The studio is beautifully decorated for the Holidays with gold, silver, and celadon ornaments with opaque tinsel. After seeing the video of the decorations being placed on Instagram I can’t wait to see them in person, so I grab a cup of hot spiced cider and go a couple of hours early to enjoy them and relax before my class. The atmosphere is warm and cheery and many hugs are going around the studio as I catch up with other students, some of whom I haven’t seen in a long time. As they start or continue with their respective classes I take some time to rest my mind and take in my surroundings.

 I have so many beautiful memories in this studio, and am reflecting on my very first class with Antonio and how he was telling me there was so much to learn, and he thought I should continue dancing as he saw my potential.  I remember how overwhelmed I felt after that class, I had just learned the basic step for 7 dances and my only immediate goal was to be able to keep up at the social party that Friday. Today I have achieved all of my goals I have set for myself through dancing, and am continuously moving to different levels. As 2017 is closing, once again the chalkboard of notes in my mind is erased and I feel like I am relearning everything. With each new level in ballroom dance there is a deeper understanding of technique and I am trying to absorb as much as I can before information overload sets in. I am thinking about last week with Antonio, which was pretty intense!! We had a fun warm-up filled with laughter, and then Antonio says two words that I have wrestled with throughout my ballroom existence; those words are “Chase Turns”!  Yes! That one step that took me forever to figure out has yet another level of technique. We break down each part; when I take the step forward I must shift my weight, when I turn I shift my weight again, and take a step forward. We then work on the chase turn figure in Cha-Cha which includes a lock step. After what seems like an eternity drilling that step over and over I am given Chase turns for homework. This attention to detail is what it will take to make me a champion, and Antonio tells me later that he is being specific and drilling me because he sees my potential. By now I have come to expect this focused, disciplined training, and I appreciate it because I see the results it has on my dancing.  I have been in the studio not only for classes but spending an hour here and there completely focused on Chase Turns. As a matter of fact even now I have some time left before class, so now that I feel completely relaxed I start practicing Chase Turns again.

 Finally class begins and today I am working with Maxi. During the warm-ups after Maxi spins me around maybe 20 times? I can’t remember, What I do remember is I  didn’t spot so when I stop spinning I fall down; literally tumble down on my back! When I get up off the floor my head is still spinning and I have to go sit down for a couple of minutes. I am laughing, and other students in the studio are laughing.  Once I am able to catch my breath, Maxi and I start to work on smooth dances. My next test will be a smooth test in the spring so it’s time to start getting ready, the more time and preparation I have, the better my chances for success. Today were are working on the open fan under arm turn. Maxi is reminding me to pass the feet under me with each step and lead with the heel. He shows me how I am making a quarter turn with each step, using the four walls in the studio as a guide. He catches a momentary lapse where I don’t close my feet and laughs because he knows I was trying to sneak the mistake past him, no such luck!  We end class on a good note and I realize at least as far as dancing is concerned, 2018 has started for me.

My life lesson today was that everything I have learned is like drinking a sip of water from the ocean. Even though my education is continually refreshed as a dancer, I have only scratched the surface in the area of technique, and then there are more dances to learn. As I apply this to my life it is always good to not remain complacent but to keep striving for a deeper levels of knowledge, love, and spiritual understanding.

By: Kamaria George (12/12/2017)