Last Dance of 2015

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So, in a few hours, 2015 will be history.  The calendars will go into the trash bin and new ones will be put up.  Can’t say I’m sorry to see 2015 go.  A bit too much change for my taste.

Last night was my last lesson of 2015.  I will say that it was good to get back in the studio again.  My last post left me a little down about all that happened but just getting on the floor again helped lift my spirits.

The lesson was supposed to be swing and Viennese Waltz but we got through those so quickly that she brought back the Tango.  I’m beginning to get more used to Kid T’s style and her methods.  It tends to be dance a few loops and then she narrows in on one thing to focus on and we focus on that and then dance a few more times and move on.  There are reminders of the other one things she’s given me so I keep working on those as well.

We still aren’t getting the Viennese Waltz to move like it needs to and I think I’m just still a little hesitant but I’m getting a little more comfortable with the whole posture thing.  Still need to hold it a little longer but we definitely feel more connected.  Still getting used to the whole twisty tango thing with her attached to my hip but, the more you do it, the less awkward it gets.  And, I’m able to feel the difference in a couple of part and I’m remembering to be more vocal so it was a good lesson to finish the year.

Group class was rumba and it was a nice little pattern.  Z was not there and OwnerGuy left early because he wasn’t feeling well so it left Kid T to run the show.  So, even though the calendar promised a foundation group and an advanced group, they tossed us all into one group and did something a little more advanced.

It does make it harder for the newcomers.  There’s the newer couple that has been coming to group classes more often.  I mentioned her before in the Bachata class.  Every time she came through the rotation, she would be hesitant and would be saying that she didn’t have it and I could see she wasn’t comfortable.  She got through everything just fine but I do worry that it will discourage them from coming to groups if they keep getting put in an advanced class.

Hilde was my main partner for the evening.  She has the habit of giggling at certain points during a pattern.  I noticed this first when doing the waltz with her.  Of course, that immediately makes me self-conscious.  What I am doing wrong?  I did finally ask her and all she said was the she was enjoying it.  She made some comment about passionate longing which was her tag line for the Waltz which didn’t make a lot of sense to me but I decided not to press it.

I suppose I should just accept that she was having fun and leave it at that but that’s just not the way I work.  I have to know why.  And, since I don’t know, I’m just going to speculate.  The pattern itself had a  couple of places where connection was very important.   There are steps where you stretch away in opposition which helps to create the momentum for the next step so you can get these nice contrasts and things don’t look as flat.  Well, I was intentionally trying to create that by stretching away from her at certain points.  I would guess that creates a stronger lead which may be what she is reacting to.

There is another thing about dancing that I haven’t talked too much about which is eye contact.   In most conversations, I’m the typical introvert in that I don’t maintain eye contact.  I try to focus on it but eventually my eyes just start wandering.  There’s a trick you can do where you look at the point of the other person’s nose which makes it appear you are still focused on them and I do that from time to time.  Eye contact just seems so intrusive to me so I don’t enjoy holding it with someone during a conversation.

Somehow, dancing is different.  It feels rude not to be looking at your partner so that’s what I tend to do.  It is something I’m having to train myself not to do for competitions because you are supposed to dance your own dance.  But it just would seem wrong to do that in a social setting.  Maybe I’m just a little too intense with the eyes?  Or maybe she’s just having a good time.  Who knows?  She giggles.  It probably isn’t a big deal but this is just how I’m wired.  Have to know it isn’t something I’m doing.

We did have an interesting conversation after group class.  Turns out that I’m not the only one with a vague sense of unease over the direction of the studio.  It is pretty clear that the Body Double’s departure altered OwnerGuy and Z’s plans quite a bit and I don’t think they’ve fully recovered.

The studio needs new instructors.  I would assume OwnerGuy is working on it but I don’t get a sense of urgency.  The studio tilts towards advanced students but you need a feeder population to keep things going and you can’t rely on Kid T to handle everything.  I do worry they are putting a lot on her and I would be worried about her burning out.

The group classes are the most visible problem.  The calendar always lists multiple levels but, when there is only one instructor, more often than not, they run one giant group class.  That’s not always fair to the newer students and I would be worried that they’ll get so frustrated that they’ll just stop coming.  I can see that happening with the one couple I talked about before.  He was lost last night and it doesn’t take too many of those nights before you decide that it isn’t worth the frustration.  You can’t keep people active in the studio if they stop coming to groups because of frustration.

So that’s the conversation we had.  They had a calendar for next year with lots of events and I know OwnerGuy talks big about all the coaches he wants to bring in.  But, at some point, you need to focus on getting instructors and building the studio that way.  Yes, it is great that you have a group of advanced students and that we are starting to have a presence at the bigger events but, even that isn’t solid.  There is so much that rides on Kid T and if she left, that place would be in real trouble.  It is that vague sense of unease because we know that studios don’t last forever.

But I’ll push those thoughts out of my head.  For this next year, I’ll just live for the moment and soak up as much as I can.  Happy New Year to all.



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