Ballroom Dance Comp

I've Decided To Take A Chance At Comp And My Hips Already Hurt

And the ballroom dance competition is still weeks away.

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I am a member of my university's ballroom dance team. I had first tried to join the team my first semester, but I only showed up for one or two classes before ditching for a year. I was not yet comfortable with the idea of being in close proximity to strangers (especially boys) which many ballroom dances required. I found the leads too forceful, the room too hot, and the activity too intimate and uncomfortable to continue with it. I decided to just stick with solo dancing.

I did not return and start regularly showing up to practice until my second year. I cannot say I was too comfortable at that point either, but I was stubborn and stuck it through. It was when a friend who was also on the team asked if I knew bachata. He said he would show me when I admitted to not knowing the dance style then proceeded to draw me into the most intimate feeling (and thus off-putting) dance of my life up until that moment with little warning and no expectation. I learned to adapt quickly after that. Now I most often find myself plastered to my partners and trying to draw myself even closer because it makes the dancing easier.

In the year and a half that I have been ballroom dancing, I had never done much to expand upon what I learned for maybe two to four hours a week, and I balked at the idea of competing. What I loved about the ballroom dance team is that they provide a rather low pressure environment where one can learn and grow without needing to perfect the craft. They do push you to improve but do not disparage your lack of immediate progress. I will say though that if you have been there as long as I have without competing, they do start dropping the oft dreaded question:

"Are you going to comp?"

No. That was my answer every time I was asked. As a perfectionist on the wayside of maladaptive, not being essentially "perfect" or, at least, well advanced at something is discouraging, anxiety-inducing, and sometimes debilitating. I do recall having mild episodes or anxiety attacks at practice, or I would find myself emotionally drained and shut down at the end of the night because I just could not deal with messing up so much in such a short span of time.

At times, it took serious effort for me to even make it to practice when I felt I was not doing well at all or I would end up falling back into avoidance behavior that led me to hiding or sitting it out while making humorous self-deprecating remarks to cover up my genuine internal self-reproaching. The only reason I did not quit was because my want to learn outweighed my fear of making mistakes. Asking me to compete though at something I did not believe myself to have a good grasp on was even worse because that would open myself up to even harsher self-criticism at every little perceived mistake.

However, even I can be worn down by "subtle" persistence, and I could not quite talk myself out of signing up for the nearest competition. I will admit that I still cannot shake the faint dread at the thought of competing, but I have not immediately withdrawn my name. I have my self-pride (and money) on the line.

Comp is less than a month away and I have been learning and rehearsing routines with my lead almost every day of the week. I had never realized how much I have been stagnating my own progress until I began practicing outside of class.

Each day of extra practice has revealed something to me: maybe I could do this. I am actually remembering routines (though I still make mistakes if a few days go by without practicing a particular one or when I am without a lead). I am starting to remember (and pull off) the names and figures of different dance styles and beginning to identify music that corresponds with each. I even find myself dancing rumba when I am distracted. I have improved more in the past two or three weeks of increased practice than I had over my entire ballroom dancing experience.

Of course, that does not come without a few new problems. I have always had stiff hips, so the flexibility that is required for some of the dances has put a strain on them. Sometimes, they will flare up or suddenly feel like they are about to give out on me even when I am not dancing. That is pushing me to stretch more. I have been more acutely aware of my worsening posture because bad posture while dancing causes back pain, so I have been correcting that too. The only inexplicable and currently unaddressable thing is my increased propensity to cramping behind the knee. That takes me down randomly. So if you see me collapse suddenly, you know why. I am fine. It passes in seconds.

Despite these complications, there are many benefits as well. Holding up my frame has slowly been increasing the strength of my shoulders and arms. My legs are getting more toned from quick and demanding figures and constant movement. My reflexes are getting better from having to adapt to my lead's cues and changes in the routine. My stamina is increasing from dances like jive, quickstep, and samba, and as mentioned before, my confidence has increased enough to allow me to be comfortable dancing close to others and, hopefully, performing before those outside of the team.

I am certain that comp day will not be my best day, but I am starting to believe it will not be as bad as I have been fearing. I do not doubt that I will have a few things to nitpick and beat myself up over, but I also feel kind of competent now, like I actually know what I am doing. What's more is I have time to keep improving.

It has been a worthwhile experience and I will stick it through, even if my hips hate me a little.

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My Top 10 Youtubers To Watch When You're Bored!

If you need something to do, check out these YouTube channels!
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Youtube: the best place to go when you're laying in bed bored.

I've been watching Youtube for as long as I could remember. I would start at a Jonas Brothers video and end up watching tornado chasers. I could never tell you how I got there, but with Youtube, it's possible.

I spend a lot of time watching videos and catching up on the lives of some of my favorites. I watch make-up and hair tutorials on a daily basis and if I have some time, I'll watch a couple of Vlogs. I'll also watch videos when I need a good laugh.

So if you are bored, here are my top 10 favorite Youtubers to watch.

10. Alphie Deyes : "Pointless Blog"

Alfie is a British Youtuber. Along with his Vlogs, Alfie has a gaming channel and a main channel where he posts collabs with other Youtubers. I usually just watch his Vlogs, but I've seen a few of his other videos and they are definitely worth the watch!

