Dance Doldrums

SwingingAlong

Well-Known Member
#1
Some mention of this in another thread so thought I would start it..... I'm there too. My DH is off tramping so I don't have his enthusiasm around to keep me going - I've been practicing by myself and re learning some routines they dance in a city I will be visiting in March. Somehow I'm running out of go and March feels a long way away. There was a Lindy Hop thing on last night which I've never tried, and rare to see in this part of the country so I went along hoping to feel enthused. It was.... OK. But not inspiring enough to travel 6 hours to go to again, especially as one of the guys I danced with insisted on doing Salsa moves..... no wonder I couldn't follow what he was doing with what we had just learned:wacky:
 
#2
I'm halfway there. I am transitioning from 5-10 private lessons per week, to 1 lesson biweekly with my American instructor and 1 lesson biweekly with my International instructor. The slower progress has dampened my enthusiasm. Fortunately I'm also doing a showcase so I have 2 showcase lessons per week until late March. After the showcase, the reality of 1 private lesson per week will be tough. Thank goodness I have access to 14 group classes and a party each week.
 
#3
Dance doldrums are a real thing. I have the wind back in my sails now, but for several months I dreaded going to lesson. The lesson schedule was so frequent, at times as much as 5 per week, that I was not practicing enough between visits to the studio. So I showed up not having incorporated the previous advice. This frustrated my teacher as well as me. I was wasting his time and my money. Looking back, that started because of a showcase. Extra lessons were added in an ill-advised short-term goal to prepare for a show that, once over, did not matter. Long-term progress in skill matters. Now that I am back on a schedule of only one lesson per week I am much happier and even look forward to my lessons.
 

s2k

Well-Known Member
#4
Oh my gosh, I have found my people.

DP and I have been on hiatus since the fall (for a dozen different reasons), and I'm not at all thrilled about returning to pro-am after several years dancing Am, which is why I've hardly practiced in months. For the few lessons I have had, I tried switching to a new style to try and get some mojo back, but one lesson a week after 8 hours a week of practice (for years) seems pointless.

DP and I will meet up soon and figure out what our "new normal" is, which might be, "we're done for good," and if that's the case, then I just don't know how to transition back to pro-am.

Find another partner? :rofl:
 

Loki

Well-Known Member
#5
I’m getting some wind in my sails again now that I’ve gone back to a more social focus. Pro-am and am-am can wait until I figure out a clear direction. I’ll still take privates and such, but at a reduced frequency.

Meh, maybe do something “silly” for a showcase...
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
#6
I'm tired of the dance doldrums. I'm at a comp now - literally hanging out in the warm-up room while my roommate takes a nap - not dancing. I came to support a friend, to see how I would feel about being around and not being out on the floor and maybe do some research on whether there's a better situation for me somewhere that I can make work.

But I'm finding myself watching the warming up and awards, and going... 'ugh, so glad I'm not doing that'. Not sure if this means that I'm done, or that I'm just over the whole pro-am and dance politics thing... I still seem to still want to dance, it's just everything that comes with it (especially in my current situation) that I want to walk away from. What's hard is that I'm pretty sure walking away would be like cutting off my own arm :(
 

SwingingAlong

Well-Known Member
#8
I'm tired of the dance doldrums. ...What's hard is that I'm pretty sure walking away would be like cutting off my own arm :(
Can you do more things where you are dancing but not reliant on a partner? I know you are doing Ballet, is there room to extend in that direction? I would hate to have to give up too. After my enforced 2 years where I did hardly anything, I am getting back into things. So pleased that despite the recent diagnosis of osteoporosis in my spine (it is 85 years old, according to the graph. I am still allowed to dance. In fact it is really good for the osteo. The doldrums are always with me - they rear up when I yearn for what I don't have (access to lessons more than once every 3 months, a comp partner, breasts) rather than focusing on what I do have (access to a free space to practice, a sometimes fun dance with DH, legs, and my life).

If you would like some advice, take a break. Save the money you would spend on lessons, and go on a really cool holiday.... or do something else with it to help yourself feel happy. I have dreams of one day going on a trip to another country and having lessons for a month with someone whose dancing I really admire....a long away dream, I don't even own a passport:rofl:
 
#9
I'm tired of the dance doldrums. ...What's hard is that I'm pretty sure walking away would be like cutting off my own arm :(
Not sure if this help at all as I haven’t had dance doldrums, but I used to get swimming/water polo doldrums when I played them competitively growing up. Towards my senior year of college, I’d have the exact same feeling of “I’m so glad I’m not doing that” when I’d go watch my friends compete in other meets or tournaments my team wasn’t a part of.

