Energy Vampires – Gratitude?

Energy Vampires – Gratitude?


Some days we have it, some days we don’t.


For the past couple of weeks, mostly I don’t.   It’s been a roller coaster ride observing my energy – or lack there of.   I am not used to being “under the weather” so the past month has been a real lesson in patience as I recover from multiple minor health issues.


I did manage to squeeze in a fabulous coaching session (more on that in another post) with one of our external dance coaches, but I’ve canceled more lessons in this past month than I can ever remember – and I’ve been dancing almost 12 years.


And just the thought of practicing made me curl up in my bed.   Wow – just taking a shower was an effort.


So now that my health has drastically improved, I realize how fortunate I am.   I am filled with gratitude that my body is healing, that I have the luxury of full movement, that I can get back to practicing, that I can look forward to dance lessons.


I am filled with gratitude that I have the opportunity to learn from expert coaches, that I have an instructor who sees no limits and pushes me to do my best. And I am most grateful for a spouse who supports me in all my dreams – and who dances with me.


I am ready to dance!!!


The spirit is willing, the body not so much


The spirit is willing, body not so much.  


I was reminded again the past couple of weeks of our mind body connection.     And how much we really do need to listen to our bodies.


Earlier this year, I re-committed to this blog, with the intent that I would post a minimum of 3-4 times a month.   As many bloggers know, we start off with a bang and then either life interferes or we get distracted…and the time between posts gets longer and longer.


And I was doing pretty well, making regular posts – even had a plan on the kinds of future posts I was going to do. That is, until Mother Nature threw me one of her curve balls in the form of a rapid onset of the flu. Fortunately, I managed to limp through a mild case, with the help of herbal teas, some whiskey and honey, and Vicks VapoRub.


What came as a real surprise, though, was how foggy my brain was for several days post symptoms. I wanted to write, felt like I had some ideas but the very thought of writing made my brain tired.   And perish the thought of any lessons or physical practice.


In years past, I might have pushed through and not listened to my body – I might have tried to take that lesson or forced myself to practice.   This time, my body said “No” and I listened.   I rested, I gave my brain a rest and I slept.


And while I’m not 100% yet (almost), I am actually re-energized, excited about writing, practicing and dancing.


Post Showcase – New Insights



Post Showcase – New Insights

Back to my word for the year, DANCE, as I play with acronyms.   Here’s the latest:

D Demanding

A Athletic

N Necessary

C Conditioning

E Enterprise

Dance is a demanding, athletic, necessary, conditioning enterprise.   How many times do we have to remind ourselves to practice?   As with any other skill set, improvement comes with consistent practice, yet like working out, how often do we make excuses?

Personally, I seem to go in spurts.   For several months leading up to my most recent showcase, was able to get myself to the studio a minimum of two times/week to practice before any lessons.   While I did concentrate mostly on the showcase routine, I also spent time practicing competition routines or even the minutia of certain techniques.

After the showcase, despite its success, for at least 3 weeks, I could hardly get moving.   I even have a small practice area at home (my living room which was obviously decorated during the holidays) and yet even at home, I have been hit or miss.   I can’t even use illness as an excuse as I’m perfectly healthy.

What I finally realized is that other areas of my life have been impinging on my mental focus.   For example, it’s hard to get motivated to practice when one is worried about the health of a loved one or how to generate more business.   I re-discovered the mind-body connection – in this case, my mental state was impacting my body – I wasn’t sleeping well and had no energy.

The good news is that once I recognized what was going on, I was able to motivate myself to do a short practice – which led to another practice – and so on. Again, re-discovering the irony is in the situation — that practice can also help positively alter one’s mental state.

And who thought that dance would lead to such introspection?



Another Showcase

Another Showcase


I might have mentioned that I was having a hard time getting my head into the game for our studio’s winter showcase (think adult recital where students learn a choreographed routine and then perform for an audience).


While I loved most of the routine, which also included some good challenges for developing additional skills, my heart just wasn’t totally engaged so I waivered between being excited and feeling obligated.   After almost 11 years of doing showcases, this place was new – I’d previously been terrified, excited, passionate but never blah about a showcase.   I couldn’t get enthused about costumes, hair, etc.


I finally figured out that, while learning new routines to perform is fun, I was stuck in thinking that said showcase practice and lessons was taking away from some other long term goals I have for my dance life.   What’s ironic is that we (my instructor and me) chose this showcase dance specifically to work on advanced technique, etc.


