cornCorn. Singer. Dancer. Nurse. Lover of music. Pursuing God (trying…). Secluded. Pianist. Wannabe gypsy. Silly.

Dear dance teacher

Ugh. Sadness. Where’d it spring from?
Wanting more. From my teacher, my dancing, my city. Photos of my teacher in New Zealand with a large group of dancers for some competitions got me thinking about how the dance scene here may never get to that.
Cue the: Why am I bothering to do this, monologue again. Why strive, why go through this emotional turmoil? He has got me to a level where my social dancing is solid so why not stop here as a little social dancing is all Launceston has to offer.
More more MORE!
How do I stop wanting more?
Why do I hate wanting more?

Dear dance teacher,

I hate the inequality with us. Student-teacher. I’m the one going through hella-emotional rollercoaster on my dance journey which you have probably seen a hundred times before. I have to let you in on some of that as you’re coaching me, I’m the one vulnerable while you could be hella-detached for all I know.

That’s just it, I don’t know. And I don’t know you. How are you so extroverted and seemingly frivolous, yet sensitive and curious and able to listen, to listen to me no less, when I speak, which is not something everyone is capable of doing. Why do you teach? Is it just the bread and butter for a pro-dancer? What drives you? What satisfies you in dance after you’ve reached such high levels? Why do you like partnering with Laura? Why do you surround yourself with the dancers who are nice people? That sounds stupid because who would choose awful people to work with, but it’s something I’ve noticed that seems to set you and your dance group apart. When did you start dancing? How do you deal with being crazy talented? What about with everyone wanting to be your friend?

Anyway, the inequality, the imbalance.
You’re only 3 years older than me and you have superhero dance skills. You have something I want. That I’ll probably never get.
You’re good at making people like you. It’s part of your job. Dance teachers have to be fun and flirty and likable to keep people feeling good and coming back. You know how to use body language and etiquette to your advantage so I feel good about myself which is what you want because it improves my dancing. I get a whole hour where it’s all about me, I get danced with, stared at, analysed, encouraged, corrected.
You’re a very good actor. When you hold out your hand to ask for a dance, it says SO much. Other guys do it hesitantly or flippantly or insecurely. You put your whole being into it. It’s open. It says, I want to dance with you. Your hand waits there for me until I reach out and it’s like an embrace, like you’re bringing your whole presence right into your hands. That’s how I feel and I know you do this to everyone you ask, even when you must be exhausted after days of teaching or when you don’t really like the person you’re going to dance with.
How do I trust when I know you’re doing all this? When I don’t really know where I stand.
I can’t help but wonder what are you really thinking? Are you involved, are you invested. How can you be when you have so many students. How much CAN you care about your students? Are you friends with them or do you have boundaries around them? I don’t share a lot of deeper things with a lot of people and dancing is taking me deeper. And I feel like I’m out there in the deep water alone, not really sure if you’re there with me.
To me, my dancing…is myself.
I can’t separate them. But you’re a dance teacher, you do separate them. The reality is that seeing you 4 times a year is no basis for knowing you really. And that will never change. Why do I want more from you, am I just lonely, if I actually had my emotional needs met with more friendships in my life would I even be feeling all this?
Why do I want more.
I know I don’t like wanting more.
What does all this really boil down to?
I can’t handle the one sided. Being the one who is doing all the vulnerable stuff. You having all the powers. For me that situation holds a fear of potential manipulation.
But wait, even though I see all those things in you, I don’t actually think you’re a fake manipulating monster just out there to take all my moneys! I think you genuinely love people and are a caring person.

What’s my beef then?

I hate feeling like this.

Ohhh, bingo. There it is.

This situation is familiar to me.
That cold shock of realisation like a slap in the face or getting drenched by an unexpected wave – they don’t care about me as much as I care about them.
Having to walk away after you’ve invested so much emotionally to someone who you didn’t realise remained detached all those years. Eventually you realise the desire of wanting more from them will never be met. The friendship is unequal, imbalanced. Ensue the walking away, pain, letting go.
It’s not you dance teacher, it’s me still carrying my wounds. How do I let go of the fear surrounding them?

