This post will tell you a little bit about my experience at the Orange County Dancesport Challenge.
1. I went to JoJo at Brown Buns Airbrush Spray Tans to get some color. She does a great job, pays attention to details, and uses her own formula that leans brown instead of orange. On top of that, she's got a great personality! I only wish I had found someone like her a few years ago--when I was the pastiest college cheerleader on the planet. (JoJo also does makeup and, fun fact, works on DWTS.)
2. To save a little money, I passed on a pedicure since I planned to wear fishnets and glued on a set of press-on nails (yeah, haven't bought a pair of those since the 80s). I am happy (a) to report that not a single nail popped off during the competition and (b) to not be stuck with acrylic tips for the next month.
3. Kudos to Patricia at The Winning Look for putting together this awesome updo (she did my makeup too). She was set up onsite in the vendor area right outside the ballroom. She has a real passion for dancesport and is a dancer (a very good one!) in addition to a vendor. I received some great compliments on my hair from other dancers and from random folks I bumped into throughout the day.
4. The competition ran ahead of schedule. One of the deck hands had to pull my teacher and I from the warmup area--very grateful that they do that instead of letting you miss your dance.
5. I'm done wearing fishnets. At both comps, the buckles of my shoes have snagged on my fishnets while on the floor. Amateur hour!
6. My top popped off. (No video, for those who are wondering.) I have a nice dress by Randall, who designs for DWTS, but it's second-hand and I'm not sure how old it is. The dress is backless, with two thin spandex straps that criss-cross over the shoulders and are secured by hook and woven (cf. metal) eye to the bodice of the dress. The woven eye, no doubt fatigued by the extra five pounds I've put on since the last competition, quit for the day in the middle of the cha cha. I kept dancing (albeit with one arm holding up the top of the dress) and was able to secure the strap between heats.
7. I was out-danced by some familiar faces. One young lady is a former student of my studio and the other I've seen at competitions before. The former student of my studio has at least two years and many, many competitions' worth of experience over me. I know that she has danced in silver and gold before, so I was curious why she was dancing in bronze, but wasn't surprised that she beat me. The other lady is someone who I've seen at workshops I've attended and I know that she too is at least a couple of years ahead of me with ballroom lessons. In every heat that I danced, she placed first, the younger lady placed second, and I placed third. Of course I would have liked to do better, but I placed third in Latin Closed Bronze Scholarship (not beating out many people, mind you), which was one of my goals for this year.
8. I have video, but it's encrypted so I might not be able to share it. Pictures will be available in a couple of weeks and I'll be sure to post them (mainly so you can see that great hairdo in action =P).
9. I am happier with my experience than I was after Emerald Ball, but bummed that so little of what I've been working on with my teacher shows up in the video. I made basic mistakes, like not checking out of my New Yorkers among many other things. I usually get kudos for nice, pointed feet, but that didn't seem to be happening today either. It's humbling and makes me appreciate all the work and practice that is behind the advanced dancers' performances. I just haven't put in adequate practice time, between the secondment and the prep for the move, so I shouldn't be surprised.
10. It was still fun. It is a real pick-me-up to see so many smiling happy faces. One lady bounced up to me to introduce herself and explain that it was her first competition--she was bubbling over with enthusiasm and so happy to be there. I don't encounter that kind of pure joy very often, so it's pretty fun to immerse yourself in it for a day.
PS: Someone's Shih Tzu sat on the edge of the dance floor and intently watched each of the heats, wagging its tail the whole time.