Tomorrow we leave the not so frozen wastelands to travel south for sun, sea, sand and general relaxation. I’m truly excited. It was kind of depressing taking the dogs to the kennel – they always get so pumped up to get in the car and then they figure out where they are going and they realize I’ve tricked them again. Work was a madhouse – you leave for a week and I’ve got an endless supply of people asking questions and/or needing things signed.
So let’s do a basic dance recap of this week. I have to say I’m started to get re-energized about dancing so leaving it is a bit hard. On Tuesday, we took a break from the open routine and went back to the closed routines. I know they were getting to be a bit of a drag, but a little break is all I needed because they had recovered some of their shine. Kid T made a few tweaks to each one. I like that we are in a phase where it is just minor little changes but they tend to make a big difference in how the dance flows. My posture and connection are getting better but are still a work in progress.
Just for fun, I’ll talk about the three dances we did. This is just to show you how hard it is to answer that wonderful question “what is your favorite dance?”. I suppose all dancers get that and it isn’t easy to answer. It depends on my mood because each dance speaks to different parts of me so I like them all.
The first one was cha-cha. That’s been described as fun and flirty. My taste in music tends to run to faster, high energy stuff and most cha-cha’s fit that. We have a couple of parts where she’s in motion all around me. We triple one way, come back and then I bring her across bounce her off me and then bring her across again. I’d give you the steps but the Famous Franchise likes to name things differently from other places so it might not make any sense. There is another part where I bring her behind me and then sling her back out in front of me. I love the movement and I’ve done it so much that things really flow nicely from one step to the next. I don’t think we play off each other as much as we could and I’ve got that whole arm styling thing to work out. But cha-cha is always a nice, fun dance and it makes me happy.
The second was bolero. OK, I tend to like faster music but I’m a sucker for a good ballad where you’ve got a nice arrangement with a lot of layers in the music. I was always a fan of the hair metal power ballad – think “is this love” by Whitesnake. I’ve actually always thought it would be fun to do a bolero routine to a power ballad if there was one that would work. I’d love the contrast. Instead of a traditional latin thing, we’d come out as metal heads and then break into a nice bolero. With her tats and piercings, Kid T is kind of a natural rebel and, in my own mind, I’m not a conformist, so I think it would be perfect. But, alas, bolero remains a dance that is physically difficult for me to do. The slow sweeping first steps and the lowering to rise are hard on my knee and so there are limits on what I can do. And, there is the whole romantic theme of the dance. Yes, I’m a romantic at heart but expressing that side of me is difficult. I can do the fun stuff from other dances but asking me to try and show that kind of emotion is hard. It is harder when I’m dancing with such a young partner. Yes, it is just a dance and I should just be able to act but it just hard to really channel anything. I’m still getting used to her touching my stomach in our rumba so this will take time. I can certainly feel it in the music I listen to the song but I need to work on bringing that side out for people to see. But I love how bolero feels and moves. We do an arm check where she slides by me as I rock forward and I grab her arm and rock back to bring her back to me. It is cooler than I make it sound. It is like she’s running away and I’m just not going to let her. The part we had to tweak was me keeping my arm at her level when we do a little turn. For some reason, I tend to extend my arms at the wrong time so I have to learn to keep it lower so her turn will look better.
The last was mambo. When I first did mambo, it felt totally out of control and the whole timing thing was messing with me head. But, the more I’ve done it, the more it grows on me. It was funny because the group class on Tuesday was Mambo and Kid T was talking about how fast it was. For me, it has slowed down. No, it is not bolero speed but it doesn’t feel as out of control. It is another fun fast dance with a lot of energy and I actually love it. Who knew? Yes, it is a latin dance and I’ve got things to work on to make it more competition quality but, right now, I’m just having fun with it.
I forgot to point out that there was only one other couple on the floor and they were doing some of the same dances so we had the right music the whole time. Can’t tell you how much of a difference that makes. Yes, you can do the steps to the instructor counting the time but it is so much better to have actual music. To really feel the beat and the timing and to try and match your moves to the music and what it is saying. To be fair, I have no idea if I’m doing the right things but I do find that arm styling is easier to do when you have music appropriate to the dance you are doing. It almost becomes automatic if you can let the music flow through you.
Yesterday, we went back to the open Rumba routine. I have this strange habit of messing up the easy stuff. There is a three point turn early in the routine that just gives me fits. The rest of it is pretty solid. For some reason, keeping my weight split between my feet and my head forward is a challenge so I end up off balance. The funny thing is there is a similar turn in the routine later which I usually nail. One problem with this turn is that I’m turning my back to Kid T, but, right after I complete the turn, we are supposed to reconnect. I finally told her that part of the reason I was messing up is because I’d lose sight of her and then get freaked out about how we are going to get back together. Turns out that is not my job. I do my turn and stick my hand out and she finds it. I was doing too much. It did get better when I focused on my part and let her do hers and find my hand.
Oh, and it turns out they didn’t have a master class yesterday. Not enough people signed up. So I was able to skip group and come home to get ready. As I was leaving, OwnerGuy gave me some grief about skipping group but then said they’d have the Cha-Cha routine ready when I got back.
I love it when a plan comes together.
Lastly, since I was talking ballads, I’ll leave you with one of my favorites. Told you I’m a sucker for stuff like this.