Bolero Routine (Part 1)

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Yes, we have a dance post for your entertainment tonight.  As with some of my recent posts, it is going to get more into some technical stuff since I’m finding that writing this stuff out in more details helps me remember.

Last night, JoNY asked me what my favorite dance was.  How do I choose?  I said the Viennese Waltz which is probably true but I really like most of the dances.  Kind of depends on the mood.  But I’ve got a thing for Bolero.  It is the one dance where I feel the limitations of my knees the most and so I always wish I could do a better job it because I love the look and feel of the dance.  At heart, I can be a hopeless romantic but that’s not a side I show very often.  Which may be why I enjoy Bolero so much.

It didn’t help that I had a workout session earlier in the day and my trainer decided to throw some squats at me.  Now, I do them with the assistance of a TRX because I couldn’t get up and down on my own.  And the TRX allows me to take some of the weight and pressure off the knees but it is still a challenge for me.  He also threw in a couple of other things – one with a kettle ball and one with a weight that started with a squat and then going into another motion to lift the weight.  Well, I mean not a real squat because there is only so far I’m going to be able to go.

We also did some core work which included some Russian twists and my all time favorite – the plank.  And he always saves the plank for last when I’m tired.  Still, we did kind of power through all he wanted to do and finished with a minute left.

So our routine starts with a basic just to get things warmed up.  OwnerGuy was trying to get me to do the head position correctly.  You start with both feet together and then you stay on your right leg and push out the left leg with just the side of the left foot on the floor (no weight though).  Ideally, you lower when doing this but my knees don’t function that well so I do what I can.  Then, you pull yourself over your left foot and drag the right leg behind the left.  Well, on that move, he wants me to get my head also over my left foot as that helps create the momentum needed to make the back rock rotate like it is supposed to.  Sort of got there but this whole head weight thing is going to continue to be a plague.

After the opening basic, we do a separation break and bring her into something like a shadow position except that I end up a little in front of her.  Kind of like we are cuddling but in a dance way with good posture and the like.  Then we both take three steps forward and I do some weight changes while she swivels.  The key to that is keeping my front to her even though my feet are pointed slightly forward.  In other words, I’m twisted and that just helps make the swivels work.  Of course, it also made me regret doing core work earlier in the day since it was using the same muscles to stabilize.

So after the swivels I move slightly forward which seems to encourage her to do a little turn and then I do kind of an opening out – or at least I make her do the opening out part while I kind of stand there.  Then, I do a basic to bring her back to me and that’s also where OwnerGuy wants some head movement.  On the second step, I’m supposed to get my head all over my left foot and so I’m not looking at her since she’s on my right.  But we finish the basic and I’m supposed to end looking over my right shoulder.  OK, I have to admit that some of this stuff is fuzzy.  I’m going off of what I can visualize but there are details that escape me.  We are doing Bolero again tomorrow so that should fill in some of these gaps.

OK, after that I do something where she goes under my arm (I think) but then I do a slow-and where I turn my body to bring her back facing me.  After that, I walk around her so we change places and then I do three steps back but my last step is together.  The momentum is supposed to bring her right up next to me so we can then do a contra-check.  This is a move that was in my routine with Kid T but just in a different place.  OwnerGuy had some tips on the Contra Check and I can’t quite remember other than it does require some bending of both knees and my right heel can come off the ground.  We made it work so I think my body understands the basics.  It probably just needs repetition.

The contra check is on a quick quick and on the slow, he wants me to rotate while getting back on my right foot which changes the direction we are going.  Then we do three walks and separate on the last one so we are in a double hand hold.  Think it sort of means that I get the momentum started and then cut my last step a little short to let her drift away.  Then we do a rock and to finish it, I step slightly back on my left foot and she’s supposed to come forward, close up the space and do a leg crawl which is just bending her leg and resting it against my right side.

After that we do another basic (I think) to a separation break.  Then, there is this funky thing where I drop my right hand and set up compression with my left on the rock step and then I finish by stepping slightly forward and using the compression to help her swing around into my left arm.  There’s a name for it but I’m too lazy to go get the notes I took after the lesson.  Its tricky because it relies on the connection and if you try to force it, it doesn’t work well.  Then, I take three big steps while rolling her back out into a two hand hold.  We are both supposed to step across and swivel although OwnerGuy says he is going to change that because he doesn’t like having the man swivel.  He does something different and that’s what he wants me to do as well.

Then, we end with the step Kid T and I used to start with which is just two sets of walks (three steps) but where I rotate around her in between to change directions.  We end with me cutting her off and doing a break to an arm check.  OwnerGuy claims he is going to change that too so I won’t get too attached to that.  But that puts us in position to loop the thing.

The good news is we actually danced the whole thing through by the end of the lesson.  But it is still new and, as you can tell from my notes, there are gaps in my memory.  We’ll get back to it on Thursday so I should have more to say then.

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