Mambo Mambo

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I have decided that from now on, New Girls’ blog name shall be Vanna.  The main reason for giving her a name is that there is another female instructor who just started, so she’s no longer the New Girl.  I could have kept New Girl and gone with Newer Girl but then things would get confusing.

I feel like explaining where this came from although it may not matter to anyone.  I’ve mentioned before that Vanna is nice but not very talkative or outgoing.  Basically an introvert.  My first thought was Vanilla since that is usually a term used to describe something basic without a lot of flair.  But, to me, Vanilla is a bit underrated.  Get a good Vanilla and there is a depth there that goes beyond the stereotype.  Kind of think that about Vanna.  There’s a lot going on behind the pleasant surface.  But calling someone Vanilla would seem mean so I went with Vanna since (a) it begins with V and (b) the most famous Vanna is Vanna White and Vanilla Ice Cream is usually white.  So it works on a couple of levels.

I stayed for the studio party last night and the two times I tried to sit out, Vanna was like a heat seeking missile and just locked on to me to ask me to dance.  She’s really too nice to turn down so I danced a Swing and a Bachata with her.  I think she is just working through Bronze II but I tossed a couple of more advanced Bronze things at her and she was fine.  I could see her counting during the Swing and there were a couple of times where something went right and she just broke into a big smile.  It was really endearing because it was real.  She’s not trying to pretend to be some expert dancer/teacher so she’s totally comfortable at this stage showing that she’s still just getting experience with some of the dances.  Can’t explain why but it makes me feel a connection with her.

On my lesson with Kid T, I started by talking about how I tend to focus on the one or two things that went wrong on the lesson and not the bunch of things that went right so I’m trying to change my focus which she was happy to hear.

Her plan was to just do the Fox Trot and Swing open routines but we breezed through those and had time left so we tossed Mambo into the mix.  The open Fox Trot was such a mess when I first started but it actually flowed nicely last night.  We even got to a point where she stopped counting and I remained on time.  (See, I’m focusing on the good stuff here)

I put Mambo in the title because after Showcase, the Famous Franchise starts their semi-annual tournament where they compete against other studios and the more we dance, the more points they get.  There are opportunities for us to win fabulous prizes as well.  All designed to make sure you take lots of lessons after Showcase.

Well they are also continuing the ShowStoppers which is a challenge to learn a new 30 second routine in six weeks.  Kid T tosses out Mambo since (a) we don’t have an open routine in Mambo and (b) I seem to like Mambo and I’ve gotten decent placements in Mambo.  Needless to say, I instantly agreed with the plan.

Then, she asked me why I like Mambo so much.  It just feels good wasn’t really the answer she wanted.  I get the point.  Learning what I like would help them design a routine and also maybe figure out other things we can do.  The challenge is that I can’t really articulate the reasons.  It just feels different than Swing or Cha-Cha and I like the way it feels and moves.

If I had to think about it, there are two things that Mambo has that Swing and Cha-Cha don’t.  (1)  No triple steps.  Moving my feet that fast while still trying to appear loose and easy is a bit of a challenge.  While the timing in Mambo is funky, the footwork is actually a little easier IMO.  (2) The timing.  There is something about holding a beat that gives the dance a bit more flair and makes it more interesting to me.  It is fast so it is hardly noticeable but you are creating a mini start/stop but not in the jerky way someone just learning to dance creates a start/stop.  No, it is part of the flow of the dance.

When you live inside your head as much as I do, it is easy to let the music and the feeling of the dance take over and I find that happens more with Mambo than with the other rhythm dances.  Not really sure why since I have no Latin in me at all.  But for a minute or so, I can pretend and that’s good enough.

There was a new couple working with Vanna.  They are getting married so they are working on their wedding dance but I think they like the whole dance thing so they might stick around after the wedding.  Anyway, I could see Vanna pulling them aside to watch Kid T and I Mambo.  I know they do that from time to time with the newbies.  Show them a dance they don’t do and just give them a little incentive to keep going.  “Look, that’s Mambo.  Doesn’t it look like fun?”  Well it is fun and I’m hoping that showed on my face.

Well that’s about all that happened last night.  The weekend is here and that mean less dancing and more dog walking.

 

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