Learning to Crawl

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Well this whole next level thing is the part of dancing that I really don’t deal well with. And I think Z knows I don’t and she wants to avoid making me feel bad and so she hesitates to do it. But we get to showcase and the coach says I need to look different and so we have to start working on some very subtle little refinements that are supposed to make a big difference. I had one lesson with Z this week before she left to deal with some personal issues and it was Tuesday when I was still not fully recovered from my illness so I wasn’t feeling great to begin with. She pulls out the video of OwnerGuy doing our open Bolero and focuses in on two parts where she wants me to move things differently. The first one made a little more sense as she explained that I’m holding a couple of counts while she’s moving so I’m not supposed to move until I see her complete an action.
The second part was on a move where I’m supposed to lead her with a subtle hip movement. Can’t describe the step too well except I’m suppose to reach and stretch out my left side while keeping my left hip in and then, when I’m ready to move her, I drop a hip and that triggers her to change direction. Sounds good in theory and the move isn’t very much different from what I was doing but it is trying to move certain muscles without moving others which gets me every time. I have some of the same issues with my trainer where he designs an exercise to get me to activate a certain muscle group but I can’t figure out how to make it happen and my attempt usually ends up with me doing something he doesn’t expect but that doesn’t produce the desired results.

I know you’ve all heard this tune before so I won’t go into too much boo-hoo stuff here but, for some reason, this always triggers three responses in me:
1. The bad feeling that I’ve been doing something wrong all this time which brings out all the negative demons about my dancing ability.
2. Frustration because I can’t get my body to move the way she wants and I can’t feel when it isn’t doing the right thing which leads to the negative thought that I’ll never get this.
3. Feeling totally overwhelmed because these were just two subtle changes in one routine and I know there is more coming and how am I supposed to remember all of this and keep track of where I’m supposed to move and how I’m supposed to move.

The good news is I didn’t go down the rabbit hole this time but I have an idea of what the next six months are going to be like so I’m looking at finding some nice positive uplifting things to read and review before my next lesson. Used to think that stuff was silly but hey its worth a shot.

In the mean time, the lessons with the Body Double and 3 of 3 are going well. It is actually kind of fun to see someone like 3 of 3 who is so super excited about working on this dance. She shows up with pages of notes she’s taken from reviewing the various steps and talks about how much time she spends working with the other instructors on leading things. Her attitude is contagious and it just makes her lessons fun. That plus the dance isn’t particularly difficult. We haven’t developed a routine since she’s been focused on just the steps but there is still time so I’m not worried.

The Quickstep seems farther away since we’ve only done a small amount of the planned routine and I haven’t seen the finished product yet. The Body Double is a bit more demanding about posture but she’s actually much nicer than Z about how she phrases things. I think she is also enjoying working on a dance like this as well. Last night, we kept getting close to a couple working on a father/daughter dance for their wedding. Didn’t mean to but the Quickstep moves. She said that is was kind of nice to be on this side of the fence since she usually is the one working with a newcomer who has to deal with advanced students flying by. We do have to figure out how to make the frame work for this dance. She’s trying to be in closed position which is really needed for Quickstep but we are supposed to pull our upper bodies away from each other and that’s not happening all the time. And you can probably see the issue with having upper bodies in contact from time to time. Again, unlike Z, she doesn’t make a big deal out of it. We did manage to work through the small section of the routine to timing which is a little insane right now but it is certainly doable.

Last night was also a silver group. The studio finally has enough people in silver to justify doing silver group classes once a week. OwnerGuy taught the class and part of it was a step I do with Z although the ending was different. Interesting to see the contrast cause OwnerGuy knows both parts but there were things I noticed he left out that Z does when we do the step. The opening is a spin whip where you triple towards each other and the guy is supposed to get the lady in a hammerlock position by passing her left hand from his left to his right behind her back. When Z does this step, she makes it clear that we should be facing each other as we triple together. OwnerGuy didn’t say that so all the ladies just tripled right by – in part because they knew there was a turn afterward but that made it more awkward to get the arm behind the back which is the key to the step.

So that’s how things are going. Finding that next level in my other dances is not going to be easy but if it was easy, then everyone would do it. In the end, this is what I signed up for, so I just need to push the negative thoughts aside and go in with a more open mind. (Easy to say, hard to do)

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