So, how well did I do with my goal of a year of practice? I did miss some days -- maybe a week total. It's one thing to say that I'll practice even when I'm sick, and quite another to actually do it. I am a bit disappointed that I didn't truly practice for half an hour every day, but I realize now that in some ways that was an unrealistic goal for me.
That said, there were days when I was perfectly healthy and I still slacked off a lot. I practiced, but it wasn't honest, dedicated practice that would really improve me as a dancer. In 2012 I think I need to focus on quality more than quantity, especially if I want to move past some of my current obstacles.
Before I started 2011, I posted 5 things I wanted to work on in my year of practice. Let's see how I did with them!
1: Get better at group dancing.
I must have succeeded with this one, since I'm now in a troupe! Spending time in Fonda's class, which is smaller and more prone to having newbie dancers, forced me to spend more time leading and get more comfortable with it. I've also been working on my peripheral vision so I don't have to stare at the leader!
2: Hone my solo technique.
Thank goodness for Jolie's classes! I'm definitely a much more well-rounded soloist.
3. Improve my zill playing.
Anaya gave me no choice on this when they decided that we had to play rhythms other than a gallop! If you've been following my blog for a while you know that at one point I was zilling every day to try to get a handle on what Anaya was throwing at me. I'm still not good enough to comfortably zill solo, but I do better in groups than I used to.
4. Revisit props I learned this year but never practiced at home.
I revisited sword, which I've used twice in performances with Fonda's class, and I learned veil, skirt, and skirt & fan. I did not, however, revisit my palm flames. Not bad!
Somehow I never got around to this! I guess I just got too busy with classes and life and things.
I also went above and beyond my goals in some ways. I pretty much expected that I would spend 2011 continuing to take whatever classes were offered on Thursdays at Plaza de Anaya. I had no idea that I would end up taking Fonda's class, and that Jolie would come to Tucson and rock my world two nights a week. Unfortunately this level of classes is not sustainable given how much it costs, and when Jolie moves away I probably won't be able to replace her classes with something else, but it's been fun while it lasted.
And then there's the workshops. I said I was going to take less of them in 2011, to save some money and maybe get to go to a festival instead, but Kim wouldn't stop bringing amazing people to Plaza! My goodness! I had workshops with Mira Betz, Deb Rubin, Rachel Brice, Silvia Salamanca, and Elizabeth Strong. That's just the visiting teachers at Plaza. I also took a couple of workshops from local teachers. I studied sword with Miriam Amaya at the Desert Shakedown. I had workshops with Anaya and Jolie down here in Tucson.
I was also able to perform a lot. I performed as a soloist, I did a duet with Jen/Sata, I danced in student recitals and I joined Anaya Tribe and danced at numerous events across the Phoenix metroplex.
All in all, 2011 was an amazing year. I'm going to have to work hard to top it in 2012!