Working for a Living

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Alternate Title – I sure could have picked an easier hobby.

Tuesday is the day I feel for the rest of the week. Between the workout and dance lessons, there’s a lot going on and lots of muscle groups involved.

The first lesson was with OwnerGuy and we working working on Bolero and Swing. For some reason, my mind was blanking on the new Bolero stuff we learned. Which just means it isn’t locked down just yet.

The snap spin works well. After that is the oversway and it starts with a basic but then we are supposed to rotate/pivot in syncopated timing and come out in promenade with a lunge like step. The step isn’t complicated but it is getting the body position right that becomes the frustrating part. It is all about shaping and weight placement and there are lots of little pieces to make it work.

In most of my life, I’m not a real detail person. I go for the gist of something and if I don’t get the sense that I need to know something, I don’t worry about it. Typical example – we get a lot of business communication with various acronyms and initials. If I don’t know what something actually stands for but I have an idea of what it is, I don’t really care to figure out what it actually stands for. This drives some of the detail people in my group crazy because they’ll ask and I’ll be all “I dunno”.

Then we get to dance and when I’m trying to figure out a new step, I start pressing OwnerGuy for all those little details. This becomes a problem because some things matter and some don’t and it is hard to sort out what is important and what can vary. But I have to know how all the pieces fit together when the step is done “correctly” because, hopefully, I can lock in how it feels which may allow me to replicate the step multiple times.

Anyway, he also worked us through the new part that JoNY had taught me earlier. This follows a consistent pattern. JoNY uses an officially licensed Famous Franchise training video and she fills in what she sees on the video. Then, OwnerGuy looks at us and says “I wouldn’t do it that way”. Now, he’s not talking about footwork but it is other parts like where the connection should be or how we should actually move to get into a position. In theory, it does build on what I first learned but only if we haven’t invested a significant amount of time learning it strictly like the video.

So the newest Bolero step starts with an open break but then I step to the side so she’s in front of me and we are facing the same direction. Then, we do a move where we both step to the right but my only connection is my left arm on her back. I bring my feet together and then step to the left while my right arm is on her back as she does whatever little thing she does. There is bending into the knee of the leg you are stepping on and some contra body position but we’ll leave that level of detail for my personal notes. Then, I send her out and chase after her – well chase in a Bolero sort of way. The last part is me doing a rock step but rotating 180 degrees while she’s doing a free spin. My third step is to the side to pick her up for the next part.

Then we did the Swing with the Banana Split and Flip Flop thrown in. He’s looking at our pattern with all the steps and says “We need to get rid of some of this”. So he hacks out a few steps and then gets this look on his face and consults the Famous Franchise Swing page and says he’s going to add something new.

Before I get to that, he fixed our flip flop which needed to rotate far more than I was doing it. The first step is the same but on the second pass, I need to get all the way around her while ending in the same direction I was looking when I started. That creates a ton more momentum.

The new step doesn’t have a cool name like Banana Split or Flip Flop. I wrote it down and there is something about an Arm Catch (I think). The general gist is that it starts like its going to be a Spin Whip but instead of folding her right arm around her back, I get her left arm (about by the elbow) and then step out away from her. Hence the “Arm Catch”. Then I do a triple step and then take two steps and they are all supposed to be rotating around her but, we got to that step very late in the lesson so it was more just getting the basic foundation and then OwnerGuy can expand on it later.

Group class was a Fox Trot and most of it was a step I already do. Still, the new guy was teaching it and I find that I can always pick up a nugget or two from him. I don’t know where he trained but he has some different ideas and it is good to get a different perspective. Honestly, he’s a great teacher because this was a Silver class and there was a guy in early Bronze who somehow ended up in the class and he ended up doing fine. But the new guy always mixes a little technique into his classes so, even when you know the step, there is still something to be learned.

The second lesson after group class was just to focus on the Bolero and Swing. JoNY was feeling a little run down when I got there – you know that sort of beginning cold stage and she started to wear out during the lesson. This is when you start to appreciate just how hard it would be to be a dance instructor. When she’s on the lesson with me, she has to work as much as I do and usually more because she’s trying to count and talking and dancing with something fast like Swing ain’t easy. We took a couple of breaks so I could make notes on the Bolero and Swing. I think that was better than trying to wait to the end and remembering everything. We got through enough of it that we ended up taking the last five minutes or so to do Rumba. That’s our go to dance when we’ve had enough and just need to easy back on the throttle.

My knees were killing me at the end of the night. My workout earlier in the day was mostly upper body stuff. But she did have me do the lateral walks with a band around my ankles which works the legs. And, we did two different press type exercises with me standing on the Bosu so I was working on balance which was some legs and core as I had to keep adjusting to stay on the stupid Bosu. She had me do alternating one arm presses as one of the two things just to throw off my balance even more.

It would be best if I iced after getting back but the problem is I get back kind of late and I just want to grab a shower and then I don’t feel like icing after that. I did drag myself to the gym today but I started with the recumbent bike because that is easier on the knees although it works parts of the legs more than the treadmill. I finished with some walking on the treadmill using the setting that is supposed to tone your legs. Running is right out on account of the knees but I think doing something today was actually a good thing because the bike seemed to help with the stiffness. I still have some soreness in the knees and in a lot of other places as well.

Tonight is a night off which is good. Tomorrow is another lesson although we have snow in the forecast right about the time I’m supposed to be leaving for my lesson. So we’ll see how it goes. I’m not a fan of driving on the highway in snow. It kind of makes me a bit claustrophobic to be stuck in slow moving traffic in bad weather on the highway. Can’t explain why but getting super stressed before getting to a lesson isn’t really a good thing. Seriously hoping this is the last time I have to think about snow for a bit. I know that might be wishful thinking but we were promised that early spring.


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