Welcome to the end of August at Life of a Catholic Librarian, friends, and I cannot believe how quickly this summer flew by! My kids go back to school next week after the holiday, each of them, for the first time in several years, going to a separate school building (Henry's of the high school variety), Henry has a smartphone for the first time in his entire life, and Mike and I have been back to our fall semester schedules since this past Monday. My crazy teaching load won't start up again for a few more weeks, so thank goodness for small favors.
I've been battling some anxiety about all of these changes, and I've also been battling a persistent muscle pull in my left calf. With the dance competition less than a month away, I'm pretty much freaking out. :-0 I finally took the initiative to see an orthopaedist about it, and initial diagnosis is quite good. He doesn't think it's anything more serious than a simple strained muscle, and recommended physical therapy. I start next week, and am feeling very encouraged by it. I've also been working on my own to strengthen that lower leg, since it's now somewhat weaker than the other one.
You could say that I have a lot of trepidation moving into September. I'm doing my best with it, but it's definitely been a significant challenge in my adult life.
As September 1st looms, I'm burying my head in the sand and not looking at the calendar. 😂 My dance competition finals are Saturday, September 21st. I'm telling myself that it'll just be a wonderful learning experience, I've already benefitted greatly from the preparation process, and that I'll likely not place in the top 3. And seriously, that would be fine. I'm thrilled to have been selected as a finalist, and I need to keep my expectations low. It's an international competition, that's a really big deal! If the reality exceeds them, well, that's gravy, but it probably won't.
I've been working on my piece since late January. Time limit is 3 minutes, so I had to select and cut music, and choreograph a dance. Let me tell you, it was HARD. I'm a belly dancer, and I love to improvise. That's an important part of this dance form. I found planning out a piece to be much more difficult than I anticipated! I used to choreograph solo pieces to perform at haflas when I was new to soloing, and so I thought it wouldn't be a big deal to go back to doing it just this once. Yikes! Nope, it's difficult to plan out a choreography, especially when you want to use it to show the entire range of your dancing abilities in 3 minutes.
Finally, in May, I had a version I was pretty happy with. I filmed the video, amusing anecdotes and all, and submitted it. As much as I had enjoyed the process, and working with one of my instructors who mentored me through it all, I was so glad to not have to practice that dance anymore. :-0
My reprieve lasted a month, when I found out that I had been selected as a finalist. This means that you now have to perform live in the finals. You can perform the piece you did in your video, or something else entirely, it's up to you, and it's a whole new panel of judges. With less than 3 months between then and the finals, I did NOT want to come up with entirely new material. So I'm using my video piece; however, it's been heavily modified based upon judges' feedback and my own fussiness about things I decided that I hated. 😂 It's silly, because the piece is done, it's been honed and revamped based on excellent and detailed feedback, I've been practicing it for months in terms of fine tuning my technique and other nuances, yet I still feel so unprepared.
I suppose that's how it will always be with these sorts of things. When you care about what you do, you always feel like it could be better. I also hope that, on the day of the performance, my nerves don't interfere with my ability to do my best. Tha's what everyone always worries about, yes? It's a Catch 22. You're nervous because you want to perform to your fullest potential, but your nerves interfere wtih your ability to perform to your fullest potential. Stinks, but it's part of the human condition.
So, that's that. I rehearse my piece every single day, and indeed, after the finals, I will be relieved to NEVER DANCE THAT CHOREOGRAPHY EVER AGAIN! :-0 I'm dancing at the party after the finals are over, and how I delight in being able to improvise and do whatever I want, ha ha!
I'll keep you posted, but truly, it's OK no matter what. If you don't challenge yourself, you'll never grow. You might be more comfortable (as my poor stomach can attest) but you'll be letting yourself down if you don't at least try. We'll see what happens. But no matter what, on September 22nd, I'm laying on the couch all day, drinking beer, eating pizza, and watching football. :-0
How is your August wrapping up, dear friends?