Editorial: A personal reflection on this year's BCDC Invitation Competition at the Rivoli Ballroom

Published Tuesday October 07 2008 , by Bec Emmott

The Nemesis Competition - and overcoming it!

Everyone knows there is always one competition where it all goes wrong: - No matter how well the last lesson went - No matter how lovely your new dress is - No matter how ready and ‘up for it’ you are On the day it doesn’t come together/all falls apart and you get

  1. Poor results
  2. Have a row with your partner
  3. Split your dress/stand on your hem
  4. All of the above

There have been three of these competitions since I started competing…

The IVDA Curse

When I was dancing on the university circuit, it was known as the IVDA (Inter-Varsity Dance Association - IVDA to the Uni circuit is Blackpool to the medallist circuit) Curse!. I’d won every ballroom competition I’d entered during the year, I went to IVDA with very high hopes and it all fell apart – - My partner got the routine wrong - He was late coming on to the floor and I had to stand with my arm in the air holding up the competition, looking really unprofessional and pretending not to be seething (Being late on to the floor is not acceptable. A phrase I didn’t know then, but have come to know and love and is so apt for this situation is ‘it’s not the Wright Rhythm way’!) - AND we came 5th – aaaaarghhh!

The following year Pete and I danced together; Pete had been dancing for less than 2 years, but being an old hand at competitions I hadn’t thought for a minute he’s be nervous dancing in the A team and Advanced categories with people who been dancing since they were 3 years old – I wasn’t nervous, why should he be??!!! Anyway, in my mind there was ‘no pressure’ we’d just won the ballroom competitions on home territory a couple of weeks before, so this was going to be easy – right? Wrong! School boy error! Pete was nervous, forgot the routines and we were knocked out in the first round – I didn’t take it well. In fact, some may say ‘Becky wecky was cwoss’!

The latin commenced and we managed to do a rumba routine without speaking, looking at each other or even acknowledging the presence of the other person – unsurprisingly we were knocked out again in the first round – I was not a happy Bec! So for my third year I took drastic action to avoid the IVDA curse – I went to the other side of the world! Oh ok, so not just to avoid the IVDA curse, in fact, that was more a by-product of the exchange programme with VUT in Melbourne, but it did mean I missed the IVDA competition in my third year. Finally in my fourth year I managed to conquer the IVDA curse with a fabulous partner called Igor. (Igor – if you happen to read this I want to say thank you for being fabulous!) We had good results, we didn’t fight, I had a new dress, everything was good with the world. In short, we made the final of the Advanced Ballroom competition and won the ‘A’ team Waltz, no mean feat I can tell you – and it only took 4 years after all! NB: With grateful thanks to Craig without who’s teaching, support and general encouragement, I wouldn’t have conquered the IVDA curse.

Now, having digressed slightly from Rivoli 2008, I’ll digress further…

The Camber Curse

My second nemesis competition was Camber Sands. A few points to note:

  1. I hate the chalet things
  2. I hate the weather there (Why does it always rains on me? – to quote Travis)
  3. I hate the driving/parking/walking

Other than that, it’s a great comp! So I could go into the detail again, but oit pretty much follows the pattern of the last one:

  • Year 1 – got to comp, get bad results
  • Year 2 – go to comp, have a major row with partner
  • Year 3/4 – don’t go to comp
  • Year 5 – make finals, beat curse!

Although in fairness I didn’t resort to going to Australia to miss the competition I did choose a Meatloaf concert over Camber For this competition the grateful thanks go to my wonderful boyfriend Pete, without whom I would still be suffering from the ‘Camber Curse’ and with whom I managed not only to win the ballroom comp’s, but successfully wind up my brother by relegating him into second place – I think Timmy wimmy was cwoss! Now, back to what I was actually going to write about…

The Rivoli Curse

My third and final nemesis competition is Rivoli. Same pattern as before:

  • Year 1 – get bad results
  • Year 2 –have a row
  • Year 3/4 – don’t go
  • Year 5, 2008 – bring on the challenge – Gladiators Ready!

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped me to overcome the Rivoli curse. Ryan – you started my day the best possible way! Chris – it was lovely! Kieran – Foxtrot was fab! Kyle – What can I say??!!! (NB: Everyone will expect me to mention here something about both the girls Kyle partnered coming 2nd and him only coming 5th (ah well, not everyone can win ALL the time) but I’m not going to do that, instead I’m just going to say ‘thank you’, but if you do want to book in some practice time I’m happy to help those less fortunate…!) Howard – Rule 1 – Bec is always right, Rule 2 – if Bec is wrong, refer to Rule 1 – what am I saying? Rule 2 is pointless, let’s have a new Rule 2 – Bec is never wrong! Well done – you really made my day. Qualifiers here we come!Thanks here have to go to Gilli, firstly because she encouraged, cajoled and generally forced me to go to Rivoli 2008; and secondly for the support, understanding, advice and guidance on everything but especially my dancing.

Now, for the eagle eyed amongst you, you’ll notice I’ve not really mentioned Latin – that’s because I’m a ballroom dancer (ok, ok, I can hear Paula and Gilli in my head) what I mean is, I prefer Ballroom. In fact, Steve P (or should I call him ‘Spiderman’ – inside joke for those who know) and I founded the ‘we hate latin’ club, but I think he’s been thrown out for breaking the rules… Therefore, it is not surprising to note that my biggest nemesis is Latin – everything about it, shoes, clothes, steps, rhythm – it’s just not me. This is where I need to put in a huge thank you to everyone who has ever tried to teach me Latin - Mark, Louise, Darren, Lilia to name but a few and most recently Paula who has suffered many, many hours, days, weeks (it probably feels like a lifetime!) of doing the same two figures over and over and over again until I can vaguely pass for a Latin dancer. It’s a lie though; I’m starting to do a good pretence of a Latin dancer, but I’m a ballroom girl at heart and always will be.

However, it was with great delight (nay amazement!) that not only did I obliterate the Rivoli curse yesterday in ballroom; I also came 3rd in the Latin dancing a Samba! NB: huge thanks here to Kieran for partnering me so well. I am genuinely happy with all my results! So ‘it’s all good’ – to quite a phrase! So, in summary, I have a few messages for anyone who is still reading to take away… 1. Having a ‘nemesis’ competition’ is completely normal 2. It is possible to crush the competition curse! 3. Wright Rhythm is fabulous – teachers, students, parents et al, we are all extremely lucky to be a part of the Wright Rhythm family 4. Steve (Spiderman) Paine can be readmitted to the ‘We hate Latin’ club under its new name ‘We Hate Latin Less Now, But Ballroom Is Still Better’ club Ah yes, I started off with the intention of writing about Rivoli 2008, so I guess I’d better just touch on the subject….

  1. Parking was challenging
  2. There were lots of people
  3. It was really hot
  4. It ran a bit late
  5. Jonathon and Lyn’s basic Foxtrot was the best bit of the demo (IMHO)
  6. Wright Rhythm had some fabulous results in both the solos and couple competitions
  7. We know what we need to improve on between now and the qualifiers
  8. The music was good
  9. Mark ran a really great competition, as we have come to expect from the Rivoli and everyone had a great time
  10. Therefore final thanks have to go to Mark.

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