Language Barrier

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The group class last was hustle.  I love hustle when I can just dance it.  I hate hustle when you have to focus on the nuts and bolts of timing and footwork.  Hustle just seems to want to feel free and unstructured and clamping down on rules feels like it takes all the life out of it.  Like popping a balloon and all the air leaks out and you’re left with just a floppy piece of some lifeless material that just lies there until you throw it away.

I know timing is important.  Blah, blah, blah.  Me, I just prefer to be the guy in the middle executing all kinds of fun spins for the lady.  Sue me.  But, I was stuck in the class so I had to stick around.  My biggest problem with the timing in hustle is when the guy is supposed to just stand in one place and mark time.  You might think it would be easy to just stand in one place and take small steps to stay on the right foot but there is that coordination thing going on because your arms are doing all these things and then the footwork doesn’t match because it is just these tiny steps in place.  I have no problems admitting that I’m lazy and I prefer to just stand there, do the arm work and then hit the “and 1” to get back on the proper foot.  Hustle just gives you so many ways to get back that it almost encourages you to not do the proper footwork.

There was one step towards the end which was the double overhead wrap which is exactly what it sounds like.  You start in a hand shake hold and on the rock, you get the other hand and then bring them up and lead the lady through a turn so you end up side by side.  There is a certain way your arms are supposed to end up and I was ending up in the wrong place.  Kid T then tried to figure it out but somehow she started doing it wrong and she kept thinking about it and trying things and it wasn’t working.  So I managed to infect the entire class because everyone started having problems with it.  Eventually, a guy who does more hustle figured it out.  He tried to explain it to me but this is one of those move you just have to do.  Once you do it right, it is obvious and you wonder why you couldn’t do it before.  I can’t possibly explain it but it is like there was one last little move right at the very end that made it all work.

Communication issues was the theme of the night as it carried over into the lesson.  In dance, there are forward steps, back steps and side steps.  Forward steps and back steps and pretty easy but there are an infinite number of side steps.  We hit a point in the waltz routine where I said something about staying on a line and then she hit me that any side step creates a line.  Which is true because simple geometry is that two points determine a line so anywhere you put your second foot creates a line and if your feet aren’t directly in front of you, it could technically be considered a side step.  Which is totally confusing because one side step can make the step work and a different side step can cause the step to fail spectacularly.

The same type of thing came up when she was talking about me “facing her”.  Well, that could directly facing her, or we could be at some angle to each other like a V position but we are still looking at each other so I’m still facing her.  As long as I don’t pull my body away from her, I can be considered to be facing her.  So when she says something about me having to face her, it isn’t enough information for me.  So the phrase “take a side step but make sure you are still facing me” does not provide sufficient resolution as to the exact position she wants.  This caused a bit of frustration for me because I kept trying to clarify and then it seemed like the target kept moving.  I’d do what I thought she wanted once and say “is this where you want us to be” and she’d say “yes” and then the next time it seemed like that wasn’t quite right and that I had to be in a slightly different place.  Oh, and while I’m venting, I hate it when I hear “don’t over rotate”.  OK, if you don’t tell me how I’m supposed to end then how the hell am I supposed to figure out how much rotation is too much.  I guess I should have just started with asking her how the step was supposed to end.  Then, I could make it happen.  I just hate it when they try to do this in little pieces.  “Well I wanted you to get this part down first”.  Fine, then just focus on that part and don’t correct something you haven’t TAUGHT ME YET!!!

The worst part was the way she needed the twinkle to rotate in order to make the step continue down the floor.  I end the one step facing her (in something v-like) so I’m not quite backing line of dance but it is close.  My first step out of it is some kind of forward step and in the second, I’m picking her up but we are still facing more diagonal.  I have to wait on the 2 for her to get fully on my right side and then it requires rotating the 3 so that we are pointed back down line of dance.  She starts giving me some technical jargon about what the judges are going to see when I do this and all I can think of is that what they are going to see is me failing to make the step work.  Then, there was another part in the routine which was similar but, again, we practiced in parts so it was only after I was doing it one way that she brings up the fact that it needs to rotate more like the other twinkle.  As I write this, I know I’m not capturing all the little nuances and things of last night but it just felt like every time we did a step, there was something I was missing or something different that she wanted.   I don’t deal with criticism well but I really hate when I feel like I’m being nit-picked to death or when I’m being critiqued on a part that I haven’t been taught yet.  Or when I feel like the goal posts keep being moved so I think I’m doing something right and then I’m not.

I’ve used this before (I think) but it is still appropriate.


Oh, and we did another run through on the Country Waltz.  Still doesn’t speak to me yet.  Was going to try and talk with Kid T about that but I’m not sure she’d get it so we’ll just leave that for another day.

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