This is My Brain on a Dance Lesson

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So to summarize my lesson yesterday, I thought I’d take you through the various struggles in my mind.  The following cast of characters will be needed.  Some you will be familiar with and they represent the various parts of my brain that fight for supremacy during a lesson.

  • Darth Vader (DV) – well known as my dark side.  The negative energy that constantly draws me towards the darkness where I believe I am not anywhere near good enough to be doing things like attempting a return trip to the event that continues to get closer.
  • The Donald (TD) – it may surprise you to realize that I also have an arrogant and egotistical side the gives me an unrealistic impression of how good I really am.  Perhaps this is to compensate for Darth’s influences but it is mostly false bravado.
  • Mr Spock (MS) – coldly logical about all things but absent much feeling so really hates doing silly things.  Really hates them.  I mean, hates them with a passion of a white hot sun.
  • Inner 6 year old (In6) – can be annoyingly immature but also appreciates fun and silliness from time to time (as long as Mr Spock gives approval to be silly)
  • Just me (JDW) – the “normal” part.

Act 1 – the beginning of the lesson.  At the coaching lesson, the coach who tried to improve my swing gave me an exercise to work on.  I foolishly figured it would be forgotten but no such luck.  My instructor announces that we will be doing it at the start of the lesson.  She even drags OwnerGuy over and shows me an exercise they do “before every practice, before every coaching lesson and before every comp” to convince me that this is an honest to goodness thing that dancers actually do.  Here is what transpired:

  • (In6) – I don’t want to do this.  Why do I want to waste my time on this.  Let’s get to a lesson and do something fun!
  • (MS) – Indeed!  Despite what she told us, I see no connection between this and dancing.  It is not logical to be walking around practicing shifting weight from foot to foot.
  • (DV) – Well, if you hadn’t sucked so bad at the swing coaching lesson, they might not have sent you back to do remedial basic work.  Besides, they know you are a hopeless case and have no shot but are just trying to keep you from looking totally ridiculous
  • (JDW) – Guys, she said this was real.  Practice makes perfect and it isn’t that bad.  We’re only doing this for 5-10 minutes.  It isn’t that bad.
  • (In6) – No! IT SUCKS!  I HATE IT!  Besides, that other student is laughing at us!
  • (DV) – Even he can sense your complete lack of talent.  Give up now and enjoy the power of the dark side.
  • (TD) – Which jerk is laughing at us?  That guy!  We’re ten times the dancer he is.  I’ll show him some moves that will shut him up.

And we finished the exercise without any further incidents.

Act 2 – Now, we attempt to take the exercise into the real world and work on the two steps where I’m supposed to make her swivel after a spin.  I watch her do it with ease and realize that I’m just taking two steps backwards and not really leading anything even though she has told me not to worry about arms or anything else and just focus on the steps.

  • (DV) – look at how’s she’s doing it.  Man, you aren’t even close,  You’re some lumbering Frankenstein with no bounce or rhythm what so ever.  You know you aren’t leading her and you never will.
  • (MS) – She is a professional and it is not logical to compare yourself to her.  Of course she is going to look better than you are.  This is new to you and not to her.  This path will lead to nothing.
  • (TD) – What the hell are you talking about. Of course we should look like she does.  I’ve done this long enough that I should be able to pull this off.  And where does she get off telling us to not worry about anything else.  What, she thinks we can’t handle it?
  • (DV) – Well, YOU CAN”T HANDLE IT.  Face the facts.  You can’t even get the spin right because you keep landing with split weight and everything gets off balance.  She’s doing all the work because she knows you never will get it right.  This part of the routine is always going to suck.   Too bad for you it comes right at the beginning so anyone watching will see the bad stuff and just automatically write you off.  Not that the rest of it is any good but it sure starts off badly.
  • (MS) – This part of the routine was just changed on Monday. This is the first day you’ve had to work with it.  To expect it to be comfortable and perfect is illogical.  This is a time to simply practice.
  • (DV) – Ain’t much time left before you-know-what.  A little late to be changing things up now.
  • (In6) – Oh shut up!  I’m going to spin and not listen to the rest of you.
  • (JDW) – good plan.  Let’s just get through this and move on the next.  If we get too hung up here, we’ll never get through things.
  • (DV) – YES!!  Give in to the Dark Side!  You can not resist its power!
  • (TD) – not this time sport!  She thinks we can’t handle this.  Well we will just show her what we can handle.

Act 3 – Having accepted that perfection is not an option at this point, we do make it through that part of the routine and then we move on to the next part which is a turn for me to get around her and then we take four walking steps (me backwards and her forwards).  This was a place where a concrete change was made to make the turn easier but there was about my posture in the steps where ideally I would be forward and bending from the waist so my head doesn’t droop.

