Someday, I will learn that my first impression when learning a new step is often very wrong. Well, I should say that when my first impression is negative, I need to learn to ignore it. There should be a minimum number of lessons before I render a final verdict on something.
It is a cycle I’ve discussed before. I’m very much about how something “feels” which is overly subjective and hard to describe. Mostly, it is about how the step flows and whether it feels natural and comfortable or whether I’m stumbling through it. Of course, when you are first learning a step, it is quite natural for it to feel awkward and forced because you are after all just trying to learn where the feet and other parts go. So I get in my head that it feels “wrong” and that triggers all of the other fears and anxieties. If it feels wrong, then it must look bad and I must look stupid trying to make it work. Blah, blah, blah.
But, over time, things become clearer and the steps start to flow together. And, the more you do it to music and start to see what the real timing is like, the more it starts to come together. Like a recipe when you start with a bunch of separate ingredients that looks nothing like you want to make. Then, you combine them all together and it starts to resemble the final product. Then, it gets baked and you finally have a cake and not just cups of flour, sugar, etc. If you entered cups of flour, sugar, etc into a bake off, you’d never win. So why judge a dance until you’ve actually put all the pieces together? (That cake thing sounded better in my head but I’ll just leave it)
And, it also helps to actually be able to vocalize when parts are awkward. We’ve got this dip which was giving me fits because I’m supposed to get my arms around her and basically catch her near the top of the shoulder blade. My arms kind of end up looking like a forklift (her words so not another tortured analogy from me). Well, not that I have super broad shoulders but Kid T is a tiny little thing and he get into the dip with her body at an angle to mine so it felt like I was having to reach in a strange way. I did manage to find the words to explain this and she assured me that we had to start that way and that it would work out just fine during the dip when I take her from one side to the other. In the middle, we end up just where we are supposed to be. Guess I should have figured that out but finally hearing it and seeing it just made it all better. It was like my mind just flipped a switch that said don’t worry about the starting position feeling wrong because it isn’t. So wrong became right.
There are times when I must be some kind of dancing savant. Perhaps it is my years of experience when a step triggers some repressed bit of muscle memory and I just end up doing something that feels natural but also happens to be right. This happened towards the end of the dip where I guess I was sort of sitting into my leg (whatever that means). I guess it meant I was moving my lower body the way it was supposed to without having my upper body follow so it made getting her out of the dip quite snappy which she liked. She made a remark about that because she hadn’t specifically told me to do that. I just kind of figured it out.
At the end of the dip, I’m also supposed to bring my left arm out to strike a pose while keeping her with my right arm. She does mostly support herself so it isn’t like I’m holding her up but she’s using me for balance which means I need to be steady. I’m going to give TrainerGuy an assist on this one. As I mentioned, Kid T is pretty small so holding her up is not an issue. But doing it while staying balanced and not leaning over and keeping it steady is all made easier by the work I’ve been doing. Yeah, dance is a sport.
And, now it is confession time. I told her afterward that the dip was actually my favorite part of the routine. Yes, I know I said some unkind things about it before but I hadn’t given it a fair shot. Once things started to click and we did it to music and I could see what the actual timing was and how I didn’t have to rush through it, then I finally realized that it is a cool step. Is it OK to admit that it did feel rather manly to have her dip and then move her to my right and snap back to the left and then roll her out and come after her? It was the one part of the dance where I briefly started to get the feel for the Bolero.
So, I guess I must learn patience with new steps. It just takes time to adjust and get the feel of what I’m supposed to do. We shall see what tonight brings.