Brothers in Arms

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Last night, we were again working on the open Bolero.  There were a couple of places where my free arm would just kind of extend sort of on its own.  (Well, I may have been aware of it)  But then I’d just be staring at it like “what are you doing out there”.  At some point, Kid T stopped to ask why I was looking at my arm because it was kind of obvious.  And I had to bring up the whole concept of arm styling and how I wanted to do something more but that I had no idea what to do.  We had a coaching lesson on this awhile back and I remembered a few pieces but there were too many sections in the dance where I wanted to do something that made sense.

We have to discuss styling from a guys point of view.  Actually maybe from an introvert point of view.  Arm styling adds to that “look at me” part of the dance.  I think you ladies get into it long before we do because you’re supposed to be the picture in our frame (not my analogy by the way).  So we get more detail around frame and keeping it where it needs to be and that works just fine when you are doing steps in closed position.

At some point, you move on to doing things in more open position and even things where you aren’t connected.  That’s when having dead arms dangling at your side becomes a problem.  Especially in the pro/am world when you’ve got a lady pro doing all these wonderful arm things and poses and you’ve got those lifeless arms that just hang there.  Makes for way too much of a contrast.

On the other hand, for some us, the idea of having to move your arms is a bit terrifying.  No big arm movements!  For me, it just goes right to that whole “you look silly” thing that pops up from time to time.  And too many guys just have a limited repertoire – extend arm out in a robotic fashion, repeat as many times as necessary.

Well, Kid T and I had a real good talk about arms and how I should be matching her when I should.  If she’s going straight up in the air, then a robotic arm extension just looks silly.  So we actually walked through the dance and she was giving me pointers on what I should be doing at each step.  And, yes, I asked for this.

There’s an old pithy saying “when the student is ready, the teacher appears”.  Well, I guess I was ready.

At the beginning of the Bolero, we start apart and she rocks into me while I rock back and then she rocks away and I come to pick her up.  They had given my arm styling that resembles the Karate Kid doing the crane at the end of the movie (oh and why on earth are they actually doing a new movie to pick up the story now).  It is very showy and something I’ve kind of resisted doing all out during practice.  There’s that whole “you look silly” vibe going on again.  But, after talking arms with Kid T, we ended with a full run of the routine and I just said screw it and did my full crane.  Believe it or not, it didn’t really feel silly.  Kid T actually says she likes the way the opening looks because her arm movement at the beginning compliments what I do.  At the very least, I didn’t have any more moments of staring at my outstretched arm wondering what the heck it was doing out there.

We finished the lesson with a quick recap of the closed Waltz.  There were other couples on the floor scattered in various places all working on Rhythm dances.  But I guess I was feeling it and slid a bit into Performance Mode because we looped that sucker twice while taking every open space we could find.  There was one part where we were on the very outside edge of the short side of the floor doing shadow spirals around the new couple.  And another part where I backed myself right up against the DJ booth so that she could get around me.  Kid T was telling me how nice it was that I was dancing with confidence and I’d say she was right.

Ever been on a roll and don’t want it to stop?  There is a part of me that doesn’t want to go on vacation because this has been a very good week of dance and I don’t want to lose the momentum.  Its a very small part and the much larger part of me is more than ready to ditch the cold and rain for a week of sunshine and the ocean.

Tonight we continue working on the Swing routine.  More Scary Monsters and Super Creeps.

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