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Apr. 3rd, 2007 | 11:54 am
location: Berkeley, CA
mood: grumpygrumpy

x-posted to spinningsteps

The "digital revolution" as it's called started in the office and has worked its way into every aspect of life, including, apparently, ballroom competitions. It began its entry with scrutineering software; Software that eliminated the need for hand scrutineering resulted in much faster turnaround of recalls and awards. It also made publishing marks easier. Then came the incorporation of the PDA to competition judging. Judges have a list of numbers for the event being danced before them and simply check off the numbers they wish to recall (or write in the placement value in the case of the final). Instantaneous scoring. This is convenient for competitors who are then able to know right away if they are to dance the next round, and speeds up the efficiency of awards presentation as awards can be given immediately after a final is danced.

The revolution has now spread to trophies. The "trophies" for SF Open this year were silver-coloured plaques containing the equivalent of a travel alarm clock with a window that had the event name, location and place printed on an inserted piece of paper. I suppose this is to provide competitors with something they can use... for something other than donating to USA Dancesport for reuse in a competition or taking up all that extra space in their closets.

Organizer 1 (looking through trophy catalogue): So, should we just go with the standard marble base and couple in a contra check topper like last year?
Organizer 2: Sounds good. Last year's trophies were very elegant.
Organizer 1: Oh, wait! They have alarm clock photo frames! Let's use those!
Organizer 2: Yes! Our competitors will have something different; they can display them on their desks at the office or their mantles.

Competitor 1 (on seeing "trophy"): Hmmm. I wonder if I can replace the event logo with a photograph...
Competitor 2: Even better. I can sell it on Ebay!

Pardon me, I'm feeling cynical today.

Steve and I placed 5th of 16 couples in Prechamp... It's disappointing after last year, when we were 4th because it feels like at best, we're stagnating and at worst, we're backsliding. Neither of us wants to stagnate in mid-to-low prechamp. But, after looking at the marks and realizing that one mark, one place higher, from one judge in quickstep would have placed us 4th, 5th place hurts a bit less. Also, of 36 marks total (accross 4 dances), 9 had us placed in the top 3. So maybe we're improving after all and we need to spend the next few weeks (high competition season) focusing on improving our consistency. We have moments... but they are moments, not whole rounds, or even whole dances.

As to how the dancing felt, well, the first round felt easy, almost lazy. The second round felt good. The third round ... the waltz and tango felt pretty good, the foxtrot and quickstep suffered from a loss of frame and loss of tone in our bodies. I need to work at not letting that show in my face. From the marks, it looks like we danced each round with different, but comparable issues. I would like to feel like we put more and more energy into each round and dance better and better in each. But, at least now we're finishing rounds without wanting to collapse.

It's easy to make excuses to justify a result that isn't what you'd hoped; if I hadn't been at the tail end of a cold and Steve hadn't been tired from being up all night at a rave, maybe things would have gone better. But there are 1001 reasons people don't dance their best at a comp, and every couple has them and everyone's reasons are different. So the only thing to do really is work harder.

We have started taking our dancing more seriously; we work more on perfecting lines and moments. I think that at this point, we need to start taking competition a little more seriously as well. We need to practice performative aspects along with technical aspects, and work on pushing ourselves to just get through rounds with consistency, to fix mistakes real-time, to keep going when we're tired... to never give up frame and verticality.

And of course, continuity of movement and musicality.

(And hope that we never again have to dance a competitive round to the waltz that Steve can't count. :-))

We've a lot of work ahead of us.

In other news, I am beginning to worry that I'm developing tendonitis in my left big toe. But it's probably more indicative of improper warmup than anything else.

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Comments {4}

(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Apr. 3rd, 2007 11:08 pm (UTC)


At least they went from a hunk of plastic on marble to metal on wood.

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(no subject)

from: shallwedance_
date: Apr. 3rd, 2007 11:08 pm (UTC)

That was me, by the way.

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(no subject)

from: stellae
date: Apr. 4th, 2007 12:08 am (UTC)

Indeed. It's a nice prize, actually. Just not very trophy-like. ;-)

I wonder if I really should sell mine on eBay.

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Fata Morgana

(no subject)

from: chimerically
date: Apr. 4th, 2007 05:38 am (UTC)

Apparently it's the trendy thing to do these days. SBDT's giving out frames for advanced and open, too. And Wei will be taking photos to put in them!

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