Dancing the Part

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I wanted to loop back to Thursday and group class and maybe tie a few things together.  I am an introvert.  But don’t think that means I’m anti-social or incapable of interacting or that I’m always standing to the side watching life happen.  I find that I’m strangely drawn to those who are “larger than life” or who live life with a real zest or zeal or whatever word you want to use.  Hilde is a perfect example of this and people like that are often a catalyst for me to start acting out.  Part of that is because humor and having fun is an important part of my life.  I’m not the class clown type but if someone starts being a little crazy, I’m much more likely to join in and be one of the cool kids.  For example, she’s got me matching her flamingo pose during our formation.

Well group class on Thursday was Bachata.  I did that with the Body Double but have put it on the shelf since she left.  I ended up being paired with Hilde to start the group and that meant we spent most of the group together.  They do rotate but since most people come as couples, they like to give people more opportunities to dance with their partner so you do more reps with the person you started with.

Bachata is one of those dances where your hips are supposed to move so my first reaction is that I’m not going to do that and look stupid.  Yes, I’m defining myself by what I think I’m not but there is also the whole part about not exactly being comfortable expressing that side of myself.  I’m naturally more reserved (You mean inhibited, don’t you)  No, I mean reserved.  (Who are you kidding, you are seriously uptight)  Whatever, can I get on with the story now?  Well Hilde has no problem doing the hips and really getting into the dance and slowly I started relaxing and just going with the flow.  At one point, she says to me “is it OK if I tell you that you’ve got good hip motion”.  Since she had already said it, what was I going to say.  I had the momentary freak out that someone is looking at my hips.  Don’t look at them!  (Told you that you were uptight).

At the end, she says to me something to the effect that she knows that I actually enjoy doing dances like that despite my protests to the contrary.  Dang, she’s seen right through me.  I’ll admit I’ve got this internal struggle going on.  Part of me wants to just cut loose and go for it and just get into the spirit of the dance.  And then the more reserved (inhibited and uptight) part of me just says that I shouldn’t.

But you know the part of me that wants to cut loose is getting closer and closer to the surface.  I know that steps and timing and posture are all important and all things that need work but what I really want to do is get better at expressing the feel of the dance.  As an introvert, I kind of live in my head a lot and, if you think about it, each dance gives you an opportunity to be something different and do something outside of your norm.  At this last Showcase, one of the critiques I got on the Fox Trot was that I had a good attitude for the dance and that was one of the things I was happiest about because it means that I can reach in and really live the dance and not just do steps and patterns.  I don’t know if that makes any sense or not.

And each dance is so different.  The Waltz is more formal and flowing and graceful (figures you’d like that).  But “graceful” is not a word I would have used to describe myself before dancing but, when I waltz, I am.  The Fox Trot is jazzy and fun and loose and easy.  The Viennese Waltz and Quickstep are the thrill rides of smooth dancing.  There is so much speed and energy but you have to control it and harness and use it to literally fly around the floor.

I’ve written before about the Tango and how I’ve really started to like the whole feel of it.  I got another comment about a corte where I get to snap Kid T into a shape with a quick body movement.  Love the feel of that.  The whole dynamic of the Tango is starting to appeal to me more and more each time I do it.

Swing is fun and bouncy while west coast swing is more cool and laid back.  Cha-Cha is also a fun flirty little dance so capturing the mood of those is a little easier.  I struggle with the Rumba and Bolero.  I did get some nice comments about my movement in the Bolero but trying to express that side of me can be difficult.  And, when I stop to think about the fact that I’m dancing with such a young partner, it makes it that much harder.

And then there is the Mambo which is seriously high energy which makes it fun but there is more to it than that.  This is like Bachata in that I have the internal struggle because Mambo is not a reserved dance.  When I do it, I find myself wanting to drop the reserve and just let loose but then the other part of personality tells me to get ahold of myself.  The thing that does surprise me is that I found it easier to loosen up at the last Showcase.  Something about hearing the dance called out and I kind of flipped a little switch in my head and just tried to feel the dance as much as possible.  Still have work to do but I’m getting closer.


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