Moves Like Jagger

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So my two studio in one night tour was interesting.  Couldn’t really get the timing right so I had a fairly big gap in between so I had a bit of time to kill between lessons.

The routines with Mindy continue to progress nicely which is a good thing since we just have one more week to practice before the Showcase.  Which reminds me that I forgot to buy tickets on Monday.  Of the two, the Salsa went quicker.  It was also the first dance we started with so maybe there is a trend.  Had a bit of a timing issue in the beginning but I think we got it ironed out.  There is one part near the end that is still tricky but it is easy enough for me to fake my footwork if something goes wrong.

For the West Coast Swing, we had to go back over a part where I kept wanting to add a step.  And we had to break the ending down and do that multiple times at slow speed because its a bit of a tricky move.  It isn’t consistent but the good ones are starting to outnumber the bad ones so that seems like a good sign.  Either way, these have been fun routines to work on.  I suppose I should talk about the future but I’m always in my “live for the moment” stage so I never get around to it.  With her taking a step back from teaching, I don’t know if she’ll still be interesting in going forward and I’ll have to figure out what other dance(s) I might like to work on.

Had a coach at the Famous Franchise so Kid T wanted to work on our open Fox Trot and closed Tango.  I’ve worked with this guy before.  He was a judge at one of our Showcases back when I was dancing with Z and on the upward part of my dance trajectory.  So he was asking whether I’ve done any of the big dance events and I had to say no.

But we did the famous “show me what you’ve got” run through of the Fox Trot without any time to practice.  The biggest thing we wanted to work on was the run around because it sometimes goes a bit wonky.  What he noticed was that I wasn’t moving in a way to allow momentum to really build up which is kind of key in a run around.  Basically, I’m supposed to “sit” on my first step which brings her forward and starts the ball rolling.  Then, when we’re done, you settle in one leg to gently slow the momentum and to bring you into the twinkle that ends the step.

Yes, it seems like simple physics.  Which makes me wish I had paid more attention when I was actually taking physics.  Now, for some reason, I want to scream “Science” but I’ll refrain from that.  Makes perfect sense though because you need something to kick start the motion and create the initial burst of energy that can then be harnessed and used to create the rotation and power needed to make the step work.

The only problem is that the “sitting” and “settling” does involve the knees which are just not my strong point.  My right knee was not very happy with me for doing those things but it was only to get worse.

Oh, and I almost forget to mention that he wanted me to keep stretching my left elbow out not because I was really dropping my frame but because I was collapsing the hold a bit and it was making me look like the thing was dropping.  So he kind of comes up behind me and gets me in some kind of hammer lock so he can apply pressure to keep my left arm at the appropriate angle and then we danced the figure.  Yeah, that was a bit strange but it gets better.

In the tango, we wanted to work on promenades.  Well, I didn’t really care but that’s what Kid T wanted to work on and I figured she knows what needs work.  And he tells me that the snap in promenade is not created by the upper body but by the hips.  I believe this is one of these concepts that I’ve been introduced to but tend to forget because it involved hips and mine hardly move like Jagger.  So, to demonstrate, he gets behind me and grabs my belt loops and twists my hips to create the movement he wanted.  This is one of those things that seems perfectly normal within the studio but I realize how it might sound to non dancers.  I’m sure it would scare off a few.

And coming out of the promenade, he wanted me to again create momentum only this time by lowering a bit to use my knees as springs and then use that power to spring out on the first step which, in theory, helps create the speed and power of the tango.  They called it Fire Tango for some reason.  Again, as a concept, it makes perfect sense.  The execution requires a part of my body which is not naturally springy.  I’m more like the Tin Man when Dorothy first stumbles across him.  If only there was an oil can!!!

It was a really good coaching lesson.  Lots and lots of info and I was struggling to keep up.  At the end of the day, I only managed to write down about half of the main points.  I liked this guy because he was heavy on technique which I don’t normally like but he was able to explain and demonstrate it in ways where it made sense.  Even if it required a belt loop grab or two.

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