Dance Funk

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There are lots of thoughts and feelings swirling around my head and I guess it is only natural that sometimes they damage my calm. Yesterday was one such day. In those days, it is hard to do the lessons because it feels like you are just going through the motions with all the joy sucked out of it.

Here’s the reality. My right knee is ALWAYS sore. There is ALWAYS some level of pain. Some days I can work around it and some days it makes every move just that much harder. But it isn’t just the knee. There are just other parts of me that flare up from time to time. Its a trade off. An active lifestyle is certainly better in the long run but being active is going to aggravate my collection of aches and pains.

And I know that strengthening helps and I take supplements and a prescription anti-inflammatory. I ice when I can and I wear braces for support. I sometimes wonder if any of that actually helps but I suspect things would be a lot worse if I did none of it. The truth is that this is just a progressive thing that will continue to get worse over time and the only real option is going to be a knee replacement but I’m just not there yet.

What it also means is I just can’t do certain things. I mean physically my knee will not support a lot of weight when it is bent. I see people who easily squat down and I’m not able to do that – my knee won’t support me. The trainers try to do things to help strengthen but I just run into these barriers where there is so much pain that we have to try something else.

So I see dancers using their knees and I know that a lot of the technique and things they want me to do involve lowering and rising and putting my strain on my knee. There is probably some level that I could do but it is a trial and error process to find it and I tend to err on doing too little. I’ve had days where I’ve overdone it and couldn’t sleep because of the pain.

Anyway, I’m not trying to whine too much. It is just that every time I get feedback it involves someone asking me to do more of the things that I know I struggle with. I suppose it isn’t a shock. I mean I don’t look old and I can generally move pretty well so someone looking at me would easily assume I could do more. It isn’t like I have a big red “A” on my knee to signify the disease that is eating away at the joint. But it gets super frustrating to just hear the same type of comments over and over again. I know what I need to do to get better. But I also know that there are certain things that I can’t do. So how can I truly get better? Is it really worth continuing.

Steps are not a problem. I’ve been dancing long enough that I can pretty much get through any step you are trying to teach me. And maybe this is just my warped mind but there is more to dancing than just doing steps. I want the whole picture and that means doing some of the little technique things which transform you from a person just doing steps to someone who is really dancing. (OK, that may sound harsh because people doing steps are dancing but when you’ve been at it as long as I have, you want more)

I get my medal ball feedback and it is similar to things I’ve heard before. And then JoNY starts talking about our coaching lesson on Thursday and I just got in a real funk. Do I really want to have another coach come look at me and tell me I should be doing more of the stuff that is physically difficult for me to do. Do I really need to just find more evidence that what I want is out of reach because my body is betraying me.

We started doing our Argentine Tango and a lot of what I’ve been told on previous lessons with previous instructors came flooding back. JoNY loves this dance and I’ve enjoyed it in the past but it frankly feels flat and lifeless and I can’t do something like that. I know how this sound and I don’t know how to describe what I want but something has to speak to me and right now, this Argentine Tango is pretty quiet.

OwnerGuy was supposed to come on our lesson to teach us some new Rumba steps but he got tied up with studio business (new students) and only showed up for about 15 minutes. When he finally showed up, we had gone through the Rumba a million times and put the Argentine Tango away because I wasn’t feeling it. We were dealing with the comments on the Bolero – needing more foot rise so he comes on and starts talking about that and it just cascaded things a little more. Bolero needs the contrast and I really just wanted to scream “How do I get contrast when I can’t push out of my right leg because my knee will give out!!!!!!” I didn’t because that’s not me but I was screaming on the inside.

The only positive was that I did manage to find some words to explain my funk. First, just telling them that I was in a bad place was good. But then I kind of tried to explain why although the spoken word is not my friend. Written word, I do very well. Spoken word, my brain and mouth don’t get along. Something gets scrambled in the process.

Anyway, they seemed to get my frustration so we just agreed that we’d go with JoNY’s original plan for the coaching lesson and focus on Waltz and the Argentine Tango and see where it goes. OwnerGuy thinks this will be a good lesson because this coach is a bit older so he may be more understanding of the problems of trying to force an older body to do young moves. We shall see.

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