Friday, January 29, 2010

The Highs and Lows of the Past 3 Months...

The roller coaster ride has been bumpy to say the least. One week prior to the US Open we performed and taught at the Ritz Carlton in Singapore, and then on an Asian Salsa Cruise. We were hesitant in accepting this gig, being so close to our biggest competition of the year. All we can say is we made the right choice!!! The trip was one of our most memorable, being exposed to different dance styles we had never heard of, and exploring many new cultures. We made friendships that will last a lifetime, and we look forward to seeing all of them again some day. The cruise started in Singapore, next Malaysia, and finally Thailand, before heading back. It was wonderful exposing so many new dancers to West Coast Swing, which has become one of the most satisfying parts of our job. To see people experiencing the feeling... you know the one we've all had before... when you know you're hooked on West Coast Swing, and you can't get enough. It takes us back to when we were kids.

This cruise became a good way to not stress about the Open. We were literally too busy. Instead of sitting around at home, practicing day and night, we were performing throughout the trip. Practicing for the shows became such a habit, that flying in from Singapore on Friday afternoon felt like we were at the next port, and it was time to perform. We literally landed at 1 PM Friday, stopped by the house, switched suitcases, and walked on to the Open floor to dance Strictly Swing. It was the first time in 14 years of dancing at the Open that we didn't have that sick, nervous feeling in our stomachs.

Classic Prelims were Saturday afternoon where we danced "How to Save a Life" for the last time on the competition floor. The performance felt like a great way to end a routine that we truly loved. Later that night, we danced Viva la Vida in the finals. We felt honored to be a part of a Classic Finals that some said was the best yet at the Open. We drew an early number, which seems to always happen to us at this event. Dancing what we feel was our best performance of Viva, we thankfully took first place. We truly appreciate all the support of our friends and fans out there. You're the reason we still love what we do! It was also great having our friend and Champion Ballroom Dancer, Maxim Kozhevnikov, there to show his support.

After being on such a high from The Open, we knew we had some hurdles approaching. I have always had a knee condition, and had planned to get it checked out in December. I spoke with the doctor before the exploratory procedure and the plan was to do a minor scope, putting me out for 2 weeks, and then planning the surgery for the following year. That way we could schedule around it. I woke up hearing that the extensive procedure had to be performed, or my dance career could be over. That was one of the hardest things I've ever faced. The doctor was amazed how long I had been dancing on my knee in that condition, and said he had no other options but to go through with it. My doctor is the main surgeon for the San Diego Chargers, along with many other athletes, so I knew I was in good hands. The bad news - a 3 month recovery, when we were supposed to be in Paris in early January and Australia for 3 weeks in January/February. The stress of my career and passion being threatened, but also having to re-schedule or find replacements was horrible. My lifestyle went from traveling over 250,000 miles last year to spending 8 hours a day in a CPM machine bending my leg up and down. I was now using crutches, and spending most of my days on the couch. This is the longest break I've had from dance since I was 11 years old. You have no idea how much you take for granted just walking, let alone running or dancing. I went for my 6 week check-up at the doctor's this week and was told that everything so far looks great. Thank GOD!! I am now able to walk slowly without a brace, swim and use the stationary bicycle. I think that is why I'm able to start back on the blog. Life is getting better.

Thanks so much for the kind words from so many of you. We are sorry we cannot be out there for a while, but we promise to be back as soon as possible. A new routine is coming SOON! I want to thank Jessica and my Mom for the countless hours of care, and Tatiana, who this has affected so much, but has been 100% SUPPORTIVE.