Taming the Cha-Cha

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So last night was my first lesson in over a week.  For me, that’s a long break from dancing but it was good to take some time away and be distracted by other things.  I had a conversation with a friend of mine at work about the cha-cha and basically summarized some of the fears I put in my last post but she wasn’t having any of it. 

Anyway, I have not actually conquered the thing yet but there was significant progress made.  We started by focusing on the end of the routine and tried to get that embedded in my head and then we did actually manage to get several walk-throughs of the entire routine with a couple that were actually done to the music.  The song is “This Love” by Maroon 5 by the way.  My instructor is a huge Maroon 5 fan but it is also the slowest cha-cha she could find (had to dumb down the music to allow me to keep up with the steps).  I’m listening to it right now and it sounds slow just counting it out but it felt fast running through this routine.  I know we had places where I still managed to get behind the music so I have no expectation of being able to dance on time next week when we are supposed to do it for the rest of the studio.  At this point, I’ll settle for getting through it.  But, I will say that I have at least moved from the “There is no way I can do this” phase to the “Yeah, I think I can do this” phase.  So that is a step in the right direction.  A small step but I’ll take it anyway.

Right now, it still feels like a bunch of disconnected parts and it doesn’t flow together.  So when I practice the individual parts, they are doable but the transitions between certain steps are fast and my mind is just not there yet.  I’m still having to think really hard about what I do on this beat and by the time I figure it out, I’ve lost a couple of places.  There is a lot more syncopation then I’m used to.  I’ve learned Cha-Cha as one-two-three-four-and one and this one tosses in some additional “ands” between certain steps.  Sometimes, that is an additional little step.  Sometimes it is just an arm movement like starting a spin and then moving my feet.  At some point, I’m probably going to have to spell it out down to the beat and then just keep working it over and over to get used to the parts where I’ve got to do things between steps without moving my feet. 

My other real problem is that I just don’t love this routine yet.  Maybe it is because I can’t see how it will all fit together or maybe it is because I just don’t have anything that feels “cool”.  I might have been lucky with the other routines because there was always something that I could latch on to that got me jazzed up about doing it.  This is where my words fail me because it is hard to describe what I’m talking about but I felt like I owned the other routines.  Even when I wasn’t doing them right and even when there were parts I hated, I could still picture myself doing them.  I’m just not getting that here so it doesn’t really even feel like me dancing.  I’m just mechanically trying to follow the steps and hoping for the best.   I’m hopeful that this will come in time because I doubt there is anything my instructor can do for me on this because I can’t even really verbalize what I’m looking for.  As I write this, it does sound kind of stupid because it is just a bunch of dance steps but I need some kind of emotional attachment so that it becomes a part of me and not just a bunch of disconnected steps that I’m trying to get through a bit at a time. 

On the plus side, this is a challenge for me.  So it will stretch my abilities and that is a good thing.  As I said, I’ve moved onto another phase where I now believe I can eventually do this.  Hopefully, I can find something about it to get excited about.  Don’t need that for next week but I need to find it relatively quickly because if the intent is to do this at the next showcase, then I really don’t want to spend months working on something that doesn’t light me up inside.  I’ll see what happens when I do it for the studio for the first time.  Maybe performing it will be the spark.  We shall see.

 

One comment

  1. One thing I’ve noticed that helps me with speed is actually slowing down my routines. If you can’t achieve the action or steps fast, try working them at half time. It gives your body more time to feel its way through the figures and where the correct placement should be. Once you know the figures and actions well enough slow, you can start speeding them up without too trouble! Good luck with your new routine!

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