I’ll get to the recap of the lesson last night that inspired that title in a minute.
I did something a little out of character for me last night and since this is my blog, I can share what I want to. This weekend is our “Medal Ball” at the Famous Franchise. I’m sure you all have some similar type of event but it is a way of celebrating when students move from one level to another. It requires a check out where an instructor you typically don’t work with grades your dances and verifies that you are ready to check out. If they ask you to check out, then you are going to pass but I remember those days and it can be very nerve wracking to have what amounts to a final exam in dance.
So there’s a couple who’s been at the studio for awhile and they were checking out of Bronze III in their smooth dances. I traded a lesson with them last night so Z could check them out. She was really nervous about doing it and said so a couple of times. I saw them come in while we were in group class and I could tell she was just a little freaked out. At some point, they stopped practicing and something just came over me, so I ran out of group class, ran over to them and gave her a hug and told to her to go knock em dead. They did just fine and I checked with them after my lesson and gave them the appropriate congratulations. Having had my own series of freak outs, I guess I have experience recognizing when someone’s at the edge and a word of encouragement might be helpful.
I had a lesson with Z before group class but it was to work on the changes to the Waltz routine that the last coach suggested. To be honest, I had no recollection of anything he had done so it took some time to get it back. I suppose I should just say that at the end of the lesson I got the one part that was new to me and just leave it at that.
After group, I was with the Body Double again. We did the beginning to our Quickstep routine. I’ve mentioned this before, but she’s behind me with her arms basically around my mid-section as we do “Egyptian” type arm moves. Yes, it was a serious invasion of my personal space and it wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world for me, but the worst was yet to come.
At the end we do some kind of right box where the song lyrics are something meaningful like “way-o, way-o”. I don’t really know if this is a legitimate step from Quickstep or whether OwnerGuy just decided it would match the music better but they want the open box to look a little like a Samba roll with lots of hip motion. OK, I don’t do Samba and you know how I feel about hip movements. Now they want me to come at her with my hips forward and then stick my back end out on the back side of the box. And, to make it clear what she wanted, she did a demo with 3 of 3 and they were exaggerating the moves to make it obvious. I can’t even being to tell you how far outside of my comfort zone this whole idea was. I couldn’t do anything but laugh the entire time. I guess I ended up doing a reasonable approximation of what she wanted (for now) but that just isn’t me.
We ended up running through it multiple times including practicing the arm movements at the beginning. 3 of 3 was working with the two new kids in one corner and they were watching us the entire time. Nothing like an audience when you feel self-conscious but, at the end of the day, I’m going to have to perform this in front of a crowd so I better get use to it.
I love Quickstep but it is physically challenging. I’d love to know how many calories I’d burn in one of those lessons. I know it is really the only dance when I end up sweating and feeling disgusting. Fortunately, it tends to be limited to my head but there is nothing worse then feeling a sweat drop roll down the side of your face while you are trying to look good.
Well she wanted to save the last fifteen minutes to work again on the Argentine Tango. And the focus here is less on the steps and timing but more on the frame and making it look more like the Argentine Tango is supposed to look. Which means more close contact since my arm is supposed to be farther around her back which naturally pulls us closer together. Again, my personal space bubble is gone. But after 30 minutes of quickstep, I really didn’t feel like getting close to anyone.
If you’ve seen “Shall We Dance”, imagine the scene where Vern (the big fat guy) is trying to dance Rumba with Bobbie and his shirt is soaked and he wraps his arms around her and she freaks out. Technically, it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t have the classic fat man sweat going because my shirt was dry (sorry if this is TMI) but because we had been in frame for so long, my hands weren’t pleasant and I would get the occasional drop rolling down my face. But, mentally, I was right there with Vern. The only difference was, he wasn’t aware of it (or was trying to press through it) and was just focused on capturing the spirit of the dance. Me, I was adding that image to my personal space issues and really wanting to apologize over and over to the Body Double since I knew I could go home and shower but she had another lesson and I was just worried I was making her a mess as well. At least my arm didn’t stick to her shirt where I had her in frame. That would have been too much. And maybe why you shouldn’t roll your sleeves up when dancing.
I think she ended up making a joke about her being hot (i.e. sweaty) but she’s younger and in much better shape so I think she may have just been sensing my extreme discomfort and was reacting to it.
On the other hand, I’ve seen professional dance at competitions and events and sweat just comes with the territory. OK, that’s a little gross to think about but it is what it is. That’s why they have a table full of towels at some of the larger events and I guess it should just be par for the course and something experienced instructors are used to. (Or have simply learned to ignore). I just hope I wasn’t too gross for her. I suppose this is just another thing to get used to but it was hard to get into the character of the Tango when I just wanted to grab a towel and wipe my forehead multiple times during the dance.
The more I do this, the more I realize how far outside my normal life this world is. Leads to my constant impression that I’m an outside trying to pass myself off as someone who belongs. I feel like a spy behind enemy lines just hoping my cover doesn’t get blown and they kick me out. I guess personal growth is a good thing but I had NO idea how many ways dance was going to stretch me when I first started. How I’ve done this for so long is something of a miracle.