Dancing While Thinking

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There was some actual dancing this week before Thanksgiving so let me give you a brief recap on how those lessons went.  The cliff notes version is they both went fine.

Monday was Studio B and Mindy and we worked exclusively on the Fox Trot.  I am thinking that I need to carry a little card with me that would say “If I appear to go catatonic during our lesson, it is just that I’m trying to process all the information you’ve given me and I may need a moment to catch up”.  As an introvert, I’m pretty much wired to listen anyway but when I take in information, I can get start getting hyper focused on what is being said.  I believe something like dancing works best when the learning is more interactive – with the student offering feedback and asking questions.  I try but it just gets hard to keep up at times.

The funny thing is that there are times when my mind can go into overdrive.  When I just reacting to the world and making all my various connections, things just move at light speed.  That creates the opposite problem where I sometimes make three or four leaps in my head and what comes out doesn’t make a lot of sense and I have to back track to explain what I mean.  I do think faster than I talk.

With learning, it is like I need to find the right file cabinet in my mind to store the information so when I start getting a bunch of things thrown at me, I can’t keep up and the files just fall on the floor in a disorganized mess.  It is like I’m always a step or two behind.  By the time I’ve done a step and figured out the appropriate question or comment, Mindy has move on and I’m constantly trying to catch up.  She did stop to ask a few times whether I was OK but that was really just me trying to process everything.

She certainly has the enthusiasm for teaching me this.  That just comes through loud and clear.  Again, maybe she does see something that I’m not able to see yet.

I’m finding that I do certain things either by instinct or that I’ve managed to synthesize what someone told me but I’m not always aware that I’m doing them.  We started with a focus of “softening into the knees” which is a phrase I’ve heard so many times.  Unfortunately, for me, when I hear anything that speaks to lowering or flexing in the knees, my first reaction is to protect my knees especially the one that hurts all the time so I end up not being able to fully commit to what they want me to do.  Then, I start thinking about it and once that happens, I can’t actually do anything because I’m trying to microanalyze every little step.

The funny thing is we got to a point later in the lesson with another step and she stops to tell me that I’m actually doing the softening thing and she gave me a nice demonstration of what it feels like vs not doing it.  The softening does create more fluidity of movement vs the stop/start of landing sharply.  Somewhere along the way, I’ve picked that up without really understanding what it meant or that I was doing it.  I need to do more in certain places but part of me just wants to let this happen by itself because I’m sure if I think about it, it won’t happen.

Tuesday night was a Mambo lesson at the Famous Franchise.  We are all Mambo all the time until we get to Showstoppers.  There were some additional steps added to it and that helps.  I guess my first impression was like seeing the first part of a foundation going up and not being able to see what the finished building would look like.  We have to flesh this out and put it to music and then it might actually start to feel like a Mambo.  I think I can come to like this but I really don’t think it is every going to impact me the way some of the other routines do.

There was a dinner/party that night so I got in a little social dancing.  I’m going to have to say that Vanna is like a DWall seeking missile.  I lost track of how many times I ended up dancing with her because every time a song started and it looked like I was going to sit out, she’d be right there.  Maybe it wasn’t that many, but it felt that way.  I ended up dancing with both Sunny and Kid T as well and some of the other ladies.

There is something about dancing with Vanna though.  There is a physical component to dancing and every lady feels and moves different.  (I’m sure that is also true for you ladies)  I can’t really quantify it but some ladies just seem to fit better than others.  Sometimes, it is like a hand and glove.  Other times it is like a hand and a glove but when you put your left glove on your right hand.  It can still work but it doesn’t feel right.  But it is all part of what makes a dance feel right.  I could try to come up with some kind of equation but that would just be overthinking.

At the end of the night, there was another lady who grabbed my arm and told me I owed her a dance at the next party.  She comes with her husband and I think there are a few dances she likes that he doesn’t.  Since I like most dances, I’ve got no problem being the pinch hitter.  She doesn’t come to a lot of parties so I don’t often get to dance with her.  The last time was a two step which she wanted to do but he didn’t.  Guess I’m just going to have to accept something as a fact.  I must be fun to dance with.  If I wasn’t, people wouldn’t keep seeking me out.

I will say that I think my self imposed break helped get my head back in the right place.  There were frustrating parts on both lessons but I was in a place where I could keep the demons at bay and just keep dancing.

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