The one with the Birthday

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OwnerGuy was on our lesson last night.  I have to give credit where credit is due and he is making the effort to be visible and to offer insights on what I need to do.  We focused first on the Viennese Waltz and dancing through it.  He made one suggestion which actually fixed an issue we had.  I just wasn’t moving enough and getting around her and so he linked it to another part where we do the same type of move but just in shadow position.  It is all about getting the momentum and making it move more which just naturally helps with the rotation.  But then he also talked about where we should start to get the judges eye right away and he talked about practicing differently so that I can be aiming certain steps in certain directions.  I know this is a little vague but I don’t want to get too deep into the details.  He does have the years of experience in actual competitions and so what he has to say is very helpful.  I only wish I could get more than just a tiny dose every now and again.

And, we now have an open Waltz.  OK, it really isn’t so much an open Waltz as a fancy opening to our closed routine.  Clearly, there is not enough time to develop full new choreography so adding a fancy beginning will at least give us something to start with that might catch some eyes.  He had us dance our closed Waltz so he could see what my strengths were and that he wanted to play to them.  What he saw was good footwork and posture?!?  Seriously, WTF!  I’ve been kicking myself over this stupid posture thing for many months and then he comes up to tell me that it is good.   As is my nature, I remain skeptical and full of doubt but this is the first sign that maybe, just maybe, I have been able to show some improvement.  I don’t know that he played to my strength since the opening is mostly me standing in place and Kid T doing a lot of pretty stuff but there is some bending and shaping and other things that I have to get down.  The goal is to create some momentum and turn her out so that we just charge right into our closed with a head of steam.

Then, after group, we had the party.  For some reason, New Girl keeps grabbing me for dances.  I’m going to have to set a deadline to give her a name since New Girl just won’t work forever.  The problem is that I’m having a hard time finding a characteristic of her personality to work with.  She’s comes off as an introvert and maybe a planning type rather than a free spirit.  Yeah, I know the whole glass houses thing since I am withdrawn and quiet until I get to know you and she is probably the same.  But, some attempts at humor seem to bounce off her so she seems more serious and reserved.  I’m trying to find a way to connect without doing the whole interrogation thing but then that’s just my style.  I like to keep my secrets and assume everyone else does so I don’t pry.  Once someone opens a door, I can sometimes find the right questions to keep things going.  Again, I’m wired to listen and not talk but, I suspect she is as introverted as I am so there is little small talk on the dance floor.  At the very least, she comes off as reserved.  It also doesn’t help that she’s super intense and concentrating on the steps and counting the timing so I don’t want to disturb her so we don’t have those moments of conversation during dancing.

The funny thing is that both she and Sunny assume I don’t do certain dances because I tend to leave the floor when they come on.  In my many years of dance, I’ve done a lot but there are only so many I can hold in my mental RAM.  If only I had an external memory drive like a USB memory stick.  Then I could put all those dances there and just pop it in when I needed to.  That would be great.  But, I don’t have that and I have to keep all the various open and closed routines in my head so some of the dances I used to do fall by the wayside even though I still retain enough to get around the floor.  Of course, I always tell people that I don’t know any steps in these dances just to lower expectations.  Yeah, I’m like that.  So she grabs me for a two step and I tell her I don’t do two step which is only partially true.  What I meant is that I don’t do two step at this studio anymore.  But she insists and we get out on the dance floor and she’s counting for me which is really nice and I just take off and throw a few turns in there and some other things.  She figures out that I know more than I let on.

Also happened earlier in the evening with a Hustle.  Sunny grabbed me for that dance and started out by saying something about how I don’t do Hustle.  I nodded which was also a lie because I do Hustle with other students.  I just don’t do it at competitions or Showcase.  Hustle is a fun dance for me.  I really don’t want to do much more than just kind of mark time and see how many different ways I can make the lady spin and turn.   I can’t be bothered with things like timing and footwork so I don’t want someone teaching me the “right” way to do hustle.  (OK, I do know the timing and I’m mostly on time)  So I dance with students who like to spin because of that whole continuity of movement thing I’ve talked about.  I can generally make the turns smooth and that seems to make it fun for the ladies.  Anyway, I get out there with Sunny and start doing some of that stuff and she says to me “you know Hustle” to which I replied “yeah, I’ve hustled a time or two in my day”.  Well maybe not that exactly but it was a witty comeback – you needed to be there.  Kind of felt like a pool shark at that point since I had these hidden skills that she wasn’t expecting.  The only down side is that my secret is out so I’m sure it will add Hustle to the list of dances that Sunny will be expecting.

