Pretend She’s a Ghost

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Amazing lesson last night.  The coach had just taught a large waltz master class but I had decided that I wanted to work on waltz so I got a double dose of waltz last night.  I love the waltz.  I know it can be somewhat boring but I just love how it moves and flows and after seeing some you tube videos of this coach and doing the class, I knew she’d be able to give me a few concrete things to work on.  Of course, the lesson started out as I expected with the dreaded “show me your waltz”.  One little pet peeve of mine was that since we were right after the group class, there were still groups of people milling around on the floor.  I don’t mind when couples stay back to practice a bit, but if you are going to socialize, get off the floor!  So we had to cut a couple of steps a little short to avoid crowds but, fortunately for me, the song was easy to hear and so I did focus a little bit on timing.  We do a spiral turn and check and that’s always a place where I speed up so I was really trying to slow myself down.  My instructor was on the same page because she was also trying to slow me down at that part.

Right off, she picked out an error with my spiral that I wasn’t even aware of and we dealt with that.  Overall, she liked our waltz and even commented that my timing was great!  Given my constant struggles with timing, this was very nice to hear.  The biggest thing for me was to really move on the first step.  I do have a tendency to be a little light and not wanting to really invade my partner’s space so I don’t move as much as I should even though my instructor is going to be able to get out of my way and keeps telling me to run her over.  The coach told me to pretend my partner was a ghost and just move through her.  Somehow, that made sense to me so we tried that and I could actually feel a difference.  Then, the coach wanted me to lead her so she could make sure I understood the concept.  Well, that was a little intimidating because she is such a good dancer but we did some steps and she like what I was doing.  She did a lot of talking in the group and on my lesson about moving the whole body to try to emphasize things like when you take a step, it isn’t just with the front leg but your spine needs to come forward as well.

And then it was on to posture – my favorite topic and my current hurdle.  She was all over that in group class and it continued on the lesson.  At one point, she got us into frame and then move my head to where it should be.  For some reason, this time, I was able to feel a difference.  It felt more balanced and with the driving, we were moving the waltz a lot more.  There were two other couples on the floor taking lessons and it was almost like we were chasing them around the floor.  I felt bad about that but the waltz is a progressive dance and my instructor is always on me to “move my a**” so I think this was a good thing.  This is the second time I’ve had a coaching lesson where there was a focus on posture and it is funny but every time I manage to stumble into the right posture, they all get very excited about how it looks.  If I could stand looking at myself in the mirror, it might make more sense to me because it doesn’t seem like it would be that different.  Still feels unnatural but she said that would be the case because we naturally want to get to a comfortable position and so posture is the first thing that goes so you have to train yourself to keep good posture.  That will be my focus here even away from the dance floor and I’ll see if anyone notices.  She was all about posture and basically saying it is the most important thing and, after last night, I do see the point.  As I said, with my head back and where it should be, I felt more balanced and we moved much better.

For the rest of the lesson, we worked on an open routine so she developed a pattern while we practiced posture and me pretending she was a ghost and then we’d come back and work on the routine.  Like the others, it is a mix of things I know and some things I don’t and there is more where we are not in frame so there will be many opportunities for me to work on shaping which she said would be a good thing for me.  A couple of places where the timing is a little funny but that’s all part of the challenge and why I love this so much.  She kept one step from our closed routine because she said she really like the way it looked which was nice to hear.  By the end, we got through the whole thing once and then I taped the two of them doing it so we have something to work from.  Like the others, this is a long-term plan so I don’t expect to have them totally down by the May showcase but we can introduce them there and then continue polishing them for the November showcase.

Definitely a good first lesson and a nice way to get back into things after vacation.  Too bad the weather still sucks here.  Another day where the temperature is below 0 but they are currently forecasting that we might actually break above freezing by the end of the week and then actually get to ABOVE NORMAL temperatures next week!  Can’t get too excited just yet because forecasts out that long come with a significant amount of error but it would be nice to see even a couple of days where the highs were above freezing.

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