Winter show case. The yearly prom of the ballroom do-er. The one the students prepare for months in advance and get their friends to come to. The event that you bust out the “good shoes” and the “sparkles” for. Often this is a dress rehearsal for a showcase piece or an open routine for competition to see how it all flows and stacks up to. A lot is riding on it, be it pride or the acid test, the Winter Show Case has everyone invested and it’s going to be a spectacle, for that is the point right? How many have I done and to what extent they have meant things to me at various points along the ballroom path has varied and this year is no exception.
Year One 2009 :
(Lindy Hop World on a String, Sinatra) :
I love this picture because I love Tina’s expression. I know this look, it was not only did you nail it, but you did exactly what I thought you could do, and maybe a little more. Ok, that last little part is what I like to think.
Emotion Level Before : Tina made the argument that the best way to get better is by doing a routine for something like a winter show case and I couldn’t really argue. She also waved a Lindy in front of me and approved Sinatra’s “World on a String.” tune I picked out. She toiled with it to make it work but she was committed and in her tenacious and ambitious manner pushed me to do something I’d never done before. After all, I was a bit lost, didn’t really have a direction or goals for dancing, just knew I liked it and had this itch, finally, to go somewhere with it. But right before we went out on the floor in spite of all my pontificating about how I’d finally come to a place where I felt that I was capable of giving people finally something to look at, there was nothing but panic, pain and sheer terror running through me.
Emotion Level After : Elated, I really think the picture says it all. The routine was something truly special, the dance and the music just worked. When that song comes on, people just start to smile and Tina’s choreography is always catered to the students strengths. It was so special we never forgot it and three years later reinvented to win top solo at Desert Classic :
After (2012) Can you smell the confidence change? :
Year Two 2010 :
( WC Swing Singing in the Rain / Umbrella mash-up Glee ) :
Emotion Level Before : I had a thought in my head that being in front of strangers would help actually help with my nerves. Whoops. The thought was that if they were people that I didn’t know, I wouldn’t feel the need to live up to anyones expectations. Yeah… sigh… Amazingly, the strangers only added to the terror and vomit feelings. So when I went out and they played the music off the CD at the wrong speed. (It was I think 6 or 7% slower.) I sort of shut down, astro-projected out of my body and watched from the disco ball. I’ll never forget that exchange of looks between me and Tina when we both realized that there was something a miss. It was a completely humbling moment and I surrendered to someone who just knows how to handle it better. Tina gave me her jedi mind trick, locking eyes, her head up and then slowly down controlling my foot to go down at the right moment.
Looking back at the tape it, actually worked out better then we had originally planned it. We performed it again the next day at the right speed and it just wasn’t as good. That was also the year I tried really hard to be a West Coast Swinger. Boy, that was a mistake. I should have not fought my inner Lindy Hopper. Doing West Coast, I’m like the princess and the pea, I’m on a butt load of mattresses but I can still feel something not right underneath me. Oh well, it was still a SUPER fun routine and it once again pushed me. This was also the year I learned to spot. I did three turns, that’s right three turns, in a row and it was a spontaneous applause moment from strangers. That felt good.
Emotion Level After : I knew that it was a really good learning moment. I was happy. I finished and finished well. I learned that what you think and what it turns out to be are two different things and that the one it turns out to be might actually be better if you can let go of what you thought it would be and look objectively. :
Year Three 2011 :
(Quick Step / Lindy The Trouble With Me Is You Red Mckenzie ) :
I love this picture because again it’s the dynamic duo. While I’m sort of always going to feel like Tina’s wing man, I love the fact that she never sees me as that. To her I am just me and the friendship that has crossed the fourth wall has been strengthened with trust and sprinkled over our dancing to give us, what someone said at April Follies, “a very special connection.”.
Emotion Level Before : Completely Mixed. I’d never tried Quick Step before this and I was excited to try but really sort of upset at myself for agreeing to try it this way. I remember thinking, even though I love the song and I thought it was completely charming, I’d picked a song that was just too “vintage-y” and obscure and that no one knowing the song would get what we were doing. Yet, in spite of my fears, there were three spontaneous applause moments.
I also had the break through after looking at the tape, I LOOKED like I was having a good time. Prior to this I had tells when I screwed up, a giant smile would grow and grow in between a long bats of a very sullen face or I just looked like I was concentrating way to much. But in this dance, I stuck the character through. Nahh, I was just having a good time.
Emotion Level After : This showcase came after a storm of uncertainty of where to go and what I was going to do with dance. It solidified my new commitment to ballroom competition. It was go time. :
Year Four 2012 :
( A Fox Trot. A Super Special Waltz and The Reinvented Lindy Hop. ) :
Here’s what I know, it will take place in the picture above filled with strangers and with the lights low, and it must be a Lindy Leap year in my calendar. Because Tina and I, we are going back to the Lindy hop in its new and reinvented state and I kinda can’t wait. It’s also the first year that I will be working with Youriy AND not doing one but two routines with him… for a grand total of three routines!!!! AND one of the routines will be done to a song that is not, in any way, rat pack related. WHAT? I know.
What about you, dear readers, anyone have a good Christmas show case yarn to tell? Anyone getting ready? Share… go on share…