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So, new year, new dance competition season. As always, for me the season starts in Bournemouth, and it seemed to start way too soon! In truth it was at the same time of year, the difference this time around was that Christmas Day and New Year’s Day had fallen on the dance lesson days. This meant only one lesson in the year before the competition. It seemed far too little.

Last year I had been fortunate and the number of men dancing in the competition at my level had meant that there was enough for a straight final and that I had automatically qualified for the finals at Blackpool. If I was honest it had felt like a bit of a cheat, but I wasn’t going to complain. In truth I was hoping for the same again! Early qualification does make things more relaxed for the rest of the year!

Sadly numbers were down and we were one short of being able to have a men’s competition. I was going to have to do things the hard way!

This time round the competition was a Waltz for the ballroom and a Cha Cha Cha for the latin. Generally speaking I’m happy with both dances, but I’d managed to develop a quirk in the Waltz where I would put in a step that shouldn’t be there. No idea where it came from, but that’s the way of things. More of the issue was that I’d only had one lesson to get rid of it. The lesson had gone well and it wasn’t there, and the practice on the dance floor beforehand was also ok. You can probably see where this is going! Come the competition itself, it decided to reintroduce itself! I kept going but it wasn’t going to get me through that qualifying round so when my number wasn’t called, I wasn’t too surprised and it was time to get ready for the latin!

I think that although I don’t mind the ballroom dances, if I have a strength, it’s in the latin dances. The Cha Cha Cha is one of the dances you start early on and so by now there were quite a good routine lined up and variations on certain moves and combinations. My instructor felt it had gone well and now all I had to do was wait for the next round to be called. Time dragged but eventually the time came, and my number wasn’t called. This time there was more surprise, especially from the instructor I had danced with. Judging can be very subjective and with a lot of people on the dance floor (more than normal) it’s possible in the 2 minutes that you have, to be missed. It is also a fact that the ladies have more ‘showy’ steps in general so are easier to notice. (That is one of the reasons it’s nice to have a men’s competition as you are being judged against similar steps). Nothing I can do about it though, so just have to improve!

What it does give me is a target for the next competition. Also a plan for some extra lessons in advance to try to polish up the dances beforehand. Hopefully there might be more men there as well, but I can’t rely on that! In mid-February I’ll be taking to the dance floor again and hoping that this time I’ll get further!

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