I haven’t posted for a while, I am sorry, but I got distracted for a while. I had some changes this year. I hired a new instructor to dance with and we started in April 2012 to learn five routines in open gold level. To remind you my five latin dances are Chacha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive. We focused first on the first three routines, then in July and August I got to learn the last two. I haven’t competed at that pointed since Holiday Classic in Vegas in December 2011. We agreed to compete for the first time in gold level, in Arizona. The competition called Galaxy and it’s held in September every year. Nine months without competing was so hard. I can’t explain this addiction and the thirst for the this thrill and excitement. I am hooked ladies and gentlemen. It was tough not to compete that long, I felt depressed and sad occasionally. Dancing feeds my soul and helps me be the person I am today. I’m scared to say this , but dancing is MY LIFE.
Galaxy competition was great, I placed 2nd though I did not realize the amount of energy and stamina needed to dance open. I had some difficulties.My left toe cramped on me. I was praying that I could release that toe and stop the pain before I do the scholarship, which is the finals. Thank God, I made it through the dance, my left foot was hurting but I ignored it and kept dancing. Another chocker was that I didn’t realize that bumping into another couple on the floor is a possibility because there is a lot of change of directions and solo pieces.So that is exactly what happened and I stood on the floor not knowing what to do , since someone was blocking my solo. My instructor managed to continue the routine and put me back on track. My biggest embarrassment in this competition , was when I started counting loud while dancing. luckily it was a small piece. I was chocked at myself because this is something I NEVER do. The dress I wore was a rental one. It was beautiful, yellow color and had some feathers. The top is supposed to be hooked to the skirt and of course while dancing that hook went loose and I felt the top moving and revealing my stomach area. Something I don’t mind if I had the perfect body. Those were the aqua-rd moments that I remember in Galaxy. Yet I got 2nd place, so I must have done something right.
I have to say goodnight, will tell you more next time for my upcoming competition.
I’m sitting in my bed and thinking that it has been a while since my last blog. Tomorrow I have to be at work at 6am. Yes, don’t envy me please. I’m going to cut this little short , so I hope you don’t mind. My bag of Seedless raisins is next to me.I chose to eat it and not fall into the chocolate trap. What is it with me and chocolate?, very simple I’m very addicted to it and it changes my mood so quickly. I notice that when I eat chocolate, I stop drinking water and I have a swingy mood. So watch out for those mood swings and don’t feed me chocolate please.
On last Saturday I contacted the photographer Garry Wilmore and planned a last minute photo shoot that we did on Sunday. Reason for that is that I was tanned enough for it. I know sounds very silly, but I will explain.I competed on Saturday at the USA dance sport challenge. So as usual I pro tan at home a day before the competition. Since my body had a good color, I thought that the photo shoot would be perfect to do. I met Garry at a dance showcase last year and I saw his shots , he gets great photos. You can check his work on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/86013963@N00. He has a great portfolio.
I had two things back to back going on last weekend and I was very pleased with the results. If you wonder why am I doing those photo shoots, the answer is obvious : I LOVE TAKING PICTURES . Now that I got that off my chest, I do wish that I get paid for that. But , since I’m rich and I really don’t need the money , I will just do it for fun. I hope you hear the sarcasm in my voice?, oh wait this is a blog ! never mind.
One of the poses that I loved and I challenged myself to do, is to try to use my core and leg strengh to sit in 90 degrees angle and yet sit on what we call ” tipi toes”. The challenge was using the light stand as a support and pressuring my toes to a solid concrete ground. I kept thinking that this has to look EFFORTLESS, like dancing, I cannot show that I’m tensing any muscles. I wanted it to look as if I’m relaxed though I’m not. As you see this is inspired by a dancing move . Dancing, dancing, dancing!
I’m going to bed now, goodnight
As I promised in my first blog, I will share with you my FIRST PLACE competition in Vegas. So no it is not about my wild parties in Vegas, though I might share with you some small secrets!
After my Bronze competition in May 2011, I had a new instructor, as you know by now his name Igor and we decided to work on Silver level. Silver level is higher than bronze, meaning there are more patterns in the routine and the judges look for more than just hitting the steps on time. My other instructor Inna from the same studio (http://www.imperialballroomdance.com/), which I do group classes with every Tuesday, allowed me to rent her gold dress. Inna also did my hair and make up for the competition.
I started training with Igor around end of June and took a break on my birthday the 40th, flew to Europe and to be specific to Amsterdam and Paris, where I spent the best ten days of my life, celebrating my birthday evening with my sisters at MOULIN ROUGE in Paris , http://www.moulinrouge.fr/, but that is a whole new story that maybe I should dedicate a blog for it. I came back from Paris and went back to my normal daily life, which by the way was very difficult . I learned and practiced with Igor the whole time and we danced more intensively towards December.
It was time to fly to Vegas and two great friends from work decided to join my journey, Claudia and Cynthia. It was so much fun from the moment they arrived to the hotel.
