"Historically, they make the finals," my friend said to some spectators who were interested in watching us dance.
I had to think pretty hard about her statement; it seemed too good to be true. But yes, my partner and I have generally made finals. We're not top 6 in the nation or anything, but at a decent quarter- to semi-final, we usually get to that coveted last round.
That was not the case last weekend.
And I'm okay with that.
We were dancing "at home" in a small, but devoted semi-final and we didn't make the last cut. Many of my students and other audience members expressed their disapproval of the result ("You was robbed!" "Those judges!" "I had you winning!").
But let's be serious...
I watched the Rising Star (more or less the preliminaries to the Open Professional events) the night before and saw some great dancing. Great dancing that might (or might not) be better than mine.
I looked at the list of names in my heat and could immediately tell you the top three placements. Using simple math, that means there's three spots left in the final. And remember those great Rising Star dancers from the night before? I liked them, the judges liked at least half of them, and those judges haven't even seen me dance yet.
You might recall I have four kids, one that's under a year old. Being totally kick-ass less than a year after having a baby is a trick. And not one I'm sure I have down pat.
We've gotten new choreography in the last year as well. Another baby, of sorts. And it has felt HORRIBLE at the last two comps we did. Like, panic-attack-inducing, career-questioning AWFUL.
So I was hoping to be do several things during my time on the floor...
A) not use my "thinking face", which is a hilarious, but performance-inappropriate facial expression.
B) follow my dude. I knew there'd be some situations in floor craft and I wanted to give him reign (since some of my problems in the past have been trying to help).
C) be brave. Get close to people where I might usually "be nice" (and go way overboard doing so). Throw myself around the way I know I'm supposed to and the way that makes our choreography work (you know, that whole counter-balance thing). Emote. Do my M*F*ing thing.
D) have fun. The previous comps had been sooooooo bad and I didn't want any part of yuckiness again.
These might sound like RIDICULOUS goals for a professional dancer to have, but there you have it.
Well, the second I walked on the floor, I felt good. I felt like I was supposed to be there. Like I fit in.
And I crushed those goals.
Happy dancing, fools.