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  • Kristine Bendul

BALLROOM BOUND- week 1

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

It is Saturday and what a week! What have I gotten myself into...?


MONDAY was promising as I had been practicing my LATIN technique. It was amazing to me to discover MUSCLES I have never engaged before. I am not just doing four hours of ballroom a day, I have agreed to do some sort of PHYSICAL training outside of the Ballroom sessions whether it is dance class, gym, yoga, etc. and I decided to start my process with CARDIO and WEIGHTS. Although I knew epsom salt baths were great, I was not one to take the time to SOAK. Well all of that has now changed. The SORENESS and STIFFNESS are on another level.


I realized my injuries over the years have dictated my ACCEPTANCE in MOVEMENT INEFFICIENCY. I was permitting my body to stiffen and I was working around the fear of re-injury by not fully engaging my full range of motion. I partially DID NOT BELIEVE I could regain the former strength and mobility and I had also been fortunate to choreograph on myself, HIDING my weaknesses.


This JOURNEY is not just a physical one either. The FEAR of tackling something so new and at this point in my life is real but I do not dwell on that. I have a MISSION and I am DETERMINED to make it a reality. It could be easy to allow myself to become OVERWHELMED. After all, I am attempting to master in less than 4 months what the dancers we are going up against have been doing for years and years. But I never did things like everyone else so why start now? Why couldn't I learn leading and following of 5 NEW DANCES before December 29th?


The 5 new dances are Rumba, Cha Cha, Bolreo, Mambo and Swing. my experience of Swing and Salsa as social dances have absolutely nothing to do with the Amercian Rhythm styles. TUESDAY began amazing with a 9am BODYART session by Ryan Daniel Beck. I was floating afterwards. Little did I know that my brain would have a NUCLEAR MELTDOWN. I was already dealing the the FRUSTRATION of trying to master the Cuban motion in my execution and now I could not even recall the figure I had literally just learned. All of the figures and patterns just began to BLUR together. I was TOAST.


WEDNESDAYI woke up feeling better than I did Tuesday even though I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning writing down all my notes so that I could hopefully REMEMBER the steps and allow my brain to function. Abdiel had to come later than we planned because I had to get passport photos and then go to the post office to EXPEDITE my updated passport because we are going to the Canada SALSA & BACHATA CONGRESS next month and I recently resumed my MAIDEN NAME of Kristine Bendul. This is very SYMBOLIC for me as I am coming back into my former self and place of power. I have been reborn, the PHOENIX RISING from the ashes once AGAIN.

We used the gym in my building to work out before practice. I did CARDIO and OWER BODY before my BALLET BARRE. Before I was about to start my plies I suddenly got extremely EMOTIONAL and TEARS began to fall. I could not stop. I was remembering as a child how I used to BELIEVE in magic and that everything and anything was possible. Now at 46 years of age, I had to ask myself if I still believed because it is going to take A LOT of MAGIC to succeed. It was EARTH SHATTERING but I know the mission Abdiel and I are embarking upon is greater than us and I have the upmost FAITH in us.


THURSDAY my body was the most SORE I had yet experienced. There was PAIN in every step and gesture. I walked that day at the gym and all around midtown running many errands before rehearsal. By the time I got downtown, I feared my BODY would not cooperate. Thank goodness we used our session to review. To my surprise, the review ended up becoming a QUIZ. Did I retain anything? Could I demonstrate LEAD and FOLLOW of what I had learned up until that point? It was a bit of a BUMPY ROAD but I ended up surprising myself in the end and that gave me the CONFIDENCE boost I needed. I still had another rehearsal to go to and so I MUSTERED up all the STRENGTH I could and went to my night session for my dear friend Beth Darchi.


FRIDAY my workout consisted of 60 push ups, 60 glute bridges, 60 Supermans and 192 crunches. I was sore but it was BEARABLE. I felt I was over the hump and now on my way to being STRONGER and FASTER than I was before. We started rehearsing our new duet which we will be PREMIERING next month in Toronto. It is a beautiful piece choreographed by my dear friend Ron De Jesus. It is complete and we are very pleased with it. Then onto Rumba. I donned my new VEGAN BALLROOM SHOES and got to work. Spirals are much harder than they look. Oh, and so is that Rumba walk... and box... and hip action... and... Get the picture?


It is SATURDAY today and here I sit writing to share my week's EXPERIENCE, thoughts and FEELINGS because I do not want to forget this chapter in my life. I also hope to INSPIRE just one person even. There is nothing to stop us but ourselves. I do have to get to the gym and then downtown to rehearse the duet and LEARN MORE ballroom figures. I have not even breached half of the syllabus but I will not dwell on that. I will show up and DO MY BEST.


Do I BELIEVE we can win?

I believe that I’m partially CRAZY. I believe I’m CAPABLE. I believe I’m REALLY REALLY SORE. I believe I will get past this and become STRONGER THAN EVER. I believe it’s not too late to learn something new as a dancer at 46 years old. I believe in myself. Finally... I TRULY BELIEVE in myself. The SELF that is BEYOND my name, my resume, the self that is beyond all my former credits.

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