The Night of Nine Dances

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JoNY was back last night from her illness and we had two lessons scheduled so it was all about Showcase prep.  OwnerGuy was out of town so we were on our own to hopefully get through them without any questions.  He is due back on Thursday and he’s supposed to be on our lesson (we shall see) so that will be the last opportunity to fix any major glitches and maybe get some last minute pointers to polish things up before Showcase.

They changed the group class schedule around so they now do two sets of group classes.  I’m not entirely sure why.  I believe it is because they’ve got a fair number of newer students and so there are nights when you have enough people to support three group classes.  But they don’t always have three instructors.  So, now, they just do two group classes per session with two sessions of group classes.  That may be confusing but I mention it because it meant there was a group class going on during our lesson.  And that will be the case until they change the calendar again.

So we took the first lesson to practice the rhythm dances.  The group class was Rumba so we started there.  The Rumba is near the top of the list of the dances I feel most comfortable with.  I don’t have to think a lot about the steps and things do seem to flow nicely.  I suspect we still have a lot of work to add Rumba styling but we can at least move around the floor fairly well.

Then we moved to Swing.  During the first run, we got to the Twin Cities and I suddenly remembered that OwnerGuy wanted us to tweak it a bit.  Of course, I remembered it after we had already done it so we got to it on the second run.  I’m still a little fuzzy in a part where there are a series of swivels – some slow and some fast so I sometimes lose track of where we were.  All in all, the Swing is in a pretty good place.  The next dance was Bolero.  That one has shown the most improvement.  I know that with my knees that I’m not going to be able to give it a lot of the real character of a Bolero but you work with what you have not what you wish you had.

Next up was the Cha-Cha.  That also goes with the Rumba in the top tier.  There were a couple of times where we hit something that just popped.  Like we had a brief moment where the connection was spot on and we made it work for us.  Last up was Mambo.  The beginning part is a bit rough.  We do a sort of back spot turn which leads right into a fall away and some swivels.  It is just fast and getting to the right spot with the right connection for the swivels is tough because it just happens so quickly.  But we made it work.

So I’m OK with where all the rhythm dances are.  The inner perfectionist in me wants everything to be 100% better so I have to keep reminding myself that is just crazy talk.  I’m doing this Showcase to get a read on where our partnership is and what we need to do to get to the next level.  I’m actually a little shocked at how well the rhythm stuff went.  I consider myself a better smooth dancer than a rhythm dancer but the rhythm dances are in a better place than the smooth dances.  I suppose that is likely because it takes two to Tango (and Mambo, and Bolero and you get the point) and we are still working through the stages of forming a partnership so we just aren’t quite on the same page when it comes to the smooth dances.

After group class, there was only Z and the couple she was working with and us and we were both working on Showcase prep and they were doing Smooth as well so we didn’t really have to fight for music that much. I guess I should also consider that the Smooth was done after the Rhythm and we hit the Rhythm pretty hard.  Plus, yesterday was my workout so a few things were a little tired.  And it was later in the evening and I’m not a night person.  So some of what I was feeling was probably just fatigue – both for me and JoNY. Dancing is tough work.

The first dance we did was Waltz.  Stumbled a bit at the end and cut it too short on the first run be we fixed that.  I was starting to feel the rise and fall in my feet which made it a little hard.  You go on autopilot which tells you to rise and then you hit a spot where your toe starts screaming at you.  But, instead of remembering that, you just rise again and get the shot of pain.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Next we did Tango and there are two places where the timing changes to all quicks and I lost track of where I was a few times.  But the Viennese Crosses were working much better.  The Tango was going better than I expected.  Then we moved to Fox Trot.  That’s a dance I hadn’t really struggled with before.  I did pivots with Kid T all the time and they seemed to work just fine.  With JoNY, we lose power and momentum and I still couldn’t figure out how to come out of the pivot and end in the orientation I needed to be.  We actually ended up getting Z to dance it with JoNY so we could both see how it was done and that helped.  Towards the end, we got to a place where we could mostly make the step work.  Probably doesn’t look cool and jazzy like Fox Trot should but we’ll deal with that at a later date.  Finished off with the Viennese Waltz.  Note to self – doing Viennese Waltz at the end of a lesson is tougher than it looks.

One more lesson to go before Showcase.  I was talking with JoNY afterward and this will be the first time she’s actually danced at a Showcase.  I thought she might have done a heat or two at previous ones but that is not the case.  So it should be an interesting experience for both of us.


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