The Prettiest Flamingo

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I had an interesting conversation with Hilde in the parking lot after formation practice last night.  I knew there was a reason I gave her a name because I suspect this won’t be the last time I mention her in a post.  I’ll get to that but I thought I first should explain the title so consider this a little tease to stick around until the end.

I may have mentioned the formation before, but here is a brief recap.  This is something we will do at the next Showcase.  Right now, it is a mix of hustle and cha-cha.  At some point we are changing partners, so I ended up with Hilde for the cha-cha part of the formation.  The dancing is mostly basic steps with the goal to have us all moving at the same time – hence the formation part of it.  In order to entice us, the lessons are free but the main point is supposed to be to have some fun and maybe be a little cheesy and campy.  OK, maybe a lot cheesy and campy.

I did not do the last one for a couple of reasons and I was unsure about this one but somewhere along the way, my attitude has changed.  Maybe it was in response to some of the others trying so hard to get this and I’ve just decided to relax and have a good time.  I mean, if they want camp, then I’m all in for that.  I mean we aren’t paying for this and it isn’t going to be a Broadway production so why not just let my guard down and have some fun.   Anyway, there is a part in the cha-cha, where the 2-3 starts like a crossover but on the “3” we turn and face each other without putting weight on that foot.  The lady gets to strike a nice pose with that leg.  Kid T was demonstrating it yesterday and she was doing the guys part but still did the pose more like a lady would.  She then probably figured that we were all freaked out and quickly told us that we didn’t have to be so “girly”.  But she never said guys couldn’t be girly if they wanted to and I did actually ask that – again I’m trying to keep things loose.

The pose was described as being like a flamingo since they will tend to have one leg on the ground and the other in the air.  Hilde was pushing me to do the same pose as she was so I just decided to go for it.  The more I did it, the more she was laughing and having a good time.  At some point, she told me I’d be the prettiest flamingo out there.  Not exactly sure that’s what I’m going for but it’s a start.  Anyway, I was hitting that pose every time and it actually started to feel natural.  At this point, unless Kid T or OwnerGuy comes and tells me to stop, I’m going totally full flamingo on that step.

There is actually another reason for me to do this that is a little more serious.  If you watch pros, they seem to constantly be in motion with multiple body parts moving in different ways.  I have parts of me that simply aren’t used to moving (I’m talking to you, hips!) but I want to be able to express more in my dancing.  I want the arms and other things to be natural and just flow from the music and not be the robot guy – must fling arm out now.  I know that what the pros make look smooth and effortless is the result of hours of practice and designed to match each other so I don’t have total freedom.  But I still think there are cases where you can “feel” the music and just react to it and that’s where I want to go.  Part of that does also require getting over my self-conscious part of not wanting to look like an idiot.  I figure if I can pull off the pretty flamingo, then more hip movement shouldn’t be a big deal.

I do have a different partner for the hustle part.  There are a couple of turns in the hustle part and there was one where I could feel her going the wrong way (and really fighting me to do it wrong).  I really was reacting more than thinking because my brain said “No, you’re doing it wrong and I’m going to get you to do it RIGHT”.  But, I think I’ve gained a little more upper body strength than I’ve realized because I kind of sent her spinning out of control down the dance floor.  The good news is she didn’t fall and she was laughing about it.  Guess I may have to dial it down a bit but it was really just an automatic reaction to what I was feeling.

Alright, now back to the conversations I teased you about.  Normally, I take one of the tables at the far end of the studio – away from the door and use that to put my shoes on.  Most of the others like to just use the couch at the front of the studio.  I say this because under normal circumstances, they are out the door long before I am.  Some part of me was hurrying a little bit just to catch up to her as she was walking out the door.  We started talking about the Body Double leaving since that was kept under wraps from anyone who didn’t work directly working with her and Hilde had no idea until Friday that she was leaving.  As it turns out, we were parked right next to each other so we didn’t have to break up the conversation to go to our cars.  (Again, the right series of random events lined up leading me to think that they weren’t just random events)

Well, she asked what I was going to do since I had lost both the Body Double and 3 of 3.  I told her I was going to be working with Kid T since I couldn’t work with Z anymore.  I’ve only told one other person about this and only in very high level details.  But, she heard that and immediately wanted details.  I started in with the whole personality difference thing and started to get into how Z does things and she was suddenly finishing my thoughts for me.  Like I said something about how the way she says things is … and she jumped in and said “demotivating” and all I could say was “exactly”.   Turns out she had experienced some of that during her check out and it really stuck with her.

I’ll just say she’s a psychology student and had some interesting observations but it was amazing to hear someone have some of the same experiences I’ve had.  I just kept going a little deeper into some of the issues between me and Z but I didn’t go all out.  She kept making the same comment “You know it isn’t you, right?”.  I told her honestly that I know that now after all I’ve read about personality styles.  She did later IM me to say that she was glad she was not the only one who felt this way.

Now, I need to be clear here that I’m not trying to run Z down.  There are so many examples of the drill sargent/tough coach style that does get results.  See Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans for an example.  That method can work and get results but the reality is it isn’t for everyone and it can really be toxic to some of us.  I do realize that now and I’m also glad to know that I’m not alone.

The other part that might make this interesting in the long term is that she is not faithful to the Famous Franchise.  She has explored other dance venues within our town.  I should mention here that she’s strongly extroverted so I suspect she doesn’t deal with the same issues I do when deciding to visit a scary new place for the first time.  She talked about dragging me to one of those places as well.  Who knows, I may decide to take her up on the offer.

Funny, I don’t see a resemblance.

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