Yeah, we have to talk a little bit more about Sunny and the future.  In discussing our upcoming Big Dance Event, Kid T mentioned the two dance that we don’t yet have open routines for (Bolero and Mambo) and how they could be completed in time for the Slightly Less Big Dance Event in the fall.  And she also tossed out doing one as a Showstopper routine which would be in the winter.  That would seem to indicate she’s going to be around for a bit.  But she also points out that Sunny is learning all my closed routines and that I should dance them with her at parties.  Now, this could just a way of getting me some additional practice in these routines.  Or, it could be setting up for a potential transition.  And, it could also be the Famous Franchise just having an insurance policy to keep me around if Kid T decides to leave even if nothing is definite just yet.

Either way, it gives the impression that the instructors are replaceable parts and you can just swap out and move on.  In my world, we call that a like for like substitution and it requires little to no formal testing or validation since you aren’t really making a change.  In partner dancing, that is not the case.  And, the more I dance with Sunny, the more cracks and flaws start to appear and I start thinking that we aren’t truly a good match.  So if they assume they can just sub in one for the other, then it is an incorrect assumption on their part.

While the night was pretty good, there were a couple of low points.  The first still does deal with Sunny.  She is getting much more aggressive in terms of finding me for dances.  A Tango came on and I was walking towards Kid T to practice and she just intercepts me and starts telling me how’s she’s been practicing my routine but that she doesn’t have it all down yet.  I did try once and it was clear that was a lot more work required and so I just shifted to other things.  I did end up having to do a Rumba with her as well and tried to do my closed routine with Kid T watching.  The song was not a clear Rumba (I really couldn’t hear the Rumba at all) and we were the only ones trying to Rumba to it and it was not smooth at all.  This is something I have to talk with Kid T about.  Again, it isn’t a matter of getting practice with the steps.  Like I said before, you develop a rhythm with a partner and it is the feel of the whole thing that becomes important.  A different person feels different and it throws the routine off even if you are doing the same steps.  A lead that Kid T follows in one way doesn’t work the same on Sunny.  So I have to program that into my muscle memory banks but if I lead Kid T the same way, it will throw the routine off.  A lot of it is about the connection and what you feel from the other person.  Kid T and I have worked on that and it is much better but there really isn’t much of a connection with Sunny just yet and that makes everything feel off.

But, aside from that, I’m getting a little put off by what feels like an aggressive pursuit.  It is like I’m some big trophy animal and Sunny wants my head on her wall.  (Ooh, that’s an ugly image)  Since this was the last party of the month, they celebrate birthdays and my birthday happened to be last Sunday.  So they bring me out and Kid T takes an arm and suddenly Sunny is there latched on to my other arm.  Well, the purpose was for us to start dancing and then have everyone else join at breaks.  Somebody asked who gets me first, and Sunny kind of stood up so Kid T backed away.  It is that kind of stuff that happens at parties and it is starting to bug me.  Right now, I’m going to the Big Dance Event with Kid T.  She’s the one who’s worked with me.  She’s my main partner.  She deserved that dance.  I just wasn’t mean enough to make a choice which maybe I should have.  I used to think this was just because she enjoyed dancing with me but it feels completely different now.  If Kid T is actually leaving at some point in the future, then I’m a cash cow that needs to be claimed and kept in the studio and that is what this starts to feel like.  And the more she does it, the less I really want to dance with her.  Strange isn’t it?

Well and since I’m all in my feelings now, let’s talk about the other thing that happened during the birthday thing.  OwnerGuy and Z were at the DJ booth announcing the birthdays and dance anniversaries for the month.  I’m the only July birthday so he does the intro and turns it over to Z to make the announcement and she basically says something like “he doesn’t like me” as if I wouldn’t appreciate hearing her say my name.  So he jumped back in to call me to the dance floor.  I will freely admit that I have all but cut her out of my life and, except for the occasional group class, we really don’t interact that much.  I suppose I could try to break the ice again but I don’t know that I really see the point other than to get it out of her head that I don’t like her.  I can’t really say that I honestly know how I feel about her.  We hurt each other – sometimes intentionally, sometimes not and the break up was loud, vocal and ugly.  But that’s because I had bottled up an incredible amount of stuff and it all just blew when she came after me.  I was mad.  Ain’t gonna lie about that.  And, it feels like all we ever had was a lie and meant more to me than to her.  But I don’t hate her.  The only people I really hate are people I don’t know.  Introduce me to someone and let me talk to them and I’ll find a couple of good points and how can you hate someone who has something to offer.  Anyway, it was kind of a downer because how could I argue with her.  I suppose I could have tried some grand gesture to prove that I didn’t hate her but that just isn’t me.  In the moment, I couldn’t think of anything other than hoping nobody else heard.


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