I knew I still liked both sports (I still play both today) but for whatever reason the thought of getting in the pool and competing grated on me so much that I thought about quitting constantly.

To make a longish story short, what got me through it was writing. I took 15-30 minutes just before bed and just journaled specifically about water polo/swimming. How my practices were going, what about them was good/bad, how I felt during them, etc. While it didn’t clear things up immediately, it did help me get to the root of my issue and once I found that out I was able to deal with it much more proactively.
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
#10
Thank you all. In reply to some of the points:

I do have a dance journal (not the same as my practice and lesson notebook) where I've been working through some of this stuff. I'm fairly clear on what is bothering me... it's the 'how to fix it' part of things that has me stuck. In the meantime, I'm telling myself that's it's ok to be in the dance doldrums for a bit, as long as I don't start wallowing in them.

I have been on a bit of a break. Haven't competed since August, skipped the December show season, did only lessons (and ballet/gym) for about 6 weeks, took a couple of weeks off completely... the engines have not re-started, likely because the things that put me in the doldrums in the first place are still there. Despite working with a psychologist with the cash I freed up from this break, I haven't managed to reframe the situation in my head.

I seem to be happy in ballet and in my latin classes, and reasonably so in my standard lessons as long as we are dancing and not talking... that (together with watching open amateur standard on the weekend, which was the first time I've been able to watch it in a while without getting upset - progress?) make me sure that I still want to dance - to be specific, standard, and competitively. It's the mismatch between what I want and what I'm forced to settle for as my best available option that are causing the funk.
 

SwingingAlong

Well-Known Member
#11
...... It's the mismatch between what I want and what I'm forced to settle for as my best available option that are causing the funk.
Oh YEAH. I hear you. Nice to know our advice was all on the right track and was stuff you are already doing, yay!! Here is a story that may be helpful, since I relate to so many things you have said since i started reading the forums. I told the story to my psychologist recently, and he was delighted by it, having never come across it. A long time ago, a friend told me about using the idea of a ship's crew as the basis for "self". How one of the crew is usually in charge, with the other members (facets of personality if you like) being secondary to the captain. How you can mentally open up the hatches, and go poking around down in the hold, in case one of the crew is hiding out, in case there are stowaways, or maybe even a mutiny brewing (sounds like this is what you've been dealing with). I found a few crew members hidden in corners at one point when I was going through a really bad patch, one curled up so small, hidden so deeply in a crack the she really took a bit of work to winkle out..... turned out she was my dance self, which had been ignored for a few years - letting her out into the light, and renewing my love of dance has been an amazing journey. So, allowing all of the crew a voice, in any small way, has been immensely helpful to me when I'm "needing to reframe" something........ sometimes a new idea pops up from someone who doesn't usually say much, and the resolution becomes easy. I do try to lock them in the cargo hold when shoe shopping however, it's too hard to choose otherwise, as they all would like a different pair :rofl:. So, I guess my question would be, at first glance it looks like you know what is causing the issue, but are you sure there isn't someone else down in the hold in a snit, saying "it's not fair. She gets all the time to go dancing and I WANT A TURN"...... your job to find out if it's true or not...... and how many people are in your crew, how well you know them and who else you can dig up that you didn't know about. I have 7 distinct members:inlove:
 
#12
... watching open amateur standard on the weekend, which was the first time I've been able to watch it in a while without getting upset ...
Would it help to share why watching open amateur standard upsets you?

I love to watch Open Amateur Standard even though I doubt I will ever reach that level myself. I do expect my current partner to reach that level, but after he has passed me up in ability. I accept that. But if I were as young as you, or if I were at Open level like you are, then watching it could be upsetting.

I posted on this thread earlier that I was out of the doldrums. But last weekend I did video feedback, dancing solo. Now I'm keeping @SwingingAlong 's crew company, hiding in the bilge pump.
 

