Mambo all the Time

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So on Monday I get to Studio B and Mindy is engaged in conversation with people I only know from the few group classes/parties I’ve attended.  Which is to say I really don’t know them.  As is my way, I won’t join in a conversation unless I know the people really well.  Feels rude and intrusive to me but, as I said, that’s just my way.  That means I take an empty table next to them and put on my shoes and watch the other couples who are taking lessons.
There is one lady taking a lesson with this super male teacher.  This is the guy Mindy wants to get for a coaching at some point.  Well, I’m watching him and I just start getting a little nervous about ever having a lesson with this guy.  My little voice tells me that I’m in way over my head and that he’s a serious teacher for serious dancers and not some pretender like me who can’t really figure out what I’m doing.  Yeah, some days I really need to slap the crap out of my little voice and just tell him to sit down and shut the frack up.
The lesson went reasonably well.  I’m getting used to having to move certain parts in certain directions.  Again, much more advanced than I would get at the Famous Franchise which then always leaves me feeling like maybe I’ve just been spinning my wheels and wasting my time there.  But then another part of me says that I’ve got very little chance of being successful as a competitive dancer.  Just really don’t have the drive or dedication (or time) to do all the practicing that would be required.  Not to sell myself short but a man’s got to know his limitations and I will always find other things to do rather than practicing those steps.  I work hard on lessons but I can’t seem to find that same level of motivation outside the dance studio.
So why continue?  Well that’s a good question.  I may never be truly successful but it doesn’t mean I can’t get better and getting better at leading and the technical stuff will make the dances flow better and give me more of those fleeting moments that I love so much.  Now that’s a goal that’s hard to explain.  There is almost this undercurrent that if you aren’t seriously into competition then why are you wasting your time learning all this stuff.  I mean you don’t get many opportunities to do competitive style dancing on a crowded social dance floor.  It’s like having a car with multiple gears but being stuck in rush hour traffic where you can’t fully open it up and let it rip.   Thing is that I want that car.  I want the ability to fly down the highway when I get the chance.  Besides there is the challenge thing.  There is something to be said for just conquering something you didn’t think you could do even if you ultimately don’t end up being a successful competitive dancer.  Is that a good enough goal??
Yesterday was back to the Famous Franchise where it is still all Mambo all the time.  We have our Showstoppers on Thursday and Kid T is pushing to make the Mambo stand out.  I’m cool with that because I at least get a chance to show off.  The beginning part that OwnerGuy choreographed is still mostly poses and “meh” but about half way through we do some shadow open boxes followed by a bunch of fast moving stuff that travels a bit and that part is fun.
They had a Quickstep group before class which I intentionally decided to skip.  I mean, I have done Quickstep routines at three Showcases with three different instructors.  I think it is safe to say that I know the basics.  Besides, my Quickstep instructor bailed so I don’t see a lot of Quickstep in my future.  Why go to a group to do basics and be reminded of what was taken away?  OwnerGuy at least seemed to understand why I didn’t attend – I guess they had a conversation about whether I was going to show up and the consensus was that I wouldn’t.  I did waiver a bit but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it.
So we ran through the Mambo a bunch of different times – with and without music.  I was talking briefly with Vanna before the lesson and she wanted to know what we were doing and I said Mambo and she thinks Mambo is fun.  Well, I saw her at the desk while we were doing a run and she’s watching us with this huge smile on her face.  We gave her a little bow at the end just because.  Yeah, it’s partly an ego thing but there is still just something about having someone react to your dancing that hits me in the right places.  How’s that for another shaky goal?  I want to get better at dancing so more people will smile when they watch me??  Actually, my main goal should be to eventually articulate some of these emotions but I think I’d have to create a whole new language to do that.
Coming back to my last post, maybe this really is some kind of ingenious plan where dance studios all over have mastered the art of post hypnotic suggestion without us realizing it.  Hear music, must dance.  So you keep coming back for more lessons to feed the addiction.  More music! More dance!
I forgot to give you an update on my knee.  I had my first injection of hyaluronic acid last Tuesday and got a second one yesterday.  Started feeling different almost right after the first one and things have continued to get better.  There was a certain spot in the knee where I think I was getting the most friction which was creating significant inflammation and this seems to have calmed that down so the anti-inflammatories I’m taking are starting to work better.  There are other places that hurt now but not as bad and I wonder if some of it is more soft tissue related since I was probably compensating for the pain in ways I wasn’t aware of.  TrainerGuy talks about that all the time – if a muscle group is weak, the body finds ways to compensate and activates other groups.  Which is why TrainerGuy tries to isolate those groups.  The knee pain isn’t muscle but I think the same concept applies.
But you also forget how it feels to actually be able to move and dance without your knee screaming at you.  It has been tweaked a few times on the last two lessons but overall there has been a major improvement.  I should also have mentioned the knee in my reasons why there is little likelihood of me being a successful competitive dancer.  Not to use it as an excuse but I don’t have the range of motion and that will always be a limiting factor in certain dances – like Bolero.  It is what it is.
Of course it is just typically me that I start thinking about my future in dance right after I’ve signed up for a block of lessons at both places.  Gee, couldn’t you have done this a little earlier.  Nah, I was just in the moment but the act of signing up then makes me stop and get reflective about why I’m doing this and what the point really is.
There is a part of me that thinks this is kind of expensive hobby to not have a firm goal.  But I’m also not particularly goal driven – I’m still more the live life day to day and see how it turns out.  Dance makes me feel good (when it doesn’t frustrate the hell out of me) and there is a true sense of accomplishment when you finally learn something.  Besides, there is that performer in me that wants to be on stage (which I still have serious trouble wrapping my head around that being who I am).  Maybe nebulous goals are OK.  Just hard to have conversations with instructors who want me to have goals so they know what to be working on.
Well tonight is a double lesson.  Got a coach coming in to look at the Mambo and maybe make some suggestions for finishing it.  Right now, it works for Showstoppers but it needs a little more to be a truly open routine.  OwnerGuy is never going to get around to it so maybe this guy will have some ideas.
Lastly, I’ll just leave on a slightly whiny note.  We ended up going back to some closed routines last night.  Kid T says we are doing that because of some “team match” coming up in February.  Sunny briefly mentioned this to me the night before she quit the studio forever.  I finally got a date out of Kid T which is some time in February.  No, I don’t have any plans now but we always end up taking a vacation to a warm place sometime in February so who knows.  But that’s not the point.  The point is that there is this built in assumption that I’m going to do this “team match”.  Here’s another little secret about me.  Most things don’t really bother me but things that do bother me a great deal.  It’s a little thing but why are you assuming I’m doing this?  Can’t you at least ask me?  It seems like the right and polite thing to do.  Hey, we’ve got this team match coming up in February.  Would you like to participate?  How hard is that?

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