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Just to get this out of the way, I was happy to read all the comments.  Guess I just had my “you like me!” moment.   (Hopefully, that pop culture reference isn’t too obscure but that’s why the internet was invented)

So we spent our last lesson working on the smooth dances (Waltz, Fox Trot and Quickstep) and Kid T was expanding on what the coach had given us.  Basically, it involved engaging my core – which as near as I can tell just means me trying to tighten up and hold parts of me that don’t really want to be tight.  Supposedly, doing this makes it easier to hold the frame and posture so we were also working on getting me to stand up even more and keep my head back over my right heel while looking out to the left.  Oh, and rotating my core slightly to the right when we are in frame.  Oh and because there wasn’t enough to remember, trying to keep my back flat.

The whole “stand up” thing is not new.  They keep telling me “you’re tall – use it”.  The rest is something they haven’t made specific until now but it at least gives me something to work towards.  It is times like this that I realize that doing some strength training is absolutely necessary and now I have specific things I can tell TrainerGuy to work on.  But it was a quick trip back to the dreaded Stage 2 because trying to remember all of these things was a little awkward.  Kid T seemed to be able to feel the difference since she kept telling me “don’t lose it” and then would point out where I would relax back to my normal non-engaged self.  And, I did start to get to a point where I could feel a difference but I just need to get to where I can feel what it is supposed to feel like and how to get it back when it goes away.

Of course, it doesn’t help that when she says “engage your core”, I naturally think of this:


Guess I need a little Captain Picard inside my head to give me the “Engage” command at certain points in my dancing.  Just hope I don’t have a Core Breach.  (There you go, two Next Gen references for the price of one!)

Seriously, I have noticed that since the coach left, Kid T has been much more hands on in trying to get me into the correct position.  Maybe she picked up on how much success the coach had doing it and it really is a good thing even though it does kind of make me feel like Gumby.  But it does help since I need to feel the proper position to try and recreate it.

Last night, we did more work on the Peabody.  The routine has actually come together quite nicely but she’s also now applying the whole “engaged core” thing.  And, this time, I could actually see a difference in how far it moved and I could feel a difference in how it moved.  This morning, I can feel my “core” pushing back and saying “what the heck were you doing last night?  We don’t like this much work!”

But this is the next step in the evolution.  It is all about creating the nice shapes and pretty lines that the judges want to see and that does take some work.  After lessons like that, the line that sticks with me is something I saw on a t-shirt:

Dancer = Athlete + Artist

I think too many men look at the Artist part and maybe assume ballroom isn’t manly.  But it takes a lot of physical work to make the thing look like it does.  Dance is a sport.  I’d dare say it is certainly more of a sport than golf which is something most men seem to take to.  So think about that.  We are Dancers!  Which means we are Athletes and we are Artists!  Pretty interesting combination.




  1. I love the Dancer= athlete +artist, so true!! Something I found helped me when working on my core was to think about keeping it engaged everywhere. So if I was walking through the office, core engaged, walking for coffee, core engaged–after two weeks it built a habit to the point where I had to make sure I was still engaging my core.

    Good luck–it can be a tricky part of dance!

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