Thankfully, because I have a fabulous instructor with whom I can share thoughts and through some good dialogue with him (plus my last blog post), I was able to re-frame this showcase.   I was finally able to think about this showcase as contributing to my long-term goals.


And what a joy this performance turned out to be.   Not only did I nail it, but we probably executed the best lift (to date) of my dance career.   Needless to say, not only was I ecstatic after the performance, but those feelings lasted well into the next couple of days.   Yeah, I really do love performing.





D Delightful

A Artistically

N Nuanced

C Communication

E Experience


Since DANCE is my word for 2018, I’m having a bit of fun playing around with how I might use DANCE as an acronym (or backcronym, depending on your definition) to keep me focused on the word.


Must admit, even this bit of word play is bringing new and different insights into my dance journey.   For example, I’ve been struggling a bit with a lack of enthusiasm for my next showcase – which is surprising given that I love the music, love choreography and I’m working on technique aimed at long term goals.


Yet, when I started the above acronym, I was actually able to frame the upcoming showcase with a different focus – and regain some much-needed motivation.


Again, just another example of how the mental and physical can positively influence each other. So, in that spirit, I’m off to my last practice before the showcase.






I do not know what the spirit of a philosopher could more wish to be than a good dancer. For the dance is his ideal.   Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche


And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche


As I mentioned in my last post, DANCE is my word for 2018 – to think about, reflect on, etc.   And I also mentioned that I happened upon some interesting dance quotes – like the one above.  While Nietzsche is best known for his philosophical writings on morality, culture, nihilism, etc., I found it fascinating that he also seemed to appreciate dance.


What is it that we dancers “hear” differently? Or feel differently?   What is it in the music that compels us to move our bodies?


I know that when I hear certain tunes, I literally cannot stop myself from expressing the music in my body – even if it’s a restrained toe tap or discreet finger tapping. And if I am in a place where I can’t physically move, I use my imagination and visualize myself moving. And I feel young, energized and alive.


What about you?










It’s a new year and I’m following a suggestion to find a word to meditate and/or journal on for the entire year. After noodling around several words, I landed on the word “dance”.   So my plan is to delve deeper into the meaning of dance for me, as well as different definitions of the word.   In addition to definitions, after a brief internet search I also landed on several quotes about dance – so I already have lots of material to start this project.


Let’s start with a couple of dictionary definitions: move one’s body rhythmically usually to music

2.move rhythmically to music, typically following a set sequence of steps


What do these definitions stimulate in you?


For me, though they are a bit sterile, when I read them, I did immediately imagine my body loosely swaying to some music inside my head. And I felt peaceful, beautiful and free – and this internal dance triggered numerous wonderful memories from my childhood. Below are a few of those memories.


I was 4 years old and I remember wearing a white frilly dress. It was a beautiful, breezy, sunny spring day and I was twirling non-stop until I fell on the fresh, new grass.


Then I’m10 years old and I am playing my mother’s Strauss waltzes on the record player. This music inspires me to leap, twirl, run and spin all over the living room. I imagine myself as a ballerina. Remembering how I played that music over and over again, it’s amazing I didn’t wear out the vinyl records.


Now I’m twelve and dancing to Tarantella with my ballet class at a local dance festival and I’m lucky enough to had a lead role. I was thrilled to be a part of this wonderful event and I remember the dance being light, fun and energetic – albeit a bit more of a folk dance than my penchant for classical ballet.


Again I ask – what do these definitions stimulate in you?









Staying Motivated


Now that we’re past Thanksgiving and preparing for Christmas, I am amazed at how hard it is to get back into practicing.   I have found that I need to be working on a couple of things simultaneously to get motivated to practice – especially when I want to do other things like put up decorations, shop, etc.


For example, right now I’m learning a new showcase routine – one that has been designed to focus on technique that I want to improve.   So I need to both learn the figures (steps) and to execute them effectively, I need to improve my technique.

So when I’m bored with the technique, I can bounce back to simply learning the flow of the figures.


Fortunately my dance coach is also a master at breaking down the technique into micro-chunks so that I can isolate which parts of my body to use to initiate and flow through a specific movement.   Thus he provides great exercises designed to both ensure that my technique becomes consistent, but also eliminates bad habits.


The best part of these exercises – I can do them at home — when I am in hermit mode and don’t want to go to the studio or when I need to squeeze in a few minutes of practice between conference calls or other work related tasks.


And thanks to this post, I hear the next practice session calling, calling, calling…