The Challenge

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I haven’t mentioned this before but there is a guy who dances at another studio who I see at most showcases.  We both went to Northstar two years ago and I was at the table with him a lot during the down time.  Since that was my first trip and Z and I weren’t speaking, he was really the only human contact I had during that long weekend.  As guys sometimes do, we somehow ended up as “rivals” although both of us were really just playing parts to have a good time.  Yes, we were direct competitors and he did better than I did but we still had fun together.  So at every showcase since then, he’s sought me out during the day and we’ve renewed our “rivalry”.  Nothing real serious, just some comical trash talk in line while waiting to take the floor and then some faux alpha male posing for those heats when we were out together.  Basically, it is all good fun.  In the changing room, we compare notes about instructors, lessons, outfits, etc.   Of course, I never get into the level of detail that I do here but it is still nice to have the connection and it makes the day more fun.

Well, at the last showcase, I was the only one doing two-step.  At some point, near the end of the day, he made a comment about two-step and I was trying to convince him that he needed to do it at the next showcase.  Because we are guys, I was basically questioning his manhood (but in a fun sort of way) for not doing two-step.  Which is always a good guy thing to do but sometimes it backfires because he does a lot of Rhythm dances that I don’t do so he hits me with the challenge – he’d do two-step if I did bachata.  Well he has the big advantage here because he’s practically a bachata expert and I’ve told you before about my non-moving hips.  But it was a challenge and a guy never backs away from a challenge so I brought it up at the studio last week and that meant yesterday I was doing bachata with the Body Double on my last lesson.

The basics of the dance aren’t particularly difficult – side, together, side, tap.  And then you can work in a series of turns and other moves so the basic moves aren’t difficult.  But, there are two concepts that will make this especially challenging for me.  One was introduced to me last night and that is a hip “pop” on the tap.  Yes, they actually expect me to move my hips which are pretty much set in concrete right now.  It turns out that one side is easier to do than the other but I gave it a shot.  I am glad that I’m working with the Body Double here because she is well aware of my awkwardness when it comes to moving certain parts of my body.  The difference between her and Z though is she doesn’t seem to revel in my discomfort nor does she do and say things to make me feel more self-conscious.

I also know that we are going to have to dance much closer.  This is also true of the Argentine Tango that I do with her.  Again, she’s breaking me in slowly given my personal space issues.  There are days when I really wonder where this discomfort comes from.  After all, as a guy, you would think it is an ideal situation since you get to be in close proximity to a younger, attractive female.  There are men in the studio (well at least one) who basically takes lessons so he can hold young women for 45 minutes at a time.  I guess it is just up to me to accept this is part of certain dances and just learn to get into the character of the dance.  Again, it will help to be working with the Body Double since she is doing her best to not make the situation more awkward than it has to be.  And, she’s been breaking me in on the quickstep since we are supposed to maintain contact so she just lines up with her hip connected to mine and we go from there.  But the quickstep has a whole different feel than the bachata or Argentine Tango.

The low point of the week was Thursday.  We had our first practice for the next formation which will be at the Showcase in May.  The Showcase is close to May 5th so you can guess the theme so the formation is latin themed.  Which would be OK except it appears they’ve gone mostly for camp and silliness.  There is a particularly annoying line dance from the 90’s that was done to an annoying song that was the very definition of a one hit wonder.  And, for some reason, it has been included in this formation.  Really, does anybody need to see that?  And there was something about us doing this in a circle and passing partners around.  I know, dancing is supposed to be fun so why not just go with the flow and enjoy it.  Why so serious?  Why ruin the party for everyone else?  Look, I don’t mind throwing a little bit of silliness into a formation as that is somewhat expected.  But when you play the whole thing for comedy, it leaves the impression that we couldn’t handle the dancing so just keep the steps simple and throw in a lot of “fun” stuff to get the audience laughing.  I’d rather they go for a challenge and see what we can do because doing something that stretches you is going to give you much more of a sense of accomplishment.  Or maybe I do need to just loosen up a bit.  I haven’t seen the middle part of the routine yet but what we did on Thursday really didn’t leave me wanting to come back.

So that was this past week.  I’m still waiting for them to tally all the points to see if I managed to come out on top in the tournament that ended last Saturday.  And I want confirmation that I hit the highest point total.  I guess that will have to wait until next year since they are closed most of the next two weeks.

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