As I work with three different instructors, their personal styles become clearer. I’m finding that lessons with the Body Double are less enjoyable than I would have expected. Don’t get me wrong, we make a lot of progress but there is something missing. The pattern of the lessons is basically the same. We take a pattern and repeat it to death. She makes me do things multiple times and when she feels I’ve got it, we add in the music. Sometimes she ramps up the speed so we do the pattern multiple times to a slower version of the song and then, if she feels I’ve mastered that, we put on a faster version. That has been the pattern of all of our Quickstep lessons and we had a Bachata lesson last night that followed the same template.
It is effective because muscle memory is what you need. Once you know the pattern and where your feet go, then you can start in on mastering the technique and/or working on timing so I know why she does things the way she does things. Despite the fact that she is very personable, there is a formality to the lessons that I don’t get with either Z or 3 of 3. It is like she is making sure there is a clear line and that she is the teacher and I am the student. Since I am so analytical, you might think this style would appeal to me and I’m actually a little shocked that it doesn’t. There is a certain part of dance that is very technical but there is also the part where you have to just feel it. I guess maybe it is the combination of both that appeals to me. My day job is so into the technical, analytical side that maybe I need the lessons to spark the emotional, creative side. Z is incredibly passionate about dancing and that’s why she drops into the drill sargent mode from time to time but I know she is truly invested in getting me to the next level. With 3 of 3, the lessons are more relaxed but I style get a nice vibe from her that she’s really excited and into teaching the dance. As much as I’ve learned, I just don’t quite get the same vibe from the Body Double. That she’s still more of an observer sort of watching us from outside (which sounds weird since we are dancing together) rather than being truly involved. I’m not sure if any of that made any sense. Remember that words often fail me when I’m trying to describe feelings and emotions. Give me a logical argument any day.
And I know I’m not the easiest person to work with. My natural introversion just keeps me from saying too much on a lesson and it takes me time to get to the point where I can casually banter back and forth with someone. I don’t like being asked to answer questions right away like “how did that feel?” as my mind goes “compared to what” or “I need more than a sample of 1 to make a valid conclusion”. So figuring out what makes me tick isn’t easy. It is funny because with the bachata, she’s trying to appeal to the challenge I was given at the last showcase. In case you had forgotten, I was the only one doing the two-step so I was talking with a guy from another studio who I enjoy talking with at events and asked him why he wasn’t doing the two step and he said he’d do a two step in May if I did a Bachata. Bachata is his dance and he’s real good at it so the Body Double was talking to me about doing some things to impress this guy and make him think that I knew my way around a Bachata. What she doesn’t get is that I really don’t care what he thinks of my Bachata. The whole “rivalry” is just a couple of guys having a good time doing what guys do which is take jabs at each other. If I get on the floor and do a Bachata, then I’ve met the challenge. I win if he doesn’t do a two step but, even then, I really wouldn’t care. It was all just harmless guy fun and if it means I get to learn a new dance, so much the better. So trying to inspire me to step up my game to compete with him really isn’t an effective strategy but I’m not going to say anything.
I guess to be totally honest, I really don’t care that much what anyone thinks of my Bachata. I’m not yet emotionally invested in the dance. If I didn’t do it and he did a two step, then he’d be all over me at the next Showcase, so I’m just doing this to avoid that. Its a fun little dance but I think it is best danced in a social situation rather than for show. So the Body Double was trying to push me to do the hip lifts and knee things that lead to the Cuban motion. Here’s the deal with that. I do what I can but that type of knee action makes my bad knee act up if I do too much of it. Problem is I don’t always know how much is too much and I only know the next day when my knee decides to remind me of why I shouldn’t be doing certain things. If I’m going to mess up my knee, then I’m not going to do it for a dance that I’m just playing around with. So she tells me these things and I just smile and nod while inside saying “no way”. I told you I could be difficult to work with.
The rest of this week, I’ve got lessons with Z and she’s going to be working on my head position to try to demystify the stuff the coach left me with. I’ll let you know how it goes.