Clothes do Make the Man

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Alternate title – good things come in small packages.  Although small may be relative in terms.  This one was about the size of shirt box so not too big.  But what it contained appears to have magic powers.  Well, for some reason, it also contained a whole lot of ants which I didn’t notice until I had brought into the house and opened it so I was stomping ants while trying it on.  Sorry but these were little ants of limited use and they were too numerous to scoop up and move outside so I had to terminate them with extreme prejudice.

What was the magic in the box?  Well it was my new shirt to wear for the rhythm dances.  I described the measuring process in an earlier post that I would link back to here if I wasn’t too lazy.   Black with a collar and some lace on the sides with shiny buttons and some flared arm cuffs that snap in place so they don’t flap around.  Cut on the sides so it doesn’t bunch up.  The strange thing is that the designer put a little patch on the sleeves to take credit for it.  I’ve seen that on things pros wear but didn’t know they got to the level of advertising on students.  Guess it is the new normal since Tex got a shirt earlier with the same thing.  Now I kind of feel like a cross between and dancer and a NASCAR driver.

So I brought it to the studio to try it out and got the requisite oohs and aahs.  A couple of people had to touch the fabric which is a bit sheer and stretchy but it feels pretty good.  Kid T and I did a whole round of our closed rhythm dances:  Cha-Cha, Rumba, Swing, Bolero and Mambo.  Love the way it felt.

Now back to that magic power thing.  I know it was all in my head but putting it on just changed my mindset.  I wasn’t a student struggling to get things down.  I felt like an actual dancer.  Yeah, that seems a bit silly that a change of clothes can improve your attitude but it really did.  I even felt taller which is really a bit silly but I’m going with it.  I suppose to adapt a Yogi Berra quote – Dancing is 90% mental, the other half is physical.  But I felt good and that translated to confidence.

We also did our open Rumba and Swing routines.  Swing took a little longer to come back but both of them did.  Again, I’m not going to set the world on fire but I’m also not going to look like I’m completely out of my depth.  I kind of walked away thinking that, yeah, I’m going to be OK.

We have two lessons tonight.  I’ve had to cancel my Friday nights at Studio B to prep for the Big Dance Event.  Think we plan to just do rounds until I collapse.  But it is the practice I need.

Group class was interesting.  OwnerGuy picked a Silver 2 step from Waltz.  Now, this is going to sound like bragging but I’m just going to honestly relate how I processed the group class.  This was not a step that I’ve done before but it ended up coming to me pretty easily.  I was able to take some concepts that I’ve learned in similar patterns and apply them to this pattern.  It was kind of automatic.  I just recognized the similarity and then applied the same advice.

And then we moved into the party.  There was a couple who had been out for several weeks due to vacation and other distractions and she grabbed me for the first hustle.  As I said, hustle is my “fun” dance so I just stand in the middle and lead the lady through all kinds of turns.  I make an attempt to keep up with the footwork but I suspect I’m not close to being on time.  Again, I don’t care as much since it is hustle and if the lady is spinning and happy, then I’ve done my job.  She gave me a little hug at the end which made my happy.

The one downside is that I probably ticked Sunny off.  I know that as a man, I shouldn’t be refusing dances since it is kind of rude but I only apply that to other students.  The instructors are there to make sure we are on the floor all the time since the Famous Franchise doesn’t believe in resting.  But I was coming off a private lesson where we did a lot of work and the group class and I had danced the first three songs of the party so I needed a break.  If it had been a slower dance, then I might have been OK but it was a swing and my knees and feet really needed a rest.  I did end up dancing a Waltz later with her to try and make up for it.

And, what probably made it even worse is that I danced several times with New Girl.  (I know I can’t keep that name but I’m still trying to figure out a better one but if New Girl works for a TV show, then I’m going to use it for a bit longer).  Couldn’t help it that she was often closer to me than Sunny and tended to jump in and ask.  She wanted to dance a Swing with me at the last party and I did promise that to her so I had to make good.  Can’t believe she remembered.  New Girl is still really a beginner and she gets to teach the most basic students and she thinks really hard when she’s dancing to remember the count.  But the vibe I get back from her is that she’s really enjoying dancing even if it is mostly basic steps and she sometimes gets on the wrong foot.   I know there is a part of it that is the Famous Franchise “keep them on the floor” philosophy but I feel more than that from her.

I used to get that vibe from Sunny but things have changed slightly which is why I’m hesitant to dance with her as much.  With the Waltz, it was like she felt she had to prove something so the moves were a little bigger and more exaggerated than they needed to be and that put her slightly out of control at times so I was expending more energy to keep her where she needed to be.  And, there were times when she was anticipating and not following and that always creates that start/stop feeling like a race car that’s not hitting on all cylinders.  I pretty sure she still enjoys dancing with me but I can’t help but feel there is more going on there.

There was a new couple there who were taking lessons for their wedding.  They stayed for the party which is great.  Z did the patented Famous Franchise Fox Trot ice breakers where the guys are on one side and the ladies on the other and you pair up and dance down the line.  Ideally, you have an uneven mix so your partner changes each time which was the case here.  So I did dance a Fox Trot with her during that.  Later, another Fox Trot came on and I happened to be close to New Girl who was going to work with them on the Fox Trout but she seized the opportunity and split them up so she could dance with the guy and leave me with the lady.  You know how much I love dancing with newbies when they are in that first phase when dance is new and fun and exciting.  If they get over the worries that they don’t know the step and just relax, then you can just see them having fun and also the little bit of accomplishment of doing something they hadn’t done before.  The vibe that comes from that is amazing.

Yesterday was a good day.


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