Busy night last night. Two lessons, two dances, two new steps. Accomplished a lot. Now I have to see what I remember. This is going to be mostly dance notes so if the inner workings of step isn’t of interest, you may just want to skim it. Not sure how interesting I can make it. Will describe a little bit of the learning process which might be more entertaining.
The first lesson was Fox Trot. We have a section in the current routine with a pivot and that has never gone well with JoNY. Can’t really explain why because I used to do pivots all the time with Kid T and they were fine. There is another part later one that requires something called an alternate rise and the timing gets funky and it wasn’t my favorite. So OwnerGuy basically ripped those parts out the routine and worked some new Silver III stuff in to replace it.
I tend to have mixed emotions when they drop a step because it is a struggle. There is that perfectionist part of me that says I should be able to do everything and that giving up on something is kind of cheating. No, I should continue to bang my head against the wall in the hopes that something clicks and I get the step. Giving up means failure and failure means suckage and suckage means what the hell are you doing trying to dance.
Fortunately, a slightly more level headed part of my personality was working last night. (Maybe I was tired) At the end of the day, dancing is supposed to be fun. Hard, yes, because if it was easy then everyone would do it. But mastering a step shouldn’t be an impossible dream. Some steps just may not work out and there are always variations. If it is all Silver 3 then what difference does it make.
So this part comes shortly after we start the routine. We’ve already covered the first short side and are coming down the long side when we get to a push away explosion. Instead of going into a run around, I just roll her in to shadow position while I do a chasse so we are on the same foot. Then we do shadow open naturals which is just me going around her (forward, side, back) and then on my back, side forward, she comes around me. We do this twice which takes us most of the way around the back short side of the floor.
After that, I roll her out and I do another Chasse (you have to do these in pairs to fix the feet). And we do this weird thing that I can’t remember the name of. The first step is into promenade but I also point my left foot so it is a step/point action. The next slow beat is just changing the shape by elevating my left side. Without tipping the right side down!! This is one of those strange things where you kind of have to extend your rib cage on one side which sounds odd and it feels kind of weird as well. But it creates the shape that sets up the next movement which is stepping back. So it creates this pattern where you are moving in one direction, stop, shape like you are rising up and then move backwards which looks like you are kind of falling into it since you did the shape to create some rise on the left side.
The backward step is just to change directions (slightly) so it is back, kind of a check and then stepping out and back into frame while moving down the line of dance but at a slightly different angle. It ends with a feather or continuity finish which is just three steps outside partner with my left shoulder leading the way.
After that, we pick up the old routine and go into a curved run, a back run and a reverse weave. But then comes more new stuff. After I finish the reverse weave with a side step, I do a hinge which is just me rotating to my left while she keeps moving so we stretch away from each other a bit and she does some little kicky thing. Then I bring her back across me and move backwards along the line of dance a step but then give her a turn as we again change directions and go back along the line of dance to almost finish the long side and then we pick up the old routine with a hover corte.
OwnerGuy was all “let’s get the feet down first”. And I told him I was mostly on that bus but the shadow open naturals weren’t working because I didn’t know the connection and it felt like she was going to fly out of my arm. He then said this is a team effort. I need to have a firmer grip (in shadow position my right hand is on her right side and this is the connection that leads everything). She needs to focus on staying in my hand. And we actually needed to be a little farther apart to create a better connection and give us space to get around each other. This is also a step where I provide the drive getting around her but she’s supposed to provide more power on the back half. I’m still leading but she’s coming forward and that puts her in the drivers seat. There’s also a lot of shaping that we do that he called something specific that I can’t remember but it is all supposed to create momentum to make the step easier and we touched on it and had some success but it is still something that needs further work.
After group class (which was also Fox Trot), I had a lesson with just JoNY and we worked on it some more and got to the point where we were doing the whole thing just to see how it moved. It does use the whole floor although we come up a little short on the second long side. But I think that will be fine since the floor at the studio is longer than what we typically see at Showcase. It moves better than the old one and there are, of course, still opportunities to make it better through more shaping and contra body stuff. It was a lot to throw at me the first lesson back from break but, hey, why not just jump into it.
But that’s not all. OwnerGuy also wanted JoNY to teach me a Silver 3 Bolero which will get added in to our current routine at some point. Like he’s done before, he just directs her to the appropriate training video to learn the step and she introduces it to me. At some point, he’ll be on a lesson to show us where he wants it and to do whatever finishing and polishing is required.
The step starts with a basic to an open break. I do this move where I bring her back towards me but then abruptly stop and kind of freeze my left arm to stop her. She uses that to do a free spin (I have to let go) and then I pick her up after that. That’s the easy part.
So we come back together face to face. I’m supposed to do a little rock step to the side while bringing her around so we are turned 90 degrees but still facing each other. It is kind of like a half moon in Cha-Cha. Then, I’m supposed to do a waist roll which is weird in Bolero. It is really just two steps to get around her and then turning back to face her so we essentially change side. The awkward part is that I’m supposed to bring my right arm up and over since I’m crossing around her on my right side and it gets it out of her way. But, then I’m supposed to reconnect with my left arm and it is this backwards grip which is just a little odd. It works for the next step but it was befuddling me a bit because my right arm wanted to reach for her since it was in motion or my left arm would just grab her in a normal hold since that’s what I was used to.
But it requires the strange backwards grip because I take a step towards her and then hook one foot around the other (I’ve lost track of what foot I’m actually on) while giving her an inside turn. That fixes the weird hand position and then I go back three steps while she comes forward three steps. Think he is going to put this in before the contra check since the last part was just like the lead in to the contra check.
So it was busy night. Lots to learn. But it was nice to hit the ground running in 2019. Thursday we’ll review and also go back over some of the other changes that were made to the Cha-Cha, Swing and Waltz.
There was one other little thing that happened last night. On our second lesson, OwnerGuy was on the floor with a newer student. We tried to stay away but it was impossible to totally avoid them as we were using a lot of the floor. No collisions but we got close a couple of times. Anyway, while I was making notes with JoNY, Z was talking to this student about her lesson and what she liked. I didn’t hear all of the conversation but I heard enough to know that I came up. Don’t quote me on this but it seemed like she was looking at the stuff we were doing and really liking it and maybe wanting to get into some of that as well.
I only bring this up because I get these mixed emotions when stuff like this happens. Yes, I kind of like being someone people can look at and go “I’d like to dance like that”. In a way, I’m kind of a dancing testimonial for the Famous Franchise. But the reality is I’ve spent years (and lots of dollars) to get to where I am. So it might be easy to set some false expectations. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to crush anyone’s dream because it would certainly be possible to advance faster than I have. Just as long as a newcomer realizes they aren’t jumping into Silver 3 in a couple of months.
If you made it this far, you must really like dance. Had a lot to say but the bottom line is that last was a great start to 2019. Maybe there is something about turning a calendar page.