So do you ever get in a heated discussion with someone else inside your own head? Making a point, imagining what they would say and then making another point and so on. I do this all the time but the real conversations never turn out that way but I have to rehearse what I might say when I want to get a point out. The little mental game is me figuring out how someone might react and then I adjust what I’m going to say if it comes out too harsh. Even if I never have the conversation, sometimes this process helps me get closure on some issue and that helps me move on.
Now to move from vague to specific, this is all about OwnerGuy and the lack of commitment I sense from him. Or, maybe there is commitment but too many broken promises. There is a dance road trip coming up in a month and then another Famous Franchise big dance event in mid August. They’ve already assumed I’m going to the big dance event and Kid T has asked me a couple of times about the dance road trip and I’ve been very vague and non-committal. She told me this would be a perfect opportunity to practice the open routines going into the big dance event.
The problem is that only two of the routines are finished. Three are close to done and four are non-existent. This is the gist of the conversation I was having with myself. How it came out was that I’m comfortable with the slow boat to progress but there are consequences for that. I can commit to doing local Showcases and there is one a short drive away that requires two nights in a hotel but it is a reasonable cost for me so that’s the plan. Anything beyond that is going to be a “no” until I see true evidence that OwnerGuy is committed. Things like finishing the routines and finding time to do progress checks. And, I’m not going to commit large sums of money based on empty promises. If Kid T asks again, this is what she’s going to hear. If they don’t ask and just assume I’m going, then there will be a rude awakening down the road. (Yeah, I can be petty like that. Never assume with me. You never really know what’s going on in my head)
And, the fact that I have a better idea of a plan B if things at the Famous Franchise blow up, just seemed to put me in a better mind set. I’ve told OwnerGuy I need to see action and it is up to him to deliver.
Now, I will have to admit that yesterday, I saw signs of OwnerGuy all over both lessons. When we talked, I said I was getting tired of just running through the routines over and over again without getting any feedback on what else I need to do. If I have questions about a step, I ask. But I don’t know what I don’t know and that’s what they are there for.
Lesson one was with Kid T and it was more work on the Viennese Waltz routine. We did the pattern multiple times and worked on some of the rough spots. Then, she stops and says we’re going to work on something else for the last part of the lesson. Still the routine but now we are working on technique and making the dance look better. Yes, that involves frame but it was also about trying to add more swing and momentum to my side moves to make the whole dance travel better. And, there was much work on arm styling. Basically, she told me if I had a free arm, it had to do something. There are lots of places where we end up apart and she wants me to do some kind of arm explosion in each part. I was doing one at the beginning but she added several more places where she wants to see them. Yes, it gave me something else to think about and the last time we did it, things got a bit messed up because I was focused on the arms and something else went to hell. Happens. There is a part where we do five steps in a row and then I break out of it. To her it is easy because she tells me when I end facing a certain direction with a certain foot free, we were done. For some reason, that wasn’t sticking, so I was just counting the moves 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and then break out into something else. I had to tell her to take her counting down a notch because I was losing my count and getting confused by hers. But, there were some definite signs of improvement. My shoulder is sore from all the stinking explosions but if it takes up space and makes the dance look more dynamic, I’m all in.
Lesson two was the Quickstep with Sunny. We focused on getting the opening down and I know I asked a lot of questions about the counts. The first eight count is this and so on. (Guess I was more engaged than normal) Then, we worked on the closing which, for Showstoppers is just a dip coming off a spin turn. The first time we did it, I had built up such momentum from the spin turn that it just made the dip natural because I was stopping my lower body but my upper body wanted to continue to move. I guess that created some additional momentum because when I brought her back out, her glasses flew off. She and Kid T got all excited about how dramatic it looked and how it felt and so on. Confession time – yeah, it was a little cool because it did feel so natural and it flowed but there was a lot of power behind it. I guess the upper body stuff I’ve been doing is helping.
But, just like with Kid T, after she felt I had the basics down, she said we were now going to work on posture and frame and keeping it for the whole dance. Yes, I know I need to do this but this brings out my inner five year old being told to go to bed when you want to stay up and play with your toys. My weapon of choice is to become overly sarcastic. I’ll start asking why I would want to do this thing and then give her smart ass answers to every one of her questions. We both knew I was going to do it but I couldn’t let her have an easy win. I did tell her I was mostly just playing around and she said she knew that and then started going on about how much she likes working with me. She might actually “get” my humor which is a rare thing indeed.
So, as she was talking about looking good for Showstoppers, I was going on about how it was showstoppers and nobody in the studio was going to care about what my posture looked like. Except of course for OwnerGuy and I told her I’d get his disappointed face which I naturally demonstrated. That broke her up and she had to tell Kid T. They’ve both seen the disappointed face. It is usually accompanied by something like “not quite” or “the last one was better”.
With the grumbling over, I did what she wanted and stretched as much as I could and we got into frame and did the routine. Um, yeah, it made a HUGE difference. It was so much smoother and it traveled much more. By having the more solid frame, I gave her space to get closer and we were able to hold it for the entire dance. And, that meant I could weave around people as needed because I could feel where she was and we moved so much better together. Yes, quickstep probably shouldn’t weave but when you are doing it on a crowded floor with people doing all kinds of other dances, you weave, you improvise, you adapt, you overcome. Best moment of the night was one run when we got into frame and OwnerGuy looks over and I get his “impressive” face. OK, maybe I shouldn’t need that kind of validation but I’ll take one honest facial expression over a bunch of phony words any day.
Sunny started putting a hard sell on me to get another lesson in before showstoppers but it was not to be. On Monday I’ll be “working late at the office” (Isn’t the the typical excuse cheaters use) so that day is out. And there just wasn’t another free time. On the other hand, Showstoppers is just for entertainment and we have lots of time to polish it before Showcase so I’m not worried.
The cool thing for me is I finally felt some improvement in both dances.
Oh, yeah, I decided to take a page from BCBallroom and I wrote a couple of good things that happened on my lesson in my notebook. It helped because the last run of the Viennese Waltz was bad but the one before it wasn’t. So, forcing myself to focus on what went right rather than wallowing in what went wrong seemed to do the trick.
The other little thing that went right was in group class. We were doing Rumba and I was trying to get connection with the other students. Got to the other advanced lady dancer and I could feel her giving me some of her weight so I responded and we had a nice solid connection. Good stuff.
Last little note just to deal with the soap opera aspect of dance. And also because I know Marian is out there somewhere waiting for the day when Z and I have a tearful reunion. (Kidding Marian) I did have to dance with Z at group class on Tuesday because there were only four women in the studio since they sent Sunny and the other instructor out to do something. It was a lot less awkward than the last group. Baby steps.