Lunges and Lines

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I think I’ve said this before, but I can’t think of a single dance that I’ve done that I hated. There have been times when Rumba was not my favorite but I would never say I hated it. Well, I probably said that to a few instructors but that’s just my way. Certain dances are physically harder for me to do and some are harder for me to capture the spirit of but I mostly like all of them.

Sometimes, I feel like Bolero is my white whale dance. I love the sweeping nature of the moves but it generally requires a lot more knee action than I’m currently capable of. Plus, Bolero is one of those “romantic” dances and expressing that part of it is a bit difficult for me. Much easier to channel Waltz than Bolero. So it is a dance I really want to do well with but it seems to elude me. Doesn’t mean I’m going to stop.

Well, yesterday was Bolero day. We went through the current version of the Bolero which starts with the Snap Spin which I’m really liking as a step. From a push away, I basically stop her from coming back and she pushes off my hand to do a free spin. I get her back, bring her around me and then do a waist roll around her and then an underarm turn to move back in the opposite direction. OwnerGuy was stressing on certain parts for us to stretch away from each other so the waist roll becomes almost like me slingshotting by her. That’s just a matter of minding the footwork to create the separation and we were getting to a point where those first step were really fluid.

What I’m finding with these patterns is that they are a mix of upper Bronze and early Silver and when we add the upper Silver, it can create these pockets. It would be like a neighborhood with a luxury high rise right next to an abandoned and boarded up building. Some of the upper Bronze stuff and connecting steps just don’t fit in anymore. OwnerGuy was looking at our pattern and the wheels were spinning and he wants to cut out a lot of our original opening and insert this other Silver step. I don’t remember the name but there were lunges and lines in the description.

Starts with a basic but then instead of a quick quick with a slip pivot, we syncopate that and rotate around each other so more like a pivot but not quite a pivot. At the end, we turn to promenade and I’m supposed to step strongly out on my left leg in kind of a lunge. Then we do an oversway which is all rotating the upper body and hips to create some nice little shape. I kind of snap her out of it and then get strongly on my right leg. Keeping my head over the right leg, I do a quick Left/Right (syncopated) before landing strongly on my left leg. Then we push off the left into a basic. There is more that he’ll have to do to connect it to the rest but that’s the general pattern.

I’ve done oversways in other patterns and with other partners and while you aren’t tangled up, it can kind of feel that way. Plus there is twisting and bending and contorting so it doesn’t feel the greatest but I think it gives a good look. It is something that is easy to do but difficult to do well (kind of like a lot of ballroom stuff). The part after that with the syncopated moves “feels” like a Bolero should feel if that makes any sense. It helps that we are close together and moving together. Again, I’ve done rock steps in Rumba but this was like that on steroids. JoNY was telling me later that is might have been the first step I liked right from the beginning and that’s true because it does take a bit for me to warm up to something but this just hit me right. I should give up trying to figure out why and just go with the feeling.

In our second lesson, we just spent time drilling on that step and the first one so we’d get the transition between them down and get more practice in the oversway and the timing changes. I was feeling it in my right side where most of the twisting was occurring and some in my left leg which was holding the lunge position during the oversway. Today, I’m not sure what is sore from the workout and what is sore from dance but there’s a lot of tired muscle groups right now.

Our group class was Viennese Waltz which is always going to rank near the top of my favorite dance lists. It was a Silver group so there were just three couples (two real couples and me and my designated dance partner). In case you are new here, there was a couple that started at the studio when it first opened. For a lot of reasons (including health), he stopped dancing but she continued. We are the only unattached people in Silver who regularly attend groups so we typically get paired up.

The new guy picked a step that none of us had done. Something like Run, Spot, Spin. I know “run” and “spot” were in the title because we were making the see spot run jokes. Now I’ve just dated myself because I’m not even sure those books are still used in elementary schools. The pattern starts from an explosion with the guy on the right. Then, he takes three little steps around her bringing her into shadow position. There are three more steps around her while she spins and then my right arm grabs her left elbow (or wrist). Then, we run three steps – I’m going backwards and she’s going forward. Finally, I lead her to spin around again and pick her up in frame to do whatever.

With all steps, there were subtle little things about each part. In shadow position, I need a strong connection from her rib cage to my right hand because I use that to help her turn. In the run where we are connected, the arms are supposed to remain locked in place so you don’t lose balance and the movement is from the body and not really dragging someone across the floor. Again, it is amazing how much technique is really packed into each move. Its a lot of the same ideas but it is just that there is so much going on that helps make the movements fluid and graceful.

There was a new couple who had come in for a lesson and they saw the end of our Viennese Waltz and were giving us compliments as we got off the floor. I think this was their second lesson and I was watching a bit on my lesson. She’s clearly having a great time. He is as well but you can tell that she’s got the dance bug.

For some reason, that always reminds me of the opera scene in Pretty Woman when Richard Gere says to Julia Roberts that people either love or hate opera the first time the see it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they hate it, they may come to appreciate it but it will never become part of their soul. Really feel ballroom is the same type of situation. If it grabs you from that first lesson, then it will become something you’ll have a hard time living without. It’s cliche but true that it does becomes part of your soul.

In other words, it was a pretty good first lesson after vacation.


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