We ended up spending the whole weekend in Vegas after the competition. So yes we did party one night wildly and to tell you a secret, I was five feet away from Karina Smirnoff, the professional dancer from “Dancing with the Stars” show, while she was partying with her friends. In this competition , I saw four professionals from “Dancing with the Stars”, which made the experience even better.
The most exciting moment was when I was preparing myself to go to dance on the floor. The first dance was the Chacha. I cannot describe all the nerves and excitement going through my mind at the same time. I danced the first dance and I’m sure I messed up somewhere. Immediately after the first dance we did the second dance the Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble and the last one was the Jive. Let me describe the feeling after doing all these five dances in a row and after the last killer dance the Jive. I felt I’m going to throw up big time. I was holding Igor’s hand on the floor and whispering, I’m going to throw up and I was not kidding. Another unexpected thing occurred is that I had a neckless glued to my forehead that Inna installed earlier, it started dangling while I’m dancing on the floor. The glue was not strong enough to keep that big stone on my forehead steady. While I’m dancing and competing I was thinking “GREAT”, of course with sarcasm. Meanwhile dancing, my amazing girl friends were screaming my name and saying “Go Sam” and that was a great feeling to have that someone was sitting there cheering for me. For clarification Sam is for Samantha, a nick name I use at work.
We did the first five dances, then we had to repeat them again, because we were chosen from Semi finals to dance the finals. For me that was a great accomplishment already. It meant we had to compete again with less dancers on the floor. This time my girlfriend Claudia made sure that this stone on my forehead was super glued. Just to let you know I had glue on my front head and my hair and it took forever to clean it up after the competition. We competed the five dances again, this time nothing was dangling on my head, but the throwing up feeling was there again.
After dancing ten times we had a break . It was nice , I mingled with my friends and ate my banana which was my meal for that day. They called the dancers to the floor to announce the winners, first , second and third place in those single dances. I had no expectations what so ever, I felt very curious at that moment to see who the judges picked. So they announced the third place winner and then I heard my name as a second place winner for the first single the Chacha. For clarification there are no prizes for single dances , it is just to let you know who danced the best. When I heard the words second place, I thought to myself ok, sounds like I might end up second or third place. After that immediately they continued to announce the winner. I got first place for the second dance the samba, then I could not believe my ears when they kept calling my name as the winner for almost every single. We ended up placing first place in eight dances and second place in two dances. I was very pleased and smiling form ear to ear, it was more than I imagined. Later Igor, explained to me that the first dance was the Chacha and the judges did not know me and did not have enough time to see me, that is why I got the second place. The other second place I got was in Paso Doble, Igor explained to me that I was not moving enough, it wasn’t that good. Little that I knew that those singles were basically an introduction to the judges to get to know the dancers and usually they are a good prediction to the winners of the Scholarship competition.
After this small ceremony which I got ten stickers representing the ten dances, eight saying the number 1 and two the number 2 .
We had about two hours break, so I rested and spent it with my girl friends. After that it was time for the scholarship competition. This scholarship competition had only four dances. In Bronze level the scholarship has three dances, in Silver four and in Gold five dances. My scholarship dances in silver were Chacha, Samba, Rumba and Paso Doble. I was pleased that I didn’t have to do the “killer” Jive again. We got to the flour again to participate in the Semi finals round , feeling excited and nervous at the same time. Igor told me this is it, give it all. I was very competitive inside and was ready to dance. We did the four dances in a row. Then they called us back for finals and we did the four dances again.
Notice: When you watch me dance the Samba, the second dance , Anna Trebunskaya wearing a grey suit judging the dancers.
One of the coolest things I experienced was that Anna Trebunskaya was one of the judges in the scholarship. Anna is a professional dancer from the big show “Dancing with the Stars”. I remember a nice moment when I was dancing the Rumba and it happened to be a good song that I was in the moment dancing with all my emotions and I saw the judge smiling. As a dancer I really feel I could dance better if I connect to the song, but of course if I say that to Igor, he will say, “you have to dance on every song the same way”. So don’t tell him I said that ! Please!
Time for the winning announcements, all couples stood on the floor and I was holding Igor’s hand very nervous and anxious to know. They announced the 7th place, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd and so far I did not hear my name. This is when I was thinking ” PLEASE GOD! NOT THE SECOND PLACE!”, then I heard 2nd place a different name than mine and then I knew I won, I heard for the first place “Ghada and Igor” . I would say that was one of the happiest moments of my life. I cannot describe the feeling. The best part was when Anna Tribunskaya handed me the envelope and said ” you did a great job”. What an Honor to hear that from her. I turned to leave the floor, when Igor grabed my hand and said , we had to stay to take the photo of the winners. So we stood the first in line next to the judges and took the winning photo.
We left the floor and suddenly I heard “GHADA” , It was Inna walking towards me and hugging me and I could not help it but break in tears. No one knew how I felt inside, this winning was a big proof that I can do it, with all the difficulties and the late nights working and practicing in addition to being a parent. How I longed for this moment, to compete and win. If I go back five years , I used to look up to those competitive dancers and envy them for their ability to compete and wear all those fancy dresses. I cannot believe that I made it this far.
