New Level, New Devil: Unexpected Challenges We Face As We Advance

After winning a World title at the Closed Silver level in American Smooth last year, my teacher and I decided to skip Gold and move straight up to the Open division. A whole new world of possibilities opened up as the syllabus became just a starting point for our dancing, instead of the structure that our dancing had to fit into. Open presented the opportunity to be more creative and build routines that were more uniquely me.

As excited as I was to expand my dance horizons, the first few months of Open lessons were rough! I knew, of course, the choreography was going to be more challenging. I would be learning moves that weren’t necessarily defined by the syllabus or that came with fixed timing. We were going to incorporate more tricks into the routines, like runaround turns where I have one leg lifted up in the air. So my physical strength and flexibility would be tested. 

There were other challenges that I didn’t expect. For example, I didn’t expect it to take me months to understand and remember the Open Waltz choreography. I’ve always been good at memorizing routines, so I couldn’t understand why this routine refused to stick in my brain. Part of the problem is the routine kept changing. More possibilities mean more drafts. Along with the new moves, I had to learn this new process of building our routines, which included completely changing a section after I spent hours practicing it over the previous weekend.

The rules by which I danced were changing or becoming obsolete. I spent years training my body to have fantastic posture in frame. Chest up, shoulders down, head left, etc. But in Open, my upper body was permitted a much greater range of motion. One Smooth coach describes it as a scale from 1 to 10. You could fold all the way forward (1), bend all the way backward (10), be aligned vertically like in a proper closed frame (5) or be anywhere in between. My muscle memory was firmly set at 5, so when my teacher told me I should bend forward more in a move to make it bigger and more dynamic, I heard alarm bells in my head and my body fought the movement.

I had to start unlearning old rules that didn’t apply anymore. It’s similar to going from Bronze-level American Waltz, where you are required to close your feet, to Silver-level American Waltz, where you pass your feet. Maintaining that 5 in your posture is exactly what you need to do in the Closed levels, but it doesn’t make sense for Open where the idea is to be more creative and expressive in your movement.

Another surprise challenge was feeling like I was a beginner again, even after winning a World Champion title. I suppose it was a little like that feeling when you graduate high school as a senior and then start college as a freshman. Suddenly, you’re the new kid again.

I struggled with fresh waves of self-doubt as I tried to memorize changing choreography and adapt to new ways of doing things. I was a World Champion dancer, but moving into Open made me feel like a newcomer.

As dancers, we always have something new to learn or something old to improve on. The education only stops when we do. The most recent chapter in my dance education has included a lot of lessons I didn’t expect, and I’m sure there are many more to come. It doesn’t mean the old chapters or lessons are thrown out; there is just an added challenge of knowing when they will help and when they will hinder the current learning.

Have you recently entered a new level in your dance education? Please share your experience!

Armen Tsaturyan & Svetlana Gudyno Secure 11th WDSF GrandSlam Title

World Champions Armen Tsaturyan and Svetlana Gudyno of Russia secured their 11th WDSF GrandSlam title at the 2019 WDSF GrandSlam Bucharest. It was quite a tight race, especially as seen in the final scoring, with some couples neck-and-neck until the very last dance.

Recap | 2019 WDSF GrandSlam Bucharest Standard

Across the entire globe, the dancing community has been celebrating the victory of the new WDSF Standard GrandSlam Champions, Evaldas Sodeika and Ieva Zukauskaite of Lithuania.

Latin Competitors Flock To Bucharest For First WDSF GrandSlam Of 2019

Dance Masters has been hosting WDSF events for many years, and now the time has come for the competition to make history by hosting the WDSF GrandSlam series for the very first time in the country of Romania! 

Preview | WDSF DanceSport GrandSlam Season Kicks Off In Bucharest

Come along with us and experience a great kick-off to the WDSF GrandSlam series of 2019! Our journey begins in the city also known as “Little Paris”, renowned for its incredibly gorgeous architecture and history. Bucharest is not only the capital of Romania, but also its largest city with a population of more than 2 million. The first GrandSlam leg will be held right here, the first time ever in Romania.

Multiyear Partnership With United Country Western Dance Council

AUSTIN, Texas — March 4, 2019 — Today, FloSports, the innovator in live digital sports and original content, announced a multiyear partnership with the United Country Western Dance Council to provide live and on-demand coverage of UCWDC events, including the Country Dance World Championships through 2023 on FloDance.com.

Watch Guide: 2019 UCWDC Country Dance World Championships Season

From country to swing, from Nashville to Albuquerque, the 2019 UCWDC Country Dance World Championships season is live on FloDance!

Victory Is Yours, Now What?

Your big day has finally arrived. The competition you’ve worked so hard to prepare for is about to begin. You step out and OWN that dance floor! Everything comes together perfectly. You and your dance partner are completely in sync and you’ve never felt more connected to the music. Awards time comes and you’re the winner! You couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.

Bouncing Back After A Big Loss

Let me know if this sounds familiar. You’re a passionate dancer. You work hard in your private lessons and your solo practice. You’ve competed in a few small or local competitions and placed well. Your teacher thinks you’re ready for the big one! You do everything you can to prepare yourself to dominate that dance floor. Then you go and compete, and you lose big time. You may have even danced your best, but the results say the opposite. You return home devastated.

New Year, Another Chance

The New Year has rolled in, bringing with it not only new dreams, goals, and expectations, but also a breath of fresh air for all those who aim to take great strides in the coming months, particularly the athletes of the DanceSport industry. Let’s take a closer look at what the New Year has in store for the dancers, audience members, and World DanceSport Federation as a whole.