Lights, Camera, Dance

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Last night was the big Showstoppers.  It was such a big event that they extended the party from 7:30 to 9:00 and wiped out the group class!!  (OK, that doesn’t really make it a big event but they did need time for all the solos).

Kid T and I ran through the Mambo several more times on our lesson and then we moved on to other rhythm dances to get some practice in on our closed routines which we really hadn’t worked on since Showcase.  The focus was on positioning and keeping my shoulders towards her which is also what the coach emphasized.  I’ve heard this before but it isn’t something I’ve consistently focused on so that becomes the new area to work on.

After a few songs at the party, they give us the heat list and there were two groups of 4-5 students.  I was the last one on the list.  I’d like to say that they saved the best for last but it was more likely just an attempt to keep me at the party as long as possible.  I do have a tendency to skip out of these events before they end.  Its just my way.  Once I get to be a sweaty mess, social dancing loses a lot of its appeal so I tend to cut out.  And, to be a little more fair to myself, there has been the knee pain to deal with and that was actually a valid reason for stopping.

There was a newer couple who have started to become regulars.  She asked me what I was doing and I said Mambo and she said she was excited to see it.  She’s the one who told me that my Peabody routine was the one she enjoyed the most at the last Showcase.  If I had a fan club, I guess she’d be a member.

The first round of dances were as to be expected when you only have six weeks to pick things up.  Some people could devote more time to things and their routines were a little more polished.  But we clapped for everyone.  It is still an accomplishment to get out there even if it is in front of a safe audience.  The best dance of the first round was a Quickstep done by OwnerGuy and his most advanced student.  She had a couple of bobbles but the best thing was she kept up a big smile all the way through so it was clear she was having a good time.

I’m going to echo a point the Thespian made in his last post.  It makes so much difference when someone looks like they are having fun.  Another student did a very nice waltz but she kept such a serious expression on her face that it lost something.  I know waltz may not always lend itself to smiles and serious faces are important if you are trying to capture a mood because there was a waltz in the second group done to a sadder song where the point was to evoke that kind of emotion so smiling wasn’t appropriate.  But when you see people with a blank look on their face or those who are go into such deep thought because they are trying to remember the routine, it does take a bit away from the overall performance.  At least in my opinion.  But, as I said, I tend to look at faces when I watch dancers.

The party was classic Famous Franchise stuff.  This was the last night of the semi-annual festival so it was the last “themed” party.  That meant there had to be some silly game in the middle of the party where the winning team could get points towards fabulous prizes.  I’m going to admit that used to be much more important to me but I guess I’ve just grown a little jaded and cynical.  Maybe I’ve just been to too many of these but it is hard to generate the enthusiasm.  At some point, you cross the line from campy fun to outright silliness and I’m not always in the mood for pure silliness.  Some people still get into it and wear the appropriate costumes.  For me, if the them fits something I’ve got in my closet, I’ll join in.  Otherwise, it isn’t worth the extra points.  The other thing I’ve grown to not like about these parties is that they force fit music to the theme.  So you get songs that are borderline acceptable to dance to but they fit the them.  Like last night, they played something that was way too fast for East Coast swing with the triple steps.  It was more of a Lindy Hop or Single Time Swing which didn’t make it a lot of fun to dance to.

So, how did the routine go he finally asks after leaving you hanging while I went off on a mini-rant about the party??

At this point, I could probably go into a nice long description of all the things that went wrong and how I totally failed given my perfectionist tendencies.  But I’m intentionally not going to do that.  I got a lot of nice feedback from the audience and the routine mostly flowed rather nicely.  There is always room for improvement because nothing is ever perfect but people seemed to enjoy it and that’s good enough for me.

The dancing at the party was OK.  I danced with a couple of the newer students including the one in my fan club.  Vanna did tend to grab me every time I tried to sit down.  She seems to love doing Swing.  And I danced with Kid T a couple of times and with some of the other students.  I ended up staying for the entire party but that was mostly because there was only about 15 minutes left after I finished my routine so, if you hung around for that long, you might as well see it through.

I’m actually meeting Hilde at Studio B tonight for their party.  It is supposed to be an ugly sweater party but I hate sweaters so I’m just going as is.




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