(Disclosure – this post will contain some self-promotion. You are so warned)
Three lessons and each one generated enough material for a post. 2018 might be a very chatty year.
So we took the Rumba steps that OwnerGuy suggested and Kid T figured out how to work them into our very stale routine. We kept the part at the beginning that I could tolerate but then she injected some new stuff right in the middle. That’s problematic on one hand because you’ve got the muscle memory that says “step B follows step A” except now it is “step C follows step A” and, oh by the way, “step C is nothing like step B”.
But I give Kid T major props in teaching skills here. We did the old Rumba and she told me where the new parts were going to be injected. Then, we focused just on the new stuff until that became a little more familiar. Then, she started adding the step right before the new stuff so I could try to get used to how the new stuff flowed with the old. Then, we tried the whole thing. The first time still failed because I was on auto pilot but we eventually got the thing working. There is more that needs to be added so this was just the first step.
Is it going to make the Rumba a dance I love? Eh, probably not. It is certainly better than the tedious, rock, rock, rock of the other step. And getting into the Overhead Wrap from Fan now moves a bit more and feels different. What we didn’t spend a lot of time on was making the connections work. A lot of this is not in standard frame so there are weight changes and things to set up us stretching away to create the momentum for the next part of the step. Of course, I wanted to do it all but she was again pointing out that you need to walk before you can run. I think that once we start getting that then I do see some potential.
So group class was Cha-Cha and, again, the men outnumbered the women so rotations were a bit chaotic. When we did the demo, there was one older gentleman who volunteered to be the odd man out. I think he enjoys dancing but I think he just enjoys having a young female instructor giving him undivided attention for his lessons. No knock on him – we all dance for different reasons. Anyway, after we get done, he looks at me and tells me I was perfectly on time while most of the rest were off in some way.
If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I’ve had my struggles with the reality of me being a dancer. I’ve said it without meaning it several times and it has taken me a long time to accept that fact. I guess it is because I still get feedback from my Mom that this is the last thing she ever expected me to do. It goes with the whole persona I put together that I wasn’t creative and not a dancer.
And, it is certainly true that taking lessons has turned me into a dancer. But I see others at group class who have taken a significant number of lessons and they don’t move the same way. There dancing is still choppy and forced and doesn’t flow. I believe ballroom is both a natural and a learned skill. Good instructors can make you a dancer but you will eventually bump up against limitations. Now some of those limitations are self-imposed like being afraid to give it all but I do think there is some natural talent level that varies from person to person.
Where am I going with this? I guess the more I do this the more I am convinced that I’ve been a dancer my whole life and just recently discovered it. I’ve had some level of ability that was just waiting to be found. Maybe I was always destined to take dance lessons to discover this. Who knows?
At party, OwnerGuy made good on his promise to do different dances so the party featured a Viennese Waltz, a Bolero, a Mambo and a West Coast Swing which are not part of the normal rotation. I wasn’t expecting all of them in a single party but it was a nice change.
I got to try out our new Viennese Waltz ending. Did it go smoothly? No but that’s to be expected. Still, I was trying to move more and make the explosions more explosiony (feels like that should be a word). I get done and there is this new couple who has been watching us intently throughout the dance. The guy says to me that it is fun to watch to see where dancing can go. See, this was my point, why not use some of the advanced dances at parties as a marketing tool. People like to watch good dancing and you can show off your more advanced students and let people see what is possible. I suppose it could work in reverse that it could deflate someone so maybe that’s why they don’t do it. Or because they want to keep all the bodies on the floor as much as possible.
Actually, what he said to me was that our Viennese Waltz was breathtaking. (You were wondering why I used that as a title, weren’t you?) Of course, my mind went to the Seinfeld episode where the ugly baby was described as breathtaking. Yes, this is validation but I have to admit that I get a special little kick when my dancing has an impact on someone. Is that just ego or something else? I don’t know. But for one dance on one night, I was breathtaking to another human. That’s pretty cool.