The studio is open by appointment only from Wednesday through Tuesday and the Body Double is taking some time off so we had a double lesson last night. The first was Viennese Waltz which means we’ve come full circle since that is how she got the name “Body Double”. There was a time when Z was sick and OwnerGuy took the lesson and had the Body Double dance with me because he’s a terrible girl. But this time the lesson was all hers.
I’m going to sound like a broken record but her style just fits me almost too perfectly. I know she talks with OwnerGuy a lot and so he’s given her some idea on where he wants my dancing to go. With Viennese Waltz, he wanted it to move more and eventually to get me into shaping in certain parts. But, she comes on to the lesson and tells me exactly what we are going to do – go over the footwork a few times, work on making it move more and then work on the canter timing. But she also mentions the shaping so I now where we are going. Again, this is after the last lesson where we went through all the closed routines and talked about what I felt needed work in each. But there is a clear plan and clear expectations for each lesson. I really had no idea this is what I would prefer because that’s not how I live my life but something about having a road map just makes it easier for me to focus on what’s she trying to teach.
But we first went over the routine multiple times. The first few times were done slowly just to get used to the steps and to see where the trouble spots were. Then, we focused on those and danced up to speed. Once we had a baseline, she brought up the whole “move more” part but talked specifically about where it needed to happen and what I could do to make it happen. And that was a lot more impressive than just saying “move your ass” to me. A couple of times through and we were using the whole side of the dance floor which was something I wasn’t doing with Z.
As far as the canter timing, I’ve been introduced to that before but, again, she went to a specific place where it has to happen and started explaining it one way but kept at it until she hit on something that made sense to me and then we practiced that several times just to get the feel of it. She also made it clear to me that there are other places in the routine where it is going to happen but she was just focusing on this one spot to get me used to the idea and the movement before adding it to other places in the routine. Once I had it down, we did the routine again to music with a focus on moving more and the timing of this one step.
The second lesson was the Argentine Tango routine and we built on what we had done before but also got more into how to shape the movements so I am actually leading her to cross her feet in certain spots. Again, the pace at which she rolls out information is perfect because I’m not trying to process multiple things at the same time. But when you throw too much at me at one time, that just overloads things and I start to shut down. Like I said before, we got a boatload of Argentine Tango information from the coaching lesson and she’s just rolling it out piece by piece so we keep building onto the dance. But it is the same style – walk through a couple of times to see where the rough spots are, smooth those out, introduce a new concept, work with it until it is semi-comfortable and then introduce it to the routine so I see how it fits together. Oh, and now she just starts in a much closer position so we aren’t even talking about that anymore. See, I’m just that frog in boiling water – getting desensitized to having someone in my personal space.
Tomorrow we work on Rumba. This will be a milestone since it will be the first dance she’s taught me that we haven’t worked on before.
Oh, and I saw my placements from Boston. As expected, I didn’t do that great. I couldn’t really extend my leg without some pain and that really limited what I could do. I was doing stretching sitting at the table to try and loosen things up but they were still messed up from the fall. And, all of this background stuff got to me even and I was more nervous than I’ve ever been. As usual, I did better in the lower age group (smaller field). The one positive was getting higher than I expected in Cha-Cha in my age group for the closed routine. Up until this point, I’ve done better in the smooth. I know it all depends on the judges and the field and other things but it was still nice to see a new dance rise to the surface. Tells me that I can do the rhythm dances even though I’m as non-Latin as you can get.
All in all, yesterday was a very productive day. We are still getting used to each other as partners and so we don’t always dance through things smoothly. That will come with time. The good news is I spent two lessons on technique and still managed to have fun and actually was able to process and learn some things. The right teacher really does make all the difference.