Round(s) and Round(s)

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Last night we started in on serious Showcase prep doing rounds.  I’m thinking she did it because OwnerGuy was on the floor with his student who is going to the Big Dance Event and so he’s getting her ready by doing rounds.  They were doing open but we stayed with the closed rhythm dances.

Most of the closed patterns have not significantly changed in at least two years so the focus is more on improving technique and remembering the correct posture and forward poise and all that fun stuff.  The good news is that they are very well locked in muscle memory so I can pull them out pretty quickly.  A little dust to knock off but we got through all five dances (Cha-Cha, Rumba, Swing, Bolero and Mambo) with plenty of time left on the lesson.

There was one kind of cool moment.  During the Cha-Cha, we ended up doing the exact same move as OwnerGuy at the same time.  It’s a change of places and it feels more like a hustle basic but you end up side by side and stretched away from each other and we both hit that line at the same time.  We were on opposite ends of the floor but we were facing each other.  Couldn’t have synchronized that better if we planned.  Just one of those little dance moments.

A couple of glitches in Mambo where we have some similar stuff in the open routine and I think we’ve spent more time on that recently so we’d try to break into the open routine rather than staying with the closed.  But, all in all, things went well.

Because we had time, we moved on to Waltz.  Kid T made a slight change to fix our phrasing problem.  When Z choreographed this routine, she put in a Chasse but never added a second one (or if she did, it got lost in the shuffle).  If you are a bit obsessive over timing and music, this will upset you to the point of having to fix it.  I don’t fully understand phrasing but I know that for the guy, step 1 is with the left foot and step 4 is with the right foot.  Do a Chasse and your feet are off so step 1 is now with the right foot and step 4 is with the left.  So you need a second Chasse to put things back to normal.  So they always need to be paired.  Took a bit to figure it out because we always were right at the edge of the floor when we had to the second Chasse so I kept having to seriously shrink my steps to get it to fit and I was confused a bit about the alignment but we got it all worked out.

Since we still had time, she wanted to move to Tango and, for some reason, my difficult side came out and I told her in a semi-joking way that I hated Tango which set the stage for a lot of screw ups.  But there were reasons.  I spent a lot of time in my head and I strangely find that to be one of the appeals of dancing.  Many of the dances have a different feel and a different style so it is like getting to play a whole bunch of characters.  I think I can pull off the flowiness and grandeur of the Waltz and the Viennese Waltz.  And I just have so much fun with the Cha-Cha, Swing and Mambo.  I know Mambo can get a little dirty but we do a strictly g-rated version of Mambo (remember my Victorian nature) so I can just play up the fun.  I sort of get the jazzy cool nature of the Fox Trot.  Rumba and Bolero are always difficult because it is about expressing emotions that I usually like to keep under lock and key.  I can usually just go with the music though because I am a sucker for the right kind of ballad.  Give me a bad Rumba or Bolero and I’m going to hate it though.

Tango is really the one where it is hard to jump right into the mood.  I kind have to be mentally prepared to do Tango so having it sprung on me was difficult.  I guess I just wasn’t in the Tango mood.  In the right frame of mind, I can sort of capture the aggressive nature but that just isn’t me in real life and it can be hard to find that character on a whim.  Plus, I was a little tired and sweaty and that always makes me self-conscious about doing a dance like Tango where it works best if you are truly connected to each other.

I know its strange because I’ve just been raving about the Argentine Tango but that’s because I knew we were going to work on it and I could be mentally prepared for it.  So we stumbled through the Tango and tried to fix the multiple number of places where I screwed up.  Guessing that is probably where we start tonight.

Group class was hustle and I decided to hang around.  I love hustle but my version of hustle is to stand in the middle and make the lady move around me.  We were working on a few of the steps from the forthcoming Silver Hustle syllabus.  As a guy we just get off the ladies track, let her spin and then get back on the track so it was very West Coast Swingish.  There was one part where the man was to put his hand on the ladies hip and use that to spin her around and end up with his hands on her hips.  Kid T introduced this as the “sexy” way to do this step and the safer alternative was to use her arms.

Let me go on a bit of a tangent here.  This is one of those times when you realize just how far removed from reality the world of dance is.  When you work for a big company, HR is so paranoid about lawsuits that they really seem to frown on physical contact outside of a greeting.  I could imagine how much trouble I could get into by trying to demonstrate that move at work.  Here, we are grabbing ladies by the hip and spinning them around and it is all perfectly normal.  I wonder if this one reason dance is popular since you’ve essentially driven physical touch out of most workplaces (for some good reasons) and maybe we all need some kind of contact with other people.  OK, I’ll stop the philosophizing and get back to the story.

It really wasn’t that scandalous.  I did have a couple of ladies try to turn the wrong way as I was letting them go so I kind of had to use a little more force than I normally would which was a little strange since my hands were on their hips.  Don’t know that I’ve lead a turn that way before.  That’s one of those moments when you wonder whether it is better to get them through the step or just let them do their own thing.  Unfortunately for me, it is kind of an automatic reaction – if I sense the lady moving in the wrong direction, I’m just correct without even really thinking about it.

One more lesson tonight and party as well.  I have to whine a little bit because I’m finding out that the work out on Tuesday was a little more intense than I thought.  He must have had me do a lot more leg work than I though since the back of my thighs are still a little sore even today.  Might have been the combination of that and the dancing last night I suppose.

Oh, and since I’m on a 80’s hair metal kick, here’s another one.  Yes, when I thought of using Round in the title of the post, this is the first thing I thought of.  Told you it was my jam.  This one was also part of my collection.  At one time, I knew why Milton Berle was in this video but I’ve forgotten.  The lady transitioning is a little weird but I think the rats are cute.  (The real rats, not the band)

2 comments

  1. Ratt’s manager at the time was Marshall Berle, Milton’s nephew.
    And a little piece of Winger trivia–my family hosted the band for several months when they first started out — they had decided that New York would be a better place than Colorado to try and kick-start their musical career.

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