Here are his three channels!

https://www.youtube.com/user/PointlessBlog

https://www.youtube.com/user/PointlessBlogTv

https://www.youtube.com/user/alfiegames

9. Zoe Sugg: "Zoella"

Zoe is also a British beauty and fashion Youtuber. She is also a Vlogger and has two channels. She is most known for her make-up tutorials. Zoe is also the author of the "Girl Online" series. 

Here are her channels!

https://www.youtube.com/user/zoella280390

https://www.youtube.com/user/MoreZoella

8. Kian and JC

Both boys have main channels, but I mostly watch their collab channel. They post videos of themselves doing challenges for the most part. The other part is usually them just talking to the camera. They are hilarious and can make me laugh any day.

Here is their channel!

https://www.youtube.com/user/KianAndJc

7. Tess Christine

I just recently started watching Tess, but her videos are mostly hair and make-up tutorials and also fashion videos. She occasionally posts travel vlogs as well.

Here is her channel!

https://www.youtube.com/user/Tesschristine123

6. Tyler Oakley

Known for his Q and "Slays," Tyler Oakley has become one of the biggest Youtube stars. He also does a lot of collabs with other Youtubers and they are always funny.

(It would not let me link his channel, but if you search "Tyler Oakley" all of his videos will come up)

5. David Dobrik

David is a Vlogger. His videos always include his friends and the weird scenarios they get into. Puns and skits are his go to thing. He got his start on Vine and now he is taking over the vlog world!

Here is his channel!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmh5gdwCx6lN7gEC2...

4. Shane Dawson

I don't even know how to explain Shane Dawson's videos. He is one of the most random Youtubers that I've ever watched. He was one of the first Youtubers I ever started watching. He is really big on conspiracy theories now.

Here is his channel!

https://www.youtube.com/user/shane

3. Settle Down Kids or SDK

SDK is absolutely, hands down, my favorite group on Youtube. They post challenges and sometimes they are so random they don't even make sense. I actually had the chance to meet all of them and they were so nice which makes it so much better!

Here is their channel!

https://www.youtube.com/user/SDK

2. Any Buzzfeed Channel

If anyone tells you that they don't watch Buzzfeed, they are lying. Over the past year or so, Buzzfeed has taken over the Internet. I can sit for hours and just watch Buzzfeed. They have a couple of channels, but I'll link their main one!

Here it is!

https://www.youtube.com/user/BuzzFeedVideo

1. Joe Santagato

I've been watching Joe for a couple of years now. He used to be like my little secret, but now almost everyone knows who he is. Joe's videos are hilarious and could definitely make anyone's day! He also has a second channel where he posts Vlog-like videos.

Here is his channel!

https://www.youtube.com/user/JoeSantagato

(It wouldn't let me link his second channel)


There are so many more Youtube channels that I could list but that would probably take forever! I hope you get a chance to check out any of these channels!

Enjoy!

Cover Image Credit: Youtube.com

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11 Reasons Why Hiking Should Become A Pivotal Part Of Your Life

It's good for the body and soul.

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I was lucky enough to grow up 10 minutes from a national park. This meant that some of my earliest memories were riding on my dad's shoulders through miles of beautiful trails. As a got older, the simple joy of enjoying the fresh air and getting away from the craziness of life that hiking offered only made me fall in love with it more. Now, whenever I have a rough day or just need a break from stress, the first thing that I want to do is hit the trails.

1. Fresh air

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Being cooped up inside for too long can take a toll on anyone. Being able to get out and breathe the fresh air and feel the sun shining can instantly boost anyone's mood!

2. Exercise

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Hiking is a great way to get those extra steps in, and many areas have different paths you can take depending on your fitness level.

3. No electronics

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I am so guilty of going on my phone way too much. Being outdoors allows a break from social media and time to focus on being in the moment and enjoying the amazing world we live in.

4. Scenery

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Hiking allows us to see some of the most gorgeous untouched pieces of nature. It is hard to not be amazed by how beautiful our earth is.

5. Vitamin D

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There is nothing that a little bit of sun can't cure. Being outside in the sun not only gives you a nice summer glow, but it can be so beneficial to our health! Vitamin D helps boost our immune system and gives us energy.

6. Way more fun than going to the gym

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Going to the gym and using the treadmill and other machines provide a workout but can become more of a chore than fun after a while. Hikes are an amazing workout that hardly feels like a chore. So, the next time you are getting tired of the same old routine at a smelly gym, think about taking a hike instead.

7. Stress reliever

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Being out in nature can be such a great break from the "real world."

8. Great way to spend time with friends

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The next time you don't know what to do with your friends, consider going on a hike! There are so many fun things to do, like bring a picnic or watch the sunset. It's a great way to switch up your typical routine of watching T.V. or Netflix.

9. Perfect way to exercise with dogs

Emily Smith

Instead of taking your dog around the neighborhood, switch it up and take them on a hike! It's a great workout for them, and oftentimes, a lot more enjoyable than the daily neighborhood route.

10.  It's free!

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What more needs to be said? Free fun is hard to come by nowadays, so going on a hike can help your bank account too!

11.  It's fun!

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What's not to love about the endless ways to enjoy hiking?

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