After winning, me and my friends hung out in Vegas, we partied that night and enjoyed wandering around Vegas the next day. On Sunday we shared a ride with Claudia and drove home. This was a great experience and now that I tasted winning, I want MORE.
Stay tuned for more about my Gold level dancing.
Yes I love ABBA song, dancing queen, that is me or me in the future?, I’m back readers with more about my progress.
After the crazy week of wedding and partying, I shifted my focus back to dance. This time dancing lessons were not enough. I added to it weekly routines such as: going to the gym to do my one hour work out, whenever I can. I also started my diet, eliminating chocolate from my menu. This was a big pain , I am addicted to chocolate. If you don’t know about my addiction, then you will probably learn about it, because I cannot miss saying the “CH” world (chocolate), every now and then. I started eating a lot of protein, salads and of course lots and lots of caffeine. I know, I know I cannot be perfect!
My one hour work out at the gym, gives me that extra attention to my body condition. My work out consists of four quarters. The first fifteen minutes, I run to warm up. The second, I do abs exercises on the mattress, since dancing requires strong abs and core. The third ,I do upper body by lifting light weights and targeting my upper back , since it is my weakest area,this helps me reduce the severeness of my neck injury. My favorite part is the last fifteen minutes and it is stretching, it helps me be more flexible for my dancing. Last week I only did this particular work out twice. I wish I could have done more, but that is better than nothing.
It was a great week full of dance and dedication.Yesterday I had a great practice with IGOR, we did the Rumba and it was amazing. What I love about IGOR (my instructor) from http://www.imperialballroomdance.com/ (feel free to check their website), is his dedication to push me to be a better dancer and dance like the professional dancers. Of course that is really what I want, I don’t want just to be a “good” dancer , I want to be a “great” dancer. Only time and hard work will tell! I hope.
Moving to another subject, not really!, I wanted to show you my progress on my amateur latin dress.I did not think that there will come the time to wear it, but I was wrong.I was invited and asked to compete in April 14, 2012 , in the “DANCE SPORT CHALLENGE” competition . This competition is a local one and on a smaller scale, organized by the Phoenix USA Dance,http://www.phoenixusadance.org/dancesport_challenge.html, feel free to check their website and events. I have been a member with them for years, I’ve done many charity events. Those events always made me feel good, first because I got to SHOW OFF , of course, but also because I get to do good to community and make people happy and smile. I used to be more active with the organization , but since I got into the PRO/AM competitions, I haven’t done as much. But I am going to go to this competition and wear my amateur latin dress, finally!
In my “dress drama” blog, (feel free to to go back and read it), I told the story about this dress. Please watch this small video I prepared documenting my progress on the dress.
Alright , I have so much to do and so little time as you see, so stay tuned for more about my next competition.
My dear readers,
It’s been almost ten days with no post from me. It was a period of time full of let’s call it “action” .My last lesson was the RUMBA. I was so excited because the new open routine was coming along so well. I felt so good about the lesson with IGOR, I was telling my friends and family how happy I was with the progress. I woke up the next morning and got ready to go to work. Suddenly I felt a pressure and tense in the mid upper back below my neck. My thoughts were:”please God, not now, stop, stop…” . Sure enough my neck muscles cramped. I did everything I could to stop it from progressing, I stretched, iced, took a hot shower but NO! this muscle was too angry with me.
Reality hit me and this time I said to myself, I’m not going to do the same mistake I’ve done in the past. I will not dance, I’m going to let it heal first. It took longer than I expected for it to loosen up. I had big weekend ahead of me too. So the big plans were including my friend coming from another state and joining me for a weekend of fun and a family wedding. So let’s say NO DANCING!
Did I really not dance?
I pick up my friend from the airport on thursday night and we end up in A salsa club, having a latin night. It is a small cozy restaurant called Zendejas http://zendejasgrill.com/index.html. I ended up dancing all night and of course forgetting all about my neck problem.
Friday , a bunch of friends and me took my friend out to a scottsdale night out, dinner then dancing ! Again I broke the rules and danced all night at the club.
Saturday night was the big wedding. My second cousin got married and we had a wedding party which had interestingly two ethnicities, Mexican and Arabic. So we ended up dancing some latin and belly dancing.
I got up with my friend on Sunday morning and went to hike the Camelback mountain, beaten up after three nights in a row of dancing and fun. At that point I still had issues with my neck and it got a little worse.I felt so guilty because i did not let my body heal and I had to go back to practice on Monday. I could not have any excuse for that now.
Monday practice was the Rumba dance, I told my instructor about my neck so we had to do something light with no intense. My instructor kept saying “What did you do to your neck?” he really knew about my weekend and little he knows about me he guessed I danced wildly!
We are back to practice now, we had a chat about the Emralds competition. We have three routines that are ready and we are missing two more to complete the scholarship. Stay tuned to know what are we going to do…