Busy couple of days at the various studios. Shall we recap? Yes, we shall.
Monday night was my normal visit to Studio B. The A/C was out and so the studio was a little warm. Didn’t feel so bad at first but, by the end, I was kind of a mess.
West Coast Swing is harder than it looks. I mean doing the basic steps isn’t that difficult but it is making sure you’ve got the right connection so the moves are kind of like two people holding on to a rubber band and just sling shotting around each other. We spent the whole hour on West Coast Swing because Mindy had a few extra steps to teach me. They were challenging but I think it is the right level of challenge – something just out of my current reach but not impossible to get with a little work.
As I’ve said before, I have a limited amount of musical knowledge so I do find the process of choreography to be a little fascinating at times. She was talking about accents in the music (and I was thinking, well it is Kid Rock but he’s from Michigan and we don’t have accents) and trying to time certain moves to hit those pieces of music. We made one change to add a step so that a certain move would have me facing the audience so that is also an important part of this process. Glad I don’t have to do it.
Don’t want to get too into Mindy’s personal life too much here but she took a step back from managing the studio and that has given her an opportunity to focus on some other things she’s wanted to do. She really seems more relaxed and she’s really seems excited about these routines. That is helping me a lot because these lessons have been more fun than the other things we have worked on. Yes, we’ve been working together longer so there is more of a familiarity but even the mistakes don’t get to me like they used to. Its a good place to be.
That’s the thing about dancing. It is truly a partner effort and both sides of the partnership are capable of lifting it up or bringing it down. When it works, it is good thing. When it doesn’t, ……
Yesterday was back to the Famous Franchise with a lot of similar themes. Kid T had worked through the entire Two-Step routine including an intro. She’s super excited about this routine – more so than she was for the ones we did at the last Showcase. Again, for me, that is a big help. When I sense genuine enthusiasm from someone, it just naturally fires me up even more. High energy lessons are better.
The routine is an interesting mix of stuff. Some it comes from the syllabus but there were a couple of steps she got from looking at videos. She found a step on one and just had to try it out. We are in frame but I kind of torque her around so she ends up with her back to me. Then, she drops into a sort of sitting position and I catch her so she doesn’t go all the way to the floor. Then, I walk back with her for an 8 count and then she pops back up and go on our merry way. Reason #783 why I’m glad I’ve been doing some strength training.
Z was out when we selected the song but she was back at the studio today and made it very clear that she doesn’t like our choice. To be fair, there is nothing country about LA Woman by Billy Idol but that’s kind of the point.
And, yes, it really appears we are talking again. She has been directing random barbs at me from time to time and, every now and then, engaging in more civil conversation. Like when I came in yesterday and she mentioned that she was cleaning off her computer and came across videos from some of our old routines. Right before group class, she made a comment about me to her student but it wasn’t loud enough so I could hear it. Then, she looks over at those of us assembled for group class and tells me that she wasn’t saying anything mean about me. My brain engaged faster than my filters and I responded “well that would be a first” which got some good laughs from the people around me but I’m not sure it went over that well with her. I’m going to have to cool it though. I don’t really want to get into that kind of war of words again.
Group class was Salsa and it was billed as bronze to silver but I’m not sure it ever got there. There was a lady finishing up a lesson with OwnerGuy (think her partner couldn’t make it) and was leaving because there was no beginner group and they told her to go ahead and hop in the Salsa group. Not sure she had ever done Salsa before.
So there were just six of us – me and two other guys, the lady I previous mentioned, Kid T and Newest Girl. One of the two guys is one of these older men who loves to come in and dance with the young, pretty lady instructors so his skill level is not the best. I noticed in the rotation that when he was matched with the lady, Kid T only did one run and then quickly rotated partners again. Makes sense because, unfortunately, it was really the blind leading the blind when they danced together.
The lady was really struggling with parts but she stuck with it. There was one part where we do a back rock and then start to step around her. The step finishes with a turn and then we move back three steps almost in the direction we came from. The problem is that the step requires moving without taking a step. On the “3”, we’ve come forward and started to turn her but we don’t complete the turn. The lady is supposed to continue to move slightly and continue to rotate to make the next part easy. But that slight rotation isn’t a step and she kept taking an extra step and getting on the wrong foot which will just kill you.
I pointed it out once when I saw her do it but then I started being just a bit more forceful with the lead. Just to make the turn a little more obvious and then I tried to lock my arm in place so the next series of steps would be a little easier to follow since it was clearer which direction I was going to go.
This continues a theme from my last post about a group class. I’ve certainly done my share of “firm” leads in group class when needed. But it is kind of fine line for me. I don’t know whether it is better for a lady to feel like she’s being dragged through a step – even if it means she does actually get to where she is supposed to go. Or, should you keep the lead as more of a true suggestion and, if she doesn’t follow, then oh well. But then I know what it is like to be the one kid in group class who just isn’t getting it, so leaving someone to flounder just seems wrong. Now, if they really fight your lead, then it is easier to just say “well you are on your own”. Anyway, between me and the other guy, I think we got her through the group class.
Now, for something completely different. I play something call SongPop on Facebook – where you select a category and attempt to identify five songs with the goal being to identify them as quickly as possible. You “play” against different opponents. Anyway, for some reason, this song keeps coming up. Or at least, I’m noticing it a lot. Probably means nothing or it could mean that, someone, somewhere wants to hear it. Besides, I actually like this version. The arrangement is simple and something about his voice just gets to me. You can just feel the pain and longing in his voice but in a good way.