with the audience counts for a lot--even at the beginner level.
- There seems to be an emphasis on arm styling over a finished leg line.
- It's hot as hell in the valley!
What I learned from watching Pro/Am at Desert Classic:
- Smiling is great, but a range of facial expressions is more fun to watch. This was something that I particularly noticed about Stef's dancing.
- The emphasis on arm styling over leg lines makes sense if you want to get noticed in a large heat. It was much easier to notice arm styling than pointed toes when the floor started to get crowded.
- There was not a clear difference in the quality of dancing from bronze to silver. Instead, there was more vocabulary (i.e., more figures performed).
A major highlight of the afternoon was meeting Stef and watching her tear it up on the dance floor in her new dress. After following her progress on her blog for months, it was awesome to see her hard work and preparation come to life on the dance floor. I hope we find ourselves at the same competitions many times in the years to come!
After a nice, late lunch with some other students from the studio, my grandmother, who was once a ballroom dancer, and another family member joined me for the evening session to watch the pros. Grandma had a shock when one of the judges was introduced--he had been a teacher at a studio she attended decades ago. (Seemingly appropriate as one of the lessons of the weekend was that ballroom is a small world--I also ran into a high school friend I hadn't seen since graduation and my first teacher who is now working independently, and recognized a blogger whose writing about dance I've been following here.) We spent the evening picking out our favorite dresses and trying to predict the winners in each of the finals.
It was a great weekend, but I plan to spend a little less time on the sidelines next time around.