Party On Dudes!

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And we have enough material to make an entire post about dancing.  I can’t guarantee that it will be all about dancing because once I start spouting, you never know where this blog is going to go.

Thursday was another lesson at the Famous Franchise.  In this week’s installment, OwnerGuy brought out the Viennese Waltz.  There was some fun at the beginning as JoNY was talking with the couple who had just finished their lesson and trying to find a time to schedule their next one so OwnerGuy goes over to take over and tells her to go “warm up with me”.

I get the whole “warm up” thing but Viennese Waltz is not a good warm up dance and that becomes more true when you’ve NEVER danced Viennese Waltz with a person before.  The other problem with Viennese Waltz is that it is so rarely played at parties that I don’t have a “social” version of Viennese Waltz.  All I’ve got are my two amalgamations and even jumping right into the closed one with somebody I’ve never danced with didn’t seem like a smart idea.

So I ended up just doing a couple of advanced left turns.  I think that’s what they call them – remember I don’t really know the names of a lot of steps, I just dance them.  The joy of Viennese Waltz is that you can build up a lot of momentum and speed and power and it feels like you are flying around the dance floor.  If you “feel the need for speed”, this is one of the dances for you.  And, for some reason, I love the dances that MOVE.  Which is weird because I don’t like running in general but covering ground on the dance floor is different.

But to make that happen, you kind of have to think that this is this glowing ball of energy between you and, at certain points in the dance, it transfers between partners.  On the front half of the this step, I’m driving and I’m providing the power and rotation but the follow has to relax and allow that power to help move them.  If they fight the power, it doesn’t work as well.  There are places in Viennese when the follower has to provide the power and the roles are reversed.  Continuing the analogy, if you do things right the ball continues to glow brighter and brighter as you start to move and cover more ground.  But, sometimes the ball is more like a soap bubble which gets to a point and then pops and you have to start all over again.  And doing a start/stop Viennese is a little painful.

Which is just me taking a lot of words to say the obvious which is the dance felt nothing like it did when I was doing it with Kid T.  That’s not a shock but JoNY was more like an anchor making me work harder than I’m used to and still not getting the rotation we needed.  OwnerGuy did build in a run where we are kind of in promenade position so we are both providing energy and then we break into a side by side back run before coming back together again.  In those situations, since we aren’t really in frame and the motion is running straight without any rotation, it was easier to build up the speed and power.

At the end of the lesson, I could see the potential and at least get a glimpse of where OwnerGuy is trying to go with this.  There were some other parts that were bumpy because he just taught JoNY the steps that day and so she was still in the mode of just dancing the steps and not really trying to follow.  The Michael Jackson quote “Thinking is the biggest mistake a dancer could make.  You have to feel.”.  Problem is when you are learning a step, it requires a lot of thinking and awkward use until you can relax and let your body feel what you need to do.  But that’s where you go from two people doing steps to a couple that is dancing.

As I said, I committed to giving this a real try and I think Thursday’s lesson was maybe one of the first times I was more open to what was going on.  I accept that we are still working on developing the partnership and that it is going to take time.  There is some potential there.  It just depends on how much I want to get back to that level and how much time and money I’m willing to invest.  Right now, we just go with the flow and see where it takes us.

Because I had a nasty headache (rain and allergies), I skipped the group and party.  It is time for the semi-annual Famous Franchise tournament event with themed parties and points and so on.  Thursday was the kick off party where you could sign up and sponsor and get more points so OwnerGuy reminded me of that and then sent Z over to collect my money since I’m always one of the first sponsors.  Of course, my situation is quite different this year but I still put myself down for the fun.  Actually had a civilized conversation with Z while giving her my money which again leads to the confusion as to why she can be that way in private but still choose to hit me with those jabs whenever others are around.  Guess you never figure out some people.

Last thing on the Famous Franchise – as I was reading the little brochure about the upcoming themed parties (which are pretty lame), it sounded like a rerun.  Got to the end where they talked about what the winners could received and the consolation prize was a certain amount off any event in 2016.  So we are recycling a theme from two years ago.  I had to point the typo out to OwnerGuy.  They had updated the rest to be 2018 but just missed one.

Now, last night, Studio B had moved their weekly party back to Friday night.  I learned that what they are doing is trying to reserve Friday nights for people who are taking the group classes so it gives them an opportunity to practice what they’ve learned in group class in a less threatening environment which is why they moved the community party to Saturday.  But, as an independent studio, they often lease the space for other events on Saturday nights (which I understand because they have to pay the bills) so the community party gets pushed back to Friday.

Naturally, whenever there is a party on Friday, I get an IM from Hilde asking if I want to go.  We skipped the group class because it was a line dance so I got there with about ten minutes before the party started.  Hilde is notorious for arriving just after things get started so she wasn’t there.  The studio owner was there (he actually also responded to the email I sent Mindy when I dropped out of the Showcase) and he was generally happy to see me.  He said again that he’d been where I was (the burnout) but was glad I had shown up to dance.

As the party started, Hilde was not there so I danced with another student who I’ve danced with before for the first two songs.  Then, it was on.  I don’t dance things like Salsa or Samba and there was another guy there who she’s danced with so he grabs her for those.  And, with my knee, I sometimes need to sit out if I’ve danced a couple in a row but, aside from that, we were on the floor.

She mentioned again that she hadn’t gone ballroom dancing since the last party at Studio B.  She does Salsa and West Coast Swing at places where that is the only style but said she doesn’t go to ballroom event because “most of the men don’t know how to dance”.  One could then infer that I do know how to dance since she chooses to come to events with me.  And she does love the Waltz so we danced every Waltz.

There was another guy there who had watched a couple of the practices with me and Mindy so he actually asked why I had skipped out on Showcase.  I gave him the same version I gave Hilde – too much going on and I just didn’t feel like I was going to be able to give it my best effort.  It was funny because both of them really seemed to get that. Didn’t get into the other causes of my pre-show anxiety.  Anyway, he said he hoped I’d be back at it for the next one because I’m a great dancer and fun to watch.  There was another lady with him who I’d met a couple of times when dancing with Mindy on lessons.  He gave me a sign about dancing with her because “I’m the real dancer” and I could sense she wanted to but it was hard to find a free spot for dances I was comfortable with.  I don’t think Hilde would have minded but I really didn’t get a good shot to ask this person.  Maybe next party.

So that was my Friday?  It was fun.  Hope you also had some fun.  And, I managed to keep this entire post about dancing.  No guarantees for the next one.

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