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Medal day nerves
Posted by Sandra
11/17/2005  2:18:00 AM
I am doing Silver Modern and Silver Latin medals in approx. 4 weeks. Normally I do not get anxious before hand however after the "start" the adrenalin can send you into a fast pace. Does anyone have any successful ideas on how to best prepare and manage such anxiety. Our medals start at 9am on a Saturday and I daresay there will be a couple of hours watching others before my turn. I am thinking a practise might help at 6am before facing the "getting ready" at 7.30am. I am concerned about the sitting around time.
Re: Medal day nerves
Posted by Don
11/17/2005  5:36:00 AM
Sandra. Having done a few medals over the years. I came to the conclusion that if anything were to go wrong it would be the parts that I knew backwards. Only concentrating on the parts that I considered tricky was the wrong way to go. In other words pay more attention to the parts of your dancing that normaly never go wrong. This is actually from a book on how to succeed in dancing. Don't worry about the things you have no contol over, Like the music or if the floor feels a bit slippery, just concentrate on what you are doing which is something that you do have control over.Remember the judge also wants you to do a good medal. A little slip up if it happens is allowable. I dont know how the medals are conducted where you live. Here there could be a hundred or so watching which can make it a bit more of an ordeal. Thats why I quoted not to worrying about what you have no control over. I wouldn't dream of going on the floor cold. If there is room somewhere I would be doing Rumba Walks Cha and Samba to keep myself loose. If its possible a bit of modern as well, space permiting. The Latin can be done in a very confined space. Its just me but I dance and move better after an hour or two's dancing than I do when I have just come off the street. You'll do fine
Re: Medal day nerves
Posted by phil.samways
11/17/2005  6:47:00 AM
Hi sandra
Everything Don has said is spot on. I have terrible problems with nerves too and have forgotten whole sides of competition routines that i have been dancing for years. My best advice is:
1)Don't worry about small mistakes (Don already said this)
2)Do what you do do well (this is from a song). In other words, look good all the time by keeping your frame and posture, and not slumping or panicking when you make a mistake (i know this isn't easy - if only i could do it myself!!)
3) Before you're due on, dance some basic moves with your partner. Nothing fancy - basics. Concentrate on doing them well. At least you know when you're due on- where i am, competitions don't allow me to know when i'm due to dance except with a few minutes' notice (Are you guys looking at this!!!).
4)Walk out boldly (not arrogantly) as if you're in complete control of everything and SMILE all the time (except in dances where you're not supposed to)
5)"rescue remedy" is great (it may not be called that in the states)
6) NEVER blame anyone (except yourself) if things do go badly wrong. That's important for the future
7)Try to be philosophical. Ultimately, the aim is to be a good dancer. You'll get there.

good luck
Re: Medal day nerves
Posted by operabob
11/17/2005  2:23:00 PM
I'd add:

If possible practice in the room where you will be examined.

People are wall specific in their routines and pick up visual/environmental cues without realizing it.

Practicing in the room helps.

Many of the study books I had in university often advocated studying in the room where you knew an exam would take place.

Re: Medal day nerves
Posted by operabob
11/17/2005  2:43:00 PM
Just to add to the visual/environmental cue thing in an extreme example:

A month ago a local 18 piece orchestra asked if we could demo a foxtrot at an upcoming dance. They even sent pictures of the hall.

What you couldn't tell from the pictures was that the hall was "L" shaped with tables at each end. The ochestra was placed on the outside corner of the "L".

The situation was such that to fit our routine in we had to dance diagonally across the inside corner of the "L".

Luckily we went early in the day to check things out because parts of our routine we would normally dance along a wall we were now dancing diagonally towards or away from and where we would normally have been moving diagonally was now moving along a wall.

Too boot we had to make an adjustment by dancing around the corner opposite the orchestra. This meant dancing a corner as if on the outside of a building rather than on the inside of a hall. LOL!

We literally practiced that routine for an hour in that room before the errors stopped.

Best thing though! The orchestra played a perfect tempii.

Re: Medal day nerves
Posted by Don
11/17/2005  2:29:00 PM
Sandra. Very good advice from Phil. I should have added this before. The name Donnie Burns might not mean anything to you. He was one of the best. In a lecture he said. "It doesn't matter if you are a world champion or a bronze medalist. You will only dance 75% of your best when the tension is on ". It doesn't matter how good you were dancing the evening before your medal, you would be very lucky to take that with you onto the floor the next day. So if you feel as if you have come down a peg or two, foreget it, that's the way it is. One other thing. Whatever you do ,do not wear anything that you have never danced in before, especially shoes. Even a dress.I wouldn't even comb or brush my hair a different way.
Re: Medal day nerves
Posted by operabob
11/17/2005  2:47:00 PM

Donnie Burns!

The King

Wish I could get the King & Queen of Paso. I've got the others but Oh! the Cost!

Re: Medal day nerves
Posted by Don
11/17/2005  3:33:00 PM
Operabob. I think the tape Intermediate Variations in Latin American Dancing is still available By Donnie Burns and Gaynor Fairweather. It wasn't that expensive when I bought it. I have some friends who went to see a practice Latin session, invitation only. They begged to be allowed in just to watch, and were lucky, they were told to sit on the stage and not to move . The moral of this story is that Burns and Gaynor practiced basics like, the Fan into a Hockey stick, over and over again. I heard this tale from Alan Fletcher in a lecture.. Donnie Burns came for his lesson, Finished and said, see you in a couple of weeks. Alan has a waiting room. After his next lesson he went to the waiting room for a cup of coffeee. And there still practicing what they had been discussing. was Donnie and Gaynor. This is the sort of dedication that is lacking with most of us. And remember they were still British champions at that time.
Re: Medal day nerves
Posted by operabob
11/17/2005  3:54:00 PM

Last year Eugene Katsevman & Maria Manusova returned for Snowball in Vancouver, BC.

During the rumba in the finals they waited until every other couple had started and when they did start it was basic figures with the most incredible precision and strength.

Difference between people like them and mere mortals like myself: I run around trying to learn every advanced figure possible so I can perform them badly while they perform the basics to perfection.

Best price I've found on the Donnie & Gaynor King & Queen series is about $100 US. By the time I calculate duty and exchange in it's through the roof.

Re: Medal day nerves
Posted by Don
11/17/2005  11:40:00 PM
Operabob. Im glad you mentioned the bit about learning too many variations. Most seem to get bored doing the same groups ( any style of dancing ). If a dancer would concentrate on there technique it isn't boring. Only yesterday I saw an interview with former film star and dancer Anne Miller. She said that she was a perfectionist, and rehersing with Fred Astair he was also. She didn't mind how many times they repeated or re- shot a scene, she would continuously try to impove her technique. I could spend as long as it takes, just to do a Feather and Reverse if I am given something to work on. Not just breeze through it. A very recent top eight in the world latin
said. If you are adding a new group, practice it for at least three months at varying speeds before introducing into your routine. A Japanese couple on TV was asked by Donnie Burns. How many hours a day do you practice , seven he said. And how many days a week do you do this . The answere seven. I've that one on tape. A latin couple I know a few weeks before a major comp. Would do a twenty minute jog to the studio. Dance twelve of each dance. cool down with another five Rumbas, then a brisk walk home six days a week. All there oponents were doing likewise. I think that might be the way to mortality.

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