Take the Lead … Please

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Had a lesson Monday which wasn’t too eventful explaining why I’ve waited until now to say anything.  We did get through the open routines in the four rhythm dances (yea me!).  But at the end of the lesson, she started in with a discussion about why I only do certain steps at parties and the reason I forget the closed routines is that I don’t do them enough so she gave me an assignment to do the closed routines at the parties with more than just her.  First of all, I know they watch me like a freaking hawk at these parties but I didn’t realize she was cataloging my moves.  My first reaction was wanting to argue with her since I have done some of the more advanced waltz and swing steps with one of the other instructors.  Then, the fear rose up and I wanted to point out how horribly wrong it would go trying to lead someone through something they aren’t ready for.  It is one thing to lead a newbie through a change step which is just a box that doesn’t close but throwing cha-cha swivels or the twin cities from swing on someone who hasn’t done it could be painful.  And don’t even get me started about doing a pivot which we have in both the Fox Trot and Tango routines.  In the end, I decided I wouldn’t gain anything by arguing the point with her, so I just surrendered.  I suppose I could always not do that at the party tomorrow but we are just about a week out from showcase and I don’t need to piss her off so I better give it a shot.  The party tomorrow could be a complete disaster so stay tuned.

Then she said that I might have to use a little more force to get some of the other ladies to follow but she said that would be good since I tend to be too timid at times.  Again, I really, really wanted to argue with her on this point.  We had just come from a group class where one of the ladies is always giving my compliments on my leading.  Just that night, when the rotation came around, she said something like “I can’t screw it up dancing with you since you’ll get me through it”.  (Did I mention how much I enjoy dancing with her at groups – it is great for my ego).  There was another part where she started to wander a bit and I guess I snapped her back into position and she commented on it so I am capable of doing what my instructor wants me to do.  I’ll admit that at times I do back off with her but it is because I don’t know where the boundaries are.  Sometimes, I’ve done things and she’s complained about it hurting.  Then, there are times when she’s tries to stretch away from me and I’ll stop her and she’ll comment on that but I never know if it means I was doing it right or doing it wrong.  It is so confusing.  I think as the man I do have the ability to reign her in or else she will just spin away from me but there are times when I’m supposed to let her go.  I did also decide that pursuing this line of discussion would do nothing but make her mad at me so I again just backed off .  I may be getting smarter in my old age as there is nothing to really be gained by disagreeing with her.  It would make me feel better for the moment but I’d pay for it because I’m always wrong even if I’m right.

But the real reason I don’t lead more Silver stuff is because of the awkwardness when something doesn’t go well.  If you start into a move and the lead isn’t obvious and the other person doesn’t know what you are doing, then they can wander off into something else and then the whole pattern breaks down.  And you get the silence and mutual apologies because everyone feels bad when something doesn’t go right.  Part of me is like “who needs that”.  Some nights, I get so beat up on my lesson that I can’t face the possibility of any more failure so I just go back to what I know and everyone seems happy.  But I guess I’ll have to just get over that and give it a shot.  What’s the worst that could happen.


One comment

  1. Gosh, Wall – All I can say is that I always feel wonderful after my lessons. Both of my teachers are very affirming and positive and they make sure we end on a high note. I have had experience with a teacher who made me feel bad, though.Last year, I took some lessons at a more affordable (non-FF) studio on the side, and that teacher made me feel horrible every single time. She was a good dancer, but she just beat me up something awful. Whatever improvement I made during my time with her was not worth it. Dancing is supposed to be fun! Yes, it’s hard, but hard does not have to mean unpleasant. A harsh teacher is not a good teacher, IMHO.

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