Follow Through

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Yesterday was another interesting day.  We had some thunderstorms blow through the area right as I was getting ready to leave for the studio.  The first part of the drive was in driving rain which is always all kinds of “fun”.  And the wet weather caused everyone to slow down and traffic to back up which doubled my time to get to the studio.  I do so love sitting in a car in slow moving traffic.  The weather was also playing havoc with my sinuses and I had my allergy shots earlier in the day so my head was pounding (still is by the way).

Oh, and let’s add this to the mix.  We opened a brand new shiny fitness center at work and so they’ve increased the staffing and TrainerGuy needs to reduce his personal training to focus on running the place.  So I’m working with one of these mildly annoying young and very fit people who seems to think we are all in our 20’s and can do anything.  I’ll call her TrainerGal for now.  I know the point of personal training is to push you past what you think you can do but there is a serious difference between muscle fatigue and joint pain. Of course, the stubborn part of me took over and I did the ball squats she wanted me to do.  “Just go as far as you can”.  Sounds good in theory but any bending is problematic.  So I paid for it yesterday.  Both knees were sore and the left is a bit swollen.  Note to self – must learn to say NO when asked to do these things.  Acknowledging true physical limitations is not weakness.  Attempting to push through is not manly but stupid.

Well, you get the picture.  I’ve got a pounding headache and two achy knees and I’ve got lessons with both Kid T and Sunny to work on the routines for Showstoppers which is today.  I’m having a bit of a chat with OwnerGuy when I arrive.  He’s going on about the Big Dance Event in August and his plans and how if he can get one other person to go, then he can justify bringing another instructor.  I have yet to tell him that I’m not 100% committed to the Big Dance Event.  I like to keep my secrets.  Then, he tells me that he is going to be on my lesson with Sunny!!  Seriously, you mean he is actually going to follow up with something he promised.  It’s another Festivus miracle!!  (Perhaps that a was a wee bit too much sarcasm)

I tell Kid T about the knees and she modifies her plan to do the Rumba open routine as well as the Viennese Waltz.  She did finally take the training wheels off and we did the Viennese Waltz routine without her counting and it worked out pretty good.  The toughest part for me is that we’ve got a change step followed by five half boxes to get into position for the next move.  I tend to lose track of where I am and sometimes count the change step as the first of the half boxes so I come out early.  Haven’t got that fixed into memory yet so if I start focusing on other technique things during that section, it can go off the rails.

We did the Rumba once and she gives me her patented “Not Bad”.  I gave her the evil side eye with the tilted head which is my why of saying “what dance were you watching” since I naturally think it was awful.  But, something about her approach is starting to sink in.  I actually found myself admitting that the next run was an improvement.  And I didn’t even give my normal response which is that I set the bar so low in the first run that it would be hard to do any worse.  Some day, I’ll actually learn to take this positive feedback without trying to deflect it.

Last night wasn’t that night though.  At one point, Sunny asks if she can watch.  The very first thing out of my mouth was “Why would you want to watch this”.  Yeah, those insecurities are pretty close to the surface.  Again, how hard is it to admit that people may actually like watching you dance.  I hear things like that I feel like Wayne’s World (“We’re not worthy” )

Anyway, there is a spin in the beginning of the Rumba which gives me all kinds of problems.  We repeat it later and the second one is always easy.  So we actually worked on that and I said maybe the reason the second one worked is because I’ve got her to work off of.  We slightly changed the approach to the first spin so we establish a solid connection and I kind of push off her to start the spin.  Seemed to work.  So that’s progress.

Then we got to the Quickstep and having OwnerGuy on the lesson was great in one respect.  The first thing he did was to focus on the frame (of course).  Extending the elbows as wide as possible and making a nice T.  I’ve heard this before but having someone there to see what I was doing and make on the spot corrections was great.  Trying to lock in how it feels so I can replicate it on my own is a challenge but it was a step in the right direction.  But he also got into some very small technical details that made a huge difference.  We’ve got a spin turn in one part and he talked to me about how to make the foot rise work properly.  He called it a lilt but I don’t really want to think of myself as lilting around the floor so I’ll stick with foot rise.  But, then the lowering is important because you land and soften which sounds weird but it actually allows you to gain control back after doing the spin turn.  He also made a change to our frame so I’m pulling my left side forward a little more and twisting my upper body just a bit.  And keeping my head left the whole time.  These were all minor changes but they made a huge difference in how the dance felt.

It did make me realize just how much I’ve missed by not having a more experienced person to work with.  It is not to say that I haven’t made progress since last summer because clearly there has been some.  But, I think of where I could have been if he had been able to find time before now.  Sigh.

Oh, and I should say I’m picking up a bit of a strange vibe from Sunny.  For some reason, doing well on this Quickstep is seriously important to her.  The simple answer is that she sees me as an opportunity for a consistent income stream since I’m there all the time and the other guys like me are pretty much taken by Z and Kid T.  But that wasn’t the feeling I was getting.  I know she likes dancing with me.  She’s made that clear and that could be a part of it but I don’t think it is the whole thing.  It is almost like she’s trying to prove something either to herself or to the other instructors.  That’s she capable of doing something well.  I know she’s super driven about dance because I can see her face when she messes something up.  The worry for me is that she mentioned something about trying to incorporate OwnerGuy’s feedback into our performance tomorrow.  Without really locking it in to muscle memory, I don’t know if that will work.  We can certainly try to recreate the frame but there is a good chance we’ll lose it during the dance.  I don’t really need extra pressure to do well and this is just the first time we are doing this so I expect screw ups.  It is something we can work on with time.  But it was sort of like she wants to be perfect and wants that to happen right away.  That’s the vibe I was getting which isn’t something I’ve really picked up on before.

Well, I got this done early today because tonight is Showstoppers and I wasn’t sure if I’d have time to do it this afternoon.  Tonight should be interesting.  This was certainly been an eventful week.  Who knows how it will turn out??  I’m sure you are all dying to know 🙂

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