I think I’ve mentioned this before but OwnerGuy had a large curtain installed in the studio that allows him to divide the space. In theory, this was to allow private lessons to have a dedicated space if the group classes got too large. It also controls the noise from the group class so an instructor on a private lesson doesn’t have to shout to be heard. There were some other possibilities but I believe that was the main one.
Its not a bad plan but there is one flaw. Because of how the curtain divides the floor, the short side is now the long side. And the new short side is maybe good for one moving figure. Plus, last night, there were three of us on private lessons so doing any sort of smooth dance would have been very problematic. The good news was that we were all doing rhythm so there weren’t any major collisions.
We started with Bolero and OwnerGuy was on a lesson with a new student of his. Again, I was a topic of their conversations because I overheard some little snippets of him talking about how long I’ve been dancing. He was also explaining the Bolero to her because it seems like she was interested but the Famous Franchise typically does not allow you to move to Bolero right away. Same with Viennese Waltz – you aren’t going to walk into a studio and start with either of those. I’m not sure what level you have to reach before they’ll put them in your program but I know they aren’t consider beginner dances.
I’m liking the way the Bolero is coming together. There is still work to be done on shaping and doing the slip pivot that OwnerGuy wants at certain parts. To compensate for my inability to get really low, they want me to stay up longer as that creates the change in altitude that Bolero needs. I’m good for awhile but clearly my ankles need some strengthening because they get really tired.
We moved on to Swing to go back over the Banana Split and to learn the new step, the Flip Flop. Now it isn’t really “new” to me because I did it with Kid T in my old Open Swing routine. I have no idea where they came up with these names. Some of the steps have long and sort of descriptive names like overhead circling whip. Pretty sure the guys developing the syllabus were sitting in a bar somewhere dreaming up names and the more hammered they got, the sillier the names got.
The Banana Split is a Silver 3 step but it is really easy so there must be some trick that we aren’t doing right. The Flip Flop is kind of like a forward spot turn for me and when I say kind of like I mean it is vaguely in the same neighborhood. Starts with a rock back but instead of a triple, I just do six steps around her. That part is actually more grapeviney because the first steps are forward but I cross behind at some point. So I’m moving around her and passing her from arm to arm. It ends with an underarm turn and then back to triples. We put those steps in the middle of our pattern and the swivels and twists followed. That just required me remembering that in time to use the second triple to get us back in frame and set up to do the swivels and twists which starts with a fallaway like move. Needs work but it wasn’t bad for a first attempt.
On the second lesson, there was no group class so the curtain was drawn and we had the whole floor so we moved to Waltz and Viennese Waltz. Waltz was just to go over the newest step and I can’t remember the name but Waltz steps all tend to have names that fall into the vaguely descriptive category. A serious dance won’t have anything called a Flip Flop as a step. Well Waltz does have twinkles and you can argue that’s not very serious.
Anyway, this step starts with a Twinkle and goes into a Wing where I just basically rotate my upper body while she moves around me but we remain offset. I lead her through an underarm turn and we both end up doing a crossover which leads to us coming back the way we came and into a free spin before I pick her up and do a hinge and then a Twinkle to get out of it and back into frame. This step is growing on me. It kind of meanders a bit going one direction and then coming back but there’s a nice little flow to it.
OwnerGuy came out to show us the two new Viennese Waltz steps he was adding. One is a continuous Natural turns (or something close to that). Starts with an Advanced Left Turn and then we start a second but I do a back change out of it so we are backing line of dance. Then we go into the naturals. The first part is me moving back and then I come around her which is supposed to be outside partner. We do that twice and I turn her out into a double hand hold and we do a hesitation. I found that I was overly focused on making that one step in the turn outside partner because it always felt like I was going to run into her. I suspect there is some shaping or something needed to fix that.
The second step was called Canter Swivels. From the two hand hold, we do a swivel but with Canter timing. Canter timing is weird. Normally, the Viennese Waltz has three steps but, for this, you are taking two step but over the three beats of music. It was explained multiple times but it isn’t really taking just yet. A lot of times when you have to cover three beats with two steps, there is a fake or a hold and that doesn’t seem to be the case here. What was also messing me up was that after this, Owner Guy wanted a step and then a hesitation. Well the step was in the same direction we were going and it felt to my head like a natural conclusion to what we were doing so I was rushing it. I’m drawing a blank on what we did after that so hopefully my notes captured it.
In between the two lessons, we did Rumba for group class. The new guy was teaching it and he’s really a great dancer and a good teacher in how he explained everything. I’ve heard he has other plans and isn’t going to make dance a career but I don’t know how long he’ll be hanging around. The lesson from the Rumba class was contra body as it involved us moving around each other and he emphasized keeping our chest to the lady so we are squared up and not open. In a lot of cases, we had to be in twisty positions to make that happen so it was good practice.
One little non dance note. Yesterday was also one of my work out days. I’m on a treadmill doing a little warm up and there’s a guy a couple down from me. Not trying to be judgy here but let’s just say he clearly wasn’t an elite athlete. Well, I start with the trainer and we’re doing rounds on a couple of machines (lat pull downs, chest press and single arm rows if you must know). Anyway, this guy suddenly shows up at the next machine (not using it) and starts chatting up my trainer. Wanted to say “Dude, I’m paying for her time right now” but I just thought it was kind of amusing. She was nice but not overly chatty and we moved on. You could say he was just being friendly but he didn’t try to acknowledge my presence. Kind of just a guy being an ass.
Well that was my day yesterday.