It's been more than a year since I stepped back on the dance floor. A frightening concept. Especially when you've been conditioned your whole life that one day of no dancing is equivalent to a year wasted! You can just imagine my nerves stepping back onto that big open space of people judging you from every angle.
How do you cope?
Well, you prepare as much and the best that you can.
1.) Practice, practice, and even more practice.
Ballroom is not all glitz and glamour. Real dance training is when you dance until your toes bleed (literally) and shed gallons of sweat! :D
My favorite part about competing - the costumes. I always get a feeling of excitement every time I think about new costumes to wear. I used to design my dance costumes, but this time around, we didn't have a lot of time so I decided to have one designed and made by one of the best costume makers in the dance world: Michael Chen. I gave an idea of what I wanted and was very happy with the design that he gave. (Shoutout to Howard: Thanks for suggesting his work!)
3.) Mental Preparation
Dancing is not just all physical training. There's a lot of mental preparation as well. When you are troubled and not mentally ready to compete, it will definitely show in your dancing. If you are not confident enough to convince yourself or your partner that you are going to win, what more the judges? For me, I always make sure I've done my best with the factors that I can control. My dancing (training), my stamina (fitness exercises), my partner (connection) and my costumes, shoes, hair and makeup. Everything has to be set days before the competition. Nothing beats a well-prepared, confident mind ready to fight.
And during those times when you start doubting yourself, always go back and remember the reason why you do what you do. Nothing fuels more than passion.
So I did everything that I can to prepare, and just let the passion take over on the day of the competition. Lucky enough, we won! All those days of hard work - practicing after office hours, training at the gym and traveling back and forth Malaysia and Singapore (my dance partner is based in Malaysia) - it all paid off.
Being back on the dancefloor after a year of inactivity, ain't too bad after all. ;)
To see more action photos, click here.