Is there an Am in Pro/Am

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Ever had a single comment cause you to stop and think and question a lot of things?  No?  Then, you’ve never experienced the fun of over-thinking and reading WAY too much into things and making inferences that go well beyond the words.  Of course, that’s not me and I’ll get the phrase that sent me into a little spiral in a minute.  It doesn’t help that I haven’t been feeling the greatest this week.  I’m trying to tell myself it is just allergies acting up because having a head cold in summer has got to be the worst of all worlds.  If I was going to get sick, it should have been during the ice ace that was this winter because then I could have justified staying home and sleeping all day.

The other bit of bad news is that my instructor came down with a sinus infection and she was out on Wednesday when we had two lessons booked.  That cuts into the already limited time we had to learn the hustle routine which is a minor concern but it also cost me 10 points in the quest for 400.  You would think that the Famous Franchise would cut me a little slack since it wasn’t my fault but rules is rules and it does not appear that they will.  I did manage to find time to squeeze in two lessons next week meaning I’ve got seven lessons next week with the groups and the routine demo at the party on Friday.  At the end of the day, I’m not convinced it is worth it to get these points but having got so close, I refuse to give in now.

So to get points, I’ve been attending group classes even on those rare days when I don’t have a lesson.  That means I’ve done Waltz, Tango, Mambo and Swing this week.  I am finding some value in the group classes for dances I normally do as it does give me an opportunity to practice things like frame and posture.  The Mambo isn’t a dance I do but points are points so I made do.  Toughest part of Mambo is holding the first beat and trying to convince the ladies I was dancing with to hold the beat as well.  The instructor said we set the timing but when you stand there and don’t move because you are holding the beat and your partner jumps right into things, then you are already behind and not really setting the timing.  The swing group was fun.  We started with a basic but the instructor was trying to emphasize hip movements with the particular pattern and we all know about my hips.  I’ve complained enough at various groups that one of the ladies says to me “shake that tight a**”.  Yes, she went there.  Sorry but I don’t move my tight a** on demand.  Later, she made a comment that it was moving and, to be honest, I’m not really sure that made me feel any better knowing that someone is looking at my butt and turning it into a topic of conversation.

Did get one lesson in last night and we worked on the hustle for the entire time although it was a challenge because she was still a little dizzy from the sinus thing and there are lots of spins in the hustle routine so we couldn’t go all out.  There is one part when I’m walking around her, grabbing her hip and then getting her to spin.  This is a challenge because we aren’t in frame so I have to pay attention to where she is while keeping my steps and being able to grab a hip without grabbing something I shouldn’t be messing with.  A couple of times I was too far away and just didn’t bother.  We took it up to music at the end and it was again coming at me much too fast.  Bottom line is I got through and I’m reasonably sure I can do something that will at least resemble what the routine is supposed to look like next week but it will be far from polished and far below the standards of perfection I set for myself.  Guess I shall just have to live with that.

OK, now back to the topic of the title.  As I was struggling to get her hip and after giving up one time, she told me that she’s a professional and all I needed to do was fake it and she could do the rest.  I suppose I should be happy with that and she’s right that if I fake it then it will still look like I did something rather than just leaving my arm at my side.  But, this sent me into some deeper reflection on the whole pro/am thing.  Yes, it is great to be dancing with a pro and I know I screw up and I should be happy that she can cover for my many failings but the pride part of me says “I want to do this on my own”.  There is part of me that would rather fail honestly then get a pass because she can cover for me.  Then, I start to wonder how much of what we do is really me and how much is an illusion that she creates by disguising my faults.  How does the Am fit into the Pro/Am combination?  Is there any of me in there or is it all her?  The group classes and party should tell me that I have picked up some skills along the way but when I fail at a step that I can do with her, it illustrates where my shortcomings are.  I’m not going to obsess over this a lot (well maybe I will) and I’m sure she never intended me to take that remark this far.  Because, to be honest, there is another part of me that doesn’t want to fail so I’m stuck in the middle.  I’d like to be able to stand on my own but I also don’t really want to know how much of what we do is her and not me.

Well that’s enough heavy stuff for a Friday.  To end on a light note, here’s another way dancing has changed me.  I’m in a place where they have a radio station going that I don’t normally listen to and a song comes on with a great swing beat.  I think I’ve heard it before but I had no idea who did it so I get the Iphone, launch Shazam and find out it is Uprising by Muse.  It’s not a real new song but I tend to favor music from my youth.  Anyway, I get it through ITunes and then have it on the next day while doing the treadmill at work all the time imagining what kind of dance moves I could do to it.  Later, I did a search and found an interesting West Coast Swing that was done to it.  Lyrically, it doesn’t do much for me but the beat is great and that’s what attracted me to it.

I did realize while trying to west coast swing on the treadmill that I do miss just getting out and dancing where I don’t have the watchful eyes of my instructor and her husband on me forcing me to think more about posture, frame and timing.  At times, it would be nice to just cut loose and do a swing (or something else) and be lazy about it and not think about making it a Famous Franchise approved version.  I can never totally ignore or not think about posture but it would be nice to be able to be a little lazy without worrying about the eye of Sauron burning in to me because I dropped my head a bit or didn’t get my heels on the ground.

One more group tonight and then next week is a grind to the finish.  After showstoppers, I can relax just a bit although I know that’s when we really amp up towards the event that shall not yet be named.


  1. Wall , you gotta go out dancin’! Just round up a few pals and hit some studio party somewhere, or go to a club. You could go incognito. Wear a disguise or something that feels edgy. Get a little tipsy, even.

    1. Hmm. And have the alcohol unleash my inner latin hips (presuming they are actually in there somewhere). Afraid it might end up more like Elaine from Seinfeld. 🙂

  2. I keep thinking about your question sent out to the big void — is there an am in pro/am. So interesting! I wonder what your teacher would say to that question? I’m with you. If the pro is just making it appear like I’m doing my part, I wouldn’t be OK with that either.

    1. Well, I think my instructor gets a little irritated with my lack of confidence so asking that question probably wouldn’t go well. It might just be too hard to really separate into components since each couple is going to dance together differently. But, it is something I do think about.

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