By: Saki Furuhata
From February to March, I participated in the JBDF Remote Junior Dance Festival 2020, a national ballroom dance competition. I participated in 4 sections: Solo Latin, Solo Standard, Girls Pair Latin, and Girls Pair Standard in the junior high school students section. I won 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place respectively.
I started ballroom dance with my older sister, who has since become a professional dancer, when I was in preschool because my mother was learning it. Since then, my goal has been to be a champion and my dream is to become a dance teacher. I have had such a big goal because I was confident, due to winning many small competitions, and I could imagine being a champion myself. Now, I take the train for 2 hours to learn from a good teacher.
Ballroom dance is a dance where normally men and women dance as a pair. Latin and Standard have 5 dances each, but they are very different. In Latin, we walk from our toes and positions are very free. In Standard, we use both our toes and our heels and men and women stick together.
In 2020, I could only participate in 3 online competitions and 1 regular competition because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this pandemic, I have been practicing with my masks on for the first time. It is exhausting to dance for over a minute with masks. I also could only practice by myself for a while for safety, even for pair dance.
I was happy to be able to participate in this competition, because I had been participating for 9 years and I have many good memories. I prepared by modifying the steps and practicing repeatedly, as I didn’t use the steps I usually practice, and it had been three years since I last danced with my partner. It took two months from filming the videos for the first round and getting the results, to filming for the final round.
On the days I filmed the videos, I danced again and again to show my best performance, so I got very tired each day. The video style helped me improve, because I could look at the videos as soon as I filmed them and fix the points I felt I was weak at. It is hard to take videos during normal practice, so it was very helpful because I found improvement points that I didn’t realize during practice. Later, I got the final results and my teachers held an awards ceremony for all of us in the studio and I received certificates and many extra prizes.
I am satisfied with being 4th place for Solo Latin and 1st place for Girls Pair Standard, but I wanted to win 1st place for the other 2 sections. I will practice hard and train myself a lot for the coming competitions. I would love to invite people who want to see me dance at competitions after the pandemic, so please feel free to come talk to me. I would love to share videos or teach how to dance. Thank you for your support and I will strive to become a professional Standard champion in Japan.