So that’s why I’ll keep dancing, discovery.

Ultimate dream + nightmare wrapped up in one!

Never thought I’d be staying at home with my parents again.
Never thought I’d be grateful to be staying at home with them.
I planned to stay one night but it’s now been 5. Turns out I’m not so good at resting and looking after myself but they’re great at it! Atm I’m in some strange limbo land, waiting to see if I have “just” got the flu or if I have glandular fever. As if my parents weren’t doting enough as it is…to find out I might have a nasty diagnosis has increased the dote tenfold! Gently woken with a cuppa first thing in the morning, breakfast in bed, all other meals cooked and brought to me on a STABLE TABLE because I am a grandma lol, constant changing of my brown paper waste bag they supply for the dirty tissues, lighting the fire every night so I’m warm, mum comes into my bedroom at 6am with a heater for me because she’s freezing – my room is already warm from the vapouriser she bought me…XD

Getting a nasty diagnosis is bittersweet – weeks and weeks off work has been my ultimate dream for years!! XD but I always imagined a fracture or laryngitis. The other hand – probably not allowed to dance either for who knows how long. Hence the title of this post, in ultimate dream fantasy land you don’t imagine the other real world consequences that might go along with your dream. I’m not worrying about that now though, luckily I’m rather good at sealing my emotions up in a little box for safekeeping.
Sometimes the box is so well sealed that I forget how to be sad when I am sad or I don’t know how to feel excitement anymore. Other times I think God wants me to open the box and empty it at his feet.

I think the reason I’m still sick is because I didn’t rest when I should have. I doubt it’s glandular fever because my GLANDS are not sore! And my throat isn’t that sore. Apparently it is “cobblestone” says Dr, but I’m hoping that’s from ridiculous amounts of coughing and sneezing or infection.
39.2 is an unusually high temp for a flu though. And it was preceded with a week of unexplained tiredness. My dr’s appointment went a little like this…
Dr.: *peers into my throat*
*leaps back aghast*
*goes in for a second look*
*washes hands immediately*

Me: Pretty sure that means 3 days of work, yesss. lol
First time all year i have read a fiction book – The Hunger Games. Bit sad that I felt a tad too old for it. I thought the movie captured the characters really well! Katniss was more likable to me in the book than in the movie. I cried. I fell in <3 with Peta. I felt the violence was less impacting in the book thank goodness as that’s why I hated the movie first time round.

Existential dance crisis pendulum

Oh Lord, just when you thought it was over…
Yet again, my dance outlook has flipped from climbing back up near hope and excitement, to plummeting into the abyss! I was just getting excited about my future of dance…and all it took were some innocent comments from friends to send me into existential dance crisis >.<!!

Another great dancer comments on the expense of private lessons,
Me: Never thought of it like that…
I spend about $1000 per year on salsa o___o

A dance partner asks, “Does A have to be running workshops for you to go over to Melbourne? Wouldn’t you just go for social clubbing?”
Me: Uhhh yes he does. Duh. :P
Hm do I love salsa or just A teaching me salsa?

A friend to say, “Come stay with me and we’ll go salsa clubbing!”,
Me: Eugh clubbing *screws nose up*

Why am I doing all this? How much $$, time and emotional energy do I put into it? Where am I going with it?

Why? I’m doing it because I love it. I quit for a year and I still wanted to come back, no other dances satisfied my salsa thirst. Srsly – I tried tap, Irish, Morris, belly, ballet, Scottish country dancing & contemporary!
Why do private lessons? I feel like A is wasted on me, he coaches professional dancers so why bother when I’m never going to get into that league. But then I can’t imagine not having a private lesson with him a few times a year! But just because I have that desire doesn’t mean I should blindly follow it. I love his teaching style. I’ve had so many teachers in the arts and too often they are not good at teaching their craft. For now, it’s the only way I can improve.

