First Lesson of 2017

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So I talked about the last lesson of 2016 which means it is only fitting to talk about the first lesson of 2017.  It was last night at Studio B and we are working on Fox Trot.

There is a lot of ego deflating that goes on when I go to Studio B.  I mean I’ve been taking lessons at the Famous Franchise for a whole lot of years and yet there seems to be very little of that which translates to Studio B.  It is like I’ve spent all these years learning the wrong language which is super frustrating at times.  I’d like to think I’ve got a small amount of skill at this (I’d like to think that but, most times, I don’t) but I end up feeling like a super awkward beginner so many times.

Alright, that’s not entirely fair and perhaps a bit melodramatic.  I mean we aren’t working on basic Fox Trot steps so I at least have some foundation.  Some of the steps are familiar to me as they are things I’ve learned at the Famous Franchise.  Some of them are just totally new and I don’t know if they are in the Famous Franchise syllabus or not  Compound that with her focus on CBM which my Famous Franchise doesn’t do a lot with and I get so lost and confused about where I’m supposed to go.

The biggest difference is on the slows.  At my Famous Franchise (remember that each office is independently owned and your experience may be different), they do talk about “holding the slows” but that’s about all they say.  In practice, you end up landing on the 1 and then holding on the 2 and coming out on the 3.  Sorry, I know this is inside baseball stuff to you non dancers.  If there are any of you out there, the slow is 2 beats of music and you take only one step on the slow.  Hope that helps.

But at Studio B, the focus is different.  I’m supposed to start moving on the 1 but not land until the 2.  I guess if I land on the 1, then the movement stops and it doesn’t look very Fox Trotty.  There is some fancy term that was used but I can’t remember it right now since there is a lot of stuff thrown at me on each lesson.  Of the many problems I’m having with this adjustment is that it requires you to stay bent in you back leg a little long on the slow as you push off to land on the 2.  So it is that whole thing where I have to figure out how much I can actually be lowered without my knee rebelling and making me pay for keeping it in an uncomfortable position.

I seem to have another huge issue with actually stepping where she is.  Not when we are moving forward but there are times when I’m supposed to come around her and the first step needs to set that up meaning that it is supposed to go right where she is.  If I do the CBM right, she gets out of the way and I land safely and all is right with the world.  But, I seem to have this subconscious block about running her down and I end up taking the first step away and then trying to run to get around her which doesn’t work as well.  So, more retraining of the brain.

The hardest thing still remains processing all the information.  I got a little snippy at one point on the lesson because she likes to go into great detail about why I need to do things in a certain way.  That is actually a good thing and I should like it and up to a point, I do.  But I also reach a place where I’ve been corrected multiple times and I’m starting to feel like a complete failure and then it feels like she’s just pounding the point in and beating a seriously dead horse.  I want to short circuit it and say “I effed up.  I know that.  Now tell me what I’m supposed to do right”.  Told you I’m not exactly the world’s best student.

But, she seems to think we are making progress so I must go along.  In the end, this will help me become the better dancer that I want to be.  It is just hard to get over the feeling of incompetence that seems to bubble up on most lessons for reasons that still elude me.

Was supposed to have a lesson with Kid T tonight but OwnerGuy calls me late in the afternoon to tell me she’s not feeling well and he doesn’t have anyone else who can work with me so the lesson is off.

Which was OK because I took the time to book our vacation at the end of February.  Were trying that week before but it appears to be a popular time.  I’m guessing Spring Break but I don’t have kids so that really means nothing to me.  But we will get to spend a week on a warm island with an ocean.  Something to look forward to.



  1. It’s moving like that is ‘continuity’ – beginners in Foxtrot are told to hold the second beat just to make the figures fit the timing. If you watch them do that though, it looks like they are moving and then stopping, moving and then stopping, over and over again. It’s jerky, and doesn’t have the flow that Foxtrot is supposed to have. I know – this is something I got picked on for a lot as I moved away from learning things at a franchise location to independent studios, so I understand what she is trying to show you.

    By moving the legs through beat one and landing at the end of beat two, you look like you are constantly in motion (or continuity movement). It’s as big a change as when you make the switch partway through the Bronze syllabus from bringing your feet together at the end of the figure to using Feather Endings and Open Reverse Turns where you constantly pass your feet. Do you remember what it was like when you made that switch way back in the day? 🙂

    1. I vaguely remember those days! It feels like that was an easier transition but I wasn’t blogging then so I can’t go back and read about my struggles.

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