What do I want from my dancing? What do I want when I step out on the competition floor? It’s very simple. I want to do my best, I want to be the best, and I want to win. I want my dancing to have Carmen precision and Yulia passion. I want to take the stage like the greatest ballroom dancers do, ready to create my own magnificent story. I want to walk in, light up the room, and conquer.
What do I expect from my dancing? What do I expect when I step out on to the competition floor? Well, that’s a different matter. To want something is to desire it; to expect something is to anticipate it or to lay claim to it as your own. I certainly don’t anticipate that my movements will be as precise or as captivating as some of the greatest professional dancers of all time. To expect that would be unreasonable; I’m not at their level. Nor do I expect to win every competition or even a single round. While I’d love to lay claim to the win, I must wait to be awarded it first. Being awarded the win is not entirely under my control. Yes, I have to work for it. I must train hard and perform well, but, ultimately, it’s up to the judges and who they think shines the brightest in the room.
So, here’s the catch. It’s easy to develop expectations from previous experiences. If you’re accustomed to losing, you might anticipate coming in last place. If you’re accustomed to winning, you might anticipate coming out on top. It would be wrong to say that these expectations are entirely unreasonable; after all, any expectation, be it in ballroom dancing or bumper car driving, is built from experiences. For that matter, we anticipate that our coffee makers will have a freshly brewed pot ready for our weary, morning eyes, if we’ve programmed the timer right. Each morning brew confirms our expectation of success. If you develop an expectation based on how well or poorly you’ve performed previously, you’re not crazy. You’re human. However, it’s important to recognize anticipating a win or a loss in ballroom dancing is unhelpful. It’s unhelpful because it’s distracting.
When we set the coffee pot to brew at 7:00am, load it with a luscious grind, fill it with water and turn it on, we’ve done everything we can to ensure the desired outcome. There’s nothing more we can focus on to make a better brew. We can simply wait for our cup. When we anticipate a win or a loss in ballroom dancing, we tend to focus on our ranking rather than our bodies, our spirits, our partners and our steps. Anticipating the outcome is okay for brewing coffee, but not for dancing. Dancing is about being in the moment. If you want your story to be authentic and magnificent, then each movement itself must be your goal.
Manager and Student at Ballroom & Beyond