Cha Cha Overhaul

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Before we get into today’s main topic, I bring you a good karma moment.  This relates a little bit to what I was talking about yesterday and how I can be chatty even though I’m a committed introvert.  Maybe is the INFP-ness and desire to make connections but if someone in a retail environment wants to chat, I’m going to be polite and respond and not bury my head in my phone and pretend they don’t exist.  Why not just be nice.

Anyway, so I get to my usual franchise coffee spot this morning and there is someone in line in front of me.  She doesn’t turn around but it suddenly dawns on me that she used to be a barista in that location and made my drink many a morning.  She moves out the way still without turning to acknowledge me and I come up to give my order and the lady at the counter tells me that me drink is already covered.  Isn’t that nice?

At that point, I was able to see her and thank her and get a little update on where she is and how she’s doing.  Yeah, its a small thing but it was a real gesture and it was something she didn’t need to do.  And it really just kind of made my day.

Alright, now to the main topic.  Last night’s lesson was cha-cha.  It was funny because I was warming up with JoNY and said Cha-Cha was the only dance that OwnerGuy hadn’t changed.  She laughed at me because he did an overhaul of that one as well.

In the spirit of another post, I’m now going to get into way more detail than you probably want on the Cha-Cha.  You’ve now been warned.  Go forward only if you care about all the inside stuff.  Oh and another caveat to those who are dancers – remember that I don’t always have the names of the steps right.  I’ve got a picture of them in my head so the name I may use just helps me remember.

We start with a fallaway swivel which is the same starting step I did with Kid T.  Nothing different there.  The fallaway comes after the first basic and takes the place of the rock step.  Then, she’s supposed to swivel while we are in a double hand hold.  I felt the connection a little stronger here than I did in the Rumba but there is still room for improvement.  I don’t want to overcompensate and try to force it since that would probably throw her off.  We just have to keep working.

After the swivels, there are two syncopated rocks.  Then we do an open box and then we come to the part OwnerGuy changed.  I used to do a check and pop but he didn’t like the way it looked or flowed and there was one Silver step we weren’t doing so he needed to find a place for it and this was his opportunity.

The open box has us ending in kind of a promenade position with her behind me.  Well, he added a simple cross lead to bring her around in front while I do the cha-cha-cha in place and then do a separation break into a back spot turn.  That’s actually a bronze step so it is something I’m familiar with although I hadn’t done one it a bit.  Thank you muscle memory for retaining that because I basically got it on the first try.  The back spot turn ends with an opening out which is what OwnerGuy really wanted.  The back spot was just the tool to get him to the position he wanted.

The new step is a promenade swivel.  After the opening out, I do the cha-cha-cha to finish the count.  Instead of a rock step, I then just take two steps back while she does her swivels.  We are in frame so it is a little easier to do.  The rotation of my body while I’m taking the steps helps her to swivel.  Then, I do three quick steps back while she continues to swivel.

Then, where there would be a rock step, I just check and put weight in the toe of my left foot and come across her to cut her off while she does a little rock into me.  The next part is honestly a little fuzzy on the footwork which gives me a question to ask on Thursday.  But there is a rock step in there and I know it finishes with her doing a turn and then I do a forward lock step into her while she’s doing a back lock so we are moving at kind of an angle.

Once we get done with that, we pick up the rest of the old routine so it goes into the change of places.  But I’ve always done the change of places from a basic cha-cha step so doing it from the lock step was an adjustment.  Really you just end the lock with a rock step and bring her across to do the change of places.  The puzzle follows that and that’s a step I can do in my sleep and its hard to describe since there are lots of moving parts.  The big thing for me is to remember to keep my body facing her as she gets moved from place to place.  The routine finishes with a surprise break which is another step I’ve done before.  The trick is on the end because there is a part that is kind of like the promenade swivel where I’m moving backwards.  But I have to get to a point where we are side by side and then I do the break by turning to face her and it ends with a bit of syncopation and a turn.  The trick for me is keeping our connection at waist level.  I was tending to bring my arm down on the break which would be harder for her to follow.  So I need to keep my left hand (which is holding her right hand) more at waist level for the entire step.

I will have to say that by the end the steps were moving nicely.  Cha-Cha is supposed to be a fun little upbeat dance so it really feels crappy if you are struggling with the lead follow and moving like a car that is having engine problems and stopping and starting.  There was some of that at the beginning but, by the end of the lesson, we went through the entire thing and it was pretty smooth.  I may be moving into cautiously optimistic mode here.  We’ll see if the streak continues on Thursday.


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