  • (JDW) – Now, remember, this is where he made the change so take the first step before the turn more into her to get the thing started
  • (TD) – Stop whining to us.  This part is easy.
  • (In6) – yes, another turn.  Can’t wait.
  • (DV) – Just don’t fall over.
  • (MS) – The problem will come after that since it defies logic to walk backwards while leaning forward.  This seems like a contradiction.
  • (TD) – Why?  Coach boy handled it just fine on Monday.  You saying we can’t?
  • (DV) – Of course you can’t.  That type of body control is way beyond what you are capable of.  You’ll end up sticking your butt too far out and dropping your head and looking like the ridiculous mess you are (I have mentioned that this guy’s pretty harsh, haven’t I).  Go ahead and try but it will be a miserable failure.
  • (MS) – I may have to agree with the evil one here.  It simply isn’t logical to do what she is asking.
  • (In6) – well then, let me try cause I’ll just make it look stupid and show her we can’t do it.
  • (MS) – Extreme, but acceptable.
  • (DV) – YES.  And then when she gets mad at us, we will tell her all the reasons why this will never work and how much we suck and why are we even bothering.  It will be glorious.
  • (At this point, my instructor seems to sense that In6 is in control but she tells me that when I act silly, it actually works better and that I was doing what she wanted)
  • (JDW) – Boy, I guess you never saw that coming.
  • (DV) – NO!  My plan must work.  This is inconceivable.
  • (MS) – This still seems illogical to me.  How can trying to do something in a silly way actually lead to success?  Baffling.
  • (In6) – Maybe cause you ain’t supposed to over think everything Brainiac.  Sometimes logic isn’t the answer.
  • (MS) – Inconceivable.
  • (Inigo Montoya) – you keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means
  • (JDW) – Well, now that we’ve got that out of the way, can we tone down the silliness but still make it work.
  • (In6) – That won’t be as much fun but I guess so.
  • (DV) – This optimism is starting to get on my nerves.  Go ahead, have your little successes.  Deep down you know this is a lost cause.

Act 4 – Then we get to the last part of the routine where the coach made some suggestions.  Specifically it is a sailor shuffle and he wanted me to bend more at the waist to move my upper body in the same direction that I’m moving.  At this point, I’ve been mostly difficult but not impossible.  I’ve avoided the call of the dark side although it was close a couple of times.  One more hurdle to get through …

  • (JDW) – OK, remember what the coach said here, we have to ….
  • (TD) – Yeah, we got it.  It isn’t difficult you moron.  Anyone can do this and someone who is supposedly at our level shouldn’t have any problem.  Besides, she’s not expecting it and nobody expects the Spanish inquisition.
  • (MS) – What does that even mean?
  • (TD) – Just a joke.  Don’t they have humor on your planet?
  • (MS) – Not really.  Humor is mostly illogical.  But you are correct that this is certainly a step we can do.  I suggest we let In6 take the lead.
  • (In6) – YES!  This is going to be cool!  I’ll show her some upper body motion.
  • (DV) – you’ll just screw it up and look silly.  Mark my words.
  • (TD) – Mr Negative – YOU’RE FIRED!
  • (DV) – What!  You can’t rid of me.
  • (ALL) – Of course we can – don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
  • (DV) – I’ll be back!
  • (TD) – Take it away, kid.
  • (In6) – Watch this.  I can shuffle like a drunken sailor any day.
  • (At this point, I do actually do the move as intended and on the first time.  My instructor looks to be in a state of shock as this was the last thing she expected.  The shock quickly leads to excitement and happiness and she starts babbling a little bit about how great it was that I did that)
  • (TD) – What’s her problem?  This was easy.  Anyone could do this.  What does she think I’m some rank beginner who knows nothing?
  • (JDW) – Just calm down.  She’s happy we finally did something on our own without arguing about with her.  This is a good thing and we should remember that for the future.

The rest of the lesson went on without a hitch.  We worked on how to rotate the thing when we loop it.  At the end of the day, I felt some real progress was made.  It is a long way from polished but, realistically, all of these open routines are works in progress.  The important point is to just keep working and not give up.  Just doing them at the event I shall not name is going to be a victory.

But we close with:

Act 5 – the end of the lesson.  As we are finishing up, she says that our next lesson (which is today) we will continue working on the Tango that the other coach was helping with.  That means more bent knees and close contact:

  • (DV) – You may have defeated me today.  But just wait until the Tango.  You can’t do that.  It will be awkward and you will be stumbling all over the floor.  I can’t wait.  You will give in to the dark side.  (Evil laugh)

… to be continued (have to leave you with a cliffhanger)



One comment

  1. Loved this! Introspection plus humor – terrific! I’ve been feeling SOOO much more relaxed lately. I’m the “weak one” in my bronze-3 group class and not being able to catch on as fast as the folks who’ve been in full-bronze longer used to humiliate me, but no more. I know I’ll catch on eventually…and I do.

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