Well tonight was an interesting mix of emotions. There was a silver swing group before my lesson and I spent about 30 minutes debating whether to go or not. The studio is a little too far away to just go for a lesson – I’d end up spending about as much time in the car driving there and back as I would on the lesson. So the group makes it worth something. But, with the Body Double gone, there is a 50/50 chance that Z would be teaching the group. Also, there are some silver in name only dancers who attend the group. I know that sounds bad but it is the truth. I don’t mind leading people who aren’t as familiar with a step but I hate wrestling with someone who is bound and determined to do their own thing no matter what I try to lead. In that case, I get nothing out of the group class.
I ended up deciding to go and got my normal coffee and pulled into the parking lot and just sat in my car. Then, I realized I wasn’t going in and, since I couldn’t sit in my car until my lesson, I went to a large mega mart near the studio. I rationalized it by buying a couple of items that aren’t at the mega mart where we usually do our weekly shopping. Yeah, that’s a weak argument for bravely running away. I timed it so I got back to the studio about 5-10 minutes into group class. Enough so that I could decide to jump in if conditions were favorable but could decide to pass if they weren’t. As it turns out, Z was teaching and they had combined the silver with the full bronze group and it was a large group and most of them were confused.
The good news was that OwnerGuy was unattended and he had mentioned on Monday that we needed to talk about signing up for more lessons. With all the transitions, he had let my enrollment lapse so I only had a very small number of lessons left. So that was an excuse to not jump into group class and I did re-up for more lessons. I suppose at some point, I’m going to have to deal with the fact that Z isn’t going anywhere and just suck it up and go to the group classes but I just couldn’t face it tonight.
The lesson with Kid T was on Bolero and Rumba which are the last two dances we haven’t done. Neither went especially well. I suppose if this lesson had happened before my talk with OwnerGuy, I might have been more hesitant to sign up. I don’t know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing but I have done these routines so many times as a partnership that it is hard for me to just dance my part. The steps are committed to muscle memory but the strange thing is that it appears I need to have a partner to work off of but Kid T is so different from either Z or the Body Double that I would start into a step and my mind would go “this feels different, something must be wrong”. Then, I’d lock up and the pattern would elude me.
This happened more with Rumba than Bolero. We even had to drag OwnerGuy off his lesson for 30 seconds to get us started. At some point, the autopilot took over and I got through most of it although there was a part at the end that had changed and I couldn’t remember that part completely. I suppose we may have to go back and just refocus on those steps so I can get the feel of dancing them with her.
I guess this is like going from NASCAR to Formula 1. It is still driving but the cars feel so different that you almost have to learn it all over again. If there was any doubt, I definitely learn by doing and then I can keep doing it based on how it feels. This is so weird because I would love to explain it better but my brain keeps getting mixed signals. There were so many times that I know I was doing the step correctly but it felt so different that I kept getting the signal that something had to be wrong which made me tentative and then more mistakes happened.
There is some good news that came out of it though. First, I was blaming myself for forgetting and she was blaming herself for not knowing the patterns well enough. Why is that good? Well that is also hard to explain but, for some reason, it was hard to remain frustrated at myself when I felt she was taking too much blame. It triggered some kind of reflexive, supportive mechanism for me to snap out of my funk and try to reassure her that we’d get it. So we ended up as kind of mutually supporting each other. I had a moment of negativity as I got in the car, but I was quickly able to move beyond it.
Now, I suspect some of you may be thinking that I should be expecting a little more since I’m paying for these lessons and it is almost like starting over. I suspect some of you are thinking this because that thought has crossed my mind from time to time as well. But here’s why I’m not that bothered by it. I’ve known for the longest time that my dance foundation isn’t as strong as it should be and so starting over gives me another opportunity to strengthen that which will help me in the long term. Secondly, I’ve got this weird thing in my head that gets a little excited about being able to grow together in this partnership. Again, it is a long term thing that I expect will pay off down the road. Yeah, its a little weird but that’s just how I’m wired.