Leading a Double Life

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Last night brought a return to Studio B.  The bad news is I had to put those routines on the back burner to focus on the Big Dance Event and the rust was evident.  I suppose I should give myself credit for the parts that did come back.  We did spend 30 minutes on each dance and at least mostly got through each one so the steps are there but it still doesn’t flow naturally.  (And you expected that after a week off?)  Of course I did.  What’s the fun if you can’t set unrealistic expectations?

There was a part that just didn’t come back and it was frustrating because I wasn’t following what Mindy was trying to get me to do and I couldn’t really express where I was lost.  Basically, I couldn’t remember how the step actually ended so I wasn’t sure when to break out of a part and where we should be when I did it.  So I didn’t do enough and we ended up in the wrong place and it just kept happening.  Fortunately, it was near the end of the lesson and we moved on with a promise to come back to it later.  I do have a video which I’m going to continue to dissect.  I met a student who was taking a lesson right after me who said we looked good but I think he was just being polite.

I know I started this primarily as a hedge in case things went south at the Famous Franchise.  At first, it was just a trial thing but I’ve burned through my first package so I had to face the key next step which was to sign up for more.  There is this Showcase coming up in November which is now much closer than it was when I started and the reality that I’m actually doing these dances to perform them is starting to sink in.  In some ways, I wonder if I’m being fair because there are only so many hours in the day and I can’t devote equal time to both places.  When one has to give, it is going to be Studio B.  Sometimes, I feel like I’m not giving it my best effort which bothers me.  It is like there something keeping me from fully committing to this place.  It was easier when Hilde was coming to the parties but she’s occupied with dances in other places.  (Did see her last night though).  Yes, the people who know me are friendly, but I still don’t yet feel like I’m part of something like I do at the Famous Franchise (well, on some days).  That could just be a lingering hangover from the Big Dance Event which kind of reignited some of my passion.

Maybe one other part of the problem is the dance we are doing.  Well, actually, we are doing two but I know one.  I’m just not yet entirely sure of what this dance is supposed to feel like.  I’ve watched some videos to try and get the character of it but nothing really sticks.  That probably sounds silly but all the other dances have a certain “feel” to them and it helps me to get into character.  OK, now I sound like some bad B actor “what’s my motivation?”.  Maybe it only helps me on the inside but it does seem to.

There are no major issues working with Mindy.  I sense a little frustration from time to time when there are parts I just can’t seem to retain.  The timing is a mix of number and quicks and slows and there are just certain places where I just get confused and end on the wrong foot.  That leads to me feeling a little guilty that I haven’t been able to put in as much practice as I would like.  Again, leading a double life is difficult.

But I also know there are real and tangible benefits to dancing with a different instructor.  There are things they are going to notice and pick up on and things they are going to focus on.  And, at the end of the day, I am enjoying it.  I wish it would stay with me more but I like how parts of it move and look.  Its just getting to a crunch time where I feel like I’ll have to get off the sidelines and commit to something.

Oh, and then this happened last night.  Since Mindy knows I was at the Big Dance Event, she asked me about doing a local comp later this year.  I guess she’s taking a couple of students and offered it up to see if I was interested.

Of course I’m interested.  Now, whether I’ll actually talk myself into going is another story.

The first drawback would be the cost.  I have no idea and didn’t broach the subject when she first asked but that’s going to be one key.   I suspect it would not approach Famous Franchise levels but I don’t have an endless amount of money to spend so it will matter.

Another problem is what dances to do.  She mentioned throwing together a few things and we could probably just dance some standard figures and be OK.  She also mentioned any routines I have since she knows I was just at a Big Dance Event.  So, yes, I’ve got built in closed routines in all dances.  There are several problems though.  First, the steps are from the Famous Franchise and the Famous Franchise protects its property.  I’m sure there are analogs in the dance world.  For example, I just found out that a New Yorker is pretty much what we call a Crossover Break™ at the Famous Franchise.  You may actually have a Crossover Break™ in your world but “New Yorker” is not a part of my vocabulary at the Famous Franchise.  So there would clearly be translation issues.  Secondly, I don’t know the names of all of the steps.  I just dance them.  I don’t know what they are called so I’d be stuck trying to explain something without providing a name.  For some of them, timing is going to be an issue because I may not have it down 100%.  Lastly, I don’t know the ladies part at all so if she had any questions, I’d be totally clueless.  I suppose I could just try leading her and see what happens?

And there is the issue with timing.  It does come right before our Showcase and the Showcase I’d be doing at Studio B.  Do I need to add another thing to prep for because you all know how calm I get before these events (I need a font for heavy sarcasm because it just doesn’t come through when I write something).  Even if I lowered my expectations and just said I was doing it for the experience, I’d still stress out a bit.  And, I’d have to find time to prep in addition to needing time to prep for the two Showcases.  Again, there are only so many hours in the day.

Lastly, it would increase the likelihood that my double life would be exposed.  That is kind of silly because there is nothing in the contract I signed with the Famous Franchise that requires exclusivity (at least I don’t think there is) so they really have no hold on me.  Still, I haven’t told them either because they don’t really need to know.  I suspect the circles are distinct enough that the likelihood is low.

I hate having to make decisions like this.

Oh, in the small world department, I was working with TrainerGuy today and he tells me that he spotted someone with a Famous Franchise jacket on his flight back from his vacation.  He tells me the name of the studio which is mine.  He starts to describe the person and the first thing he mentioned was piercings which made it obvious it was Kid T.  The jacket was a rite of passage for going to the Big Dance Event because we all wore our colors while sitting around the table.  Anyway, I thought it was funny that they ended up on the same plane together.  TrainerGuy was going to talk with her but he didn’t think that was my studio because it isn’t close to where I live.  It would have been funny if he had talked with her.


  1. Since I do both versions, I can tell you: in standard dance syllabi (even outside of the Famous Franchise world), a New Yorker and a Crossover Break are the same figure. In the American Rhythm versions of Rumba, Cha-Cha, etc. the figure is called a Crossover Break. In the International Latin version is where the figure is called a New Yorker, even though the footwork is exactly the same.

    Since the Famous Franchise world primarily focuses on American style as opposed to International style, that’s probably why you’ve only ever heard it called a Crossover Break before. 🙂

      1. There are a couple like this you’ll find if you decide to pick up both American and International dances. Like East Coast Swing and Jive – they are pretty much the same, aside from the speed and a bit of technique. But the turns? In East Coast Swing you have an underarm turn and a tuck-in. In Jive, the same turns with the same footwork are called a “change of place, right to left” and “change of place, left to right.”

        That’s part of the reason I take notes like I do: so when I hear people use those names as I wander around from studio to studio, I can immediately picture what they are talking about.

  2. The translation wouldn’t be as hard as you think. I’ve heard both terms cross over break and new yorker in my time as a student. And for a teacher, if you just demonstrated the step you were trying to do, they should be able to tell what it is. Just depends on how much you want to put on your plate with doing events through 2 studios!

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