So I have henceforth (I love words like that!) decided to call my second dance home Studio B. It is short and sweet and not very creative but it seems to fit. I have also decided that my instructor there shall be known as Mindy in this narrative. The cast of characters has been summarily updated.
The name was really just some free association. Since it is an independent studio, the Kelly Clarkson song “Miss Independent” popped into my head. Take the M from Miss, shorten Independent to Indy and there you go.
So what I am learning from Mindy? A lot. Everyone has the preferences for how things should be done and some of the things she wants are different than what Z wanted. In certain steps when you have compression and push away, Z was all about keeping a short leash which I was doing but Mindy wants a bigger step so I’m unlearning and learning again.
The lead/follow is different and it is forcing me to be more aware of where she is at times. There are places where I need to take smaller steps to give her room. There are places where I need to get closer so she can stay on her line. There are places where I need to get out of her way. There are places where I need to take a bigger step to catch up to where she is. This is all with learning new moves and timing and other things. \
She’s also getting me to do more shaping which is something Kid T has just started to touch on. There is a place where we hit a pose and hold for a couple of counts except we aren’t really holding – there is still movement but just not steps. So, she’s continuing to shape and I have to go with her. That means I have to know when I land that I’ve left enough space for me to continue to shape with her.
The whole shaping thing does still hit at some image issues. I mean it is weird for me to think about it but we are creating visual are with our bodies. That’s where the whole bit about dancers being artists comes in because the shaping is what adds that extra layer to certain figures. But when I start thinking about it that way, it starts some of that negative cycle about how silly I must look trying to do this and that I’m never going to be able to create the elegant lines that I need to. Yeah, that same old stuff. It never really goes away. It just hides in the back waiting for a time to come out. Still, I’m at least trying. To be honest, it is a little easier in this studio because the floor hasn’t been crowded and there are no other students I recognize so it doesn’t matter as much if I look silly.
The one lesson a week does make this hard. The old stuff does come back but it still takes a bit of time. I’ve written things down and I need to do more but I don’t yet have the footwork totally mapped out to feel comfortable trying to practice on my own and my visualization is incomplete. Can’t explain it but there is always that momentary panic when I mess something up. Like I’m going to totally disappoint her by not getting things as fast as I think I should. Yeah, that’s another one of my old friends coming back for a visit and it is probably unfounded because she seems pleased with where I am.
We ended with me trying to get another shape down but it was fighting me. My brain was mushy and I couldn’t get my body to duplicate what she wanted. Parts were going in all the right directions. She started to move on and I had to remind her that we were about 5-10 minutes over our lesson time. I felt bad because she was so enthusiastic and I didn’t want to seem like a downer but I really had reached my mental limit and I figured going forward was going to be counter productive.
She did throw a lot at me and I’m still trying to process it all but there is a lot of progress and I’m learning a lot. I do think this is going to be a good compliment.
I do have some good news on the knee front. For whatever reason, the swelling in the left knee has gone down quite a bit and the stiffness has gone with it. I danced just fine last night with no real issues and that’s a good thing.
I think the physical therapy has been a big help. It has also helped that I’m learning my limits and backing off when I need to. I’ve switched to a bike at the gym which actually seems better on the knees than the treadmill. I don’t run but my fast walk is probably enough to aggravate things. I would have thought that the motion of the bike would have been worse but maybe not bearing the weight makes the difference. But the whole “I can push through this” attitude has to go. Again, it is not weakness to admit that I have some limitations. It still feels like it but I just have to face the facts. I can still do a great deal but I have to be careful and not push beyond.
That also means telling TrainerGal that certain things are out. She was real good today and designed a bunch of things that didn’t stress things out. I still have to work within what I can do. It can be seriously deflating to my male ego to admit to a young lady that I might need a lighter amount of weight for a certain exercise. Fortunately, I’m mostly comfortable with my lack of machoness. But, something that feels fine on the first rep is going to be heavier by the time we come back to the second set. Yes, you still have to push yourself but you have to be reasonable about it.
And, I suspect I may have to do something on Wednesday when the Quickstep routine is rolled out. There are many iconic Quickstep parts that require hopping and I’m just not going to put myself through it. Sure, I could do a routine once that required hopping but it is the repetitive practice that would just be a killer. I know OwnerGuy is a big fan of these things so we shall see what happens.