JudeMorrigan

Well-Known Member
#13
Not counting the occasional cha-cha-basic-while-brushing-my teeth and the like, it's been over six months now since I've danced. At all. I keep identifying dances or workshops I should go to ... and then finding excuses to not go. As much as I'm appreciating the appreciation of my bank account, I really do need to kick myself in the butt and get out there more. Or at all.
 

SwingingAlong

Well-Known Member
#14
..... I did video feedback, dancing solo. Now I'm keeping SwingingAlong 's crew company, hiding in the bilge pump.
The bilge pump is the best place for nutting out creative plans. Don't be deceived by the apparent blackness - it's like compost, the secret nurturer of future growth.
So, then you look at you video feedback in slow motion, and nut out what you want to work on. So what if the first list is as long as your arm. Chop it up into sections, stick them in a bag, and pick out one thing each day, like a lucky dip. Practice it while filming. Slow it down, chop it up, repeat. After a while, you start to see a line you like, a foot position that's good, heels and toes in the correct sequence - then, after 6 months, you compare your recent video with the one from 6 months back, and you will see a visible improvement. I have just been doing this myself. I looked at a video of my practice from 2 years ago, a few days before I was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. I compared it with one I did yesterday - and well goodness me, even through my length of stride is less (15 months of chemo meant hardly any dancing and a significant loss in fitness), my dancing posture has improved, my arm lines are almost back to where they were before 2 frozen shoulders put them into weird shapes, and I am looking the best I have in a very long time. Even my hair is.... um.... kinda cute. Wildly, exuberantly curly, when it used to be really long with a slight wave. Sure, I yearn to do competition. But most days, being alive and well is enough.

Take that, Dance Doldrums:punch:
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
#15
Would it help to share why watching open amateur standard upsets you?
It's pretty simple - I want to be out there too, and I've worked hard enough that I feel like I deserve to be.

I find that it's hard to watch people that I would be competitive with (at least in the earlier rounds - there's absolutely no way I would have made the final at that event) and to not even be able to enter. Until this past weekend, I'd been unable to watch it for about a year because it would just make me cry/resentful/undo all the mental work I've been doing to try to reset my brain.
 

scullystwin42

Well-Known Member
#16
The title of this thread resonated with me, and I started to wonder if i'm experiencing it as well. i spent some time thinking about it, and i think it's more the extra driving that i have to do to get to my studio that is wearing on me, and the knee pain i'm suffering. It's hard to work out too, as i know i'll have to deal with the pain aftermath. so less about being in a dance clump and more about an injury slump, i guess.
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
#17
[QUOTE="scullystwin42, post: 1109394, member: 4195"the knee pain i'm suffering[/QUOTE]

My experience with knee pain is that I have to be very careful. Some things I can work through, but knee pain deserves physical therapy, etc. (I have exercises prescribed to me from an earlier incident, but I don't always do them :eek:. I kick into gear if I start having pain.) I also have unconsciously protected my knee and developed bad habits that took eons to fix. If nothing else, try to be very aware of what you are doing!
 

scullystwin42

Well-Known Member
#18
Thanks, @RiseNFall :). This is stemming from an old torn ACL injury and repair from back when i was a teenager in gymnastics. early arthritis and some muscle group uneven-ness has been plaguing me for about 10 months, and i am on my second round of physical therapy in 4 months. i am right there with you with the being careful - i once made a visiting coach completely re-choreograph a show dance number because he put a bunch of drops on the leg with the bad knee. AFTER i told him i had a specific physical limitation. *eyeroll* it does put a damper on the energy and enthusiasm for dance sometimes, tho.
 

SwingingAlong

Well-Known Member
#19
wishing for a "sympathy" button here. "like" kinda gives the wrong impression!
It's pretty simple - I want to be out there too, and I've worked hard enough that I feel like I deserve to be
It's a shame that the Pro-Am couples can't compete "hors concours" in open amateur.... and get marked so they have a comparison for where they would sit.... not an answer I know, sigh:sorry:
 

3wishes

Well-Known Member
#20
Well, I am so in there with everyone. Came back from Texas after Christmas and became a professional sofa sitter with remote control. Literally didn’t budge out of the house.....at all. January passed, first part of Feb, DH gently asked.....what’s up you haven’t even visited the studio for any reason. Just now starting to wake up and thinking about new challenges, maybe Bollywood, really, fast/furious and good exercise. Serious “don’t care and glad I’m not competing” vibe going on.
 

Dance Ads

Top