It’s On Like Donkey Kong

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I have officially put my money down so in nine days, I will be doing 40 heats and one solo routine at the out of town Showcase.  I guess the whole gang that went to Texas is also going so it is like I’m now part of the band.

I feel a mix of excitement and nerves.  There is part of me that feels like a kid getting a bicycle or a baseball glove for Christmas knowing you can’t be outside playing with it for a couple of months.  (OK, I know some of you live in climates where being outside on Christmas is expected but I grew up in the frozen wastelands where that was hardly ever an option)  And not that I want to compare Kid T to a toy but this is what we’ve been working for and it is time to take the stage and see what we can do.  Its a different kind of excitement than I’ve felt before because of the partner switch because I really want to see how we interact on a bigger stage.

I’m going to talk about our last lesson and the party last night since they were great but I wanted to touch again on the trust issue. But I’m coming at this from a different angle because just as I need to trust her, she needs to trust me.  While a female pro can take some control on the floor, in most cases, it is like handing the keys to a new driver and sitting in the passenger seat pressing the imaginary brake pedal while hoping the new driver manages not to take you out in some kind of fiery crash. Both partners work to keep each other safe but since I’m going forward most of the time, a lot of it falls on me and a female pro has to learn to trust that her partner isn’t going to get her into some gigantic collision on the dance floor.

So we were doing the Fox Trot last night at party and I’m weaving my routine through the assorted dancers and see a couple barreling down the long side of the floor.  The guy was seriously focused on moving and was just a little ahead of the music so they’d build up quite a bit of momentum.  As we were about to do our next step, I saw the guy coming and just pulled out the little hesitation they taught us back in Bronze I.  At the Famous Franchise, it is called the get out of trouble step and that’s probably why it has stuck with me.  Anyway, we get done and Kid T was more impressed with that then with doing the routine.  (I exaggerate slightly)  But I could see that it helped her to relax a bit because it was evidence that I do know a little floor-craft.  Its a small thing but trust is built from a series of small things.

In our lesson, we ran through four dances – Waltz, Fox Trot, Rumba and Bolero.  She had only planned to get through three but we nailed things so quickly that we got through and extra one.  The Waltz and Fox Trot went much better than I expected.  I was working on the big frame and keeping my head where it needs to be so my shoulders are a little tired today.  (That is also because TrainerGuy’s been working that area of my body as well)  She even said that the Bolero felt good which could just be an attempt to keep me from climbing out on the ledge but I don’t think so.  In all seriousness, everything moved just fine.  I should probably go regrade things because my first report card was just a bit too harsh.

Party was interesting.  Because we have the comp coming up, she’s spending more time dancing with me which is great because it helps to practice with the right music (on a lesson, you have to share music with others doing different dances) and to have the floor full of people.  I noticed right away that my timing in the Fox Trot was much better.  Like the guy I mentioned above, a lot of people were blasting through the dance totally off beat so I looked like I was in slow motion at times but it was on time.

In between, I did get to dance with several of the other ladies who were there.  There is a newbie who I think is in training to become an instructor.  So I danced a Fox Trot and a Tango with her.  I had to do the T-A-N-G-O thing in the Tango since that seemed to help her with the footwork – she hadn’t done much Tango at all and kept switching weight on the close so she’d be on the wrong foot when I started the next step forward.  The thing I don’t quite get is that every time I see her in the studio, she’s practicing with Lady Gator which I find odd since Lady Gator hasn’t been doing this all that long.  That just makes me wonder if she’ll start out picking up some bad habits.  But when three experienced instructors walk in a short period of time, I guess you have to do what you have to do to replace them.  I do know that if she’s hired, then they’ll be more training and she’ll eventually get the benefit of more experienced instructors.

Oh, I forgot to mention group class which was a Rumba.  I ended up guessing the step since I had done it before.  M-Dawg doesn’t like to give you the name of the step until the end of group class so he just kept working us through the pieces and I suddenly recognized what it was.  OwnerGuy was on a lesson with Tex’s wife (she needs a better name) but they all stopped to watch us demo the step at the end of the group class.  We were closest to him but not right next to him and when I broke into the step , he said “Nice Aida”.  He could have been talking about any of us but I was dancing with Kid T and we were closest to him so I’m going to assume he meant me.  Yes, I still need affirmation from time to time.

And, when I was leaving party, he cornered me to get me to pay for the Showcase.  While we were doing the paperwork, he says “I have to work with you two”  and I said “Yes, you do”.  He said something about watching us and having an idea of where we are but that now he needs to push us.  (I tell you this guy has eyes in the back of his head and he’s ALWAYS watching)  Not sure when it will happen but I’m up for it.  We eventually need open routines before I go back to another comp and we could refresh some of these closed routines.

Part of me doesn’t want to bring this last bit up because I should be saying “not my circus, not my monkeys”, and I don’t need further confirmation that I made the right decision but when it hits you across the face, you have to talk about it.  Z and Tex were on a lesson during group.  Tex is cramming for the Showcase even though he just did a comp.  At one point, Z says to OwnerGuy that he needs to come up with a new Mambo because Tex hates and can’t remember hers.  But she said it loud enough that we could all hear it.  I heard him start to argue that he did get it eventually and she shot that down by saying it took him almost the entire lesson.  Later, they ended up right by the group class and she says “Damn it, you always end up on the wrong foot”.  That kind of thing may push some people harder but, for someone like me, it was crushing and always sent me into that tailspin of doubt.  I know I probably have a lot of posts buried in here defending her methods and style but when you are in the bubble, you aren’t objective.  It just took me a long time to get out of the bubble and look at what was happening and hearing things like that tells me more than ever that I made the right decision and that I really can’t ever go back.

But enough about that.  I get to put on my dance clothes and hit the floor for real in just over a week.  I can’t wait.  (Even though I’m still just a bit nervous about what might happen)

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