Dance Re-Education

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When I started at Studio B, I was learning dances that I really hadn’t focused on before so it wasn’t as ego crushing.  Now, we are working on dances that I do at the Famous Franchise and it is so clear there is a difference in the focus.  The Famous Franchise was more about steps and patterns and then we’ve moved into frame and other things.  At Studio B, there is some on the choreography but it is so much technique.

I will admit that it was difficult for me last night.  The more Mindy kept correcting me, the more I was like “shouldn’t I know this stuff already”.  At times, I felt like a beginner who didn’t know anything.  I wanted to go grab my critiques from the last Showcase and tell her “See, other people like what I do”.  When you are being corrected on almost every step, it can be seriously deflating.

I did try to keep a different mind set.  It is not that I’m a bad dancer.  It is just that I can be so much better with just a little more focus on body movement.  At one point, she said something similar.  But, I have issues with taking criticism anyway because it just becomes so easy to retreat to that place where I just assume I suck and from there it is an short trip to “why bother-ville” where I just wonder what the heck I’m doing wasting everyone’s time.

Trying to keep an open mind and a positive attitude, in several places it was just a small bit of additional rotation.  Just bringing my left side around a fraction of a bit more to allow her to finish her move.  Getting fully on to a foot and holding it just a bit longer again to let her complete what she’s doing.  In theory, I’d be able to feel what she’s doing and that would guide me to how far I need to go, but we ain’t there yet.  There is just too much going through my mind for me to relax and try to feel more.  Still having to think way too much.

And, it is stuff I’ve heard at the Famous Franchise but they are just inconsistent in how they teach it.  I guess there are other things they focus on so the stuff about body position kind of gets pushed to the side.  At Studio B, it is front and center and the focus of everything we do.

So the lesson was basically like this.  She’d show me a step.  I’d try to do it.  I’d be in the wrong position and she’d tell me I was wrong.  I’d try to focus on making it right but something else would be wrong and she’d call me on it.  And it was all this super frustrating stuff – with her saying things like “I just need a little more of xxx”.  And I’m thinking that my body is already twisted in strange position so how do I move one part without messing up some other part that seemed to be in the right place.

I guess I should say that the overall good news is that while I teetered on the edge there for a minute or two, I never actually plunged into the chasm of despair.  The demons were basically kept at bay although I could hear them shouting in my head.

Have to remember.  What I do is good.  But it can be improved.  That is all we are doing here.  It is like I’ve said before.  We are just adding on a sun room.  We aren’t tearing the whole house down.  Even though it feels like it at times.

I did sign up for more lessons at Studio B.  As painful and deflating as this is, I figure it is going to make me better and that’s what I’m trying to do.  Just wish it wasn’t so painful.  Again, she wouldn’t be pushing so hard if she didn’t think I could do this.  Right???




  1. Ah, Wall. You’ve discovered the facts of life re the differences between my FF Ballroom world and the wider one. The first thing I learned during my mostly book-related sojourns to non-FF studios and teachers is that the two FF studios with which I’m familiar have a distinctly social orientation compared to DanceSport as a whole. They do not build technique in from the ground up, as seems to be the case elsewhere. Perhaps that’s because teachers come and go so frequently that only the relatively few “lifers” have a firm grip on technique themselves. Or, perhaps it’s because the average person who comes in with the goal of being able to dance at the Elks Club is not wiling to be burdened with all that, at least not early-on. What I do know is that at the DanceSport showcase I attended, the general quality of the hoofing’ was superior to what is in evidence at the FF showcases in which I participate. Mind you, I have no experience with FFs beyond the ones in my own general geographic area. All that said, I have a terrific time at my studio, and know i’m never going to Blackpool, no matter what I do. So, as long as I remain cloistered in my FF cocoon, I can have a blast AND indulge in the fantasy that I’m actually a good dancer. Would be interested in hearing from others as to how things are done at the other FF, named for a certain movie star. Do the teachers come and go at the speed of light? Do any of them actually compete? Inquiring minds want to know!

    1. Marian, from what I’ve seen at various Big Dance Events in the FF world, they can produce top dancers. But I think you have to be in the right studio at the right time and dance with an owner/franchisee. Those are the only people who are likely to be in it for the long haul. But you also need to have an owner/franchisee who stays at the top of their game. I wonder if that’s another reason the FF likes to keep you in their world so that you never see dance life outside the FF universe.

  2. As your dancing gets picked apart piece by piece, think of it this way: you’ve got all the big and medium stuff down. All that’s left to correct is the tiny bits! If you weren’t a solid (read: GOOD) dancer, Mindy wouldn’t be spending the time to correct/tweak your technique. My advice for dealing with all the critiquing is to embrace it and know it’s your ticket to having more of those awesome moments when everything clicks and you feel like you’re really dancing. When Teacher gets super focused on tweaking technique, I embrace it by questioning almost as much as he corrects to make sure I fully understand everything he’s telling me. We could spend half a lesson on one move because I won’t let him move on until I’m sure it’s clicked in my head.

    1. Yeah, I’ll try to embrace it. Just not the best at dealing with even constructive critiques. I know it is meant for the best but it just feels like a dagger at times. But you are right about the payoff. I’ll try to stay focused there.

      1. Keep reminding yourself that you’re paying for this! Mindy works for you. If the way she’s providing corrections isn’t working for you, let her know. Or if it’s getting to be too much, just say that – enough tweaking for today, let’s move on to something else or just dance for a bit. I hope that’s helpful. Having all of your “flaws” pointed out can really suck and be disheartening, especially when no one has pointed them out before. But you’re not a beginner anymore, so it’s tweaking and polishing time!

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