The Future’s Not So Clear, But I’m Still Going to Wear Shades (Cheap Ones!)

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Well I’ve got two posts rolling around inside my head.  One is going to be the more standard “what happened to me this week” and the other was one of those silly little meaningless moments that cause me to think way too much.  Problem is that I can’t make the second one come together.  Maybe some additional time in my mental incubator will allow it to develop into something.  For now, you get the recap of the last couple of days of my life where I hope to make my existence appear interesting and funny.

So last night, I danced the Quickstep with the Body Double for the last time (sigh).  I didn’t really think about it until that thought formed in my head.  This change is really going to happen.  You might be wondering why we would be working on the Quickstep since she’s leaving but it turns out that Kid T is all fired up about the Quickstep and really wants to do it.  So the point last night was to record it to give Kid T a visual model to work from.

I’m not sure how that is going to work out.  I had a lesson with Kid T and this was her second attempt to teach me what the coach did on our West Coast Swing.  It was nowhere near as bad as some of my bad lessons with Z but it wasn’t great.  I’ve thought about it since and I realize that if I’m going to continue working with her, then I need to lay out some strategies, ground rules on what might work best for me.  Problem is that I don’t really know so I’ve had to put more thought into that and you’ll see the list at the end of the post.

Did have a little chat with OwnerGuy on Monday.  I addressed a couple of my fears about working with Kid T and he seemed to understand and suggested that he would find time to work with us on a couple of lessons as we start to make sure things are going as expected.  Not sure he will really follow through but we shall see.  Got to say that he seems somewhat ambivalent about me staying.  Would it be that hard to say “Hey, you’re a really good dancer and I’d love to see you stay”?  Or maybe that is just my ego talking.  He’s certainly received enough of my money over the years so maybe it really doesn’t matter to him what happens.

I will say that if that feeling radiated through the studio, then it would make my decision easier but it clearly doesn’t.  Kid T and MDawg are always happy to see me.  There’s a new girl in town as an instructor who hasn’t been around long enough for me to come up with a name but she seems friendly enough.  So there isn’t a bad vibe in the studio when I walk in.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned this but before OwnerGuy opened this studio, he worked at a different Famous Franchise which is where I started.  I didn’t know it at the time but there was an internal war going on between the Famous Franchise and the owner of that studio and it eventually settled with that owner taking his three studio out from under the Famous Franchise umbrella.  That happened after I left but it was going on at the time.  Towards the end, I was still at the old studio, working with Z before she made the full time move out to the current studio and the vibe I got was pretty bad.  It was like I was the enemy who didn’t belong which was not pleasant since it was a studio I had been at for many years.  But I was marked with the OwnerGuy/Z tattoo so I was the outsider and was treated as such by the other instructors.  This is not the same feeling by any means but I’m just a little sensitized to that.

OwnerGuy did say something about going to back to what I liked about dancing in the first place and using that to guide my decision.  He made a comment about how I probably didn’t like the challenge of doing scholarship.  I hate it when people say things about me like they really know me but I took it because I didn’t want to argue with him.  He’s reacting to my first words to him when we ran into each other at the event.  Honestly, I knew I wasn’t going to do that well because I just wasn’t physically 100%.  Anyway, what I wanted to tell him was that I didn’t have a problem with the challenge of doing it, I just needed a more supportive instructor to get me through the rough patches.  But that wouldn’t have gotten me anywhere so I just nodded and moved on.

And, what I like about dancing now is different than when I first started.  I’ve already talked about the solos and the performance aspect which was not something I expected to like.  But, more than anything else, it still needs to be FUN!!!!  Case in point.  Last night at group class, we were doing a Waltz to “The Inchworm”.  The Body Double said something about giving anyone a dollar who would drop to the floor and do the worm.  No, I didn’t do it but MDawg was all over it.  I don’t know why, but I just grabbed my walled and handed him the dollar.  It was silly but we all had a good laugh about it.  I guess if competing requires you to be all work and no play, then it really isn’t for me.  But then I think, why not?  I mean it is my money.  If I decide I want to spend a few extra bucks on top of the already ridiculous fees to do a scholarship, isn’t that my decision.  And, even if I’m not devoting a whole bunch of extra time to it (because I do have a real job that pays for my lessons) but I do it because the act of being out there is a victory in and of itself, then shouldn’t I expect my instructor to support me.  Even if that doesn’t fit her definition of a “serious competitive student”.  Just a thought.

Again, I haven’t ruled anything out.  I’ve invested enough time and money that I want to see this through to the next Showcase because I really do want to do that West Coast Swing.  I’ll try to find the courage to explore other opportunities during this time as well.

OK, I know I promised you a list of my learning styles/experience.  If you’ve gotten this far, then I should give you some thoughts.  Actually, I’m just doing this so I have something I can reference the next time I see Kid T.  No, I wouldn’t show her this post but having it writing gives me something I can sort of memorize before talking with her so I don’t leave anything out.

  1.  I find that if I have to do something more complicated than just a simple step, then I have to do it so I can feel where I’m supposed to go.  I have to feel the rotation of my body and feel how my arm is supposed to move to get her to do what she needs to do.  It is why I have a hard time with watching videos because my ability to learn from just observing is limited.  I need a rough overview but we really just have to dive in and make it work.
  2. My math/science background requires replication.  I can’t do a pattern once and then coherently answer “How did that feel?”  After just one run, I don’t know how it feels.  I need several replicates to establish a baseline of how it feels and to understand how much variability there is from one attempt to another.  This is what the Body Double does best – we do things 3 times before she gets to the next point.  I gotta have more replication.
  3. I can’t always express why something felt bad but that’s all I’ve got to go on.  The most common thing is that I don’t fully know where my feet are supposed to go.  If I’m not confident in my footwork, then I’ll end up split weight and that makes things feel bad or I’ll do the footwork differently on each run so they’ll feel different to me and I won’t always know where it is.  Focus on the footwork first.
  4. The other thing I want is for the movements to flow.  When something gums up the works and things get herky jerky, then it feels “bad” and my brain signals something is wrong.  Again, I don’t always know where it is.  In the West Coast Swing, there was one part where I’m suppose to bring her from my right to my left while stepping to my left and then bouncing back to my right.  It felt like I was right on top of her and didn’t have room to move and it made things not so good but I figured it out and we worked through it.  But, I’m not always going to know.  We may have to do certain parts multiple times before moving on until it flows and feels good.  I know that can be frustrating and I will try to explain but sometimes, all I know is that some part of the routine just doesn’t feel right.  I need you to respect that and work with me to make it feel right.
  5. Timing.  I still don’t have the confidence I need.  Yes, I can normally get to the beat.  But, if you ask me to do it cold with no feedback, then it goes bad.  If I start and I’m wrong, let me know.  If I’m right, let me know.  In other words, let me know right away.  Don’t let me start on the wrong beat and then tell me we were on the wrong beat if you knew going in that we were going to have problems.

OK, there might be more but I think this is enough to start with.  Tomorrow will be the Body Double’s last party (sigh) and then we have one more lesson next week before she is gone.  That is also when we start to plan my new future with Kid T.  If that other post comes together, you’ll be the first to know.

One comment

  1. I don’t envy you the position you are in. It is hard to change instructors!! Especially when you were just beginning to gel with your new one it is definitely not easy to have to transition again. I can sympathize because where I live there really is only one option for competitive pro/am–so if my instructor leaves or things go bad between us–I am out of luck.

    I wish you luck in the transition and hope that communication will be open and that you are able to figure out a way that works for you.

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