With four comps in one week being the norm for our travels in England, and with the number of comps we do each year, it’s no wonder people tell me they’re surprised to hear we learn something new each time. But the truth is, we really do. Every comp brings its own experiences, challenges, high points and low points. It’s no wonder so many dancers return to competition from retirement. This-paced lifestyle, if you can stomach it, is really hard to leave behind. The hard-core competitors, like us, really enjoy it. Therefore, it’s no wonder we get antsy if we’re home too much!
So what did we learn from the last four comps? From our first comp, the London Open, we learned that Icelandic is a very strange language, and one that doesn’t seem like it should come from the mouths of children. I mean, it looks so weird to see a child speaking Icelandic. Don’t know why. Some languages are great for children. Kids with British accents are adorable as Hell. And children speaking French is cute beyond comparison. But children speaking Icelandic just seemed… outlandish, somehow.
From our second comp, we didn’t so much as learn as we were simply reminded how important the heat you’re assigned to can actually be. We were very unlucky in our heat assignment. Our heat was strong… pretty much as simple as that. The judges had to choose 6 couples from each heat, if you divided it evenly. As one of our teachers put it, we were honestly not in the top 6 of our heat. However, we were in the top 24 of the entire event. If the judges were able to look at the comp evenly, then we should have made the top 24. However, it’s hard to do that with 4 heats, and as our teacher said and as we even agreed, we were not in the top half of our heat. He marked us in, because he realized that the later heats were weaker. And obviously many of the other judges did, too. Our overall placement was 27th, so we weren’t far from making the 24. But we were unlucky. In the words of our teacher, we “were just unlucky”.
From our third comp, the big one, we were brutally reminded how confusing this sport can actually be. We did horribly in the Rising Star event, not getting called out of the first round. Stranger still, a couple in the rising star FINAL was a couple we had beaten at our first comp, only five days earlier. So sometimes it doesn’t come down to your dance abilities. A different day, a different panel of judges, a different panel, a different comp. Does this mean we are good enough to be in the Rising Star final? Even if we happened to not make it out of the first round? Probably. There are plenty of horror stories far worse than ours, with similar situations. Needless to say, we were pretty upset about not making it out of the first round, so we headed to Starbucks during our break and had a pow-wow. We kind of got our heads together and made a pact. Then later that night, during the Open, we danced differently and really went for it. Don’t know if it was that, or if we just had a heat that made us look better, or if it was a different judging panel, but we placed much much better.
At our fourth comp, we did really well, making the top 24 in a comp that was, I’ll admit, a very high level competition. There was no way we were going to make the top 12. It’s ok, I’ll admit it. Those couples were good! Some couples definitely better than us didn’t make it either. But we danced well, we made a high level quarter final, and we were happy. How much more can you ask from this sport??