The Power of Something

Procrastinating is easy, especially when something is difficult or time-consuming. We let ourselves off the hook now by promising to do the work later. I always tell myself that I’ll get around to it tomorrow — but sometimes, tomorrow doesn’t end up being tomorrow, or the day after, or even the day after that. Sometimes weeks go by before I get to something, because doing a little something isn’t worth it. No time to run a 5K? Then I’ll run tomorrow. No time to write a full chapter of my novel? I’ll write tomorrow instead. Starting and finishing an activity on separate days made me feel like I wasn’t giving it my full attention.

Never mind productivity, that insisting on completion might mean I wouldn’t write a blog post for three months, or that because I wasn’t running at all, I’d gain weight — anything less than complete was partial credit. It wasn’t worth my time.

Sneaker in the sun

Photo Credit: Paolo Negri

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Know Your Limits

We had screwed up.

A local orchestra had asked us to accompany one of their songs with a waltz showcase in an upcoming performance, and they were specifically looking for an amateur couple. My partner and I were honored and excited, so of course we said yes. We’d connected with the orchestra director and examined the stage. We’d set aside time to choreograph.

But now, as we were listening to the music, we discovered that the song was actually a Viennese waltz, a much faster dance that required more space — and stamina and knowledge — than we had. Six minutes of Viennese? Could we survive? Would it get too repetitive? How would we fit the steps onto a small stage? Could we dance a regular-speed waltz instead? Was it too late to back out?

We had screwed up — and now we had to deal with the consequences.

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An Exercise in Futility: Holy Cross 2016

February 7th was my latest ballroom competition at the College of the Holy Cross. It’s the farthest one I travel to, an all-day affair though my partner and I only compete in American smooth and rhythm. Though I wouldn’t classify us as Silver dancers, there’s a time-out rule in certain collegiate comps: if you’ve danced in Bronze for more than a year and a half, you have to move up. So even though we’re intermediate Bronze at best, we registered for Silver.

In theory, this seemed like a good idea, a good way to practice with higher-level competitors. In practice, not so much.

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Gettin’ Crafty: How to Add Rhinestones to a Dress

A good ballroom dance dress can cost upwards of $1000 – and dancers who compete in more than one style will need more than one. I dance in American smooth and American rhythm: the former requires a long dress and the latter a knee-length. I don’t have a grand or two laying around, so I set out to find a cheaper option and stumbled across a figure skater’s how-to guide on a process called stoning.

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How Ballroom Dancing Redefined Femininity (for me, anyway)

If I had to summarize my personality in one word, I’d choose “tomboy” — in high school, I played competitive tennis. In college, I bought a motorcycle. No one taught me how to apply make-up and pink, sparkly clothes aren’t my thing. Despite this, I somehow ended up learning ballroom dance. Willingly!

Yale Ballroom Competition 2015: American Rhythm

Photo Credit: Jim Parker, 2015

Though far from Dancing with the Stars material, I dance in three collegiate competitions a year. This means make-up, pantyhose, high heels, and dresses with enough rhinestones to elicit jealousy from the makers of the BeDazzler. How the heck did I go from tomboy to the dance floor? Continue reading