This may sound a bit strange but I’m thinking that there might be at least one benefit to dancing with a less experienced instructor. Because JoNY doesn’t know the steps backwards and forwards, I think she is less able to compensate if my lead is off. A more experienced instructor who knows what’s coming may rely less on my lead and more on what they already know. In theory, the more experienced instructor would be better able to feel when something wasn’t quite right and make corrections but I’m not sure that always happens.
Last night was Tango night. When my lesson got rescheduled for last night, OwnerGuy was supposed to be on it but they had some communication breakdown so he thought he was free. Fortunately, he didn’t have another lesson so he was able to work with us because there were some parts of the Tango that we couldn’t make work.
There is a section at the beginning where we do a set of Viennese Crosses. These are like advanced basics in Viennese Waltz except they are syncopated and danced with no rise or fall. But the footwork and rotation is the same and we couldn’t make it work. OwnerGuy comes out and watches and tells me I’m over rotating the second half which is slowing things down. He also tells me that the feet kind of guide left turning figures and that the first steps need to move directly down the line of dance but set up the rotation for the next two. Which is just done by how you plant the foot – do it at an angle and it twists your body in a way that is like winding a spring and then the next two steps just unwind the spring. Anyway, once we did that, the crosses just moved much better and we could both feel the difference.
Then, there was the pivot which wasn’t getting the energy it needed. He started talking about driving on the first step and something about leading with the left shoulder. He does this thing about body parts and how they are supposed to move and some of it doesn’t make sense to me since all the parts are attached. I mean I can’t unhook my shoulder and toss it out in front. But I can sort of get the gist. The second step is more to the side and around her which puts us in a more twisty position to start. And that creates a lot of the energy that the pivot needs.
We were also trying to figure out why we kept ending up in the center of the floor and JoNY and I “fixed” it using one step. OwnerGuy shoots that down and tells us exactly where we should be going and on what step. After the whisk, we do a step that I can’t name but it is in promenade and we end up with one foot crossed behind the other so I can rotate around on that foot and lead her through a grapevine. But the part that is in promenade is supposed to travel towards the corner so we are in the right position to loop the thing.
Oh, and I was also over rotating the back half of the whisk. Not really sure why but I was and it was causing JoNY to have to move too much and it killed the alignment and made it harder to take the next piece in the direction it needs to go. We’re also having problems keeping her on my right side (that’s probably the royal “we” since it my problem). He talked about using a few of the tango/close type steps to check alignment and that we could take a measure just to reset if we needed to.
The glass half full part of me looks at these things and says that these are just small adjustments but they are making a big difference in how the dance moves. And that’s in part because these small adjustments are actually allowing me to lead the step better so it is easier to follow. The glass half empty looks at these things and says “why didn’t you know that before now” or “I’m sure they’ve mentioned this 1000 times. Why can’t you remember”. And then they argue inside my head trying to get me to feel one way or the other. Given that I can see both sides, nobody won. Maybe the glass just broke and is now in pieces.
The only bad part of the lesson was actually the beginning hold. What OwnerGuy wants is our right sides towards each other and that I need to have my head weight over my right heel. And that we should sort of have bent knees like we are trying to sit which supposedly helps with the twisty feel that the dance needs to have. Given that my left leg is the one that moves first, it requires me to have the majority of my weight on my right leg when it is slightly bent. I have no idea why that creates problems but I just can’t do a lot of weight bearing stuff with my knee bent. It just doesn’t work.
And they aren’t trying to force me to do anything. I do always get that little question “did that hurt?” I know they aren’t really questioning me but it can feel that way. I get that from the trainers from time to time as well. I don’t know what sets the knee off or why but I can for sure tell you when something is causing me pain.
So that through me into a little funk. Again, I don’t want to start whining. Oh boo hoo, your knees hurt because I know people deal with much worse. But I’m sitting there thinking that, like Bolero and Rumba, this is another dance where I won’t be able to get the full look because I can only do as much as my stupid knee will allow. And its never going to get better. It will always limit what I’m able to do and there are just times when it sucks and frustrates me. And it just means we have to find some level of knee bending that I’m capable off because it really won’t work to dance Tango with mostly straight legs. Sorry, but there are days when the knee is really half empty and I can’t make it half full.
I don’t have a lesson tonight. I had another thing that I had to do and I wasn’t sure how late it was going to run so I had to cancel. Means I won’t be back at it until Tuesday. But I’m sure I’ll find something else to write about.