Kid T was back and we had a good lesson last night. This is again one of those times where I want to be able to modulate my emotions a little better. It is the roller coaster effect where I can feel so down one day and then so up the next day. What I find though is that it is easier to tamp down the enthusiasm of a good day than to minimize the pain of a bad day. In any case, last night felt great and was a confidence boost.
There was no talk of plans beyond the Big Dance Event and some talk of her writing down all my amalgamations because of some of the issues we had when Sunny tried to fill in. That could either still be a sign of her leaving or just a new dictate from the Famous Franchise – thou shalt have a backup instructor.
I get that as a business model for them as they can’t keep instructors for the long term. And, there is the whole “new set of eyes” thing which makes some sense. But it ignores one very fundamental thing. Dance is a paired sport. Over time, you develop a rhythm with your partner. Your body senses how they move and how they feel and can respond to it. I think it happens on an unconscious level but it happens. You become two pieces of a puzzle that just naturally fit together. Throw a different person into the mix and the same dance becomes “off”. No two people move exactly the same way. We all are taught the same steps and we all know things like heel lead and so on but when you put the whole package together it varies from person to person. And I don’t just mean step length. It is every part of the body because there is great variation in height, weight and general shape from person to person. The ability to hold a frame varies. How you can hold yourself in various parts varies. It can be small or large changes but, when you dance with one person for a significant length of time, their particular patterns get imprinted on you and then someone else just doesn’t feel right. With time, you can adjust to the new reality. I think splitting time on the same dance with two different instructors would end up being totally confusing to the body because of the different sets of inputs you’d be receiving.
Or, to make a long story short, we get into frame to start working on Waltz, and something inside me says “Yes, this is how it is supposed to feel”. Start with that and it makes everything else just work better.
So we worked on both Waltz and Rumba. In Waltz, there was a specific focus on keeping my left elbow up and to try and keep my wrist above the elbow so the arm angled a certain way. In Rumba, the focus was on connection and keeping the connection even when I move backwards which requires a certain amount of ab work because you can’t lean your head over. If I had an unlimited amount of time, I’d probably benefit from some other type of exercise (yoga??) which could help isolate certain muscles which might make it easier to do some of these things because a lot of this seems to require certain parts of you moving in one way and sometimes in opposition to other parts. For now, I’ll just stumble along and hope for the best.
As we walk off the floor, she tells me that my Rumba was great and that she thinks it is my best dance. I kind of stammered because I get so focused on the Cuban motion part of the Rumba which I don’t think I do particularly well. And, besides, Rumba is a Latin dance and I know from my own genealogy work that I am 0% Latin. We had a small conversation about which dance I thought was my best which I told her I couldn’t answer. And then which was my favorite which I also told her I couldn’t answer because it depended on the mood.
Group class was Tango and I ended up deciding to stay. The guys did outnumber the ladies but just by one and there was only one other group class going on so we could fill in with instructors. I got paired with Kid T to do most of it and she took the opportunity to just get into a more formal Tango position (she pasted herself to my right hip). That is starting to feel a little more normal to me although there is still that part of my brain that is ringing the alarm and warning me about not shifting too much. The one part of Tango that I have to give myself some credit for is moving through my upper body and not just arms. Again, I’m clearly not perfect, but I’ve done that enough times that there is a sharpness in the moves that I can feel.
I debated about staying for the party and ended up deciding to stay. The crowd was small so there were always free instructors. I got to practice Waltz, Tango, Swing and Rumba with Kid T and all of those went reasonably well. There is a part in the beginning of our closed Tango that I stumbled over but it all ended good. The new girl (still working on a name) grabbed me as I was getting ready to leave the first time to do a West Coast Swing because she wanted to work on it so I did that with her. I did a couple of other dances with her as well. And I did a couple with Sunny – including a Rumba (I’ve noticed a trend that she tends to seek me out for the Rumba). She actually ended up apologizing for frustrating me last night. I wanted to say more but it is hard to have a deep meaningful conversation about why it was so frustrating in the middle of a dance where I was focused on other things. At the end of the night, it was fun and a reminder that this is supposed to be fun and it can be fun if I don’t get too far inside myself.