How Bolero Can You Go

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Well I was back in the studio for the first time in almost a week.  Still not 100% but close enough for government work.  I did decide to skip out on group and party but that was because I haven’t been eating and I’m still really tired so it didn’t make sense to push myself too far.  Same reason I cancelled my session with TrainerGuy tomorrow.

The good news was that we were working on the continuation of our open Bolero routine so it wasn’t going to be a fast vigorous dance which might have been more of a struggle.  The bad news is that we were working on the continuation of our open Bolero routine.  I may be starting to develop a bit of a mental block around Bolero.  I love the dance and how it moves and I can really wrap my head around a good Bolero song.  I just can’t get comfortable with the idea of me doing a “good” Bolero.

It is partly because of the knees and the lowering that you are supposed to do.  To give all credit to Kid T, she has attempted to compensate for that which I appreciate.  But every time she brings it up, there is a part of me that says “why bother”.  I mean if I’m going to be judged against people who can actually bend their knees, then I’m always going to come up short.

Part of the compensation for the knees is that they’ve designed a routine that has more lines where I’m just supposed to stand manly and tall and create some nice shape with her.  But right now all the focus is on the footwork but I’m trying to look at where my arms are supposed to go and how my body should be turned towards her and all these other things I see OwnerGuy do on the video.  This, of course, is a bad thing to do as she pointed out to me since he’s a pro who’s been doing this for many years and I’m never going to look that good.  Still, the gap between what I see and what I perceive I look like is huge and it just makes me more self-conscious.  I can’t even imagine doing this at a comp.

Today, they added a dip and that just created a whole new set of problems.  First, I’m supposed to be lowering through the knees.  As Kid T tells me, I don’t need to get too low but subconsciously, I know I’m protecting myself and sometimes not lowering at all.  So actually allowing myself to get into both knees enough to make the step look good but not going so far to cause pain is the challenge.  And, it is a quite the challenge.  It is another time when I think OwnerGuy just tosses stuff in there that he things look cool but don’t necessarily play to my strengths.

And this is what I was struggling with the entire lesson.  Kid T would ask me how something felt.  I was thinking global big picture and how it felt totally non-Bolero so I couldn’t focus on the particular thing she was trying to get me to feel.  And there was just something that feels “wrong” about the dip.  I’m supposed to get her under each arm and then do this around the world thing mostly on bent knees and standing tall because I don’t want to bend over and get all off balance.  But then I feel like this gawky tall giant with a doll in my arms.  Yeah, its a bit of an exaggeration but it is like she just disappears.  I have no idea what this will actually look like but they should be looking at her and I’m afraid they won’t be able to see past me.  Hard to explain as always but it doesn’t flow and feels awkward as hell.

Now, that should be normal because it is the first time we are doing this and maybe writing this part will drive that point home.  Again, I set these ridiculous expectations that everything should be perfect from day 1 and, when they aren’t, then it is because I just must royally suck.  Kid T even pointed that out to me at the end of the lesson.

So I’ve got the mental block around Bolero to begin with because it seems like the dance that suits me the least and I’ve got this step that just feels awkward and wrong.  Then I get all self-conscious about what I’m doing and what I look like.  It didn’t turn into a bad lesson but I’m still at the point where there are serious doubts that I’m going to be able to even do a serviceable version of this step.

Then, I’m reminded of a random conversation I had on Friday at Studio B.  I was talking with one the guys who is associated with the studio and he was asking about how the dancing was going.  Then he starts telling me how so much of it is in your head and that he found that social dancing was actually good for him because you just got out on the floor and didn’t worry that much about what people were thinking.  It is all about letting go of the things in your head telling you that you can’t do something but that is sometimes much easier said than done.


  1. Yeah – what that guy said!

    Quoting “Then he starts telling me how so much of it is in your head and that he found that social dancing was actually good for him because you just got out on the floor and didn’t worry that much about what people were thinking.”

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