Three Lessons for the Price of Two

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Last night was the one Silver group class they do at the studio.  We have a small number of students who are in Silver but the group lessons have typically been populated, but for some reason, I was the only one who showed up.  At first, the Body Double was going to combine groups and toss me into the Advanced Bronze group that Z was teaching.  I wasn’t too keen on that given that relations with Z are still frosty (OK, more like frozen solid since we really ignore each other as much as possible)  Fortunately for me, the Body Double decided to pull me out and do a group class anyway.  She had decided to do a step I didn’t know and one that she wanted to add to my routine.  So, not only did we do the step but we looped it into my routine and she got an opportunity to give me a few pointers on the routine which was really outside the scope of the group class.

With about 10 minutes left, my favorite partner came into the studio.  They have just recently redone the timing of the group classes.  With 3 of 3 and The Statue gone, they are short on instructors so they can’t teach multiple levels so they run two sessions of group classes.  This means they moved the Silver group up by 45 minutes and she thought it was still at its normal time.  At first, she was just going to sit out, but the Body Double figured we still had 10 minutes left and she should at least get an introduction so we dragged her into the group class.  Turns out we only had time for the Body Double to show her the ladies part and for us to dance it together once and then it was demo time.  She did great for only having done it once.  The step wasn’t too tricky – the weirdest part is after a separation break where I bring her to my side and then have her flip around so we are in a sweetheart like position although she’s on my left side which is a little different.  But it a pretty easy step to lead and I just was a little more forceful than usual to make sure she got to the right position and the rest was cake.

The Body Double did change one other bit of technique on my Bolero by having me twist a little more and face differently on the first part of a basic.  That way, we aren’t “flat” and it makes the rock step rotation much easier.  It wasn’t a tough concept so I’m not sure why Z never brought it up.  Well, I can speculate.  Because she is now my primary partner, the Body Double has been working at warp speed on her Silver – and doing both the guys and ladies part so she can follow but still give me pointers.  But that means all of that stuff is fresh in her mind so maybe she’s just more in tune to what I need to do differently.

Then we moved to our first private lesson which was Tango and Fox Trot.  The Tango was to reinforce what we did last time.  There is a part in the routine where she fans away from me and she prefers to do that in an open hold while Z always kept me in a frame but just with the frame a little more open.  Not sure there is a “correct” method so I’ll attribute that to personal preference.  But it does mean that I have to unlearn the old muscle memory.  And I worked on channeling my road rage to make my moves more aggressive and less like the other smooth dances.  This was the first time we have danced my Fox Trot routine so I think that just leaves Waltz and Swing as the only routines we haven’t done together.   She made a correction to one part of the routine where she wanted me to lead with my rib cage.  This is always a strange concept to me since the rib cage is in the middle of your body and it doesn’t feel like something you should be able to lead with.  But it was really just about creating the right angles which is supposed to make the step more visually appealing while also keeping us at a distance where the next step can be done easily since we need space to make that happen.

We started working on Fox Trot timing and relating it to numbers rather than quicks and slows.  That was something we did with Tango and it made sense in Tango but, for some reason, it was a difficult concept to grasp with Fox Trot.  I was more focused on holding the 1-2 as a slow and trying to better fill the time since I do tend to rush the Fox Trot.  It will take a bit to get used to that but she says it will help in the long run.  But the Fox Trot went really well including the pivot which made me happy.  I love pivots but they have to feel comfortable and that requires both parties providing power when it is needed.

The last lesson was our Quickstep routine.  We started with the Polka Chasses using the shaping that the coach taught us.  We were skipping the whole length of the floor in no time.  The other thing we worked on was my head position.  I know I’m supposed to be looking away from my partner but that always feels wrong so I’ve usually ended up looking at them.  But then we did a natural spin turn with my head in the right place and that sucker moved!  I ended up being so taken by how much and how easy it rotated that I just kept going.  I know the physics behind it and I’ve felt it a bit before but never as dramatically as this.  It was hard to continue looking over her shoulder and not at her but it does make the dance work better.

I’m going to have to go over the notes from the lessons.  There was a lot crammed into a short period of time.  I know some of these concepts are things Z has tried to explain but maybe she just didn’t work at them long enough but, for some reason, the Body Double says it and it makes perfect sense to me.  Its like getting the answers to a particularly tough problem and then wondering why you didn’t figure it out earlier.  It just makes me want to jump right back in and take a whole bunch of lessons.

Well tonight is a lesson with Kid T so we’ll be working on the West Coast Swing routine.  Looking forward to that as well.

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