How much? I have this strong desire to RULE THE WORLD in the hobbies I pursue. lol :p The thought of being a good social dancer and leaving it at that when I know what is ‘out there’ leaves me aghast! Must just be the way I’m wired. But what’s the point of pursuing higher levels if nobody else is progressing further with me, apart from the teachers. Yes I hear you – Chase my dreams! Do it for myself! But salsa is a partnered dance.
I have to accept that all Launny has to offer is some good social dancing; so where do I draw the line at putting in all this $ & time? Well money isn’t an issue atm but I have to work out what level of good am I ok with, considering the scene here. The most I can hope for if I put *more* effort in ie. went to Melbourne regularly is to get to early advanced (levels are beginner, intermediate, advanced, amateur, semi-pro, pro). I think I’d be happy with that, though I’d always wonder just how far I could go or how well I’d do competing.
I’m not a good enough social dancer yet but when I get there, what next? if I’m already disillusioned with the scene here. Will I ever stop wanting to be better? Can I handle this sense of dissatisfaction for the rest of my salsa life at the lack of opportunity here? Do I think too much about the future? lol :-P

Where am I going with it? What do I want? There is something empty about salsa clubbing to me; there is something addictive about salsa, the high it gives, the escapism and the role play. The come down from socials is a crash back to reality. Because socials aren’t reality! I can’t stand the thought of chasing a fantasy like that.

Then I think of the amazing dances I had with some of the people A brought over. I’ll never see some of those people again. Were they empty? Are they wasted? Absolutely not! I loved every minute! What the hell am I talking about then?! >,<!
The tension of realities that exist in the dance world. It’s precious and unique when you find magical moments on the dance floor, they’re very real. But there is also a side that is potentially chasing empty, addictive, role playing high. How much of my life do I devote to this two faced beauty?

I do like it here. There are several people I love dancing with. What is it I want, if not clubbing. Just guys to dance with that are not my dads age?

Maybe when I feel I’m a good enough social dancer I can start expanding my salsa home, find a small group in Melbourne to connect with where I can do a class every now & then & go to their socials. So it’s not as empty. I want to dance with people I know and who know me, if only a little. I just want MORE. I want experimenting. Different dancers, different moves, different feels.

Teacher student relationship

It’s a difficult spot to be in as a student. It’s a place of vulnerability, your weaknesses on display, him coaching you through to overcome them. It creates a unique bond and I find myself wanting more, thinking of him as a friend, wanting to know more about him, his story, wanting to tell him more about me. Then a tiny voice creeps in: It’s a one way bond, he’s not emotionally engaged. And you couldn’t expect him to be. He has HEAPS of students! For me it is a new experience of personal growth. For him – he has seen the kind of thing I’m going through, many times before. It is his job. I pay him. How do I distance myself?

C.D.W.M.E. Come Dance With ME!

So when I say I have a big salsa weekend coming up…now you can see why. Emotionally exhausting.

Change my internal tune
Wear what I want to wear
Make up a routine
Engage in foolish dancing with others XD
C.D.W.M.E !
(Come Dance With ME?!) lol a cute reminder for myself every time I salsa, which nicely captures the heart of all my goals. To help me be mindful to not fall back into old patterns.

Having these goals has slowly helped drag me out of post salsa slump.
They are all tied to issues revolving around rejection and devaluation of the self.
In other words, self acceptance and valuing who I am would increase my confidence and ability to embrace others; would create a positive internal tune that radiates out; would help me to be free in who I am and in my body; would create a safe place within for me to try and take risks from; would allow me to wear what i like instead of hide myself.
Of course that’s all theory, the actual living it out is the tricky part…

#3 Convoluted journey of a dancer: My dance goals

Wear what I want to wear
So after the workshops I’m on the couch, I ring my mum sobbing on the phone.
“I wish i could wear a dress for the social….I can’t wear a dress I’m too fat…..I JUST WANT TO WEAR A DRESS! I’m so sick of wearing those bloody black trousers! Why don’t i ever wear what i want to wear why don’t i ever *just do* anything that i *want to do*?!”
Mum: “You’re not fat! That’s a lie of the devil! Just a moment while i get something out of the oven.”
For reals.
I am the heaviest I have ever been atm. When I was 9k lighter, I was not any happier. And i still felt I wasn’t thin enough.

