Last Lesson of 2017

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Well, I put that title and then I realized it isn’t true because I’m meeting Mindy on Friday.  But it is the last lesson at the Famous Franchise so it closes out another year there for me.  So I’ll keep the technically inaccurate title.  It wasn’t really anything special.  We had planned a double but Kid T is fighting off a sinus infection (seems to be a lot of that going around here) so we kept it to just a single.

The main point was to focus on the Viennese Waltz and Bolero and continue to follow up on the things the last coach was bringing out.  Viennese Waltz went much better.   The new ending she added works really well and has us sweeping into a corner and then coming out so it moves a lot more and moves a lot better and that’s what V Waltz is all about.  I still seem to have this habit of exploding too far and not facing her so I’ve got to tone it down a bit.  As she said “Less is More”.  But I want to do MORE!!

Bolero was OK.  Well, I should just say it was fine.  Kid T didn’t have any major issues and she felt everything went well.  Again, I have to keep reminding myself that there are multiple sources of feedback and the way it feels to me is not the only nor the best way to judge something.  If it feels good to her, then there aren’t major problems (unless she’s just holding back) and it just needs more reps and more work on things like posture.  I think I still get too caught up in the whole “I’m not a Rhythm dancer” thing and just automatically downgrade what I’m doing.

We had an interesting conversation on social dancing.  It started by her telling me that parties are a great time to practice all my advanced moves and that I should be taking more advantage of that.  I responded that parties are the worst time to try and do something like that and the discussion was on.  Yes, there are some ladies who’ve done Silver steps but that is different than knowing them.  Yes, I can lead and sometimes get someone through a reasonable facsimile of a step but it normally requires a little more manhandling than I want to do.

And, when it doesn’t work, then it just seems like it makes both parties feel bad.  I get ladies apologizing for not following while I’m apologizing for not leading successfully.  Or I get ladies asking me what their part is and I have to say that I have no idea because I’m just focused on mine.  Do I really need to do fancy steps when the Advanced Bronze stuff generally works just fine?  I remember a very good dancer back when I first started who had a philosophy of just doing five steps per dance but he focused on doing them very well.  People really enjoyed dancing with him and isn’t that really the point of social dancing – to have fun?

I know I’ve heard the whole Famous Franchise spiel before about how to use parties and how you should have a goal at each one and so on and so forth.  But, if you are using too much force to lead, then you are learning the wrong things so does it really help?  They could be right and I could be wrong but it just feels better to me to stick with things that the ladies are comfortable with and that I can lead confidently and just move around the dance floor.  Seems like most people focus on that and not on the new and flashy steps you are trying to get them to do.

We also talked a bit about the music selections at the parties.  And it was funny that Kid T was bringing this up during a lesson on Viennese Waltz and Bolero because they rarely play any Viennese Waltzes and they never play any Boleros at party.  I understand that because you still have beginners and the Famous Franchise doesn’t want them sitting out and feeling left out because they don’t do certain dances.  Yet, you could still take one dance out of a party to do some of the different dances.

We also talked a bit about Rumba because I have a habit of sitting out all the Rumbas.  I’ve said before that I do like a good ballad but a lot of Rumba music played at parties just leaves me cold for some reason.  Comes down to whether I can hear the beat or whether the music really says “Rumba”.  Sometimes, they force something just because it has a beat and a temp that matches what Rumba needs.  Yes, it is technically a Rumba and could be danced as a Rumba but I don’t like it if it doesn’t “feel” like a Rumba.

I might also feel differently about Rumba if I was dancing with my significant other because Rumba is that type of dance.  It just isn’t the same trying to dance to a romantic song with someone who isn’t your partner.  At least for me that’s the case.  Lastly, Rumba just doesn’t move that much.  So, you couple a dance that doesn’t move with music that often lacks energy and a dance that just doesn’t “feel” right and it isn’t something I’m all that crazy about.  Still, she seemed to be happy to get me to say these things.

Last little random note.  Came home tonight and the mail box was jammed with catalogs.  Oh, the joys of the after Christmas sales.  I guess a lot of people do get gift cards (I know I did) so it makes sense to give them something to spend it on.  But a part of it just seems a bit much.  It is like “If you didn’t get enough stuff or didn’t get the stuff you really wanted, here’s your chance!”  Funny how the catalogs peak in late November, early December and then disappear around Christmas only to bounce back right after.

Funny thing too is that I got three Christmas cards today.  I don’t send out cards but I can imagine the struggle to get things out on time.  It just was a little funny to me to have three of them show up the day after Christmas.


  1. Regarding your comment on the lack of Boleros and Viennese Waltzes at your franchise’s parties, I will share that our franchise also rarely offers them at parties. I think that our franchise is part of the other big franchise firm, as opposed to yours by the way. Anyhow, it’s a shame, as a fair number of us want more VW practice opportunities and we only see one song for it offered maybe every third week.

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