Rhythm Night

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As mentioned previously, last night was designated as a night to work on our rhythm dances.  Showcase is about six weeks away and so this is the time to just practice again and again to get things down.  OwnerGuy abandoned us again.   This was always the plan because he never said he’d work with us forever.  It was only until JoNY could take over on a full time basis.  Suspect that point is still off in the future but he probably sees that since he’s given us the choreography, it is now just important for us to dance things as many times as possible.

When I got there, the new instructor (I haven’t decided on names yet – maybe I’ll just start using letters as it would be easier) was working with a new couple.  I think she was explaining the upcoming open house to them because I heard her mention my name and I look up and she’s telling them that I’ll be doing a Viennese Waltz at that Open House.  Later she told them about my socks so I had to show the pair I was wearing which had squirrels on them.  Because, who wouldn’t want to wear socks with squirrels?

I wonder if this is in some secret Famous Franchise handbook on how to make new students feel comfortable  I mean these two are laughing and having a great time on their lessons but if they don’t have any other connections to the studio, then maybe it is easier to leave.  So, now I’m not just that random guy they see at the end of their lessons.  I’m DWall who wears socks with squirrels on them.  Or maybe that would just make them think that the studio collects weird people and they want no part of it.

Anyway, let’s talk about the lesson.  All of the dances went really well.  She had talked to OwnerGuy about my question on making the opening outs better in Rumba.  It was a matter of weight transfer and making it happen when it is supposed to that provides the momentum for her to really open out.  She was confused between the back roll and the alternate shadow breaks since they both start with an opening out so we kind of figured out a way for me to lead the back roll to make it more obvious.  There is one little part of the alternate shadow breaks that is still a bit of a problem.  After the opening out, I’m supposed to do a little action on the second half of the last slow to stop her and make it easier to lead her to turn so I can pick her up in shadow position.

The Cha-Cha was next.  Most of that was stuff I was doing with Kid T so it is probably the one routine I know the best. I think there was a small problem area but I can’t remember where it is.  The things that had been fixed previously stayed fix.  It moves nicely but it moves.  That thing is always in motion.

That’s also true with our Swing.  It is kind of non stop from one step to the next.  The glitch was in the toe/heel swivels at the end.  I was trying to find the right arm position to keep my elbows out in front of me but the bigger challenge was keeping my balance in the two heel  swivels.  I’ve done them before with Kid T but I think we had learned to work off each other and JoNY and I aren’t there yet.

We had originally planned to just do those three dances but we had about 10 minutes left and there wasn’t a lot of need to go back over anything and OwerGuy was doing a Mambo on his lesson so we just decided to try the Mambo.  Our little pattern does move quite a lot as well.  We had some memory issues in the beginning but, working together, we figured out what needed to do.  Really, it ended up flowing rather nicely.

In fact, the rhythm dances felt so good that I ended up adding another heat to them at the upcoming Showcase.  The Rhythm part of Showcase tends to be very long so having more dances may lead to less sitting around.  At least that’s the theory.

Group class was Hustle and the new Guy was in our group.  I’ll have to see who knows about his background because he can dance.  I mean he was in the Advanced group with the rest of us and that normally takes a long time for an instructor to get to that point.

Stayed for most of the party.  There was a guy imbalance.  There is another solo guy who used to come to all the parties but he doesn’t come anymore.  I saw him on a lesson on Tuesday so I know he’s still active but there was probably some change keeping him from coming on Thursday.  Anyway, I ended up splitting myself among four ladies.

So I wanted to talk a bit about my workout today.  She tried to get me to just do some basic sit to stands which is actually just what it sounds like.  Sit on the bench and then stand up but not by using your arms.  I was holding a 14 pound ball just to add some extra weight.  I only got through about half the reps she wanted before my knees just got too creaky.

I’m not going to go all “woe is me” because we don’t get a choice in the genetic lottery.  You just have to live with what you got and make do.  Doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated seeing other people with perfect knees able to do all kinds of stuff that would leave me in pain for days.  And I hate having to give up.  There is part of me that just wants to keep pushing.  Fortunately, I’ve learned that I can’t do that because exercise isn’t supposed to hurt.  It can leave you tired and sore but it shouldn’t be causing physical pain.  Which means I have to speak up and tell them when something it putting too much pressure on my knees even when it makes it seem like I’m quitting.

She’s developed this new thing based a little bit on my dancing.  I think I’ve talked about it before but it is taking a step and then staying on that leg and rising into the balls of my feet while bringing my back leg forward and up.  I guess it is like a high knee type position if that means anything.  Plus, I’ve got a kettlebell in one arm just to mess with my center of gravity.  It is harder than it sounds because it is about keeping my weight over my foot so that I don’t come too far forward and lose my balance when I rise.  And it makes me work certain muscles to keep trying to adjust my balance because the kettlebell is trying to pull me over.

Oh and we were doing this thing with the battle ropes.  Just moving side to side while swinging the ropes.  It was all supposed to be in the balls of my feet so it was kind of like doing a whole bunch of “quicks” in a fox trot – a fast fox trot.  For some reason, I just thought it would be fun to do a kind of lock step rather than just side to side.  So I finished the first set by stepping left and then crossing my right foot behind my left and so on.  All while being in the balls of my feet and slapping the battle ropes on the ground.  I think I kind of surprised her with that.  It actually felt easier and more natural to me than just doing side steps all the way through.  So, on the second rep, I did the lock steps all the way through.  She said something about how she might make other people she trains try that.  If we do it again, I may alternate my crossing – back and front.

Its kind of funny because even though I’ve been dancing as long as I have, I would never describe myself as “graceful”.  But my trainer see me do this and other things and that’s how she describes me.  Guess that’s a side benefit of dancing.


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