Getting to Know You

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Had three lessons with Kid T over the last two days and I’m starting to feel better about this switch.  Before our lesson on Wednesday, I talked with her about some of the stuff that was in my head.  That she was the third teacher I’ve had this summer and that everyone had a slightly different style and feel and that it was taking me time to get used to her.  And also how I have to sort of figure out her communication style and that if I give her the blank stare it is just because I need extra time to process something.  At the end, I told her to just bear with me because I just need time.  She was really understanding and that was a good thing.

Wednesday was Viennese Waltz followed by Waltz.  I noticed right away that we weren’t moving as much as I had been with the Body Double.  I think a lot of that has to do with the frame and the fact that I really don’t yet feel her consistently so I think I get a little tentative with my moves.  Or it could also be that I’m just not sure how much she can move so I put the breaks on a little bit.  I do think she was also still focused on getting the steps down so we can move on from there.  I’m not really that concerned about it yet because I know I can expand and move things but we just have to work up to that.

I also told her that I’m probably going to be messing up in places that I don’t normally just because she is so different and that was certainly the case in both dances.  Funny thing though is none of the old frustrations came out.  With Z, I was always kicking myself over every mistake “how could I forget that?”, “I must be stupid”, and so on.  For some reason, that didn’t happen and there were a lot of bobbles during both dances. I have to confess something here as well.  I do have some of them written down so I sort of know the order of the steps but I’ve gotten to the point where I just kind of let muscle memory take over on the steps based on how it feels.  So, when it felt different, I sometimes got a little lost and had to think a bit about what step came next.

She’s also still learning these steps so there are bobbles and mistakes that come from her as well.  There was one part of the waltz where she kept forgetting a certain part and then she got a little frustrated with herself and made a comment about hoping I would bear with her until she got fully up to speed.  By the end, both dances move reasonably well which I was happy with given that we hadn’t danced either one before.

I know I went on a rant about how much it sucked that this was happening.  Somehow, over the last two days, it hit me how much extra pressure this puts on her.  She went from being the newest female to the most experience female (not counting Z) in a four month time span.  And she goes from teaching mostly newcomers to getting an associate silver dancer.  There was a guy with me at one of the group classes who kept reminding her that she was the senior instructor.  I almost wanted to tell him to knock it off because she didn’t need to be reminded of that but I chose not to.  I could sense in a lot of ways that she was a little nervous on our lessons and wanting them to go well.   Maybe this is the path to the bond I was talking about before.  Just the shared experience of learning the patterns and accepting that we are both going to mess up from time to time and being cool with it will form that bond.

Thursday was Fox Trot and Mambo.  We were going to spend the entire lesson on Fox Trot but we ended up just doing about 30 minutes because it was actually moving quite well.  There was a part where she didn’t turn the right way and I knew something was wrong but I couldn’t quite figure it out.  We had to do that a couple of times before it clicked in my head and I got a bit more direct with the lead to just not give her a choice.  We did practice head position with me keeping my head up and to the left and not looking at her.  That made the pivot 100% better.  Again, this is something I “know” but I need the reminder from time to time.

So because she didn’t have any more real feedback, we moved on to do Mambo for the last 10 minutes.  I’m starting to try and count the timing myself as well so it becomes more ingrained in my head.  Dancing a fast dance while trying to count out loud just sucks the air out of you.  But we made that one work to a very fast song.  I even remembered the last step that the Body Double had just added to the routine and we nailed that one as well.   So now, I’ve done six of the nine dances with her.  Tango and Rumba are under construction so we wait for OwnerGuy to be able to work with us to show us his new vision.  That leaves Bolero and I’m very curious to see how that one goes.

The lessons were basically just doing the routines over and over again to get used to them.  When there were parts that needed to be adjusted, we stopped to do that but it was more just get to know each other and how each dance feels.  That meant it was real work though.  Do a Viennese Waltz a couple times in a row and that’s a work out.  And, I was a little nervous as well.  And that just meant I was kind of a mess at the end of each lesson. And my mind starts going and thinking and hoping that I’m not totally grossing her out and that just makes me sweat even more.  Ugh.  Hate that part.

Oh, but there was something a little funny that happened during the Fox Trot.  There was a lower Bronze group on part of the floor and the Body Double had Tex and his wife (Z was sick) and they were trying to do waltz.  So, since we couldn’t use part of the floor, we did end up weaving the routine around the Body Double a couple of times.  No collisions but a couple of close calls.  Kid T made the same comment the Body Double did when we first started.  That she enjoyed being the one really moving on the dance floor.

Afterward, we talked about the dance road trip and why I wasn’t going.  Then I mentioned the alternate Showcase that OwnerGuy offered up and said I was interested and she’s on board as well.

OwnerGuy needs to come through on his promise to help us on some lessons because I think he can help us find a good frame and work with that.  Kid T did talk about wanting to dance bigger so I think we will get there.  But she has to more fully get in my frame and be more solid.  This is really the biggest problem I have right now.

Tonight is the Body Double’s last night.  I had previously made arrangements to do something later tonight so I won’t be able to go.  I had to settle for a hug on my way out the door last night.  It is probably for the best, since it avoids the possibility of me crying at her final goodbye.  Not that I would do that because real men don’t cry but why take the risk?  Seriously, I am sad to see her go but she was the instructor I needed at the right time to really make me remember what I loved so much about dance and I’ll always be grateful for that.

So we move on.  The first steps were positive and that makes me feel good.  All I can do is take each lesson as they come.


    1. I hope so. I do hate change but there is another part of me that is kind of excited to see where this goes. I guess her youthful exuberance is starting to rub off on me.

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