Ballroom Bigamist

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Well yesterday was my first full lesson at the second studio.  And, I signed up for some additional lessons so I am now spending money at two different places.  Oh ballroom, what have you gotten me into.  I am going to have to find a better name for this studio since it will obviously be a part of my life for a bit.  When a spark of inspiration hits me, I’ll update the cast of characters since I may now have to come with names for my instructor and for at least one student at this place.  Oh, the pressure!  For now, we’ll keep them vague but you should be able to figure out who I’m talking about.

I’ve picked two dances to work on.  One is more country that I used to do at the Famous Franchise.  The second is a dance that is not done at our Famous Franchise location.  They’ve tried a couple of group classes but never really got beyond the basic which is slow and not very interesting.  I was told it gets interesting later and I’ve seen some videos which tell me that is true but I don’t see that I’d ever advance beyond the basics in group class at the Famous Franchise.  The reality is that I like most dances but I’m pushed to my limit at the Famous Franchise so this gives me an opportunity to explore other styles.

The other advantage is that by picking dances I don’t do at the Franchise, I will avoid the differences in syllabus and terminology.  The two step we did last night is slightly different from the Famous Franchise but it was similar enough that it was easier to pick up than starting completely cold.

What is interesting is that the instructor is jump starting me into things that are primarily designed for performances.  The two step stuff could be danced socially but only with someone with some familiarity with it.  I guess it is kind of like being an AP student and testing out of the basics and starting with the more advanced course material.  But I found that to be OK since it was more of a challenge than starting with the basics.

What is nice is that she obviously has a plan.  We did talk a little bit about dance goals at the first lesson and I mentioned the whole performance thing and I think she’s gone with that.  I guess this place has a showcase in the fall as well.  It would be low key compared to the Famous Franchise production.  But it could make life interesting.

So it means I’m getting the steps but then also we start working on presentation.  Same general story as I get at the Famous Franchise.  Be bigger.  Get the arms out and take up space.  Someday I’ll get used to that idea and stop wanting to go run and hide in a corner.

The only uncomfortable spot right now is that in the other dance, there is a spot where she wants me to wrap my arm around her mid section and then sort of spin her out.  As you well know, I can be positively Victorian about this kind of thing.  Yes, dancing is a contact sport.  But contact with the arms is fine.  Contact with the shoulder is fine.  Contact with the middle of the back is fine.  Contact on the side near the shoulder (typical shadow position) is mostly fine but carries some risk.  Contact lower on the side but still in shadow position is riskier and can be uncomfortable depending on where my hand ends up.  In this case, I’m behind her and reaching my hand around her to make contact on the other side.  Yeah, that’s a little different.  My mind is alternating between “Do I really know you well enough to do this” and “please don’t let me screw and get my arm too high”.   Yes, it is just a dance and I should get over it.  Maybe this is a good way to do that.  For now, it is just a little outside my comfort.

There is also a part where I’m supposed to sweep my arm over her head.  Yeah, this is sort of true couples dance and we should project some air of romance.  And we all know that is another area I struggle with.  It is like Rumba and Bolero and capturing the spirit of those dances.  The enneagram tells me I’m a romantic individualist but projecting that part of me in a dance is something I struggle with.  I suspect these two things will make that dance more uncomfortable than the two step.

The last thing is that both feature turns for me and I don’t get along well with turns.  Its a balance thing.  Yes, that will be another challenge.

But it was good first lesson.   I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.  Tonight it is back to the Famous Franchise for more work on the Showstoppers stuff on Thursday.


  1. You GO, Wall! Would a good pseudonym for Mystery Studio be Gene Kelly, perchance?
    Oh, and grab that mid-section! I, for one, have gotten to the point where I’m grateful for that sort of thing, especially if there’s a slight placement problem.

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