I took this myself after the social as somehow I manage to evade every photograph ever. Milestone: first time not in trousers. I wear them to cover my legs. I cannot be the engaged sensual dancer that i feel while I am wearing dowdy black pants. And it helped, I was really dancing and enjoying myself!

DSC00806Of course I still had to cover up with layer upon layer of scarf cardi singlet skirt leggins. lol one step at a time.

“Now, lets talk about those arms”
Every lesson. He wants to talk about my arms. He tries to fix them but by the time I see him again in 3 months they’re all tucked in and closed off again. I don’t want to hold my arms out and up. I’ve always hated them.
Me age 12.
Mum: Why are you so crabby?
Me: I overheard you talking to dad saying how big my arms are.
Mum: I wasn’t talking about YOU! I was talking about my friend! Quit eavesdropping!

I always cover them up, squash them in. Make them smaller. Make me smaller. I’m so BIG. I want to squash myself down. I’ve spent my life squashing myself in to the background, wanting to disappear, making myself small.
And now my dancing is halted from progressing because of these same issues I’ve carried with me for as long as I can remember.

God wants me to be at home in my own body. He wants me to not just live inside my head. Disconnected from my body, hating it and constantly attacking it with crash diets, binge eating and negative thinking. This is why I love dancing, it helps me to feel okay about taking up space and to believe that my body can be beautiful.

My body can be beautiful.

The problem is in being free enough to dance with people the way I do alone in my lounge room.
In the beginning it was exciting and easy to grow as a dancer, finally I had found someone who saw potential in me, and he was excited to find a newbie with promise, pleased with my progress.
Now… a new phase,
my stumbling blocks are changing, becoming more challenging.

“Action plan”: Get used to dancin like a fool around other people. Go to No lights, no lycra.

#2 Convoluted journey of a dancer: My dance goals

Last weekend, I stop my lesson halfway through. What’s the point. He knows I can follow well, why keep testing me with tricky moves. Why keep correcting my arms or my chest when no-one else here does that stuff so I’m feelin’ like a weirdo when I do it at class. I realise these are important things that will improve my dancing, but I can’t spend all this time and money driving technique home when I’m going CRAZY because now I’ve seen myself dancing on video i know I’m not dancing the way I want to dance!
So I tell him…when I watched the video of us dancing from last lesson. I tell him that’s when I FIRED him.
:D :P hehehe
How could he let me dance looking like that?! Frozen. Like a frozen icy pole.
Because of course it’s his fault. The world champions. Not my issue. LOL
Watching that video had sent me into a near emotional crisis! This eventually spawned a new type of prayer life for me, using dance to help me reconnect with and really feel my emotions; a way of praying more meaningfully.
Isiah 45:3 I will give you treasures in the darkness.

Anyway, I realised that being in terrified awe of your instructor isn’t conducive to a free relaxed fun body. And that I should start trying to move more freely at class where I am less terrified. But now in my lesson I’m doing it again. Why keep going when still after 2 years with him, (ok ok, i.e 4 and a half lessons) I dance like Elsa. Frozen.

So I show him the video. His response: I’m not dancing I’m just stepping through the moves, not using my whole body. I need to practice dancing during class instead of just stepping, even when it’s an easy move I’ve done 10,000 times. I need to take risks. I need to let go. I need to stop caring what other people think. I need to get outside of my head, I’m inside my own head too much. Overthinking.

Again I’m suprised at his perceptiveness. My surprise makes me realise how I so wrongly judge the extroverted person. He comes across very extroverted and I don’t know if he understands my introverted soul. The slow time I take to unfurl.

Now the lesson changes direction. “DANCE!” he says!
If it were that easy I’d have done it already >.<!
“DANCE with me!” “Take a risk!” “Whatever you want to do, just do it!” Such quick upfront drawing-me-out makes my skin crawl. Makes it even harder to let go. Let it go. Don’t hold it back anymoo…okok we’re all well over that song :P
Although I felt pushed which usually makes me turn and bolt in the other direction, it actually worked.
Next day I’m dancing my way through the workshops.
I go home, sit on the couch and out of nowhere start bawling my eyes out because of everything he said.
As in dance, in life.


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