Backleading and Anticipation

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So yesterday wasn’t such a good day.  As you know, I’m not going to the upcoming Big Dance Event.  Given that they don’t have anymore planned, this means my only competition like events will be the various Showcases.  To be clear, I chose not to go and I don’t regret that decision.  It is just that since it is so close, the ones who are going are deep in practice.

I miss that.  We are ramping up towards Showcase but prep for a Showcase is nothing like prep for a comp.  A comp is going to push you.  The events are more crowded and the floor is smaller and it is a lot more stressful.  There is something about practicing rounds that appeals to me.  Waltz, Tango, Fox Trot, Viennese Waltz in rapid fire with no stopping.  Or Rumba, Cha-Cha, Swing, Bolero and Mambo.  Having to transition from one dance to the next so getting out of the elegance of the Waltz to the grittiness of the Tango.  Its a challenge in a lot of ways but it is fun because it is different.  The whole process of working towards an event tends to bring me into sharper focus and I do miss that feeling.

But if I’m not doing comps, then why do I keep the same old open and closed routines.  We started working on refreshing the closed routines but that’s now stopped and it makes it harder to really get up to working on them.  Right now, the only excitement I get is working on the solo routines.

Group class was a cha-cha and there isn’t really anything interesting to say about it so I won’t go into any more detail.

The first dance we worked on was the open Mambo routine.  We took our Mambo solo and shaved off a couple of parts and worked a loop into it and then we had an open routine.  Its not bad except the cool parts of the solo routine were at the end and didn’t make the cut since we had to cut some time out of it.  As we are going through it, we ran into a part where it felt like she changed how she wanted me to do it.  I didn’t find it in my notes so I could be wrong but I remembered her telling me to keep my arm a certain way.  Then, last night, that was wrong and I should be doing something else.  Have to admit that really sets me off.  I can’t really argue with her “but you told me to do it this way last time” because I don’t have any proof and all she’s say is “no I didn’t”.  I’m willing to admit I might be misremembering something but I really think she’s changed her tune.

Well, then she changed how we loop it so it resembles the closed Mambo.  Also because it fits with the amalgamation she had with Tex.  The change needed to happen but it just took some more of the true open steps out of the picture.  Not entirely sure about it now.

And then we hit the open tango and things started to fall apart.  We got through it at least twice and then were trying to go to music and there is a grapevine right at the start which we practiced slowly, but, with music, she suddenly broke out of what I was doing and started doing another step.  Tried again and we hit another spot where the same thing happened.  Tried again with the same result.  I finally said we needed to move on because it was clear she had some kind of mental block and we weren’t going to get anywhere.

It is true she works with many other students and dances pro/am with two other guys.  Since there are a limited number of steps, the shells of each routine are similar so part of me understands why she can suddenly shift into a different routine.  But only part of me gets that.  I know there is muscle memory which could be the whole explanation but you know I’m not going to settle just for that.

It is hard to explain exactly what the issue is for me except that if she breaks into a different routine, then it seems to me that she’s not exactly following my lead and has just put things on auto-pilot.  In this case, she may have punched in the wrong coordinates to muscle memory.  I guess why this bothers me is that I want to learn to lead correctly so if she’s not paying attention, then she can’t feel what I’m doing and can’t really offer any useful feedback to help me improve.  I’m reasonably accepting of mistakes but this kind of ticked me off.

The dance we moved into was Viennese Waltz.  In the interests of time, OwnerGuy gutted our solo to make an open routine.  Which isn’t a bad thing but there really isn’t a lot of “wow” left for an open routine.  At one point, she stops to watch OwnerGuy who was working with Tex and his wife.  She stopped because they were working on Mambo and she needs to dance that with Tex so she needed to see the changes OwnerGuy made.  I wanted to say “hey, can we focus on my lesson” but I’m just not that type.

As we walked off the floor to write down the notes, she gives me the standard “nice job” and then tells one of the students how I was on time the entire run.  Now, I should just learn to take the compliment and move on but I wasn’t in the best of moods.  Yes, being on time is a good thing and it is something I’ve been working on so I should be happy that she points it out.  Except that it is Viennese Waltz and how hard is it to keep to time?  I shouldn’t have been so put out but it just hit me the wrong way.

Oh, and we got done with about 6 minutes left after starting late.  I believe the contract allows for a little time between lessons and there is time needed to write things down after a lesson.  But, as we are walking off the floor, I see OwnerGuy still working with Tex and Mrs Tex.  After all, they are going to the Big Dance Event so I guess getting a little extra time on the lesson is one of the perks you get for dropping big money on the dance event.

Overall, the lesson just had an “off” feel to it.  I’m hoping tonight is better.

Oh, and I was talking with one of the other students and she asked me if I was going to be there on Thursday and I said I might be.  What she really wanted to know is if I was going to be at the party since I skipped last week.  Said it would depend on how I feel.


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