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Frustration. That pesky adversary that you will encounter many times in your Westie career. A lot of us seek that instant gratification and desire to become incredible, amazing dancers overnight. In the words of my good friend, Demetre Souliotes, “If this was easy, everyone would be a Champion.” The beauty of West Coast Swing is that it takes you on a journey. Hitting “a wall” (where are my marathon runners at?) is very much a part of the journey, and I’m here to tell you it’s completely normal. EVERYONE, (even the highest-level dancers) will sense annoyance at not getting something right, right away. However, if you push through that phase the wonderment on the other side awaits you with goals you never thought you could accomplish! This article will point out some moments when you’ll meet the wall, and how to defeat it head on with an optimistic attitude.

1)Keep Working at Competition –  

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The most common place I see a lot of Westies hit the wall is during competitions. Not everyone makes finals (just a fact), and so a lot of competitors build it in their head that if they don’t make finals, they’re not a great dancer.  To be honest, this is where my weariness comes out and I begin to get roadblock. I see my friends level up the WSDC tiers and I start questioning myself, “How come those hours at the studio you spent didn’t show on the floor? Were all that work and practice you put yourself through for nothing?” “Are you letting your coach down; are you letting YOURSELF down?” No matter the result, I have to remember that competition is part of the learning experience! You learn to dance with different people. You learn to present yourself on the stage for judging. You learn how to showcase your skills and talent on a stage! Do everything you can to apply it to your progression — consult judges, review your comp videos with your coaches, take notes! If you transfer that energy into something positive, your career will only skyrocket.

2) Trust your Coach –

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When you’re one on one with a coach, it creates this sense of hyper-awareness to detail. Therefore, there’s a desire to make every step, every concept, EVERYTHING perfect. STOP!! If you were perfect, you wouldn’t seek private lessons. There’s continuous room for growth in everyone, and private lessons are the place to make mistakes. Your coaches will be there to help you micromanage things that need improvement, and they will create a  safe space for you to study and revamp your dancing. Trust your coach, and remember nothing is personal. They wouldn’t be teaching you if they didn’t believe in you! They’re not seeing your dancing as where it is presently; they have a picture of what you can become.

3) ENJOY Social Dancing- Some nights, you’re just not feeling it. Something you can’t put your finger on is off. You’re dancing is not 100%. Once again, I’ve been there. Hell, just recently at this HUGE, ginormous party I felt like that at some points. However, when we get the opportunity to dance — we shouldn’t waste it, especially in social dancing! The biggest barrier that is the common thread throughout these three areas is a mental block. If you give the other person on the other side of you 100% of your mind, body, and soul you’ll have some of the best dancing in your life! BE PRESENT. If you’re bummed out about a dance, take a beat, reset yourself and find someone you really enjoy dancing with. Dancing with our favorite partners can give us a little boost of confidence to dance our best with anyone in the room.

Tear down that westie wall! – Like I stated in the beginning, you’re going to hit a lot of obstacles in this dance. It’s just the nature of learning something as intricate as West Coast Swing. There’s a very strong temptation to give up a lot of the time. I can tell you from experience that if you move past rough spots you’ll surprise yourself with how much promise and potential you have. If I gave up, I wouldn’t be able to make amazing friendships and I wouldn’t have gained incredible mentors that see something even I don’t even see in myself yet. Most importantly I wouldn’t get to experience the all the wonderfulness that is WEST COAST SWING. Power through, keep on keepin’ on and

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“don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up… NO! NO! NO!” [Thanks, Sia!]

That’s it for this weeek’s post! For Wandering Westie blog, I’m Stephanie Pham. Keep dancing!

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